Dead or Alive
Author: J. Ronald Blue
Week of October 23, 2016
An early graduate of Dallas Seminary and well-known Bible teacher, the late Dr. J. Vernon McGee, once wrote a clever little booklet entitled Jonah: Dead or Alive? This is a valid question. Was Jonah alive in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights or did he die and rise again?
There is some strong evidence in the text that Jonah died. He cried for help “from the depth of the grave” (Jonah 2:2). “Grave” is literally Sheol, the Hebrew word for the place of the dead. Water encompassed him to the point of death, wrote Jonah (v. 5). “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered You, Lord” (2:5, 7). If indeed Jonah died, the parallel between Christ’s burial and Jonah’s experience becomes even more striking (Matt. 12:40).
Whether Jonah died or not, one thing is very certain. Jonah prayed from the depths of the sea and it reached heaven’s door. When the prophet acknowledged his need, cried out to the Lord, and vowed to serve Him, God brought him up “from the pit.”
For you: You may be going through a Jonah crisis right now. You may feel distant from God, trapped in a pit of despair and discouragement, wishing you were dead rather than alive. If so, there is good news for you. There is no need to panic. It is time to pray.
Jonah prayed and suddenly he found himself on dry land. Whatever your situation, pray right now. Confess your sins to Him and He will cleanse you. Express your thanksgiving for Him and He will encourage you. Commit your way to Him and He will restore you and guide you. “Salvation comes from the Lord” (Jonah 2:9).