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We have here the prayer which Jonah offered up to the Lord in his dreadful distress. The Lord's gracious answer also in his deliverance.
Let the Reader here learn, and learn with trembling, that sin will bring trouble even to God's dear children. So runs the charter in the covenant of grace. Psalms 89:30-32 . Learn also, that it is nothing for the most part brings the heart home to God, after departures, but the Lord's sanctifying affliction. And let the Reader learn moreover, that the greatest of all afflictions, is the thought in those afflictions, that they are the Lord's. A soul deserted of the Lord, or supposed to be so, is the heaviest of all distresses. It was the sense of this which aggravated the Redeemer's sorrows. Psalms 22:1-2 . But Reader! when you have duly pondered those weighty considerations, look at Jonah again, and behold him in this state as a type of the ever blessed Jesus. None but Jonah, among all the sons of men, ever experienced a state like this. It was none but the Lord Jesus that ever experienced the soul agonies of the garden, and the cross. Of the people there was none with him. Isaiah 63:0 . And as Jonah remained here the exact time which the Lord Jesus in after ages remained in the heart of the earth, so Christ expressly declared that this was in Jonah a sign of Jonah's Lord. Matthew 12:39-40 .
The words of Jonah are very remarkable when he saith, though he was cast out of the Lord's sight, yet he would look again. A plain proof that he had looked before. But what I particularly beg the Reader to notice in Jonah's resolution of looking again is, that he would look towards the Lord's holy temple. Everyone knows that reads the Bible, that this temple was the type of Christ. God in Christ, is, and was, the sum and substance of the whole temple, and of the whole furniture. Hence Jonah, like all the holy men of old, was looking for salvation, to a God in Christ. And, Reader! I pray you to keep in remembrance, that let the afflictions and exercises of God's children be what they may, there can be no relief to any, or to all, but faith's confidence and hope in God's Christ.
See! what a gracious prayer-hearing, and prayer-answering God our's is! Sweetly did another Prophet bear testimony to the same. Psalms 130:1-3 . But, Reader! do not lose sight of the typical representation in all this to the person and work o f the Lord Jesus. As the belly of the whale could not detain Jonah, when the Lord commanded his deliverance, so neither could the grave detain Christ, when he had paid the debt of our sins, and satisfied both law and justice. Jesus was justified in the Spirit, it is said, when he came forth from the tomb; and God the Father took to himself the glorious name of the God of peace, when bringing again from the dead the Lord Jesus Christ, through the blood of the everlasting covenant. Such, and so blessed, are the great events of the Redeemer's deliverance from the grave, as typified by the Prophet's detention in what he calls the belly of hell. See 1 Timothy 3:16 ; Hebrews 13:20 ; Hosea 6:2 .
READER! let us pause over this wonderful subject, and behold the miracle here related with fixed attention and regard. Many are the blessed instructions, simply as an history of the Lord's dealings with his people, which it holds forth; and which, under the Holy Ghost's teachings, may and will be profitable. Surely it is consolatory to a deserted soul, to behold in this instance, that his case is not singular. The Lord may, and the Lord will correct the backslidings of his Children. They may during the sharp exercises of correction, fear, that they are cast out of the Lord's sight. But in the midst of all they still possess precious testimonies, could they but see them, that the union with Jesus is still the same, and cannot be lost. Else how would they resolve still to look to the holy temple? Else how would they groan under a sense of sin, and earnestly pant for a deliverance from it. Evidently Jonah had the same views of God's rich mercy in Christ as ever; and was alive to proclaim the Lord's honor while dishonoring himself. Reader! make application of these things to your own case and circumstances, and those of the Church at large, and the improvement will be blessed.
But chiefly, dearest Jesus, and above all other considerations in the history of Jonah, may our souls be led to behold in him thy type. And oh for grace to bless thee, and adore thine holy name, that in an age so remote and distant, the great event of thy detention in the heart of the earth, for the salvation of thy people, should have been so wonderfully set forth! Cause the heart both of the Reader and Writer to be often meditating on Jonah's history, and there in figure behold by faith the wonderful mystery of thy humiliation, when for us and our salvation, thou didst condescend to lay in the grave until the morning of thy glorious resurrection! Amen.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Jonah 2". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30