The Conflict Between Despair and Faith
Jonah 2:1-9
Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God out of the fish's belly,…

Doctrine —

1. It is the usual lot of the Lord's children to have not only outward afflictions to wrestle with, but spiritual temptations and sad conclusions, gathered from their troubles, which are sorer to endure than many simple afflictions. For so was it with Jonah when he was in the sea.

2. The children of the Lord in their troubles may be so tossed and divided betwixt hope and despair that faith and unbelief will be talking word about, for so doth Jonah's experience teach. "I said, I am cast out; yet will I look again."

3. In a time of temptation, unbelief's word is generally first out, till faith come and correct it; ordinarily what is said in haste is unbelief's language, and to be unsaid again, for this comes first out, I am cast out of Thy sight.

4. A child of God may not only be assaulted with fits of despair, but for a time be overcome with it, and yield to it; and yet, for all that, recover his feet again.

5. As it is ordinary under temptation to judge of all God's respect, care, and love by our sense of His present dealing, so to be cast off by God, as one that He will not favour nor care for nor take notice of, is the sorest of trials, especially to the child of God, who lives by God's favour, and is made up in all his afflictions when he finds that God thinks on him, and that his troubles endear him to God's care.

6. It is no new thing to see a child of God, and vessel of mercy, apprehending reprobation and rejection from God, in his sad and dark hour, for this also is Jonah's temptation.

7. Nor is it strange to see the children of God exercised and sadly afflicted with that which hath never been, nor will be, save in their own fearful apprehensions; for so is Jonah with "casting off." When we reckon by our own deservings, and by probabilities in a strait, and not by God's love and all-sufficiency, we cannot but draw sad conclusions, and our own spirits will make us work enough.

8. Temptations, even when they have overcome for a season, are not to be lien with, and given way to, by the children of God, but ought to be resisted and set against, though they should (if it were possible) perish in the attempt, this being the way to honour God and get deliverance, — for vanquished Jonah will not quit it so; "Yet will I look again."

9. That whereby the children of the Lord must oppose all troubles inward and outward, and resist temptations, is naked faith closely adhering to the covenant of grace made in Christ, and gathering hope of better dealing This is imported in his "looking again toward the holy Temple," or eyeing God in His covenant, whereof that was a sign. To cast away confidence as useless in a strait, or not to essay faith until we are hired by sense, or to lie by in wilful unbelief, think that is the way to get sense to loose our doubts; or to seek any footing for faith but in God's covenant and free grace in Christ, is the height of folly.

10. The weakest act of faith may do much good in a day of greatest need; for in all this extremity Jonah had no more but a "looking again" as a poor banished man.

11. Faith in a time of need will find a way through many a dark impediment to find God.

12. It speaks much to God's praise that when His people are laid by with their temptations yet He will not lose them, but recover them out of their deepest swoons, and make vanquished faith yet again to triumph over difficulties which they had judged insuperable. For this is also recorded to His praise: that not only Jonah persevered crying when his trouble was great, but that he was strengthened, after he had once yielded to the temptation, to believe and "look again."

(George Hutcheson.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish's belly,

WEB: Then Jonah prayed to Yahweh, his God, out of the fish's belly.

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