The fish that swallowed Jonah was not part of God’s punishment. It was the thing God used as a tool for Jonah’s rescue.
“God appointed a fish” 1:17
The prayer of Jonah (chapter 2) backs this up. It is not a prayer for help, though it testifies… that before God sent the fish, Jonah prayed a “help me” prayer (Jonah 2:2-3.6). Instead it is a prayer of thanksgiving for a God who had delivered Jonah. Being swallowed by the fish was God’s way of delivering Jonah from death. (listen to the sermon from this past sunday (Go figure – This changes Things @ http://www.farmingtonbc.org )
Maybe you have cried out to God in your time of trouble and not even an hour after you prayed your situation got worse. In fact it “felt” like it swallowed you whole. And you wondered if God had heard your prayer…
Well, He did.
That was your fish.
That was your answer from God.
He was saving you. He was on the scene, doing what He does best… rescuing, answering your prayer. It looked like things had gotten worse but they hadn’t. It was the tool He was using for your deliverance.
It is not the way we would have come to someones rescue.
But God is not us….
and Salvation belongs to Him (Jonah 2:9)