“…at the roots of the mountains. I went down to the land whose bars closed upon me forever; yet you brought up my life from the pit, O Lord my God.”—Jonah 2:5 (ESV)
When Jonah talks about the ‘pit’, he is not referring to a literal pit that you can dig with your hands. In fact the KJV uses the word ‘corruption’ instead of ‘pit’. In this sense, what Jonah is talking about here is sin—his sin—to be specific.
He talks about a different kind of pit, the one we all find ourselves in: sin. It is a pit in which Adam and his wife, due to their disobedience, fell into, and we, on Adam’s account, are born in that pit.
The prophet is singing a psalm of praise to God for bringing him out of this pit, a song of salvation. But it’s important that we pay attention to his words here. He says “yet you brought up my life from the pit, O Lord my God.” He doesn’t say: “yet you called up my life from the pit, O Lord my God.”
He is not saying that God stood at the mouth of the pit and called him out of it saying: “Jonah! I am here, reach out your hand and grab mine and this nightmare will be over.” This is not what Jonah says and salvation doesn’t look like this. You don’t reach out to grab Jesus’ hand; at least dead people don’t grab hands.
But in this sweet melody, Jonah says that God “brought up” his life. How wonderful are these words! God in Jesus climbed down into the pit in which he had been plunged and pulled him out. Jonah did nothing, God did everything. Salvation is 100% God’s work and 0.0% our work.
His only contribution to Jonah salvation was his resistance that plunged him deep into the pit. Like Martin Luther once wrote, the contribution we make to our salvation is always sin and resistance, which is all we can offer.
The Good News is that God came. He walked these dusty roads, was betrayed by Judas’s depraved human heart, denied by Peter’s truth-less lips, crucified and killed by treacherous religious men. But He rose from the dead by conquering it and its power and now stands in victory.
Paul has this to say “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus…” (Eph. 2:4-6)
Friend, be encouraged by the truth that Jesus came. And that all the work affecting to your salvation—all of it—was done by Him and now He bids you come and rest, IT IS FINISHED!
That is your Lifeline, AMEN.