Salvation is of the Lord. So said Jonah in the belly of a great fish (Jonah 2:9). At which point the fish promptly vomited. It is hard to imagine the theological persuasion of a fish, but this one seemed to be decidedly Arminian. The creature was the first of many who have had a hard time swallowing the doctrine of the glorious sovereignty of God in the work of salvation.

As Charles Spurgeon put it,“This is real, old-fashioned Calvinistic doctrine spoken centuries before John Calvin was born. The whale could not endure it, and he turned Jonah out directly he said, ‘Salvation is of the Lord.’ The world does not like that doctrine, and there are many professing Christians who do not like it. They say, “Salvation is of man’s free will; salvation is of the works of the law; salvation is of rites and ceremonies;” and so on. But we say, with Jonah, “Salvation is of the Lord.” He works it from beginning to end, and therefore he must have all the praise for it for ever and ever.”

The great fish was no Free Willy. The Lord spoke to him and he threw up. It was an involuntary response - not to a digestive disorder but to a Sovereign decree. And there was nothing Jonah could do to get himself out of his watery grave. But death cannot hold the one whom God has called. God chose to do what Jonah could not choose to do for himself. Jonah was glad. And so am I!

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