I Will Pay
Holy War Series
Gen. Deborah Green
P RAISE GOD. Welcome to this broadcast. The name of this message is, “I Will Pay.” And I know what you think—“It’s going to be a message on tithes and offerings!” No. It’s going to be a message on WHERE DO WE PUT OUR WILL?, And, that we can incur the wrath, the fury, the indignation of God in His Holy War if we will our wills to disobedience. If we will ourselves to obedience, we are found under the mercy of God.
Now, we are living in times when the Lord has made it evident that He is the One who is waging Holy War. AND HOLY WAR MEANS THE WAR FOR THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD, the war that His Holy Standard would be reestablished, and that men would understand once again that He is the Almighty God.
Now, God has declared it in His Word; we see examples of it throughout the Bible—whereby He turns people over to their own will, and when they are in their own will, what do they meet with? Calamity, hardship, devastation, destruction, despair, futility, and all manner of evil. But, when we are in the will of God, then we meet with the mercies of God, because God gives us those mercies.
Now, today we’re going to be reading primarily out of Jonah chapter 2, and I’m reading from the Amplified version. But first, before we go to Jonah chapter 2, we’re going to take a quick trip through chapter one, because what happens in chapter 2 is relative to what transpired previously in chapter one.
So, turn there to Jonah, if you will. “NOW THE word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me.” So, God made evident to Jonah His will. He said, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city…”
Now, I was reading in the Bible and it said in one of the notes that Nineveh was 60 miles big [in circumference]. So that’s a pretty big city. But, he was commanded, by God, to arise and go to Nineveh. So, he got his marching orders in the war. He was given his dictate by God—his command you might say. And the command was for the intention for, first of all, the call to repent, secondarily, destruction if they did not obey.
So we see that God was, first of all, giving these people the chance to repent. And that is God’s profile, you might say: He will always give people the opportunity to repent before He brings His wrath. So He said to Jonah, “Arise and go to Nineveh.”
And then it says, “But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from being in the presence of the Lord [as His prophet]…” So, he’s made up his mind that he’s not going to do what God wants him to do—because he doesn’t want to go to Nineveh, he doesn’t like the assignment that he’s been given.
Now, any time we don’t like the assignment that God gives us, we can act like Jonah—we can find something else that’s more important, something else that demands our attention, something else that we need to do. And yet, you find in chapter 2—after Jonah experiences the retributive justice of the Living God, that he’s screaming out in his very uncomfortable position, “I WILL PAY MY VOWS. I WILL PAY.” In other words, what Jonah, as a prophet, has vowed to do for God, he will fulfill that instead of his own will.
Now, when we take our own will, in any given circumstance or situation, guess what we do? We waste God’s time, we waste our time, and we bring forth nothing but trouble. Are you hearing me? We bring forth nothing but trouble. And those troubles are multiplied, and those sorrows are intensified because we are the FOOLS who thought we could go our way instead of His way.
“There’s a way,” the Bible says, “that seems right unto a man, but that way is destruction” (Prov. 16:25). So, when we choose a way that’s out of the will of God, we are choosing the course of destruction. Now, Jonah thought, “Oh, I can go over here and I’ll be ok.” But, he’s willing himself to rebellion. Because it says that Jonah set it in his mind to go to Tarshish from being in the presence of the Lord.
In other words, he was making his escape route from what God wanted. And then it says, “And went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish [the most remote of the Phoenician trading places then known].” So remember now, we are in Holy War, we are soldiers under command, we can do what God wills for the preference and the furtherance of His war, or, we can do what we will and end up like Jonah.
Now, we may not end up in the belly of a whale or a great fish, we may not end up there, but we may end up in a worse condition: with the darkness, and the ooze all around us, and with no presence of God, no power of God, no life of God, we may find ourselves utterly devastated—just to have our way.
Now, we are living in a time when this determination of “MY WAY,” the will of man, the will of woman— above the will of God, this total rebellious spirit of lack of subjectivity or any kind of submission to God, has taken over the land...we think we have to have our way, and our way is destruction. It’s true. That’s what we are seeing right now, that’s why this message is relevant to what is transpiring in our times. Because when God spoke to Jonah and said, “Arise and go to Nineveh,” Jonah could have just went. But no, he listened to the FOOL inside of himself.
And in God’s Holy War, if we think we’re ALWAYS on the side of God, and we can [still] do what we want, we’re fools. If we have vowed our vows to God, we will pay those vows, God will see to it. And we say, “No I won’t,” then we’ll pay with our lives, and our soul. Because you cannot rebel on God and get by.
Now, in the Holy War, we should learn from Jonah’s example: “WILL YOUR WILL TO OBEY.” Because your will is a very strong force, and if you will your will to disobedience, honey, it will take you farther than disobedience, it will take you into full-scale rebellion and hatred for God.
And that’s where the Church is right now–it’s in rebellion and HATRED for submission to God. And it’s taken in so many idols under the Jezebelian reign of idolatry and adultery, that if you dare to strike at one of those idols and call it what it is, they’d rather put you to death than hear the truth. So that’s where rebellion takes you—right into your own destruction, and right into murder of the truth.
You can see it on people—when they first start out in disobedience, it’s not a total all-out war against God, it’s just a SNEAKY THING like Jonah did, “Well, I’ll just take a vacation. I’ll just go down to Tarshish because that way I can get away from some of these pressures, some of these things that are too hard for me to deal with…” all these justifications.
It starts out there, but had God not intervened with His retributive justice, he would have ended up hating God, hating the will of God, hating the truth of God, and hating the purpose of God. You can see it on people: the little bit gets to a bigger bit, gets to a bigger bit…pretty soon they’re consumed with it.
Ok, so then he goes on here and he’s going to take off and so he paid the appointed fare, and anyways we know what happened, he got in the ship and the great wind came and it says, “there was a violent tempest on the sea so that the ship was about to be broken.” So in other words, it became a death-trap literally. Because you get out in the middle of the sea and your ship is broken, where are you going? You can’t go buy another ticket, you can’t go say, “I want a refund.” You’re stuck…to either sink or swim. And more than likely you’re going to sink because where are you going to swim to?—because you’ve gone from the shore.
Going on it says, “Then the mariners were afraid, and each man cried to his god; and they cast the goods that were in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone down into the inner part of the ship and had lain down and was fast asleep.” So he wasn’t even concerned with what was going on because he was on a vacation from God; he was going to go do his own thing, he was going to have a holiday.
Then it goes on and it says, “So the captain came and said to him, What do you mean, you sleeper? Arise, call upon your God! Perhaps your God will give a thought to us so that we shall not perish.” So they all knew they had cried to their gods to no avail...so who’s this sleeping nut/this fool?, maybe he can cry to his God, whoever it is.
And then it says, “And they each said to one another, Come, let us cast lots, that we may know on whose account this evil has come upon us. So they cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah.” Your sin will find you out. Your sin will be revealed. You think you’re doing a secret thing against God, you think you’re getting by on God? Here he is in the midst of sinners, idol-worshippers, men who know nothing about the Living God...and the lot falls on Jonah.
“Then they said to him, Tell us, we pray you, on whose account has this evil come upon us? What is your occupation? Where did you come from? And what is your country and nationality? And he said to them, I am a Hebrew, and I [reverently] fear and worship the Lord…” HYPOCRITE, FAKE: “I [REVERENTLY] FEAR AND WORSHIP THE LORD…” Here God’s bringing wrath, fury, and indignation in the midst of the sea, and this sucker’s sleeping. But he REVERENTLY fears the Lord? That’s why he’s disobeyed Him—because he fears Him? Did you know God will reveal our hypocrisy? We may think we’re something, but OUR ACTIONS PROVE WE’RE NOT, and God does that to show us we’re fakes, and flakes.
“I [reverently] fear and worship the Lord, the God of heaven, Who made the sea and the dry land. Then the men were exceedingly afraid and said to him, What is this that you have done? For the men knew that he fled from being in the presence of the Lord [as His prophet and servant], because he had told them.” So he actually bragged to them that he’s out of the will of God. Now he’s really getting cooped here. I mean not only was he doing something he thought he was getting by with on God, now he’s telling other people what he’s doing.
Then it goes on and it says, “Then they said to him, What shall we do to you, that the sea may subside and be calm for us? For the sea became more and more [violently] tempestuous. And [Jonah] said to them, Take me up and cast me into the sea; so shall the sea become calm for you, for I know that it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you.”
So we see that Jonah is faced with the ultimate of his own death because he thought he would find an easier way, and he ended up in the midst of a violent storm, he ended up with all the shipmates angry with him, and he ended up with God angry at him, and the only choice he had was to give them the option to cast him into the sea because otherwise, they would have murdered him and cast his body into the sea because they were frightened, and it was serious business; they stood to lose everything, including their own lives.
So, you think they’re going to give way to this holy Hebrew? No, they were probably going to club him to death and throw his mutilated body into the sea. So Jonah says, “Ok, just take me like I am and throw me into the sea.”
And then it says, “For I know that because of me this great tempest has come upon you. Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring the ship to the land, but they could not, for the sea became more and more violent against them. Therefore they cried to the Lord, We beseech You, O Lord, we beseech You, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not upon us innocent blood; for You, O Lord, have done as it pleased You. So they took up Jonah and cast him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. Then the men [reverently and worshipfully] feared the Lord exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows. Now the Lord had prepared and appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.”
So, you might say he went down to something equivalent to Hell, and that was all because he wouldn’t go to Nineveh. He would not will his will to obey; he willed his will to his own way. To his OWN WAY, and this is where his way took him: under the Holy War, the Wrath of God. It didn’t take him to a pleasant valley, and a sweet vacation cottage at Tarshish, no. It took him into the belly of the great fish.
So going on in chapter 2, “THEN JONAH prayed to the Lord his God from the fish’s belly.” How’s your prayer closet Jonah? A little bit slimy, a little bit burning from the digestive juices, a little bit gurgly, as the great fish doesn’t seem to be processing me too well.
But it says, “THEN JONAH prayed to the Lord…” So, isn’t that sad that it took that much to get Jonah to pray to the Lord—after he had willed himself to disobedience? The way of transgressors is hard.
“THEN JONAH prayed to the Lord his God from the fish’s belly, And said, I cried out of my distress to the Lord, and He heard me; out of the belly of Sheol cried I, and You heard my voice.” So what is he doing? He’s saying to the Lord, basically, “I’m in the belly of Sheol, I’m in Hell, I’m in pain, I’m in agony, but I’m crying out to you.”
“For You cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the floods surrounded me; all Your waves and Your billows passed over me.” So, you’ve got to give Jonah credit for one thing—that he realizes his condition at that point, is the will of God to punish him.
TO PUNISH HIM. “Oh, well, God never does anything against His people. And God only wants us to know that we’re loved no matter what we do, no matter what we don’t do…that GOD LOVES US.” No. GOD WILL PUNISH US, AND ULTIMATELY, THAT IS HIS LOVE—to get us back in His will, to get us back in His way, to cause us to walk uprightly, to cause us to respect and honor Him.
So, here he is—Jonah is coming to grips with reality: “For You cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the floods surrounded me; all Your waves and Your billows passed over me. Then I said, I have been cast out of Your presence and Your sight; yet I will look again toward Your holy temple.” For who put him in the position to be cast out? His own will! You see where your will, will take you? Do you see what your will, will do to you—when you will it to disobedience—rather than obedience to God?
And we have a whole nation consumed with the same willfulness. “I will have it my way! We will have it our way!” We’ll see. God says He’s locking people in to their own cages of bitterness, of accusation, of hatred, of willfulness, of stubbornness, of pride, and that’s all they’ll know, day, after day, after day.
Now, “The waters compassed me about, even to [the extinction of] life; the abyss surrounded me, the seaweed was wrapped about my head.” So much for your vacation Jonah, so much for your escape, so much for your fun in the sun, son. Actually sometimes when you see God’s justice upon people, it’s actually funny because everything that they thought they would gain, becomes their shame. And here he can’t even talk, except I suppose in his heart to God because he has seaweed wrapped around his head.
“I went down to the bottoms and the very roots of the mountains; the earth with its bars closed behind me forever. Yet You have brought up my life from the pit and corruption, O Lord my God.” So, what do you think he’s doing here? He is pleading, he is begging, he is confessing, HE IS REPENTING. Because why? The only thing that awaits him is death, and he’s not there yet because he says that already he’s in sheol, and already he’s in the midst of a horrible, horrible place, he has seaweed wrapped around his head, he’s in a hot, burning, smelly belly. And all of his escape had brought him to that. So he’s seeing what a fool he is, he’s seeing what an utter wreck he is, he’s seeing where disobedience has taken him.
When you follow your own will, you will always end up destitute, you will always end up in despair, you will always end up separated from God...there is no other way you can end up.
And the only thing that’s awaiting him is total death. And what a way to go!—take a vacation, end up in the big fish’s belly, end up burned up by stomach acid, end up covered in sea weed, end up in Hell, end up damned forever, end up dead…when you could have just obeyed God, when you could have just did what God said to do.
“But I didn’t want to go to Nineveh, I didn’t like those people, I didn’t want to preach to them, I hate them.” So what? Did you know a lot of times you have to will your will to the will of God no matter what your opinion is—you have to do what God wants, YOU HAVE TO PUSH DOWN THAT REBEL INSIDE OF YOU and say, “Shut up fool, you’re going to obey God.” You think that the rebel is looking out for your good?
Look where the rebel led Jonah, look where it took him, look what it did to him, look how devastating, [and especially] how much more devastating than if he would have went to Nineveh and gave the message of repentance! The worst they could have done to him was stone him. And now he’s got worse than that on him and he’s caught: he can’t run to Tarshish, he can’t go to Nineveh, he can’t go anywhere, he’s in the prison-house of his own delusion—put there by God. He’s put there by God. YOU THINK GOD DOESN’T PAY US BACK FOR DISOBEDIENCE? YES HE DOES.
“When my soul fainted upon me [crushing me], I earnestly and seriously remembered the Lord;” it’s about time. He’s being crushed by his own will…CRUSHED. I imagine that was even physical in that belly. Let that old fat fish get a gas pang and it could just shove old Jonah right up against the gut wall. He’s got nowhere to go and nothing to face him except death and Hell. So he’s being crushed.
And then it says, “and my prayer came to You, into Your holy temple. Those who pay regard to false, useless, and worthless idols forsake their own [Source of] mercy and loving-kindness. But as for me, I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that which I have vowed. Salvation and deliverance belong to the Lord! And the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.” And guess what faced Jonah when he got out of the fish’s belly? “ARISE AND GO TO NINEVEH.” Amen!