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Gen. Deborah Green
P RAISE GOD. Welcome to Battle Cry Sounding, Battle Cry Pounding. The Lord is on the move. The Lord is continuing to bring forth a vindication of His wrath; you cannot help but see it. America is beginning to look like a shredded potato. It's got rips here, rips there, tears here; everything is in upheaval after God shows a visitation of His wrath. And people just sit there and scratch their heads and wait for Samaritan's Curse.
But, you know, the truth of it is, that God is in the middle of His wrath display. And, He told us the other day that “HIS WRATH IS CONTINUING TO MOUNT UP.” In other words, it's still there, it's still coming up, it's still boiling over, and it's still vindicating His displeasure with the sons of men!
Now, God desires that men would REPENT. That is the FIRST DESIRE OF GOD—THAT MEN WOULD REPENT, and believe upon Jesus Christ as the only begotten Son of God, and be made RIGHT WITH GOD the Father. In other words, that God has given us Jesus as our doorway to enter in.
But, if we don't repent, then we're too big for that door. If we don't get rid of our hot air, if we don't get rid of our big heavy-weight opinion of ourselves, and come down low, and address the real issues of sin in our lives, and repent unto God, then we cannot enter into Jesus Christ the Lord.
You cannot just say, "I believe upon Jesus" if you do not repent of your sins. Because it says even the "devils believe," but that does not make them saved, even demons believe that Jesus is the Son of God, but they don't repent, so they are not counted worthy of salvation. And the same applies to human beings. If we do not repent, of course we are not worthy of salvation.
Now, today, we're going to be studying on Jonah. And that name "Jonah" means "dove." But, this must have been a strange dove—this guy—because he has a characteristic here that makes you want to love him and hate him at the same time. And, as we go through this book of Jonah, we're going to find out that Jonah had one love, before God, and that was self.
And, we're going to find out that that's the dominating God of this age, that there are many, multitudes of Jonahs running around. Running from God? Oh, yes. Hiding from God? Oh, yes. Begrudgingly giving in to God? Oh, yes. But, another thing that you notice in the characteristics of Jonah, is that when it got too hot in the big fish's belly, when all those digestive enzymes and juices were boiling, and his guts were gurgling—the big fish, his guts were gurgling—and Jonah was there in all that slime, and all that nastiness; when it got really hot in there, that what did Jonah do? The very thing that he didn't want to give to others: he begged God to give to him, and that was REPENTANCE.
Now, the name of this message is, "Repentance Rebel." Repentance rebel, because what we see here from chapter 1 through chapter 4, is that Jonah started out in the initial stages of this book, or this narrative, he started out in rebellion against God; and rebellion against God's command to go to the lost, the dying, the perishing, the wicked, and warn them of God's impending wrath, and destruction that was coming their way. So, he set it in his mind, he took counsel with his own heart, and let's find out what he did.
Now, the book of Jonah, even though it's a small book, is divided into four distinct portions and chapters you could call them. But, the first one is, it was Jonah wanting to rebel, or avoid the call of God, the commission of God, the desire of God, the command of God. Then, in the second one we find that he bowed down and begged God to deliver him, to accept his repentance, to come near to him once again when he was in the boiling inwards of the big fish—innards, that's an old Southern term meaning "guts." When he was in the guts of the big fish, he really did business. To me, it's amazing he was still alive, but God is a miracle-working God.
Then, the third one is that after repentance, Jonah was able to OBEY, because God came again with the same dictate, the same call. And then, the fourth part is that Jonah was really a repentance rebel because he grew angry with God and literally was hating God, in his heart for what God did to a plant, and what God did not do to a people who repented.
So, he had within himself an animosity towards repentance; which I've prayed about this, and I believe what God showed me is that animosity went back to the root of PRIDE. Now, what else makes us rebel against God? What else makes us think we are better than we are, that we don't have to render to God absolute obedience? It's, of course, PRIDE. Because pride tells you, "You can get away with disobedience." Pride tells you that, "You can scoff and mock repentance, or not want any part of it, and you don't have to do that." That's pride. See?
Because God's message to Nineveh was what? It was BASICALLY THE MESSAGE OF REPENTANCE. Even though you could say, "Well, Jonah just went there to tell them of God's wrath." But, you know what? At the same time they heard the message of God's impending wrath, they were quickened to the message that perhaps, by chance, if they humbled themselves, if they got down low, if they all cried out, that this God would lift His vengeance and give them mercy.
So, they had more confidence in God—whom they did not know—than Jonah had in God that he professed to know. Now, isn't that a depiction of the average Christian? More confidence in the lies of your own carnality, more confidence in self, MORE CONFIDENCE IN DISOBEDIENCE, THAN IN OBEDIENCE. A lot of Jonahs around.
Now, chapter 1, we're going to look at Jonah's effort, or attempt, to avoid the call of God. Ok, go with me to chapter 1 of the book of Jonah, and I'm reading out of the Amplified version, and here's what it says, beginning in verse 1, "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."
Then what does it say, "Oh, Jonah scurried to Nineveh and did what God had commanded him." No. It says, "But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from being in the presence of the Lord [as His prophet] and went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish [the most remote of the Phoenician trading places then known]. So he paid the appointed fare and went down into the ship to go with them to Tarshish from being in the presence of the Lord [as His servant and minister].” Then it says, “But the Lord sent out a great wind upon the sea, and there was a violent tempest on the sea so that the ship was about to be broken."
Then, as you read that chapter, you find out that the sea-ferrying men—the sailors, the old rough and tumbled guys that they were, when all this calamity came, they all started CRYING OUT TO THEIR GODS, "Oh, wishbone, help me! Oh, god of mermaids help me. Oh, god of rum-bottle help me."
You know, they were just crying out, crying out, crying out, whatever their gods were. They were crying out because why? They were fearful for their very lives by the turbulence, by the storm that was sent by God.
Now, we should bring that Scripture up to these soothsayers, and liars, and imitators, and emulators that say all this turbulent, horrifying, devastating weather that America has been visited upon by God, is “of the devil.” It doesn't say the devil raised up that tempest or that storm. IT SAYS GOD DID IT. Why? Because God was displeased with Jonah.
Did you know that your rebellion can kindle God's anger? Did you know that your disobedience can kindle God's wrath, can bring God's rage upon you, can bring storms in your life, and even in the nation at large? WHEN WE REBEL AGAINST GOD, THE CUMULATIVE EFFECT IS GOD VINDICATES HIS SORE DISPLEASURE through the natural elements, through the measures of all kinds of storms, and all kinds of devastating weather. Amen.
So, we see here that that totally refutes the absurdity of the notion that all of a sudden God willed the weather to Satan. It doesn't say that anywhere in the Word of God. But, it says that "But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken."
Now, these men who were seasoned sailors knew that if that ship was broken by that wind, they were done for. So they realized the seriousness, they were praying most earnestly to their God, and they were screaming and begging for mercy. They at least had a consciousness that this thing was bigger than them.
Now, Jonah, repentance rebel that he was, just crawled on down in the bottom of the ship and went to sleep. He could have cared less what was going on, because he felt he was safe, because he had escaped the presence of the Lord.
Now, when you see people that rebel against God, rebel against God's call, rebel against God's will, and they think they can run from God, they are fools. WE CANNOT RUN FROM GOD; WE NEED TO RUN INTO GOD AND OBEY GOD. Amen.
But, anyway, so Jonah was there and finally he got roughed up by these guys because they thought, "Who is that mongrel that has brought all this on us?" Because, they had done everything they knew to do, they'd all cried out and screamed to their God, and then they found this mongrel sleeping in the bottom of the boat. So, they were mad at him by this time, and probably ready to just dispose of him.
So, anyway, going on, it says in verse 9, "And he said to them, I am a Hebrew, and I [reverently] fear and worship the Lord, the God of heaven, Who made the sea and the dry land." Number one, he's lying. He doesn't reverently fear the Lord, because if he would of, he would have gone to Nineveh and not been on that ship, or that boat.
Then it says, "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."
Now, what an audacious rebel! "I'm here because I've run away from God. I'm here because God told me something and I have rebelled against God. I'm here because I didn't want to go to Nineveh, I wanted to take a sea cruise." You don't know what this rebel was telling these other men. But, obviously, he was not pondering his disobedience in his own heart because he was bragging about it. He was bragging over the fact that he was a rebel.
Now, you know, it makes me laugh because people print up the book, the story of Jonah for kids, and they make it like, "Oh, it was such a great thing, and just how wonderful it was that the whale belched out Jonah, and Jonah got to get up with digestive juices dripping from him, and you know, please the Lord." They just make it oh so rosy and cozy, and you just want to read it to your little kid before he goes to sleep, so he can dream he's Jonah. You'd better watch out; you're probably putting a curse of a rebel on him, because JONAH WAS A REBEL. Plain and simple.
Ok, so here's the braggart telling everybody, "I've left God, look at me. I'm a great guy now, I'm on a sea cruise, I'm on a vacation plan, I don't have to be subject to God's desire, I'm on my own." Oh, they got mad at him. They thought, "Now, it's not our fault. It's not our gods that are angry. It's not our mis-navigating of this vessel, it's HIS GOD that's doing this, because HIS GOD IS ANGRY!"
Now, look, these were sinners—pagan people. And, they had more perception to God than Jonah did. Now, is that a VIVID EXAMPLE OF TODAY'S CHURCH? It's gone off on its rebellious binge, "I can do what I want, I don't have to obey Him, I can be anything I want to be, I can be on a sea cruise, I can be on a vacation plan, I can have it my way."
And the sinners are saying, "Is God angry with us?" It's taken the sinner folk to say, "Is God angry with us?" Duh! You know, devastation on every hand. Every time there's the least little blink of a storm, before you know it, tornadoes have whipped through, hurricanes have come, earthquakes have come, all these things ripping through, terrifying snow-storms killing hundreds of thousands of cattle in one night and people are saying, "Geee, I wonder what brought all this about?" The sinners are more perceptive than the so-called Christians.
Now, isn't Jonah just like that? He's down there sleeping and these guys are up there bailing water out, you know, tying everything down, going back and forth with the waves, ready to fall apart, screaming out to their gods, just doing everything to save their lives.
And this cur is sleeping—singing a chorus to himself of "I'll fly away oh glory," as the waters are creeping into the boast; having a praise session, or a mud-rolling, or a stadium...glorification of false gods. Because he told them, "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."
Now, he probably thought they wouldn't do it. It says, "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 it says, 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, what do we see in that? We see that JONAH WAS STILL IN A REBELLIOUS FRAME OF MIND WHEN THESE MEN QUESTIONED HIM because he said, "Just throw me overboard. I know it's my fault, but do it anyway." He was tempting the Lord his God. And guess what? God took him up on it—in the sense that these men could not get to shore, they couldn't get out of the tempest storm, they couldn't get out of the wind, and the thing was going down. They said, "All right, let's get rid of him." And Jonah was taken in what? He was taken in the belly of the great fish, or some versions have it "the whale."
Then it says, let’s go to chapter 2, and of course at this point, Jonah's starting to, shall we say, have a little bit of a sobering effect from his rebellious binge. If you're on a rebellious binge, why don't you go get some big fish enzymes and pour them all over you and see if that helps you. It did Jonah, because he all of a sudden realized he was in a prison-house, gurgling, and grinding, and sliming, and slipping, and he could not free himself from the captivity, the prison-house that God had put him in.
“Well, God doesn't want His people to suffer.” WELL, GOD PUT JONAH IN A PRISON-HOUSE BECAUSE OF HIS REBELLION against the preaching, the declaration that brought repentance to a whole city of over 120,000 people.
So, it says, "THEN JONAH prayed to the Lord his God from the fish's belly…" Now, all of a sudden, he's fearing the Lord again. All of a sudden he's a man of God, all of a sudden he's God's prophet. "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. 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. The waters compassed me about, even to [the extinction of] life; the abyss surrounded me, the seaweed was wrapped about my 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 he goes on and prays this very beautiful, beautiful prayer, but then he says down here in verse 9, "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."
So, what did Jonah do? He did some HEAVY-DUTY REPENTING, and he did some heavy-duty appealing to God's mercy side. There he was encased in the wrath of God, totally encased in it. He couldn't make his own way out of the fish. He couldn't get Jacob's ladder and climb out of it. He couldn't get a host of heavenly angels to come to him because he was a rebel under the wrath.
So, what did he do? He repented. He repented; the very thing that he despised to happen to Nineveh, he did himself. Do you think a rebel is faithful? No. They're not faithful to God, and they're not faithful to their rebellion. They like playing both sides. But, at this point, Jonah decided to play the God side. He gave up being hard-core and decided, hey, he needed to change his status, and get himself on the right side of God instead of the wrong side. So he repented unto God.
Then we go into the third aspect of this narrative. Then it says, chapter 3, and this is what I love about God. Ok, Jonah's been vomited out on the dry land. He's been vomited out. I wonder if he had burns, I wonder if he had scars, I wonder if he had bleeding sores. We don't know. But, all I know is it says he was vomited out. So, there he is, vomited out.
And then in chapter 3 it says, "AND THE word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying…" You think God forgets His call? You think God forgets His purpose? You think God forgets His desire? You think you can put God off, run from God, get out of the presence of God, and then repent unto God and everything will be your way? Absolutely not. Here we go, back to the base, back to the beginning, back to the call, back to the command, back to the desire of God.
Now, you look at what happened to Jonah. This should be a quick lesson for all of us. Jonah was called to go to Nineveh and warn them of the impending wrath of God. Ok, warn them that they could what? Have a big party, a big blow-out celebration, a big drunken brawl? No, WARN THEM THAT THEY COULD REPENT.
He was sent to give warning that they would not come under the wrath that would be deadly to them. When he refused that call to dictate unto them the impending wrath of God that they could know repentance, he came under the wrath.
That should be a lesson to all of us. If God wants you to do something towards a people and you refuse to do it, WHATEVER'S ON THE BAD SIDE OF THAT, GOD WILL GIVE IT TO YOU. Jonah got the wrath of God in his life. He claimed he feared the Lord, he didn't fear the Lord; he was mocking God. God gave him something to fear God over.
So, now he's been vomited out, the word comes again, it says, "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach and cry out to it the preaching that I tell you.” Ok, so then it says here, “So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh according to the word of the Lord." And of course, the word came to the king it says, because he was proclaiming in 40 days that the whole kingdom would be overthrown, then the king took hold of that proclamation, moved right into obedience to the desire of God, called for a fast upon the whole city, upon the land, upon the people, upon the children, upon the beasts.
EVERYBODY he called to be in sackcloth and ashes. And then it says, "Let them not feed nor drink water. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth and let them cry mightily to God. Yes, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands.” Then this is what the king said, “Who can tell, God may turn and revoke His sentence against us [when we have met His terms], and turn away from His fierce anger so that we perish not."Did you know that America's right there? It is under the impending wrath of God, it is a nation that is ready to perish, and God is bringing the repentance revolution call that everyone, everywhere in this land would repent. And, even if you're a beast-man you're meant to repent. WE'RE MEANT TO REPENT AND TURN FROM THE WAYS OF WICKEDNESS THAT GOD MIGHT REPENT OF THE WRATH THAT HE HAS STORED UP.
And then it says, "And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God revoked His [sentence of] evil that He had said that He would do to them and He did not do it [for He was comforted and eased concerning them]." Then it says in chapter 4, verse 1, "BUT IT displeased Jonah exceedingly and he was very angry." Why? His pride was offended.
He came preaching wrath, he came preaching judgment, he came preaching doom and gloom and impending devastation that they merited because of their sinful state, and God gave them mercy because they repented; and Jonah was mad, real mad. Had Jonah learned any lessons? That's questionable.
Then it says that, "And he prayed to the Lord and said, I pray You, O Lord, is not this just what I said when I was still in my country? That is why I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness, and [when sinners turn to You and meet Your conditions] You revoke the [sentence of] evil against them. Therefore now, O Lord, I beseech You, take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live."
Do you know what that was? Suicide pride. "Just kill me off; I can't face the humiliation that you showed mercy, when I declared wrath." And he says, "To get right down to the root of it, I didn't trust you to begin with. I knew you'd pull something that showed compassion. I knew you'd withdraw your wrath. I knew you wouldn't do what you said!" Whew! You want to name your boy "Jonah"? You'd better not even name your dog "Jonah." You want to read a little story book to your kiddies—curse them with a rebel kids. "I love Jonah." Well, I don't.
Ok, going on, "Just kill me off!" Did you know a lot of people commit suicide out of PRIDE? It's pride that drives them to it. PRIDE IS A MURDERER. It's a very fierce force, and God wants us to overcome it. By what? Humiliating ourselves unto Him—before Him.
Then it says, "Then said the Lord, Do you do well to be angry?" Then Jonah huffed off again. There he goes—huffy stuff, "So Jonah went out of the city and sat to the east of the city, and he made a booth there for himself. He sat there under it in the shade till he might see what would become of the city. And the Lord God prepared a gourd and
made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head…"
But, look at this, why do you think Jonah sat there to see what might become of that city? Because he was hoping that when he went into his pout, that God would change his mind and destroy them because pride-man, rebel-man was displeased.
Then it says, "But God prepared a cutworm when the morning dawned the next day, and it smote the gourd so that it withered.” Then Jonah got mad again, he said, “It is better for me to die than to live. And God said to Jonah, Do you do well to be angry for the loss of the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, angry enough to die! Then said the Lord, You have had pity on the gourd, for which you have not labored nor made it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night. And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons not [yet old enough to] know their right hand from their left, and also many cattle [not accountable for sin]?"
So, God is pointing out to Jonah HOW ABSURD HIS REBELLION AGAINST REPENTANCE IS. WHEN GOD WANTS TO SHOW MERCY, LET HIM SHOW MERCY. AMEN.