Debra Isenbletter - Pastor Springfield, Missouri
Jonah 2:9: “But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord.”
In this verse we see Jonah’s Promise and his Praise. We hear his voice and we see his vow. We see his testimony of faith, he sees salvation and who alone can save him.
Jonah’s Promise: “But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving.” Jonah promises to offer a sacrifice unto the Lord. The word “sacrifice” speaks of the offerings that were offered on the altar; the burnt, the sin, the trespass, the peace, the meal offerings. All of these were offered by faith. All of these are a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ in His ministry, which is a wonderful lesson in itself. I do not know which of these Jonah offered, he could have offered one or all of them but I believe he made the sacrifice he promised. Each offering points to his submission to his Savior and points to his Salvation. I believe that it is the peace offering he would have rejoiced in the most because it was offered in thanksgiving to answered prayer and was present when a vow was made or completed. It was a freewill offering and showed restored fellowship because both man and God received a part of the offering. We do not know when Jonah did this but he did fulfill his vow and he did make his sacrifice. He may have done this before he went to Nineveh to preach.
Until Jonah could offer a physical sacrifice, he offered a spiritual sacrifice. He offered the sacrifice of a surrendered life. This is the sacrifice the Apostle Paul tells us we must offer, and we do this when we present our “bodies a living sacrifice” (Rom. 12:1). There is another spiritual sacrifice that the Lord would have found acceptable until Jonah could offer one or more of the sacrifices upon the altar. This is the “sacrifice of praise” (Heb.12:13) that can be offered anywhere. Jonah’s prayer, his promise and his praise is a down payment of the sacrifices he would offer later and the Lord found this acceptable and took pleasure in it. This shows that wherever we are, God accepts what we are able to offer. The foundation for Jonah’s promised sacrifice is seen in his voice and his vow. Both are offered before the actual sacrifice but are counted as part of that sacrifice.
Jonah’s Voice: “with the voice of thanksgiving.” The word “thanksgiving” is a “confession” and also “a sacrifice of praise.” It is “a thanksgiving, offering” that is given before the actual offering is given. Jonah is in a place where he can do nothing and yet he does something wonderful. He gives thanks. It is interesting that one of the peace offerings was designated as a thanksgiving offering (Lev. 7:12). Jonah can certainly appreciate this because his fellowship with the Lord is restored. We find Jonah’s voice of thanksgiving in the Psalms, Jonah’s “go to” book. He returns to the Psalms throughout his prayer in chapter 2. My father had several scriptures he called his “go to” scriptures. The ones he would “go to” in time of crisis. The ones he had committed to memory and would automatically “go to” without even thinking. Jonah’s voice is the voice of joy: “I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy…” (Psa. 31:7). Jonah’s voice is the voice of praise that glorifies the Lord: “Whoso offereth praise [a sacrifice of thanksgiving] glorifieth me…” (Psa. 50:23). Jonah’s voice is the voice of thanksgiving, it is an offering in itself. “And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving and declare his works with rejoicing” (Psa.107:22). Jonah’s voice is lifted up in anticipation of deliverance, it is the voice of faith, it is the voice of hope, it is the voice of expectation. What an offering this was, what a sweet fragrance it was as it rose up before the Lord.
Jonah’s Vow: “I will pay that which I have vowed.” Jonah makes a promise, that promise is part of his prayer and an essential part of his praise. He says that he will “pay” or “repay;” he will make “restore” or make “restitution” or “amends” to the Lord. The word “pay” comes from a root word meaning “to be safe (in mind, body or estate);” it has the idea of being completed and being at peace. Once Jonah makes amends for the wrong he has done, something has been “restored,” it is his fellowship with the Lord and the result is “peace” with himself and with the Lord. I believe that all the time Jonah was running and rebelling he was not at peace with himself and certainly not with the Lord. What a relief it must have been to finally feel that peace of restored fellowship. Jonah made a “vow,” he made a “promise.” We do not know the details of that vow but I believe it was a promise to serve the Lord and obey the Lord. There is no greater vow than that. Jonah simply surrendered himself, body, soul and spirit to the Lord. That makes any task easy because the struggle is over and the enabling begins to do whatever the Lord asks. I think that this was a prayerful testimony, that would be a personal testimony and also a public testimony. It is public once he goes into the house of the Lord and offerings those sacrifices and pays those vows.
Jonah made this vow, he made this promise but it is the Lord Jesus Christ who made the full payment by doing His Father’s Will and passing on to us His obedient, submissive nature so that we might do the same. The result is true peace and true restitution and true restoration.
Jonah’s Praise: “Salvation is of the Lord.” Jonah cries “salvation,” he cries “deliverance” and he did this before it is experienced. He sees it by faith. He sees that it is “of the Lord;” it “belongs to the Lord” (Amplified); it “is from the Lord” (New American Standard). He cried out for help when he was helpless and knew there was deliverance. He cried out with the same words of faith as others had before him. He cried out again from the Psalms. He saw that only the Lord could save: “Salvation belongeth unto the Lord…” (Psa. 3:8). He saw the Lord saved the righteous: “But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord …” (Psa.37:39). He saw the God of salvation: “He that is our God is the God of salvation…” (Psa. 68:20). The full reality of that deliverance was not realized but by faith he believed it would happen. He did not know how he would be delivered or the manner in which he would be delivered, only that he would be delivered. The moment that Jonah gave that cry shows the moment that he accepted God’s grace. Jonah could not save himself. He saw his weakness, he saw his dependence. He accepted God’s grace for himself and was also admitting that grace could be shown to others, even to Nineveh. It was not his place to say God could not save them, or that his preaching could not be used to save them. Therefore, he will preach to them and yet we will see that he may have accepted grace personally pertaining to his need and his sin but he will still struggle with grace shown to the Gentiles. He has learned and yet he still needs to learn.
This is the cry of all men everywhere in every age. The need is the same, the deliverance is the same, the deliverer is the same. Peter preached that there was salvation in no other name than the name of Jesus (Acts 4:12). When we look at the saints in heaven, they all give the same cry, it is a cry of grace, it is the same cry that Jonah gave. It will be the cry of full overcomers (Rev. 5:8-10). It will be the cry of the great multitude (Rev. 7:14). It will be the cry of the remnant of Israel (Rom. 9:27). In each case, it is a cry of joy and a cry of gladness. It is a cry that the Lord is waiting for. It is a cry that I have made, that many have made before me and many will make after me. It is a glorious cry, that “Salvation is of the Lord” and the Lord is the Lord Jesus Christ.