The following is an adaptation of the sermon ‘Double Restoration’ preached by Pastor Mike White on Sunday, 4/19/2015, at CityLight Church. To listen to the full podcast please click here: http://bit.ly/1Jzmddh
The God of Restoration
The Lord has been speaking to me this week about a place in which we can all find ourselves from time to time. We pray with faith, according to God’s word. But nothing happens. What do we do in the interim: between releasing our faith through prayer, and seeing that which we’ve prayed for manifest in front of our eyes?
We’re dealing with that next week. Sorry! This week, before we get to talking about persistent prayer, we need to establish that God is the God Who Restores. He’s in the business of complete restoration. Better still, He doesn’t just want to restore everything you’ve lost: He wants to restore double!
Job went through a lot. Satan asked for Job (see Job 1:7-12). That’s right: Job’s suffering was brought on by Satan, not by God. Satan asked for Job, and there was no Mediator to stand and tell him Job was off limits. However, under the New Covenant, Jesus Christ is our Mediator. When we give our lives to Jesus, He stands and dictates that Satan is not allowed to touch us.
At the end of forty-two chapters of agony, we see Job restored:
So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did as the Lord commanded them; for the Lord had accepted Job. And the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. – Job 42:9-10a
When the text says God “restored” Job’s losses, it means that Job was redeemed from captivity. All the blessings in Job’s life, which the enemy had taken from him, were given back into his hand.
Notice that Job was restored as he prayed for his friends. Sometimes, our breakthrough comes when we forget about our own problems and start to pray for other people.
My wife and I run the Healing Rooms at CityLight Church, and we see this principle in practice all the time. We have some volunteers who have been, at times, contending for miraculous breakthrough in their own lives. When they devote themselves to prayer for their own situation, nothing happens. But when they show up and start to pray for other people, God releases the miraculous in their lives!
God will get blessings to us if He knows He can get them through us! By praying for others, we demonstrate to God that whatever He gives us is going to be multiplied. So, are you in need of a breakthrough? Forget about yourself and start praying for others!
After Job prays for his friends, we see Him restored:
Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. Then all his brothers, all his sisters, and all those who had been his acquaintances before, came to him and ate food with him in his house; and they consoled him and comforted him for all the adversity that the Lord had brought upon him. Each one gave him a piece of silver and each a ring of gold. – Job 42:10b-11
God gave Job twice as much as he had before! We see God’s promise of full restoration come to pass: everything the enemy had stolen from Job was completely restored. When you trust in God, and stand on His promise for double restoration, He will do exactly the same for you as He did for Job!
God gives us something else to note here. Job had some subpar friends. Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar (v 9) had already made Job’s life miserable. Job needed his friends to simply show up, shut up, and bear his loss with him – in total silence. Instead, all of his friends chimed in and offered their opinions as to why God was punishing Job. They added insult to injury. We must be careful to ensure we don’t do the same when we set out to minister to our friends!
After Job is restored, it gets even worse! All his friends, “…came to him and ate food with him in his house” (v 11)! When Job needed help, and consolation, these people were nowhere to be found. But once he was restored, all the rats came out of the woodwork.
As God leads you out of lack and into full restoration, remember this: people are funny. As God blesses you, friends you haven’t heard from in years will reach out to you. Those people who ridiculed and despised you when you were going through a really tough time will show up at your doorstep and ask to share in the spoils of victory.
We should expect this. We can’t get upset when people abandon us in our hour of need; and we shouldn’t get upset when they use our restoration as an opportunity to get back in our good graces. Don’t let your “friends” catch you by surprise. Be ready for this, and it won’t hurt nearly as much when the moment arrives.
Despite his funny friends, Job ended his life in a state of total blessing:
Now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and one thousand female donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters…After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children and grandchildren for four generations. So Job died, old and full of days. – Job 42:12-13, 16-17
At the end of his life, Job was completely satisfied. Satan did his best to make him miserable, but God used the evil brought on by Satan for Job’s good. All things worked together for his good because he never lost sight of his first love (Rom 8:28).
Loss of Possession
Some of us have lost our most prized possessions. God has promised us amazing things, but they just haven’t been happening in our lives.
Sometimes, we fall into sin, and give up God’s promises. We cede control of God’s blessings over us, just as Adam and Eve did, because we reach out and grab something Satan wants us to have instead. Our human nature constantly puts us in a state of being willing to forsake God’s promises through disobedience.
Other times, the enemy steals something from us. We trust in God and stand on His promises, but we don’t see His blessings materialize in our lives because Satan is working overtime to make sure they never get to us. If we don’t recognize his attempts to steal, and rebuke him in the name of Jesus, Satan can steal that which rightfully belongs to us.
No matter how we lose our inheritance – whether it’s some fault of our own, or the result of Satan’s crafty deceit – God will always restore us when we trust in Him.
When we lose out on the blessings God intends for us, we get trapped thinking we’d be lucky just to gain back what we’ve lost. Satan wants to convince us that we didn’t deserve what we had, and that even getting back to a prior state is the best we could ever hope for from God.
But God needs us to know that He has better for us. Our temptation is to settle, and wish we had a counterfeit for God’s promise; but He wants us to double down, and hold out for the real thing!
Israel in the Wilderness
The children of Israel came up out of Egypt with boldness (Ex 14:8). They trusted in God’s promises, and they had a fearless leader to lead them into everything God had prepared for them. But as soon as they hit adversity, something switched. They were filled with fear, and they suddenly doubted God’s willingness to bless them:
And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them. So they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the Lord. Then they said to Moses, “Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt? Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, ‘Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.” – Ex 14:10-12
We know, as people with the benefit of the full counsel of God, that Israel was just about to experience the greatest victory the world had ever seen! They approached the edge of the Red Sea, and God was about to showcase His power through the hands of Moses. But then fear took root.
The Israelites experienced their moment of deepest despair when they were right on the verge of breakthrough. Have you ever noticed this principle in your own life? When God is about to do something amazing, Satan shows up to try and convince you that God isn’t real, or that He doesn’t do what He says He’ll do.
Two chapters later, the Israelites find themselves in a similar situation. Finding themselves without food, they lift their voices in complaint: against Moses, but also against God. They had already forgotten that the Lord had just caused an ocean to stand upright so they could pass through it. Fear took hold again:
And they journeyed from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came to the Wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they departed from the land of Egypt. Then the whole congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. And the children of Israel said to them, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
- Ex 16:1-3
The children of Israel were so hungry they could die. Yet instead of crying out to God in faith, they cried out to Him with complaint.
When we feel like complaining the most, God is right about to do something supernatural. When we feel like crying out to God, and questioning His goodness, He is right about to do something great. He did it for Israel:
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you.
– Ex 16:4
And He will do it for you! Don’t settle for partial restoration; hold our for double restoration. Don’t be content with the shadow of His promise; instead, hold out for the fullness of His promise!
So what do we do as we wait for restoration? We’ll devote an entire to that question next week. For now, let’s keep it simple: trust in God, and feed on His faithfulness (Ps 37:3). Know that His desire is to restore everything you’ve lost, and then add to your blessings so much more!
God promises us double restoration. It does not matter what the enemy would have us believe: if we are to glorify God, we must hold out for the fullness of His promise to us.
Don’t settle. When the children of Israel came up against an obstacle, they wanted to run back into the arms of their captors. When they couldn’t find food, they longed to be back in Egypt, eating meat and bread as slaves. When Job was given over to suffering, he wished he was dead! He wanted to return to a pre-Promise state: devoid of pain, but also lacking blessing.
Our natural reaction whenever we find ourselves in a time of immense trial is to settle. But God doesn’t want us to settle. He doesn’t desire that we accept counterfeit blessing, and allow the enemy to convince us that we aren’t meant for anything more. Don’t accept anything less than everything God wants to deliver into your hand!
Isaiah prophesied of double restoration. He outlined the promises to which we would be entitled after Jesus died on the Cross for our sins:
“Instead of your shame you shall have double honor, and instead of confusion they shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double; everlasting joy shall be theirs.” – Is 61:7
Jesus died for our shame; and in exchange He gives us His righteousness. Not only are we restored from sin, but we’re also promoted to a place of eternal blessing. That’s double restoration at work. The by-product of double honor is rejoicing; and the fruit of double possession is everlasting joy!
Zechariah also spoke of the double restoration that would come after the Messiah lived and died for us:
“As for you also, because of the blood of your covenant, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit. Return to the stronghold, you prisoners of hope. Even today I declare that I will restore double to you.” – Zech 9:11-12
We live in the time Isaiah and Zechariah were waiting for! We are meant to inherit the full promise of God. We are designed to experience double restoration: not because we deserve it, but because Jesus purchased it on our behalf!
- by Pastor Mike White
© Michael D. White, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Michael D. White with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.