Repentance and Prayer
Repentance and Prayer
The Scriptures are clear in revealing the fact that there’s a season in the timetable of God in which He is going to restore all that has been stolen from His people.
Having made Jesus Christ your personal Savior and Lord qualifies you as a recipient of this grace of God that’s being released in the earth.
Many people look at the adversity that appears to be increasing in the earth and the things that the news media reveal daily that can eliminate the hope we have out of our lives and think that there’s no way we are ever going to experience the peace and prosperity that the Bible reveals that God has in store for His people.
However, God has decreed that His people are going to be elevated in the earth and as things grow worse for the people in the world that have no hope, the path of the righteous is going to shine brighter and brighter as the noon day sun. Proverbs 4:18
Although you can find many supportive Scriptures that say that things are going to get worse, and we’re going to have it real bad as the end of this age draws closer, the fact is “God is still going to fulfill His promises to his people.”
The qualifier is having a relationship with God through his Son Jesus. Once that is established you come under the umbrella of God’s mercy and grace and receive peace that cannot be bought and hope that cannot be deterred.
However, living in the earth has associated with it, elements that we cannot control and contain. However, we go through each issue of life knowing that God is taking each step with us. A couple of Scriptures that reveal God’s delivering power are:
* Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers them out of them all. Psalm 34
* Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me, Your rod and staff they comfort me. Psalm 23
The mindset and attitude of heart that we approach each trial with determines which side of the promises of God we are going to live on.
Do we look at the side of the promise that always expects the affliction or the side that looks towards the deliverance of God? Do we look at the side of the promise that always expects to go through the valley of the shadow of death or do we look at the side of the promise that says, I will fear no evil, for God is with me?
To get to this place in life and in your walk with God, takes keeping a pure and clean heart before God because if your heart does not condemn you, you have peace with God and therefore confidence in approaching Him. First John 3 states:
21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. 22 And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.
This brings me to the purpose for setting this brief foundation. As keeping a pure heart before God is of utmost necessity if we are going to experience God’s best. This does not mean that there will not be a fight to secure victory, but it does mean that you will win the battle and therefore become a recipient of the grace and mercy of God.
There are three things that God consistently directs towards His people throughout the Word of God that bears our attention as we expect the fulfillment of the promises of God.
We know about obedience to every one of God’s commands; we know about loving our brothers and sisters; and we know about walking in unity with each other. These are things that should be on-going in our lives and not really come up for debate.
Going another step further, you see that three things that God desires for His people is Repentance and Prayer which produces Restoration.
In Second Chronicles chapter 7, the people of God had just dedicated the temple under Solomon’s direction. The people rejoiced in the faithfulness and goodness of God dedicating the altar and feasting for seven days. Solomon retires the people and settles in for the night when God appears to Him this second time.
The first time God appeared to Solomon, God asked Him what He could do for Solomon; what did Solomon desire. Solomon asked for wisdom, knowledge and discretions so he could judge the people of God.
However, this time, God comes to give Solomon a principle of remaining in right relationship with God and enjoying the restorative power of God in the nation.
II Chronicles 7
12 Then the Lord appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him: “I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. 13 When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, 14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
The fact is, sin separates the people of God from God and therefore from the blessings that God intends for them to have.
If God’s people are right, the nation is blessed. If God’s people are in sin, the nation is cursed.
- The remedy for a nation that is not experiencing the blessing of God does not lie in the ability of the leaders to balance the national debt or the budget as important as these are.
- The remedy for the nation’s ills does not lie in the ability of the nation to have laws that are constructed around Biblical values as important as this is.
- The remedy of the nation’s ills does not lie in the ability of the educational system to increase the knowledge of the inhabitants of the land, as great as this is.
- The remedy of the nation does not lie in the ability of a preacher that is charismatic and can preach, heal and deliver like we may never have experienced before as important as that is.
The remedy for the nation’s ills lies in the repentant hearts of the people of God. This is a principle that God set up and will never change.
God says here when things appear to be going wrong, there’s flooding, drought, pestilence or any other adversity in the nation, if there’s a remnant within the United States of America that will humble themselves, pray, seek the face of God and turn from their wicked ways, then the Lord promised to hear from heaven which is the first pre-requisite for answered prayer. If God does not hear, there can be no answer!
In order for God to hear, humility among His people and turning from their wicked ways must precede our having an audience from God.
Being humble means to: Have an attitude of a proper low status in relationship to an authority [In our case God and His Word], and so not being wrongly proud [arrogant, self-righteous, big headed or conceited].
This means that you don’t look at others through a lens of arrogance and think that you are better than another because or your possessions, your status or your stature in life. You place yourself on the same level playing field as others and comparing yourself with God you see that there’s no way that you measure up to His righteous standard of living.
Turning from our wicked ways is referred to as repentance. Repentance defined is to: “Recognize something wrong you’ve done; being sorrowful about it and changing your ways or habits so you don’t do it again.”
Here you see that true repentance involves a three-fold process in which there’s: Recognition of the wrong or the offence; Sorrow of heart and Change of actions.
If you got off track, this attitude and these actions places you back in right standing with God and now you are positioned to have God hear your prayers so He can heal or restore the land. This is nationally, whereas God desire for the nation to come under the greater grace of His love and mercy, however this principle is true also for the individual.
You may have gone through a season where you feel like nothings gone right or a series of adverse situations have caused you to think that God is nowhere around.
This attitude caused you to have an opinion of God that He does not fit and you know better. The order of the day is repentance and prayer so God can restore.
I want to look at the end of a man’s life that many people associate themselves with, but most never come to the place of blessing because they cannot embrace the fact that God does not tempt us with evil and therefore many come to accept their state in life as being the will of God.
This is what Job did as he accepted what the devil did to him as being the Hand of God while listening and even refuting the counsel of his wicked comforters.
Then Job answered the Lord and said:
2 “I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. 3 You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
4 Listen, please, and let me speak; You said, ‘I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’ 5 “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You. 6 Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”
7 And so it was, after the Lord had spoken these words to Job, that the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has. 8 Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you. For I will accept him, lest I deal with you according to your folly; because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.”
9 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.
10 And the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.
This is the principle that we draw today’s message from. Whenever there’s a decline or negative series of events in our lives that we did not deserve, God is intent on restoring what was lost.
We were minding our own business, taking care of our families and tending the Lord’s business when all of a sudden through no fault of our own we get blind-sided.
We must make certain that we don’t speak out of ignorance as Job says here in verse 2, things that “…he didn’t understand…” We must remain focused on what really matters and be about our Father's business in the midst of the trial.
This is where we repent or turn from our wicked ways and seek the counsel of the Lord. Not only having a change of heart, but a change in how we are going to act as well.
We pray for those that may have wronged us in the process and not hold any bitterness against them. We intercede for those that are out of relationship with God so they can eventually enjoy the fellowship of God.
When we repent and pray, God restores. The KJV translates this as God turned the captivity of Job or literally, “Turned what was captured from Job” and gave him twice as much when he prayed for his friends.
This restoration is massive as God reveals here a principle that is not bound by time or Covenant. This happened before God gave Moses the Commandments in Exodus and therefore is not subjected to the Law.
This is a principle that is based on “relationship” as God will never turn His back on His own. He may allow things we don’t understand to happen, but God will ensure that justice prevails.
To understand the magnitude of what Job lost, you have to go to the beginning of the Book and see that Job did nothing to deserve the situation he found himself in. Even though his comforters tried to reason that Job was in some secret or grievous sin.
1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil. 2 And seven sons and three daughters were born to him. 3 Also, his possessions were seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred female donkeys, and a very large household, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the East.
Although the Scriptures are clear stating that it was not God that took these things away from Job – but satan, God is Just and ensured that what was stolen was restored. This is evident beginning with verse 6 through chapter 2 verse 10 where Job loses everything and is even attacked in his own body where he was in excruciating pain and people could not stand to look at him.
But verse 10 here in chapter 42 says, God restored which means that God: “turned brought back; reestablished and recompensed” what was taken from Job – including his health as verse 16 says he lived another 140 years.
Of all the references to restore listed the one that stands out is the word recompense.
This means to “Compensate for loss or harm; to make amends to someone for loss or harm; to pay or reward for effort or work; restitution made or punishment inflicted for a wrong or injury.”
What God is desirous of doing is bringing into our lives what was stolen. When the enemy comes and the thief is revealed the Bible say he must return seven times what was stolen.
This is what God is going to do. However, two things must precede this: Repentance and prayer. II Chronicles 7
Joel 2: 21
Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice, for the Lord has done marvelous things! 22 Do not be afraid, you beasts of the field; for the open pastures are springing up, and the tree bears its fruit; the fig tree and the vine yield their strength.
23 Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God; for He has given you the former rain faithfully, and He will cause the rain to come down for you— the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. 24 The threshing floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil.
25 “So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you.
26 You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you; and My people shall never be put to shame.
27 Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel: I am the Lord your God and there is no other. My people shall never be put to shame.