February 4, 2024

Flourishing in Times of Recession

Flourishing in Times of Recession

TRINITY HOUSEHOLD OF FAITH

 

SUNDAY SERMON

4th of February, 2024

Topic:                         Flourishing in a Time of Recession

Text:                           Malachi 3:16 – 18, 4:1 – 2

Preacher:                   Reverend Ebenezer Olawuyi

 

MESSAGE

I welcome you to Church this morning. This is a great day that the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it. Hallelujah!

It’s so great to be in church. I keep saying nothing is enviable in the world. If you still enjoy the world, then something is wrong somewhere. All we have is in God and the joy we have is the joy that comes from Him. ‘Do not love the world or the things in the world… for all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world’ (1 John 2:15 – 16). All that is in the world shall pass away but only the Word of God shall abide forever. The greatest joy we have is in His presence.

The greatest joy we have is in His presence. David said, I’ll rather be a gatekeeper in the House of the Lord than to dwell in the tent of the wicked (Psalms 84:10). There is joy in His presence. Psalms 16:11 says, ‘You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.’ If you are not happy coming to church, something is wrong. If you have been hit outside, when you come to church, you receive joy in His presence.

 

This morning, I’ll be speaking on ‘Flourishing in a time of Recession’ – economic recession, all sorts of recession. As a child of God, our Word for this Month is ‘Mysterious Provision.’ There were two salesmen, one was sent to a remote area in Africa and after some days, he sent a message back to the CEO and said, ‘Please take me away from this place.’ He worked in a shoe company and was sent to a remote place in Africa to sell shoes. After a few days, he sent a message to the CEO and told him to send him back because nobody was wearing shoes in that part of Africa. Truly, he was sent back and replaced. After one week, the person sent to replace him sent a message to the CEO and said, ‘Please, send more shoes because people are not wearing shoes here.’ Do you get it? One said, ‘People are not wearing shoes here, take me away,’ another person says, ‘Send more shoes, people are not wearing shoes here.’ One saw opportunities, the other saw problems. One person got there, discovered that people are not wearing shoes here and believed he will sell many shoes because the ones he brought there won’t be enough.

God can make a mark of difference between two. God does make a mark of difference. It happened in the days of Israel; He said, you will know that I make a mark of difference, therefore, what destroyed the Egyptians will not destroy you. I will spare you. The Lord does make a difference. The text we read, Malachi 3:16 – 18 says, ‘Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord listened and heard them… Then you shall again discern between the righteous and the wicked, between the one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.’ God still makes a difference in our times today, which is why Proverbs 10:3 says, ‘The Lord will not allow the righteous soul to famish, but He casts away the desire of the wicked.’ There may be economic recession but God knows how to sustain His people. David says in Psalms 37:25 that ‘I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread.’ God knows how to sustain His people in the midst of economic recession and downturn.

I want you to know that famine, which is synonymous to economic downturn, is not new today. It happened in the days of our fathers – Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph. You remember that concerning Isaac, the Bible says, ‘And Isaac sowed in that land and reaped hundred folds.’ In the same land where people are crying, the man began to prosper and continue prospering until he became very prosperous (Gen. 26:13). God does make a difference. When there was famine, God showed a secret, a solution, to Joseph. Joseph interpreted the dream and said there was going to be seven years of famine and seven years of plenty and he told them what to do. The Egyptians came to him to tell him that money has failed. Do you know what it means for money to fail? When a person’s take-home salary cannot take him or her home. It’s almost getting to this stage in Nigeria, when one earns ₦100,000 and it is like he or she is not earning anything; when a wife goes to the market, and her husband asks how she spent ₦20,000, and she begins to recount what she spent money on, complaining of how expensive things are. In those days, we used to buy cars for ₦20,000. Some years ago, a brand new Peugeot 505 was sold for ₦5,000. One can complete a house, a whole bungalow with about ₦5,000 but today, if you have 5 million naira, you can’t complete a bungalow. When it got to a time when money has failed, they came to Joseph, told him that they have money but it has failed. Joseph got a wisdom from the Lord, he told them to gather their foods for a time of famine. Famine, economic downturn is not new but I want you to know this morning that God can make a difference. He knows how to sustain the righteous. He won’t allow the soul of the righteous to go hungry.

Malachi 4:1 – 2 says, ‘For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, and all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble… but to you who fear My name, The Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings; and you shall go out and grow fat like stall-fed calves.’ When you see a stall-fed calves, not one going around, but one kept inside a stall and fed with rich meal, you will notice how fat it will be. These ones are happy when they are released, they jump and bounce. We once had cows in this compound, they were so excited whenever we release them. It is the same for the one whom The Sun of Righteousness shines over, they are going to leap with joy; in the midst of economic downturn, they are going to be filled with joy. This is why the Bible says in Psalms 37:19, ‘They shall not be ashamed in the evil time, and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.’ I declare concerning you, in this season of economic downturn, you will not be ashamed. In other words, during that time of economic downturn and recession, there is going to be plenty for you.

I don’t know how it’s going to happen but it happened in the days of old. God supplied the children of Israel for forty years, and that same God is still the same today. The God who sustained the woman in 2 Kings 4 is still alive till today; He is able to provide. Remember, ‘My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus’ (Prov. 4:19). Even in the time of economic downturn, you will be satisfied and have plenty. You will not only have plenty, you will celebrate; there is going to be celebration for you. Job 5:20 says, ‘In famine, He shall redeem you from death, and in war from the power of the sword.’ God has redeemed us from the shame that comes when there is famine. During famine, there is shame and embarrassment that knocks on people’s door. Even the mighty shakes but the Lord says concerning you that He has redeemed you from that shame. In v. 22, the book of Job says, ‘You shall laugh at destruction and famine, and you shall not be afraid of the beasts of the earth.’ When people are saying, there is a casting down, you will say, ‘There is a lifting up for me. I see a way where there seems to be no way. The miracle-working God is still at work in my life.’

Psalms 77:14 says, ‘You are the God who does wonders; You have declared Your strength among the peoples.’ I tell you, God is still working His wonders in our days today. I say to you, God will sustain you. So, in the time of famine, you will not only have plenty, you will celebrate. Elisha said to the people that by this time tomorrow, a seah of fine flour shall be sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, at the gate of Samaria (2 Kings 7:1), but one man did not believe it, saying how can this happen? Oh! I believe in miracles and in the God of provision and sustenance. I believe in the God who turned the rock into a pool of water. I believe Him. He gave water to the children of Israel from the rock. Who could have imagined that water would come out from the rock? God is still making a way where there seems to be no way. ‘From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth’ (Ps. 121:1 – 2). Dare to believe Him. That man did not believe him and the prophet told him that he would see with his eyes and not eat from it. In the midst of economic frustration, the Lord will sustain you.

Let me mention to you few things you’ve got to do to enjoy this miraculous intervention of God.

  1. Make sure you are a child of covenant: God deals with people on the basis of covenant. The scripture says, ‘He will not allow the righteous to suffer.’ Ensure you are a child of covenant. The young lion shall lack but they who seek the Lord shall lack no good thing. Enter into that covenant with Him as a child. The scripture says, he who is not able to provide for his family is worse than an unbeliever or an infidel. God can never be an infidel, so you need to be a child of God to draw from the Blessings of this covenant.
  2. You must understand covenant principles: The secret of sustenance in the time of famine is giving; obeying your covenant responsibilities, including your firstfruit, tithes, offerings and special offerings. Don’t ever joke with it. The Bible said concerning Isaac that in the time of famine, Isaac sowed in the land (Gen. 26:12). Whatever will stop you from sowing, will stop you from reaping. As long as the earth remains, seedtime and harvest will not cease. God has a covenant responsibility over you, and you have a covenant responsibility to Him. His responsibility over you is to sustain you in the time of famine. He will give you multimillion naira ideas; He will not throw down money at you. He will open doors for you and you will see.

The problem with a lot of people is that they do not fear God, so when good is coming, they don’t see. Jeremiah 17:5 – 6 says, ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from God. For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when good comes….’ God has not called us to be shrubs in the deserts, He has called us to be cedars of Lebanon, palm trees that flourish. You know what it means to flourish like a palm tree? You don’t know the dry season. You remain strong in the midst of economic downturn. He says you will still be fresh and flourish in the midst of economic downturn, to declare that the Lord is upright and there is no unrighteousness in Him. But those who don’t observe their covenant responsibilities, who don’t fear God and put their trust in their own strength, connection and what they can do, they won’t see it when good is coming. Like that man who went into a village where people don’t wear shoes, they won’t see opportunities. God has not called us to be shrubs who cannot see when good comes.

Yet, for those who trust in the Lord, the Bible says in Jeremiah 17:8 that they ‘shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out is roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.’ Hallelujah! Even God can command the heart of an unbeliever to meet your needs. He says about Cyrus in Isaiah 44:28 that ‘he is My shepherd, and he shall perform all My pleasure, saying to Jerusalem, “You shall be built,” and to the temple, “Your foundation shall be laid.” We people of the covenant inhabit a rich land. Psalms 66:12 says, ‘…but You have brought us to rich fulfillment,’ a land that is rich, not a land that is parched or salty, however, those who make flesh their strength dwell in a parched land (Jer. 17:6). In Jeremiah 17:7, the scripture uses the word ‘LORD’ and not ‘Lord’, and anytime the scripture does this, it speaks of the Hebrew name of God, ‘YHWH’, a name of covenant.

Those whose hope is in the Lord shall not be afraid in the evil time. They will laugh at famine and destruction because their root is spread by the river. They are not shaken, they are not moved, because God remains their sustenance. Like the little ravens who say, ‘We don’t know why the creature called humans worry,’ and one of them replies, ‘Probably they don’t have the same father that we have,’ because the Bible says, ‘Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap… and God feeds them.’ I pray for you, what you are doing in the time of plenty, you will do more in the time of famine, because that’s your God. He will sustain you and your life will be a wonder because God is your sustainer and provider but your covenant obligation is very important. Don’t joke with it nor allow anything stop you. That’s why the Scripture says in Proverbs 11:24, ‘There is one who scatters, yet increases more….’ This is the time to sow, like Isaac sowed in the land.

  1. Don’t forget to live right: The Bible says the heart of many will fail. Let me tell you, it’s not going to get better, it will get worse. Even big nations face tension; there is economic downturn all over the world. It is going to get worse. But the scripture says, ‘How are the mighty fallen?’ Many are throwing away their integrity, righteousness and compromising. Dare to stand right for the Lord, like Daniel, even in the land of captivity. God knows how to sustain the righteous. He won’t allow the soul of the righteous to perish. Don’t say, ‘If we cannot beat them, we’ve got to join them.’ Psalms 37:16 – 18, ‘A little that a righteous man has is better than the riches of many wicked.’ God knows how to uphold the righteous. Believe Him and trust Him in this difficult time. Don’t bend! Stand for the Lord! He will sustain you. Your jar of oil shall not run dry, your bowl of flour shall not run dry. The help of the helpless shall sustain you. Miraculous intervention shall come for you. I prophesy to you, your business shall grow more this year. More channels shall be opened for you. This time, you will not reduce your capacity rather, you shall enlarge it. Amen!

Prayer

Say after me, ‘Father, I am your covenant child, therefore, I believe your Word, that in famine, in economic downturn, you will sustain me and my family. I will not beg for bread, you will not allow me to be famished. I will laugh at destruction and famine. I will be satisfied. I will not be cast down, there shall be lifting for me in the name of Jesus. Helpers will come to me. I will see opportunities in the name of Jesus. I decree by the Word of the Lord, this season will not swallow me up. I will flourish this season in the name of Jesus. Thank you, Father, I believe you.’

God, I pray that you will sustain your children in the midst of economic downturn in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Call to Salvation

You want to be a covenant child to draw God’s blessings? You don’t just become a covenant child like that, you need to receive Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. So, you want to surrender to Jesus today, say, ‘My father, I have heard your Word, I ask you to accept me as your Son. I believe that Jesus died for my sins and God raised him from the dead. Save my soul today and make me your covenant child.’ Amen!