THF SUNDAY SERVICE
TOPIC: THE HAND OF RECOVERY
TEXT: Joel 2:25 – 27
PREACHER: Rev. Ebenezer Olawuyi
This morning, I want to encourage you. Why we need to pray for our country, Nigeria is that it is so saddening that a nation with these great resources cannot prepare. A country like America already has reserves for like 10 – 15 years. So, there is no crisis that can move them to the extent that they find themselves in this situation because of one importer who brought in adulterated fuel/ethanol. Like I keep saying, leadership is not a title; it is not in age; it is not what you do but who you are. It is very saddening that we find ourselves in this situation, that is why we need to be trained in leadership. Leadership requires training. You need to be trained in leadership so that we will not just complain when we get there, because I know some of you would become Senators. Having said that, I want to ask a question: If you are a government worker or working in a private organization, won’t you go to work on Monday even if you struggled to get fuel? I am sure you would go, but when it comes to the things of God, a lot of people would just choose to sleep.
I know some of us would have experienced situations in life that we term “unfair”; life seems to be unfair to you or people have done you wrong. Most of us have experienced it at one time or the other. Even in business or in your place of work, they cheated you or spoke ill of you that affected your lifting. Some of us have made wrong business deals that got us into a loss or some just think to themselves and say, “Why was I born into this family? Why was I born into health or financial challenges which has brought setbacks into my life.” Some of us are raised by some kind of families and we think if we were not born into such family, we won’t be experiencing such setbacks. I want to announce to you this morning that God will pay you back. God will cause you to recover all. All the disadvantages that arise from wrong upbringing, God can cause His favour to shine on you – you should not allow your background to put your back on the ground. When you thought that it is the end of life and that you have failed, don’t look at yourself that way.
God said here in Joel that the children of Israel had lost so much, but God told them that he will restore those lost years –theyears that the locusts, caterpillars, etc. have destroyed. Even though you look at yourself and feel that it has gotten so bad and you have been so down that you feel nothing would ever come, know that what the Israelites experienced is not for one year, but for many years, however, God said he would cause them to eat in plenty from nothing and they would be satisfied. You will not just have “just good for me to go ahead” but you will be satiated and satisfied. “…and my people shall never be put to shame” (Joel 2: 26), God says you will never be put to shame.
You remember the story of that family who for many years have been looking up to God. Some people might have looked down on them, but suddenly, God caused his favour to shine on them. That same family brought out four children on the same day – that is restoration, the hand of God drawing back time. God told the Israelites that they have suffered in the land for 430 years, some of them might have been thinking that they and their children will suffer for life and that the Egyptians will keep giving them quotas that they cannot make. However, in Exodus 3:7, “And the Lord said: I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows.” God is saying to you also, “I know what you are passing through, what you have suffered, the deprivation you have experienced, the pains and disadvantages you have because of your background, but I have seen it and I am coming to you.” He told the Israelites that He will not leave them to go empty-handed. They might even feel it is okay to just leave the land of bondage after so many years, but God says their “okay is not his okay”. He will not allow them to get out of the land empty-handed, and would make sure the Egyptians paid them back for the years of their labour. The Israelites who have never worn necklaces before started to wear gold necklaces, bangles, golden rings, etc. God is saying to you that in that situation, you will not go back empty-handed.
God has said it and that is His word. You will not just go out empty-handed, God will satisfy you. It doesn’t matter how you got in, God is saying even if you feel that you have done wrong – a good example is Lot. Lot was not supposed to follow Abraham, but Abraham went out with him from his father’s house. So, when the nations came to fight with Lot and captured him, it was Abraham who went out with his army to rescue him. Even if you have made a mistake in the past, God is saying he is going to bring you out gloriously. Don’t allow guilt to put you down. Don’t say you shouldn’t have gone into that relationship or that business, because we serve a God who is loving and He is saying he will bring you out and not bring you out empty-handed. God showed Lot mercy even though he was not part of Abraham’s covenant. God will give you amazing blessings that you will know that it is indeed God who has done it.
You remember the story of Joseph when his brother dealt with him badly. One would have thought that Joseph would have lived his life in that pain and bitterness, but look at how God restored the years that Joseph had lost. God paid him back for those lost years. God honoured him and that is what God is saying to us. It doesn’t matter what you have lost or what has happened to you because of that decision, he will pay you back.
“For we know Him Who said, Vengeance is Mine [retribution and the meting out of full justice with Me]; I will repay [I will exact the compensation], says the Lord. And again, The Lord will judge and determine and solve and settle the cause and the cases of His people.”
Hebrews 10:30 (AMPC)
God says, “I will compensate you, I will settle you.”1 Pet. 5:10 – after you have suffered a while, he will perfect, strengthen and settle you. God is a God of settlement and compensation, He will settle you for the years that you have suffered. That health situation, He will settle you. It will not continue that way. God’s plan is not for your life to continue that way forever, He is going to show up for you.
I remember the story of my life, being a pastor for over 10 years by the grace of God and to the best of my ability, I labored with my life. Pastoring a church with industrial AC, we were suddenly pushed away from that place and sent to a church with just a roof which has no windows or doors, floor that is not plastered and you had to clean up goats’ faeces and urine that have entered the soil with their terrible smell. We had to sit down there to have communion. We held the roof with wooden pole, but you know what? I was living in Tanke and was going to church inside Asa-Dam, Jooro yet I did it with the whole of my heart. Early in the morning, I was there and went almost everyday for service. By the grace of God, we started the first All-Night service there and we labored with our hearts until God said it was time to take a step. Starting a ministry without pulpit; the chairs and hall were rented and the Lord said I will compensate you for the years of suffering; I will pay you back.
He is saying,“I know what they have taken from you, what you have suffered and what you lost due to your background. I know what you suffered in your relationship, but I am going to pay you back. I am going to give you, compensate you and settle you.” We were coming from Evangelism yesterday, when I was discussing with Pastor ATM. Our “faithful bus” came in a year after the ministry started by a member of the congregation who was based in the U.S. Pastor ATM said, one year after the ministry started, Graceland came up. How did it happen? I can’t explain. It is unbelievable. Three years and all these happened. It doesn’t matter who has cheated you. Don’t look at your pay from that man, let God be the one to pay you. He is the only one who can settle you properly. Don’t have your expectation in men. Some of our members then told me before I went to the ‘wilderness’ in Jooro, that I have been treated unfairly and that we should carry the microphone, AC, etc. but thank God I didn’t take vengeance into my hands. I said, “Don’t take a microphone from this place.” They were doing it out of love because truly, it was very unfair. I didn’t see it but I just know that there is a God who pays back. All that you are sacrificing in that marriage and you are not being paid back, God is saying he will pay you back.
He paid Joseph back. I remember that 1 month or 2 months even after leaving, I saw some books given to me which are discipleship books and I went and returned it completely. I don’t want to have anything that would serve as reference in the future and block God from working in my life. Remember what Laban did to Jacob, he had a deal with him but he cheated him ten times. He kept on changing but in Gen. 31:12, God told Jacob -“And He said, ‘Lift your eyes now and see, all the rams which leap on the flocks are streaked, speckled, and gray-spotted; for I have seen all that Laban is doing to you.” Who says God is not seeing or hearing what you are passing through? He knows what you have suffered because of your stand for him. He knows your commitment and he is saying he has seen it, but a time of compensation is coming. Truly, God settles.
The things you need to do to enjoy God’s compensation.
- Don’t be Vindictive: Don’t seek for vengeance. Don’t seek to take it on your own. Don’t, ever! God says, Vengeance is not yours, Vengeance is His. Release those who have hurt and wronged you. Don’t hold grudges against them. Release them from your heart. Don’t find a way to even things out. Stop it! Joseph to his brothers that they meant evil for him but God meant it for good. He didn’t hold anything against them because He knows God is a God who pays back. Husbands, don’t seek vengeance for yourselves. Wives, don’t seek vengeance for yourselves. Workers, don’t seek vengeance for yourselves. Wait and see what God will do. The man who started Toyota had a problem some years ago in his business; he was pushed out, but look at what God has done today, Toyota is one of the fastest-selling cars in the world today, even in the U.S. where they produce Ford. Friends, listen to this: one thing you must never do, don’t ever be vindictive. Leave the vengeance to God and see what God will do. He will fight for you! My God will compensate you! My God will settle you. So, release them. It can be very difficult but release your spouse, children, husband, parents, etc. It may be very painful, but release them. I know what it means and I am telling you from experience, release them. Don’t hold any grudge, release them!
- Keep Faith Alive: Believe that God will work it out for your good. Believe that God has you in His mind. Believe that God will not bring you this far and leave you to just perish. Believe Him. He hasn’t brought you this far to leave you here. When I face challenges, I tell God that He hasn’t brought me this far to leave me alone. Stir up faith. Keep faith alive. If you have lost anything, you will recover all. If you have lost money or your health, you will recover all. If you look at it as your fault, I want to tell you that you serve a God who is faithful, you will recover all. Maybe you have made a wrong parenting decision and you feel that is what puts your children into what they are today, because you are here, God will have mercy on the children.
- Stop being Anxious: Don’t get worried. Throw away worry. Stop being anxious. Believe God. Joseph was not anxious, he was calm because he knew God was in charge. Anxiety will harm you. Calm down! God is on your side and He is for you. I am praying this morning for somebody under my ministration, whatever you have lost, the God of vengeance will repay you. Everything that has gone out of your hand because of wrong decisions – wrong business choices, wrong relationships, etc. mercy will show up for you. You will not go back empty-handed in the name of Jesus.
- Father, I know you are concerned about me, I hand over to you, you are the God of vengeance, come into my situation. Settle me, compensate me, do not let me go back empty-handed, restore to me all that I have lost. Even when I have made wrong decisions, let your mercy show up for me like it showed up for Lot. I refuse to be bitter and vindictive. I release everyone that has brought me into this situation out of my heart. Lord, have your way. I will not be anxious, I believe you are in control and you care for me. Thank you Father, be glorified in my heart in Jesus Name.