If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored:
If you remove wickedness far from your tent… Job 22:23
This week is a busy week for me. I’m getting my message ready for our women’s meeting at church which is returning from a summer break. I’m also preparing for homeschool to restart next week, and if that wasn’t enough, we just got a new kitten the day we returned from vacation! But I’m in a planning, back to school type of mood so my message for the ladies this Friday will tie in with that!
I love that God can use whatever we have going on to speak to us and maybe even help someone else. I’ve been reading a passage in the book of Job for a lot of the summer. It’s found in Job 22 (verses 21-28). My pastor/father in law quotes this passage often and it has become one of my favorites, but I want to zero in on one verse. The 23rd verse gives us a formula for restoration.
Math is one of my favorite subjects. It can be really simple, IF you know the basics. Math was not my son’s favorite subject. When we started homeschooling, he would dread math time. But as we slowed down and focused on the basics of memorizing math facts and seeing the patterns in them, he began to love it! He loved that there are rues to math that apply every time.
As I was ready this passage in Job, I began to think about patterns in the Bible. The children of Israel (yes, them again!) had a pattern they would fall into often. Get complacent in their faith, turn to idols and instant gratification, fall into sin, regret their disobedience and the consequences of it, cry out to God, get forgiven and restored, repeat.
This happened over and over and then over again in the Bible. But God’s response was always the same. His formula always worked and it’s found in Job 22:23. RETURN, REMOVE, RESTORE.
If the people would return their hearts to him and remove wickedness from their lives, he would restore them. This is the same promise he gave Solomon in 2 Chronicles 7:14. 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 I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. God commanded his people to return to him (pray and seek), to remove wickedness from their lives (turn from their wicked ways), and he would restore them (I will hear from heaven and forgive their sin and will heal their land).
In the spirit of back to school, here is our formula: Return + Remove = Restoration
The formula has worked throughout scripture. Look at the prodigal son. He returned to his father, he removed his pride and arrogance, and he was restored to his position as a son. But there are also instances were people tried to only use part of the formula. Many of the kings in the Old Testament were counted as doing right in the eyes of the Lord. They returned to him and encourage the people to do so. But I noticed a phrase that kept reappearing: “But they failed to remove the high places”. The kings would return to God but would to get rid of the places of idol worship that would distract the people of God from serving him fully.
Many of us don’t physically go to the temple of an idol and make sacrifices. But everyday, we make spiritual sacrifices while we worship at the alters of busyness, technology, complacency, greed, discontent, criticism and whatever else I didn’t name that fits you! If we want to see restoration in a certain area of our life, we have to apply the formula. And yes, it always works!
In your finances: RETURN your tithe to the Lord and learn how to be a good manager of what he’s given you. REMOVE unnecessary spending, overspending, debt and a poverty mentality and prioritize saving and investing and RESTORE your ability to experience financial freedom.
In your health: RETURN your body to God as a temple you want to take care of. REMOVE unhealthy eating habits and negative patterns surrounding food. Your health will be RESTORED and you can live a life full of energy and unnecessary heath issues.
In your walk with God: RETURN to God by daily prayer and reading his Word. REMOVE distractions keeping you from spending time with him (turn your phone off, go outside for a walk, put in your noise cancelling headphones!). See your spirit restored and your faith grow.
I could go on forever, but you get the point! God wants his children to prosper and be in good health. He wants us to serve him and others and be a blessing to everyone we encounter. And we do that by living restored, redeemed lives. What are do you need restoration in? Take some time and ask the Holy Spirit to help you discover it. I need to restore my daily time with God. I’ve allowed the busyness of summer activities to distract me from some of the habits and routines I normally have in place. I’ll be asking the Holy Spirit to help me to be consistent in my time with God. Let me know in the comments what the Holy Spirit is guiding you to restore.