"God Will Restore Better Than Before!"
By Ryan Johnson
Living in the region that we do, we see an abundance of antique/modern car shows. As an individual who appreciates antique cars, I love the fact that I
get to attend these shows. Recently, I was walking around admiring the detailed work that had gone into the restoration of these machines. I took the time to notice the amount of money, hours, and love that had gone into the vehicles and it amazed me.
While looking at the vehicles, I began to notice something that I had never considered. Though it wasn't hidden, I honestly just never placed any focus on what I had then recognized. The overwhelming majority of the
vehicles were identified as a "Restored Car." However, vehicles like those are rarely ever restored to be what they once were...exactly what they once were. The cars are often restored with modern advancements; from brakes, to engines, air conditioning, power
steering, and more. The majority of the time, a full restoration will include modern advancements of technology.
That's when it hit me...when we think of restoration, our minds immediately think of the
moment in time in which we were originally. Here's the point...God isn't looking to restore you to the exact point in which you were before you failed, or the point in which you were at your weakest. God is looking to restore with MORE!
The biblical meaning of the word "restoration" is to receive back more than has been lost, to the point where the final state is greater than the original condition. The main point is that someone or something is improved beyond measure. Unlike
the regular dictionary meaning of "restoration," which is to return something back to its original condition, the biblical definition of the word has greater connotations that go above and beyond the typical, everyday usage.
Repeatedly throughout the Bible, God blessed people for their faith as well as their hardships by making up for their losses and giving them more than they previously had before. In His Word, God gives simple, but imperative, commands to His children
during His declaration of restoration. These actions demonstrate compliance and faith in the God of restoration and our dedication to Him. It is God, through restoration, that makes your name great and grants you a testimony, and it will be done while you
behold His mighty hand in your life!
Why Must There Be Restoration?
There are people sitting in our churches each week who are hooked into sin or
circumstance, and although they "pull hard" to try and break free, they only tighten the chains around them in the situation. Many times we want to help people out of a circumstance without identifying the spiritual root of the problem; but if the cause is
spiritual, the cure must be spiritual.
A snare is always rooted in a spiritual cause because the root of any snare is satan, our flesh or both. You can't spiritually treat something simply by looking
at the symptoms of the problem. You must discover the spiritual cause and treat it spiritually in order to restore someone. (Please read 2 Timothy 2:14-26.)
When we seek to restore one another, we must
seek to address the spiritual cause of the snare, because only then can we set the person free. Health is restored by addressing the source, not the symptoms. To get to the source, we need to have a spiritual approach to restoration. A fundamental cause for
people to become ensnared in the first place is pain. Today, people focus so much on distracting themselves from pain rather than healing their source of pain. Because of this, they end up adding to the vices that bind them, rather than reaching true restoration.
The worst thing someone can do is create one snare in order to get out of another. Healing and freedom from sin occur when people recognize the root cause of their pain and turn to God. Restoring others begins when
we help them identify the source of their pain. Healing of the soul must occur before they can experience any improvement in their painful symptoms.
To help us a little more, let's look at what David meant when he asked God, "Restore to me the joy of Your salvation..." (Psalm 51:12). That moment in time came after the incident of David committing adultery with Bathsheba. The prophet Nathan confronts
David with his sin, and David confesses. The story involves not only adultery but Bathsheba's pregnancy, an attempted cover-up, and David's eventual murder of Bathsheba's husband.
Psalm 51 is a prayer
of forgiveness and cleansing. Verses 1-9 say:
"Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love; according to Your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse
me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight; so You are right in Your verdict and justified when You judge. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from
the time my mother conceived me. Yet You desired faithfulness even in the womb; You taught me wisdom in that secret place. Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones You
have crushed rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity."
Verses 10-12 are perhaps the most famous of Psalm 51:
me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from Your presence or take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me."
In verse 11 David asks that the Holy Spirit not be removed from him. We have to understand that in the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit usually came upon a person to enable the performance of a certain task. If the Holy Spirit were removed from David,
it would mean that he would be rejected by God as king in the same way that God had rejected Saul and removed His Spirit from him (1 Samuel 16:14).
David asks God to restore the joy of his salvation. The
time between David's sin and Nathan's confrontation was some months, because the child had already been born. During that time, David suffered inner torment, as he describes in Psalm 32:3-4: "When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all
day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer."
Despite the steps David took to stop the news of what he had done, he did not experience joy in
the cover up. However, once he confessed his sin to God, he received forgiveness, and his joy returned. Psalm 32 begins this way: "Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not
count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit" (verses 1-2). Psalm 32 ends with "Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!" (verse 11).
When David pleads
with God, "Restore to me the joy of Your salvation," he is asking that he would again have the fellowship with God that he once knew and enjoyed. David could not enjoy God's fellowship while he had unconfessed sin. We can lose the joy of our salvation. We
will not lose salvation—sin will not separate the Believer from God—but it can rob us of joy and the enjoyment of close fellowship with our Savior.
Why Is This Important Today?
We cannot restore ourselves, but must be restored by God. David recognized God as his shepherd or caretaker. Because God watched over him, he did not find himself in need of anything.
Psalm 23: "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will
follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
Pay attention to how the last portion of Psalm 23 shifts to a different scenario. David sits at a table among his
enemies, likely at a royal banquet. David has no fear of his enemies, he is anointed (set apart as special), and his cup overflows (meaning he has plenty to drink). He feels blessed with goodness and mercy and will live in God's house forever.
How powerful is it to know that you can be seated at the table, and there is no shame from your place at that table? David was at rest when he composed this Psalm. This was not a song to prepare for battle or celebrate
a holy day, but rather to enjoy a time of relaxation in God's presence. Restoration involves reflection. David's soul was restored as he looked at life from God's perspective. He felt protected, safe, and secure under the leadership of God. Restoration includes
replenishment. Both rest and reflection lead to a renewed vigor to live for God.
With this perspective, David could live with a restored soul, prepared for the problems of the day. He knew God was with
him, cared for him, and would never leave his side. There was no battle too big for him to face with God in his life. The same is true in our own lives.
If we sincerely desire to see God restore our soul,
we need to make time to rest, reflect, and replenish. We cannot expect to live with a fresh sense of God's presence in our lives if we constantly rush from one issue to the next. To be restored takes time; focusing on God and His greatness renews us with hope
and joy regarding this life and anticipation for eternity.
Why? Because the Lord is restoring you to be better than before. You aren't being restored to the exact moment in which you failed, or the moment
you were weak. You are being restored better than ever.
The increase is coming. The advancement is coming. The Lord is restoring You for His glory, His purpose, and His honor. You get the benefits, the
upgrades, and the seat at the table prepared by the Lord.
By Ryan Johnson
Ryan Johnson Ministries
528 Ellsworth St. SW