COURAGEOUSLY RESTORING OTHERS
If you have ever tried to restore someone back to God like Jeremiah did with the nation of Israel, you know it is no easy task, but it is a noble and high calling from our Savior Jesus Christ.
God wants people to be restored to Himself.
He does not want to judge and destroy them.
He wants to reclaim and restore them for His glory and their good.
God says in Jeremiah 26:2, “Stand in the court of the Lord’s house, and speak to all that come to worship in the house of the Lord, speak to them; do not hold back a word.”
If people are going to be restored to God, they must hear everything God has to say.
Why is this? God says in Jeremiah 26:3, “It may be they will listen, and turn from his evil way.”
People need to hear the whole counsel of God, if they are going to walk as God intends them to walk. But know that not everyone will appreciate your commitment to the whole counsel.
Jeremiah 26:8 says, “And when Jeremiah had finished speaking all that the Lord had commanded him to speak, then the priests and the prophets laid hold of him, saying, “You shall die!”
They wanted to literally kill Jeremiah for what He said to them. Jeremiah responds in Jeremiah 26:12, “The Lord set me to prophesy against this house. 14 But as for me, behold, I am in your hands. 15 Only know if you put me to death, you will bring innocent blood upon yourselves.”
When you are courageously restoring people to God, you must stay focused on telling them the truth.
The people respond to Jeremiah in Jeremiah 26:16, “This man does not deserve the sentence of death, for he has spoken to us in the name of the Lord our God.”
You have to “let go” of protecting yourself physically and emotionally if you are going to help restore people back to God.
It is important to keep seeking to restore people back to God. And remember it is with God you are restoring them, not to yourself. Jeremiah spoke for God to the people and said in Jeremiah 27:5, “It is I who by my great power and my outstretched arm have made the earth, and I give it to whomever it seems right to me.”
When people are being restored back to God, they need to be reminded God created them and is sovereign over them.
Whenever you are helping someone be restored to God, the enemy will always send seemingly “godly” people to tell them the opposite of what you are telling them.
Jeremiah tells the people not to listen to prophets who tell them there are no consequences for their sin. Yes, God loves you, but God’s love does not exempt you from consequence. Restoration back to God removes the condemnation but not the consequences.
All of us have to learn to live with the mess we have made of our lives. God will bring good out of it, but we will more than likely still experience great pain due to our past poor choices. This is how we grow.
Jeremiah reminded the people that consequences are still a part of their future equation in Jeremiah 27:22, “They shall be carried to Babylon declares the Lord. Then I will bring them back and restore them to this place.”
Don’t be surprised if everyone is not happy with you when you tell them that repentance and restoration still involve consequences.
Jeremiah 28:10 says, “The prophet Hananiah took the yoke-bars from the neck of Jeremiah and broke them. 11 And Hananiah spoke in the presence of all the people, saying, “Thus says the Lord: Even so will I break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon from the neck of all the nations within two years.” But Jeremiah the prophet went his way.”
Hananiah contradicted Jeremiah’s prophecy. Jeremiah did not respond. It takes great commitment to Christ not to re-buttle someone when they have maligned you to others. Jeremiah only spoke what God told him to say, that is, until God spoke again to him.
Jeremiah speaks again in Jeremiah 28:13 “Go, tell Hananiah, 15 the Lord has not sent you. 16 ‘Behold, I will remove you from the face of the earth. This year you shall die’ 17 In that same year, in the seventh month, the prophet Hananiah died.”
God took care of Hananiah’s opposition to Jeremiah.
Israel goes off into bondage with Babylon. You would think it was over for Israel, but that is when God begins his restoration. God tells them in Jeremiah 29:5, “Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. 6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; multiply there and do not decrease.”
The nation of Israel had been carried off into bondage because they refused to repent. It seemed over. But God tells them to live, love, pro-create, get a job, and go on with your life. God reminds them to keep living. And not only that but be intentional!
God says in Jeremiah 29:7, “Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile. 10 “When seventy years are completed, I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
God wanted Israel to know He had not forgotten about them.
Remind people that God’s grace creates a hopeful future for them.
God wants us to remind people of His promises while they are suffering the consequences of their past sin.
God wants us to remind people that regardless of how bad they have been, He wants to restore them.
Restoration takes time.
It can be messy.
Don’t give up on walking with others back to restoration.