IT IS A WONDERFUL THING TO BE A FAVOURITE OF GOD
SANCTIFICATION QUALIFIES YOU TO BE A FAVOURITE OF GOD
TO BE SANCTIFIED MEANS TO BE SET APART FOR THE USE OF THE ALMIGHTY GOD
THERE IS A POSITIVE MEANING OF ‘BACK TO SQUARE ONE.’
RESTITUTION BRINGS YOU TO A POSITIVE ‘BACK TO SQUARE ONE’
ACHAN WAS DEAD: STONED TO DEATH, BURNT AND EVEN THE ASHES WAS COVERED WITH A GREAT HEAP OF STONES – JOSHUA HAD RESTITUTED
SANCTIFIED PEOPLE CAN GET INFORMATION FROM GOD EVEN WHEN GOD IS NOT TELLING ANYONE ELSE
AFTER RESTITUTION, GOD BRINGS YOU BACK TO A GOOD ‘SQUARE ONE’ SO YOU CAN BEGIN AFRESH
THE PRODIGAL SON WAS BROUGHT BACK TO A GOOD SQUARE ONE OF PROVISION, HONOUR AND CELEBRATION
IT IS IMPORTANT TO HEAR GOD IN THE MIDST OF CHALLENGES SO THAT YOU WILL KNOW WHEN TO QUICKLY RESTITUTE YOUR WAYS
IF YOU ARE SUFFERING AND GOD HAS BEEN SILENT, I PRAY THAT GOD WILL REACH OUT TO YOU TODAY, SO YOU CAN REPENT AND RESTITUTE
– Pastor E. A. Adeboye on “FOR WHOM THE HEAVENS OPEN – Part 38” at RCCG Online Sunday Service || 11th February, 2024 ||
We are continuing with our study using Joshua as the illustration of the one FOR WHOM THE HEAVENS OPENS. Like we said at the beginning of the Year, it could easily have been used as a typical example of the Divine Repositioning and we’ve been spending quite a lot of time on Joshua 7 but today we are moving forward to Joshua 8:1-2. Church Gist. I’m sure by now some of us will be saying, “when are we ever going to finish with the book of Joshua?” Well, as long as God has something for us, we just keep on studying.
Joshua 8:1-2. This is an extremely interesting passage in the story of Joshua but before we go deeper into this passage, I ended up last Sunday on the issue of sanctification. I told you how to get a heart of flesh and having the heart of stone removed so that we can have an easy way of doing the will of God. But I noticed that in my hurry to tell you how to become sanctified, I didn’t even bother to fully describe the word, “Sanctification” and what exactly does it mean. Church Gist. To be sanctified actually means to be set apart for the use of the Almighty God. 2 Timothy 2:20-21. To really understand the full meaning of sanctification you will need to understand that there are many people that can be called the Bride of Christ. So it will be appropriate to think of a king that has many wives and you know in the olden days a king can have many wives like Solomon – he had just only 700. Then out of all the wives, the King will choose one that he will call his favourite.
An illustration of an African King might help us. An African King may have many wives and because the wives are many he might not be able to attend to them appropriately as he is supposed to do as a husband to a wife and because all manners of high chiefs and warriors and medicine people do come to the palace regularly, some of them get attached to one wife or the other of the King and they minister to them. Church Gist. That’s why in Africa they said that you will find all manner of children in the palace but not all of them are really born by the King. But because they are born in the palace they are called princes and princesses. Some of them might belong to the Head of the warriors and another might belong to the chief herbalist and so on and so forth. But then of all these wives, the King will choose one and make it abundantly clear: this one belongs to me and me alone; nobody messes with this one. It doesn’t matter if you’re the head of all the warriors, you mess with this one you lose your head. That wife that is called the favourite wife could be called the Sanctified Wife. She is kept pure, untainted, unsoiled, set apart for the King.
Oh you say, where do you find that kind of thing in the Bible? Church Gist. Numbers 3:11-12. I don’t have the time to tell you the story how Levi became the favourite of the Most High God but if you have time, study; everywhere you find Levi. You will be amazed how wonderful it is to be set apart for God. You know the Levites were not even supposed to own land – the Almighty God said, I will be their supply. The rest of the nation is commanded to supply the needs of the Levites. Church Gist. It’s a wonderful thing to be a favourite of God. So to be sanctified is a wonderful thing.
I give you another example in the Scriptures: Esther 4:10-16 – you come to the King’s presence, he didn’t send for you, he look at you and just keeps looking at you, nothing else. That is enough sign to the soldiers around to cut off your head. But when Esther visited him unsummoned – Esther 5:1-3 because she was the favourite wife, she went to the King unsummoned. Not only did the King say, “you’re welcome,” the King said, “ask anything you want even up to half of my kingdom and you will get it.” It’s a wonderful thing to be a favourite wife. Church Gist. Believe me honestly, if you don’t have any other reason to be sanctified, that’s enough. So make sure that you sincerely pray that prayer that the Almighty God will sanctify you.
We could go on and on talking about sanctification, talking about being the favourite of the Most High God and you will find another illustration in John 13:21-26. John the Beloved was so loved that the name ‘beloved’ was attached to him. Church Gist. An incident happened in the passage that I read to you, Jesus Christ was talking about who will betray him and everybody was asking, “is it me?” Peter beckoned to John the Beloved and said, “if he won’t tell anybody else, we know he will tell you. We know you’re special.” You know the rest of the story – John asked for the information and Jesus told him – not in plain language but in codes.
There are some people who can get information from God even when God is not telling anyone else. They are sanctified people. To be sanctified means you’re set apart for God; it means you will become a favourite of the Most High God. Church Gist. I pray that God will use this little bit of the message to create a great hunger in you for sanctification if you’re not yet sanctified; that you will pray for it and God will give it to you in Jesus’ name!
Now we come to Joshua 8:1-2. Joshua had restituted – Achan was dead: stoned to death, burnt and even the ashes was covered with a great heap of stones and now, God spoke to Joshua. You know there is a phrase: back to square one; and we always use that phrase negatively but it has a positive meaning. Oh, back to square one could be a negative saying if you consider something like Exodus 14:5-12. Church Gist. When Pharaoh and his people were pursuing the children of Israel and they met them by the Red Sea, their plan was to bring them back to square one, back to slavery, back to bondage. That’s a very negative way of looking at, “back to square one.” Proverbs 21:20 – in other words, if a fool becomes rich, it’s not going to be long before he comes back to square one. That’s why you find a lot of people winning huge amount of money in a lottery and within a couple of years, they’re broke again. They’re back to square one. As a matter of fact, the world statistics says, 80 per cent of those who win lotteries, within 5 years will be begging for money. They are back to square one.
1 Kings 1:5-53 – The Bible says on that day in Israel there were 3 kings: King David the original king, Adonijah the one who made himself king and Solomon the one who was made king by his father. Church Gist. But the important thing is, before the day was out, Adonijah was back to square one – he wasn’t a king anymore. Oh yes, he still remained a prince but a prince living in fear. That’s a good illustration of back to square one.
But there is a positive meaning of ‘back to square one.’ You see, it all depends on, ‘what exactly is square one?’ For example Genesis 8:14-21. You can see what happened to Noah and his family. Church Gist. They used to live on land – dry land, then they got into the Ark, rain came and the rain lasted 40 days and 40 nights and they were there in the Ark with all manners of animals, all manners of birds – oh, only God knows how smelly the inside of the Ark must have been but they dare not go out. Until after 40 days and 40 nights they were back on dry ground. They were back to square one – a very good square one, “thank God we are back on dry ground.”
Another example of good square one is found in Daniel 4:28-37 – that’s a very good square one. Luke 15:11-24 – you will read the story of the prodigal son. Church Gist. He was back to square one but what a good square one! Back to provision, honour, celebration.
– I’m praying for all of you today who have strayed that before this day is over, you will be back to a good square one… because after restitution, God brings you back to at least the spot where you strayed so you can begin afresh.
I’ve always given the illustration that if you’re travelling and (I am using Nigeria as an example for those of you who are in the rest of the world who might not know) assuming you are going from Lagos to Ilorin – you’re travelling North and you’re supposed to be going straight, just keep on going northwards – straight. But then you got to a junction which we call, Sagamu Junction, you branch to the right, you’re now going East. Church Gist. But then at the time when you were supposed to be in Ibadan which is still going northwards if you have been going straight, you found yourself in a city, shall we say, Ijebu -Ode, which is a City going eastwards and you suddenly realized, I have strayed. To be back to square one is to come right back to where you strayed – come back to Sagamu Junction and now begin the journey towards the North.
When you read the passage we read today and we will be continuing from there next week, you will see that what God said to Joshua is evidence that God is saying, “alright Joshua, alright you have strayed, but now you are back. We can begin to talk again. I can now begin to speak to you as I was speaking to you at the beginning.” Church Gist. You know in the case of Abraham, when Abraham left home in Genesis 12 and did not obey God completely because he took Lot with him, from that moment onwards God didn’t say a word to Abraham. He went from one problem to another and God kept quiet. There is a great prayer that you should pray: that the Almighty God will not keep quiet when you are suffering, that God will speak to you so that at least you will know when to quickly restitute your ways so you can begin to hear from him again. Genesis 13:14-18. You know what? From that moment onwards, God began to speak to him. As a matter of fact, by the time you get to Genesis 18:17-33, the Almighty God said, “shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?” Church Gist. The one to whom God has not spoken when he strayed, when his obedience was incomplete, God was now saying, “I don’t think I can hide anything from this man again. He has become my friend, my favourite.”
– I’m praying for everyone of you listening to me today, if you’re suffering and God has been silent, I pray that God will reach out to you today, so you can repent, restitute, so that He can begin to talk to you again! Church Gist. I am praying from the bottom of my heart that if you’re on speaking terms with the Almighty God before but you’re no longer on speaking terms with him, whatever you need to do so that he will begin to talk to you again so that you can come back to square one where square one means being in speaking terms with the Almighty God, may the Almighty God reveal it to you and give you the grace to do it!
For those of you who have not yet given your life to Jesus Christ, you’ll wonder, what’s he talking about being on talking terms with God? Probably the reason why up till this moment you have never heard from God is because you have not even surrendered your life to him. Church Gist. You’re not one of his own that’s why you have not heard from him because the Lord says, “I know my own, and my own knows me. My own knows my voice.” If you will give your life to Jesus Christ today, you will be amazed that it won’t be long before God will begin to talk to you as friend to a friend.