Our God is a God of restoration. I love the TV shows where they take an old undesirable house and fix it up to become the best house in the neighborhood. Well, that’s the perfect image of what God does. He fixes us up, restores us, redeems us, and brings us back to the image he had in mind when he created us. He not only does that for you, but remember he does that for your loved one who has gone astray. He’s in the process of restoring them too.
God has a promise for you tucked away in his word, a promise for you to cling to. Zechariah 9:12 – “Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double.”
Whatever you’ve gone through, whatever you’re going through now, whatever has been lost or sacrificed, God is about to repay you with double. If you will stay faithful, if you will keep the course, everything you’ve lost will be returned to you double! Isn’t that reason enough to keep going today? Isn’t that reason enough to push through? Did you lose a year of your life battling sickness? You’ll be repaid with two of the best years of your life. Years you could have never imagined. Did you lose money to someone who was dishonest or deceitful? No worries, you’ll be repaid double and the repaying will come from God. Has someone walked out on your life, abandoned or neglected you. Ahhhhh, you know what God has in store for you? Someone TWICE AS GOOD! Did you lose a job? Watch out, God’s bringing one that is twice as good!
You have no reason to be down today. No reason to be without hope. God is working to restore you and he’s going to do it double!
“Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double.”
God gives a promise here, a promise that he will restore you to double, he will repay you twice for your troubles, but there’s something you must do too. What does this scripture say, RETURN TO YOUR STRONGHOLD. A stronghold is a safe place that has been tightly secured in case of attack. Some translations say return to your fortress or your place of safety. Now this is an instruction for you today. Understand you are under attack. Every day the enemy is on the prowl just waiting to pounce on any area of weakness. Searching for any crack in your life he can weasel his way into and do his nasty work of tearing you down and rendering you ineffective for the good works you were created to do. He knows the person you were created to be, he sees your potential and his mission is to keep you stuck in a little life plagued with anxieties and worries so you don’t dare step into your BIG life.
So God says return to your stronghold. Get back in here to your place of safety. Where is that? In the shadow of the Lord. Psalm 91:1 says “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” You’re living under the protection of God when you’re seeking him and coming in close to him. You can’t enjoy the shelter of a tree and rest in it’s shadow if you’re on the other side of the fence, right? You have to come in close to the tree and lay under it to be in it’s shadow and protection. Understand God is your stronghold. He is your place of safety. And he’s waiting for you to come in close to him and receive his protection. Let him shelter you. Let his shadow cover you.
When life gets hard, and I’m feeling the heat from the flames, I like to imagine God in his almighty, huge state walking right beside me just casting a shadow over me. Everything else is getting melted by the heat, but I’m just walking right on through because he is by my side and his shadow is on me.
If you’re not protected by his shadow, could that mean that maybe you’re on the wrong side of the fence? Could you be trying to wander through life on your own? Return to your stronghold. God hasn’t moved. He’s standing steady and always hoping you will return to him. And the really awesome news is we don’t have to clean ourselves up before running back to him. You don’t have to get your life in order first. You don’t have to have it all figured out. Why is it we think before we can come running to God we need the 5 year plan of how we’re going to work this all out. God doesn’t care about your 5 year plan. He wants to see your hands empty and open wide. You can come running back to him and return to your safe place, your stronghold TODAY. At this moment you can do it.
As we come running back to God, we are referred to as prisoners of hope. You are a prisoner of hope when you believe in the promises of your God even when life is hard. Even when you are under attack, you know your God is for you and not against you. You are a prisoner of hope. Hope surrounds you. Hope holds you. Cling to his promises today. Every promise in the bible can be rewritten with your name in it. It is for you, available to you, and all you have to do is come a runnin’!
The enemy tries to imprison you. He tries to hold you captive with anxiety and depression. He tries to bind you with sin and shame and guilt. But Jesus came to set you free and give you life to overflowing. You are a prisoner of HIS love, not a prisoner of Satan’s schemes. You can’t get away from the love of Jesus. You can’t escape his goodness. He is forever seeking you, forever holding out hope that you will return to the safe place of the shadow of God where he can shelter and protect you.
And it is here, here in this place where you surrender and seek God fully that he will restore you double. Whatever your adversity has been, your success will be double. Whatever you have lost will be returned twice. It’s coming back to you in double.
This is his promise to you. Today, refuse the bait of depression. Refuse the bait of overwhelm. Refuse the bait of disappointment. Instead, grab hold of God’s promises to you. He promises double. Double for your trouble.