2023: THE YEAR OF RESTORATION
by Rita Langeland
Return to the stronghold, you prisoners who have the hope;
This very day I am declaring that I will restore double to you.
Zechariah 9:12 NASB
“RESTORE” (from the Hebrew word SHUB) – to return/to bring back/to recover/ to make restitution/to repay
(from the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance with Greek and Hebrew Dictionaries)
One of the most outstanding stories of restoration in the Bible is found in the book of Job. Most people groan when Job’s name is mentioned – remembering only the great tribulations the man endured. Or they know him for the perseverance he developed while undergoing painful trials and thus are familiar with the proverbial expression “the patience of Job.” But the most amazing part of Job’s story is found in the very last chapter which reveals the astonishing restoration God brought about in Job’s life. Job 42:10 tells us:
After Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored Job’s prosperity and gave him twice as much as he had before. (God’s Word version)
God restored DOUBLE Job’s previous prosperity and if you remember, before disaster struck his life, he had been the richest man in the land! But it was not only his possessions that were restored to him – he eventually had 7 more sons and 3 more daughters and lived to see his grandchildren to the fourth generation. Job’s story is one of amazing personal restoration since one of the tragedies he had endured was the loss of all his children in a single day when a house collapsed during a horrific windstorm.
One important side note: before God restored Job’s prosperity – the Lord required him to pray for his friends. (See Job 42:10) This required Job to forgive them from his heart – as they had NOT been good friends to Job during his crises. Instead of comforting or helping him, they had accused Job of having secret sin in his life that brought on all the tragedy he was experiencing. So, before you ask God for restoration, be sure to ask the Lord if there is anyone you need to forgive!
Many people have suffered hurtful losses over the past few years. I believe God is saying to the body of Christ that He is bringing a year of RESTORATION to His people during 2023. To be able to stand in faith for your own personal restoration, let us examine what the Bible says that God restores. This way we can ask Him to do it in our lives – based upon what we find in His written Word.
What kind of things does the Bible say that God RESTORES?
In the Amplified Classic version of Zec. 9:12 we find this rendering: Return to the stronghold [of security and prosperity], you prisoners of hope; even today do I declare that I will restore double your former prosperity to you. Many businesses have been severely affected by the pandemic and other economic factors over the last three years. God wants us to trust Him for a restoration of former prosperity in business even taking His word of DOUBLE PORTION RESTORATION to heart!
Joel 2:25 gives us this promise: So, I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, The consuming locust, And the chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you.
Have you ever felt like you have wasted time – even YEARS of your life? We have all done it. I remember after giving my life to the Lord thinking, “I wasted my entire college career pursuing foolishness and wrong relationships…when I could have been discovering what God designed for me to do in life!” Did you know that God promises that He can and will restore YEARS that the enemy has stolen from you? That may seem like an impossible promise and yet it is the GOD OF THE IMPOSSIBLE who made that promise. Take it to heart and ask for God to restore “the YEARS the locust has eaten” in your life during 2023. Don’t try to imagine how it can happen, just tell the Lord, “I don’t know how you can do it – but I believe you can. Please do it for me in 2023!”
FORMER POSITIONS OF INFLUENCE AND LEADERSHIP
In the book of Daniel, we find an amazing story about God restoring a person to a position of leadership and influence. The story pertains to King Nebuchadnezzar who was restored to his throne after 7 years of exile in the wilderness where the king lived like an animal because he was out of his mind. But after the king repented for his pride and arrogance, the Lord restored him both mentally and positionally. Daniel 4:36 says: At that time my reason returned to me. And my majesty and splendor were restored to me for the honor of my kingdom, and my state counselors and my nobles began seeking me out; so, I was reestablished in my sovereignty, and surpassing greatness was added to me.
If you have lost a job due to layoffs or business closures, or lost a position of influence for any reason, ask the Lord for a restoration of your former position during 2023. (Remember - the King had to repent of pride and arrogance before he was restored to his former position – so ask the Lord to show you if there is any area of repentance you need to address so that God can bring the restoration you desire)
One of the names of God listed in the Hebrew scriptures is Jehovah Rapha – the Lord who heals. (Exodus 15:26) Many scriptures illustrate God’s desire and willingness to restore people to health including these two specific mentions in the Psalms:
The Lord will sustain him upon his sickbed; In his illness, You restore him to health. Psalm 41:3
O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you restored my health. Psalm 30:2 NLT
Let us not hesitate to ask for the restoration of our health in 2023 – the YEAR OF RESTORATON!
MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL WELLBEING
Psalm 23:3a He restores my soul…God not only brings healing to the physical body – but the 23rd Psalm speaks of the Good Shepherd “restoring the soul” which is a reference to the mind, will and emotions. If you or a loved one has need of healing for the emotions or the mind – don’t be reluctant to ask God to bring that important restoration this year.
JOY OF SALVATION
Psalm 51:12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and make me willing to obey you.
There are many people who feel like they have lost the former closeness of relationship with God or the “joy of their salvation” that they once enjoyed as a younger person. Even King David experienced times when he walked away from God into sin and had to pray “Restore to me the joy of your salvation…” Let 2023 be the year that you allow God to restore your former relationship with Him and don’t remain distant any longer!
The restoration of family relationships is the desire of many in this age of dysfunctional families. We can see God’s heart to restore families by looking at two examples in the Bible – one in the Old Testament and one in the New. In both cases, we see family restoration demonstrated.
In Genesis 37, we can read about a very dysfunctional family. There was favoritism, jealousy, and hatred which resulted in the older brothers selling off their younger brother into slavery. Joseph was the victim of this great betrayal, and yet God enabled him to have both the courage and the desire to forgive his brothers and seek family restoration. God utilized His miraculous power and Joseph’s willing heart to bring about an incredible reconciliation of Jacob’s entire family.
In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus told a parable about a Prodigal son. In that story we see a loving father (who symbolizes God) willing to forgive and receive back a son who had shamed the family through his wastrel lifestyle. God loves to restore families and can repair the most broken and damaged ones you can imagine. He sent His son to the earth to bring reconciliation of mankind to their Heavenly Father. He will do the same for you and your family if you will seek Him for it. Be ready to do anything God instructs you to do to be a part of the supernatural restoration of your family. Let’s believe God for many testimonies of FAMILY RESTORATION during 2023!
How to take hold of the YEAR OF RESTORATION for your own life:
- Say what God says! “Lord, I believe that this is the YEAR OF RESTORATION FOR ME AND MY FAMILY!” It is important to maintain a consistent confession of faith even to the last day of the year. During 2022, I consistently declared the prophetic word given by a prophet of God regarding the provision of God coming to the body of Christ in unusual, supernatural, and extraordinary ways. In the last few days of the year, Hidden with Christ Ministries received some extraordinary provision that was desperately needed for our work in Tanzania and fulfilled that prophetic promise. Do not give up on standing in agreement with this word of restoration even to the end of the year!
- Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (James 4:7) Do not repeat what the enemy of your soul will whisper to you… “this will never happen for me…I will never get out of debt…I will never be healed…” instead RESIST the temptation to agree with those negative statements even if they feel true! Remember God’s people “walk by faith” not by feelings! Be diligent to SAY WHAT GOD SAYS – “This is the year of restoration for me and my family!”
- When you see even a small manifestation of God’s restoration, be quick to acknowledge it! “That is RESTORATION! THANK YOU, LORD!”
If you are consistent in standing in faith over the next 12 months, you will have great testimonies to share at the end of 2023 of your year of RESTORATION!