Restoration simply means returning something to its original condition. Our belief that God is a ‘God of restoration’ is the basis of our hope, it is fundamental to our faith as Christians. One day everything will be made new, God will restore all things in heaven and on the earth. But, for now, we live in a time of tension, between what is and what is to come. We are reconciled to God by faith in Jesus Christ, our relationship with Him is restored. But God does not leave us in the condition that He finds us. He is the Master restorer at work, shaping, and refining, to bring us into the fullness of who He created us to be!
Meaning of Restoration in the Bible
Scripture is clear that our Heavenly Father is the God of restoration. He is working to restore His creation, and His people, both corporately and individually. This brings hope for the future and stirs our hearts to pray for our nation and our communities to turn back to God. As we capture the vision of God as the God of restoration with His love and compassion for us, our hope rises to expectation – there is healing for our brokenness.
God of Restoration, of Creation
Heaven must receive him (Jesus) until the time comes for God to restore everything as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.Acts 3:21
Today society is beginning to acknowledge that creation is in decay. But few recognise that it is waiting to be restored, by God, to the freedom and glory it once declared. The universe is not destined for destruction but for renewal with a new heaven and earth. A place where God’s presence will be among His people and there will no longer be any separation. We are all looking forward with expectancy to that day when God’s kingdom will come in all its fullness.
Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.Revelation 21:3-4
God of Restoration, of Israel
I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them, says the LORD your God.Amos 9:15
The day will come when God will finally and fully restore Israel – never again to be destroyed. The people will be regathered to the promised land – which has begun and is continuing now. Israel will never be completely rejected or abandoned by God. He has promised, as the God of restoration to redeem His people – a considerable number of Jews will turn to Christ in the end times. There is a growing ministry to bring the revelation of Jesus to God’s chosen people.
Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.Psalm 130:7
God of Restoration, of His Children
God is Jehovah Rapha, the one who heals our brokenness, and who can make us whole. First our broken relationship with God is restored, by His grace. Our acceptance by God does not depend on our behaviour, He loves us with an unfailing and everlasting love. God is able to restore fully, and our past does not determine our future in Christ Jesus.
From that place of healing, God begins to restore our value and worth, our understanding of who we are in His sight. There may not always be ‘a fairy tale ending’ for the damage that life has done to our relationships with each other. But God can heal our hurts so that we can move forward into the future and the possibilities in Him – the best is still to come!
Examples of Restoration in the Bible
God of Restoration – The Exiles Return
The book of Nehemiah tells the story of God’s response to a national crisis. God was beginning to restore His scattered people to the promised land. The exile was over, and they were returning home. But Jerusalem was vulnerable as the city walls were damaged.
Nehemiah was still in Babylon but when he heard the news that the exiles who had returned were in trouble, he was distressed for the people and the honour of God’s name. Through Nehemiah’s willingness to respond to a need and do something, God propelled him to the fore. With the support of the king of Babylon, Nehemiah was able to return to Jerusalem. Once there he motivated and inspired the people to start the restoration of the city walls.
The work progressed far beyond rebuilding the walls, to restoring faith and trust in God within the community. As our relationship with God is restored, He challenges and refines other areas of our lives. In Jerusalem, this led to restoring right relationships between the people by ending social injustice. There was a renewed call to worship and purity in the temple.
Structural, social, and spiritual reform. This is what God can do in response to prayer and the willingness of someone, to do something!
Related Post: React or Act?
God of Restoration – Naomi Returns
Naomi’s story of personal restoration is in the book of Ruth. During a time of famine in Israel, her family move over to the neighbouring country of Moab. They settle outside of the promised land. Then her husband dies, but although Naomi is now a widow, she still has her two sons who marry Moabite women. But Naomi’s troubles do not end there, for her two sons also die.
Naomi’s grief must have been overwhelming, compounded by the fact that she was in a foreign land and no longer had any support or security. She was now a woman alone and in a vulnerable position. But she hears good news from Israel that God has come to the aid of His people and the famine has ended. This spurs her to act and to return to the promised land.
Related post: Why did Naomi change her name to Mara?
As Naomi returns to her hometown of Bethlehem, one of her daughters-in-law, Ruth goes with her. Naomi’s faith in God is restored as she sees His hand at work to provide for them both. Ruth remarries Boaz who is a distant relative of Naomi. The story ends with Naomi restored, safe and secure, among family, and caring for her new grandson. He was Obed, who became the father of Jesse, the father of David, the man who would become king, and the line of Messiah, Jesus!
What does it mean to be restored by God?
In the Repair Shop
Currently one of my favourite programmes on UK TV is ‘The Repair Shop.’ Members of the public bring in their items, sometimes long-forgotten childhood treasures that have been tucked away in an attic or at the back of a cupboard. Now they are showing signs of neglect, of wear and tear, and sometimes they no longer work properly. Other items are broken and damaged; they have suffered an accident and are in pieces. I have often thought, ‘How are they ever going to fix that?’
Those who do the repair work are experts in their field, they lovingly and patiently restore the different objects. Sometimes they start by taking the item apart, and initially, it appears as if they are making things worse! But slowly, and with no expense spared, they source all that they need to start restoring. A little bit of glue here, a new fresh piece of material there, maybe some stitches to bring everything together, or a touch of paint for a final flourish. Then the restored object is revealed, more than just repaired, renewed and fully functioning once again!
We are God’s Handiwork
It always reminds me that we are all on a restoration journey and God is the Master Restorer. He has made the way to restore us to Himself through the gift of salvation. All our sins are washed away, and we become a new creation, leaving our old lives behind, and beginning a new life with the Lord. As we start our journey of faith we are refined by God. He invites us to engage in this process, to co-work with the Holy Spirit, so that we become more like Jesus.
There may be times when we spend a season in the ‘repair shop.’ It could be that life has left us damaged and broken, and we need to submit to the Father’s loving care, before we can move forward. He is our life restorer, by His mercy and grace. There is hope for the future with a divine exchange, as we give God our brokenness He reveals His recovery plan. God is our healer, He comforts our hurt and restores us from our brokenness, as we commit to journeying with Jesus.
Restored through Worship
By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide-open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.
There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling short-changed. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!Romans 5:1-5 MSG