THE VISITATION OF GOD

Pastor Bankie THE VISITATION OF GOD

Sometime ago I was engaged in a discussion with a man who was mocking and criticizing people who he said were looking for miracles, going to one miracle crusade after another. He is a staunch member of an orthodox church. I asked him to tell me honestly that he was not desiring a miracle himself. He answered me that he was OK, so I replied that we should thank God for him but that he needs to bear in mind that there are many who are not so okay; many who have cancer that need healing, people with sickly children, those in severe financial distress, young people that need to be gainfully employed, lonely people etc. I told him that the fact that he is OK should not make the people that are not subjects of his mockery, rather he should thank God and pray that he does not find himself in a situation that desperate.

Now, for those who are not okay, what you need is a visitation from the Lord.

The visitation of God refers to when God comes to deliver you out of your destruction, out of your sickness, lack, unfruitfulness etc. It is when He comes to relieve your burden. It is ‘when the Lord turns again the captivity of Zion’.

Hannah was one who needed the visitation of the Lord. She was barren and her loving husband had taken another wife who bore him many children. The Bible records that this wife ‘would provoke and bitterly irritate her’. She desperately needed a visitation. She turned to the Lord, He answered, and in her case Psalm 126 was fulfilled.

‘When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter…’

She said:

‘My heart exults and triumphs in the Lord…my mouth is no longer silent …because I rejoice in Your salvation (or visitation).

You too will rejoice. You will shout with singing. Why? Because the Lord is set to visit you. You see, as long as it is called ‘today’, God is set to visit you. In Luke 4,Jesus said that the Spirit of the Lord was upon Him to ‘proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord’. That referred to the year of Jubilee, the year in which all debts were cancelled and people were all allowed a new beginning. It was the year of liberation in which slaves and debtors were delivered. We could call it the year of the visitation of the Lord.

Jesus has decreed that now is the day of your liberty: The sick is to be healed, the womb is to be open, and the poor soul is to be filled with abundance. This is the meaning of ‘the acceptable year of the Lord’. This is the gospel that Jesus came to preach. So Child of God, get ready for your liberty!

This message is to show you what is needed in your life as a preparation for the visitation of God. You see, spiritual things do not occur where there is no readiness; God never visits those who are not ready for Him. See this:

‘The Lord also said to Moses “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow and let them wash their garments, and let them get ready for the third day, for on the third day the Lord will come down”’.

The third day referred to the day of the visitation of God. There must be a preparation for the third day. On the first and second days, you are to wash your garments, get clean and so get ready. It is not just to ask for the third day but also to prepare for it. When the preparation is complete, God needs no further bidding; He seeks you out by Himself. Have you not heard this?

‘…for the eye of the Lord runs to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on the behalf of them whose heart is perfect towards Him’

God is itching to visit you; He is yearning to bring you your deliverance. The problem is that the road to your situation is impassable. God’s desire is always to bless but people would often put themselves where He can’t reach. Take this for an example:

‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her, how often I wanted to gather your children together… and you would not have it…’ Lk 13,34

Preparation is to bring us into a place where God can come down. There must be a first and a second day of preparation so that there will be a third day of the visitation of God. This is the truth that John the Baptist represented. There of necessity had to be a preparation before the coming of the Lord; so John was sent. He was described as ‘… a voice of one crying in the wilderness, “make straight the way of the Lord.”’

In Luke 1, 17 we read:

‘And it is he who will go as a forerunner before Him (the Lord)…to turn the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord’.

John represented the ‘first and second days’, while the ‘third day’ is ‘the acceptable year’ of Jesus Christ. Those who refused the preparation of John by not submitting to his baptism found it impossible to partake of the blessings Jesus brought. See Luke 7,30.

The lesson is this: You have prayed enough for God to visit you; He is saying ‘I have heard but I need my way prepared so I can come’. This was the message that John came preaching.

The preparation of the way of the Lord involves the leveling of the road.

‘Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; and the crooked shall be made straight and the rough places plain, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed.

This, of course, is a figurative speech. So what does it mean in real terms? Paul explained it well:

‘…John baptized with the baptism of repentance…’ Acts 19,4.

You see, our experiences in life are products of the spiritual states of our hearts. In Proverbs we read that ‘…out of it flows the issues of life.’ However, as people, we tend to have our own explanations and somebody or something else to blame for our situations. Students don’t accept that they failed; they think they were failed. It is almost always ‘they’ or ‘it’, but rarely ‘I’. People fail to take responsibility for their circumstances. I make bold to say to you today that you are accountable for every circumstance in your life, directly or indirectly. Do not forget that we are talking about spiritual matters here and that most times the real cause of a problem is not physically directly related. For example, few people relate the death of a young person to disobedience to parents, but the Bible makes it clear that the honour of parents prolongs life. (See Eph.6,1-3)

The first step therefore in preparing a way for the Lord is to accept responsibility for whatever situation you are in today. Don’t blame your husband for the trouble in your home; don’t blame your wife. Your boss is not your problem. Don’t blame the economy, it does not affect you alone. The first and foremost issue in life is your relationship with God. If you do not bear this in mind, you will continue to expend your energy on the wrong solutions; you will continue to pray and fast, yet God will not answer. Read this:

‘Because of the multitude of oppressions they cry out; they cry for help because of the arm of the mighty, but no one says where is God my maker.
‘There they cry out but he does not answer…
‘Surely God will not listen to (such) an empty cry nor will the Almighty regard it.’ Job35, 9-13.

Your first concern must be ‘where is God my maker?’ ‘What is the state of my relationship with God?’ You must bear in mind that your standing with God affects all aspects of your life. It affects your relationship with your enemies.

‘ When the ways of a man pleases the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.’

This means that if your enemies are fiercely assailing you, you’ve got a problem with God. When Asa and Jehosaphat settled issues with God, He gave them rest; there were no more wars from their enemies. (2Chr.15&20)

It affects your friendships. He said ‘if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another…’

It affects your body.

‘… for they are life to those who find them and health to their whole body.’

If you need the visitation of God anywhere in your life, your first assignment is to check up on your relationship with God; something is definitely wrong. Don’t give excuses like Adam who blamed God and the woman He gave him. Ask, ‘what must I do to be saved?’. The fact that you seem righteous in your own eyes does not make you free of blame.

Anyone who feels he or she is OK and that someone else is the problem is proud and is not yet ready for the visitation of God. Even if it is quite apparent whom and what are causing your problems, remember they would not have been able to assail you if your relationship with God was in order. Your enemies are only as strong as your relationship with God is weak.

There are sins and errors that you committed in the past and have forgotten, but the consequences are following you about. Friend, you need the light of God. You may realise it but stubbornly refuse to admit it because you consider it a past thing and are not willing to come to terms with a mistake that you presently can’t do anything about. I have good news for you: God is saying, ‘behold, I’m able to make all things new.

Listen! There can never be adversity without sin; there cannot be a crisis without a shortcoming. You can come out of this by admitting your position and repenting of your errors. The grace of God has been manifested in Jesus; He has paid the price for all your sins. That is why deliverance is yours now; that is why it is called the acceptable year of the Lord. God is passing over all your previous errors that brought you into your present situation. Jesus came to seek and to save sinners. To save means to deliver; He came to deliver sinners from the bondage into which sin has brought them. Yes, you did things that brought you into circumstances, things deserving of judgement; God is saying ‘my grace is available both to forgive and then to deliver.’ This is the grace of God.

‘He that believes in Jesus is not judged…’ Jn 5,14

Payment has been made for your sin and you do not need to suffer punishment. Take hold of the grace in the name of Jesus and be free. Jesus did not come to teach a form of religion but to deliver you from your destructions by the forgiveness of sin. All you need to do to partake of this is just to believe it and to say in prayer that ‘Jesus, I accept it as so. Thank you’.

The next thing is ‘go and sin no more’; that is you do not return to your former manner of life. Repentance means a change of attitude or thought pattern; your former ways did not get you anywhere; you must forsake them. You see, Jesus is the truth, so if you will commence and continue to do what is right, He must become your Lord indeed. You will obey His word; this is the consecration you have to make.

The next point I want you to understand is that not having a right relationship with God is what causes people to do things wrongly; that is, it makes them take wrong steps and make wrong decisions in life. It produces a lack of wisdom. These in turn produce discomfort in life. The point I am making is this: There are things which are not right which became wrong as a result of a wrong relationship with God and these things must be made right. Now that you have righted your relationship with God, you have the power to make them right. Let’s take a few examples.

If there is trouble in your home, you may have to learn how to submit to your husband or how to love your wife. For you a businessman, maybe it is time to learn discipline. There are such people who know little about discipline and accountability but who go on anointing their business premises with oil for success. No! It does not work that way. The student may need to learn diligence and submission to authority.

Whatever it is that each one needs, God will reveal it as long as you maintain a right relationship with Him through Jesus Christ.

‘…a man says to God, “I am guilty but will offend no more; teach me what I cannot see, if I have done wrong, I will not do so again.”’ Job34,31

God will reveal to you the ‘one thing you still lack’. When your ways have been prepared, on the third day, God will come and visit you.

The message for you today is:
‘…make straight the way of the Lord.’

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