Songs and Praise


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"AND the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

"If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against the LORD, and lie unto his neighbour in that which was deliv­ered him to keep, or in fellowship, or in a thing taken away by violence, or hath deceived his neighbour;

"Or have found that which was lost, and lieth concern­ing it, and sweareth falsely; in any of all these that a min doeth, sinning therein:

"Then it shall be, because he hath sinned, and is guilty, that he shall restore that which he took violently away, or the thing which he hath deceitfully gotten, or that which was delivered him to keep, or the lost thing which he found,

"Or all that about which he hath sworn falsely; he shall even restore it in the principal, and shall add the fifth part more thereto, and give it unto him to whom it apper­taineth, in the day of his trespass offering" (Leviticus 6:I­5).


It has pleased the Lord to speak to us through these verses in Leviticus about one of the cardinal points of the doctrine that God expects us as Christians to know, understand and put into practice, that is Restitution.


We must make restitution if we want to be true disciples of Je­sus Christ to the end of our lives. Restitution is making right the wrong that we have done. It is what God desires and it is what He expects us to do. During the time of the Children of Israel, God in­structed them through Moses as regards restitution, what they had to do, particularly when they wanted to bring their offerings. Even if they felt the person against whom they had committed, the sin did not know anything about the sin committed, the very day they wanted to offer their trespass offering, they should be prepared to make the restitution. If we consider the verses we have read, we will see that from verse two downwards, God stated clearly those things in which a man might have sinned against his neighbour for which God required him to make restitution on the day of his tres­pass offering.


The first point God mentioned in the passage is, 'If a person has lied to his neighbour in that which he was given to keep.' On the day he wanted to offer his offering, it was expected of him to go back to whom he had lied to and make restitution before he could offer his trespass offering. Perhaps, somebody was in a fi­nancial difficulty and had borrowed money and had given a pledge, the one in possession of the pledge was to return it on the day of his trespass offering. If something got lost from someone, the one who picked it up and lied concerning it should return it to the owner. Whenever it is within our power to put right all the wrong that we have committed, Jesus Christ will help us to make them right and cover them. But if we fail to make restitution, the Blood of Jesus Christ will not cover it. Perhaps, you have violently taken something from someone, because you have an advantage over and above him, the day you are making reconciliation with God, it is required that you return that thing which you have taken.


You may not be guilty of the points we have mentioned but if you have cheated your neighbour, God expects you to return that much by which you have cheated him. Maybe there is something which ought to be divided between the two of you, but because you are educated or in a better position, or you are more knowledgeable than he is, and with your knowledge you have cheated him, on the day you want to seek reconciliation with God, God expects you to return that much by which you have cheated him. On the other hand, if you have slandered your neighbour, and he did not even know that you have slandered or spoken ill of him, on the day you are seeking peace or reconciliation with God, you must go back and tell him what you have said against him. God told the Israelites that on the day they wanted to offer their trespass offering, they were expected to add the fifth part thereof.


On hearing how much we have to do in respect of restitution, one may begin to wonder why we have to expose ourselves to ridi­cule. Those things which we have done in secret, why do we need to go and expose them?


"And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men" (Acts 24:16).


Paul the Apostle tells the determination of his heart to have a conscience void of offence towards God and men. Ever since man was created, God has put His agent in his heart, that is the con­science. The conscience pricks us each time we do something con­trary to God's will. The Bible says, "If our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart." To have a conscience void of offence towards God and man requires our making right the wrong which we have done to others. When we right the wrong, this often brings unity among brethren.


"Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right;

"If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die.

"None of his sins that he hath committed shall be men­tioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live" (Ezekiel 33:14-16).


The above quotation tells us the benefits which accrue to us when we put right what is wrong in our lives. Through the wooing of the Spirit of God, if a soul is reminded of a wrong he has com­mitted against his brother or sister, but purposely disregards the Spirit of God, such a person is dead in the sight of God. But on the other hand, a person who is instructed by the Spirit of God that he should make his way right, and is willing to do it, God will help him and the judgment of death which had earlier on been pro­nounced on him will be changed.


"Speak unto the children of Israel, When a man or woman shall commit any sin that men commit, to do a tres­pass against the Lord, and that person be guilty;

"Then they shall confess their sin which they have done: and he shall recompense his trespass with the princi­pal thereof and add unto it the fifth part thereof, and give it unto him against whom he hath trespassed.

"But if the man have no kinsman to recompense the trespass unto, let the trespass be recompensed unto the Lord, even to the priest; beside the ram of the atonement, whereby an atonement shall be made for him" (Numbers 5:6-8).


God wanted the Children of Israel to have a conscience void of offence towards Him and their fellow men. That is why He went to the extent of telling them what they had to do in respect of making restitution. He said that if the person they had cheated or defrauded or lied unto had died, and had no kinsman whom they could locate, God expected them to return the principal amount and a fifth thereof to the priest.


We are grateful to God that as He was yesterday, so He is to­day and He will be forever. As He spoke to people during the Dis­pensation of the Law, in like manner, God speaks to people today.


"Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;

"Leave there thy gift before' the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift" (Matthew 5:23, 24).


The admonition given here is not only applicable when our brother has "an ought" against us, it is also applicable when you have "an ought" against your brother. God expected the Children of Israel to first of all seek reconciliation with their brother or sister before bringing their trespass offering. Equally, we of the Gospel Dispensation are expected to leave our gifts at the altar and first reconcile with our brother before offering our prayers. Then God will answer our prayers.


The blessings we enjoy from aspiring to what God tells us is similar to the question asked by the Psalmist, 'Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD, or who shall stand in his holy place?'


The purpose of our coming to the house of God is to make Heaven and a person who will ascend the hill of God must have clean hands and a pure heart. When we come before God as sinners and repent of our sins, Jesus Christ will save us. When we are moved, God expects us to make restitution.


Possibly, after you are saved, God reveals to you that you have sinned against the government of your nation. Maybe, you have defrauded the government by not paying your taxes or obtaining necessary permits such as learners' permit, God expects you to make restitution to the government and do what is right before you can be a candidate for Heaven. Perhaps, you have a standard busi­ness and you were not paying the accurate income tax required of you, when you come to Jesus Christ and you realise you have de­frauded, you must go and make restitution to the government.


Perhaps, you don't know the standard of the Gospel as far as marriage is concerned: one man, one wife. You may want to take another wife because you are rich. You may even retain. your wife at home and look for concubines outside your matrimonial home. You cannot expect the blessings of God to be on you in such a state.


"And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Be­hold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.

"And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abra­ham" (Luke 19:8,9).


Zacchaeus was a publican and a tax collector. With the author­ity of the government, he could exploit people while carrying out his duties. He collected more than the law allowed him and by this, he became rich. As a result of his attitude, people hated him. The Spirit of God dealt with him, hence, he wanted to see Jesus. We are grateful for the faithfulness of God. Whenever a heart is desirous to see Jesus Christ, no matter how difficult this may be, Jesus will find him out. If a heart is desirous of doing God's will, staying where God expects him to stay, going where God wants him to go, even though he may not know the way, the Scriptures say, "The wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein." Jesus was to pass by where Zacchaeus was. Though Zacchaeus had a very small stature, he made up his mind to climb a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus. Even before he went up the tree, Jesus knew his mind. The Lord knows us within and without. When Jesus got to the tree, He asked Zacchaeus to come down immediately. To his surprise, Jesus told him that He was going to abide in his house that day. May Jesus Christ abide in our hearts today.


Zacchaeus acknowledged Jesus Christ. He told Jesus the wrongs he had done and promised to return the things he had stolen or taken by force. He was prepared to return them fourfold. Al­though in this Dispensation of the Gospel we are not required to add the fifth part or pay fourfold, we must make our ways right be­fore God and man. If we are prepared to make restitution, God is ever ready to help us. With the decision of Zacchaeus to make res­titution, Jesus Christ told him, "This day is salvation entered into thy house." Jesus said this because He knew the sincerity of the heart of Zacchaeus. He knew Zacchaeus would be true to what he said he would do. If we are sincerely looking forward to receiving Jesus into our hearts, He will come in.


"Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after" (1 Timothy 5:24).


When a man hears the Word of God as regards restitution, if such a person is willing to make it right, God will give him power and courage to do it. He will have fellowship with that brother or sister or neighbour as well as with God. That was what Zacchaeus did before he was saved. If Zacchaeus never did, his sins would not have been covered and would have stood against him in judgment. As children of God who are pilgrims to the Holy City, if you have a nonchalant attitude to restitution or keep procrastinating, if death should snatch you away, all those things which you ought to have done by way of restitution will stand against you in judgment.


God does not want us to come short of that place which He has prepared for us. That is why He points out every little bit of restitu­tion which we have to make here and there, to make us ready, to make us worthy, and to make us a part of the pure Church. When we do the right thing, we have a broad mind with which we can live one with another and by which we can be ready for that eternal Home.


"If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye_ do them" (John 13:17).


We are grateful to God because He has given us the privilege to know the Word of God. He has given us ears to hear. He has given us the opportunity to see those who had made restitution and the blessings they enjoyed. Such blessings as we have seen in their lives are in store for us if we are willing to do all that God wants us to do. Do you have a restitution to make which hinders your prayers from being answered, or which does not allow you to be an instrument in the hands of God, and which you think you can cover up? Tell God you want to make it right. There is an opportunity for you this morning. If you decide to do it, God will help you.

By Rev E. A. Oshobowale

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