GOD ALWAYS SUBTRACTS BEFORE HE ADDS
Sunday, October 31, 2021
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit".
Everybody is happy when they ask God to give them something or cause somebody to grant their request and God gives them a positive response. We rejoice when we receive open doors after asking for it; new jobs at places of our choice; marriages to particular choice of people; new businesses etc. We always rejoice and give testimonies each time we receive what we ask God for. Beloved, today, I am standing here to tell you that you do not have to lose your faith just because God does not do that thing you requested Him to do. You don't have to get a nervous breakdown, depression, emotional turmoil, get out from church, lose your faith and focus just because you didn't get that job, didn't get into that school, didn't get to marry that guy, didn't have that baby, didn't close on that home, didn't get your healing or whatever you wanted from the Lord. As a matter of fact, sometimes God still goes ahead to give you what you ask for but not how and when you asked for it or He may save you from a disaster when He says NO. You don't need faith to direct you when everything falls into place, but you need faith to sustain you when everything is breaking loose. Several times you look at the promises of God in His word and look at what you are going through and you say 'Lord, what I'm experiencing now is not in line with what you say'. But today, I came to church to let you know why you should praise the Lord when things are going in the opposite direction because several times God subtracts before He adds. Lift up your hands and shout alleluia somebody!
I want to let you know today that as a child of God, you ought to be happy and thank God when you do not receive certain things you ask for. You should praise Him for things that did not happen. This is because when you got saved, you got called according to God's purpose. Apostle Paul said in Philippians 1:6 '...that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:' In other words if God started a good work in you, He's not going to allow it to be interrupted by anything that does or does not happen in your life. We tend to live in one level of faith by thanking God only for the ways He made, doors He opened etc...But I want to tell you that if you desire to take your faith to the next level, you should not only thank God for the doors He opened but also for the doors He allowed to close. You need to learn to thank and praise the Lord not only for the good things He has done in your life, but also for those things you asked for which He did not allow to happen. This is because He is still at work both to will and to do of His good pleasure.
From our text in John 12:24, if a corn does not fall and die, it will never bear fruit. In other words, if a corn dies (SUBTRACT), then it will bear much fruit (ADDITION). Every breakthrough situation in your life may involve some losses before their actualization. However, when the breakthrough comes, it covers all the loses. God always subtracts before He adds.
In Judges 7, God shows this principle of subtraction before addition. Gideon recruited 32,000 men to fight the Midianites. God asked that the number be reduced. It came down 10,000 but God ended up approving only 300 men to fight an opposing army of 140,000 men and used them to secure victory for Israel. God often subtracts before He adds.
When you see people leaving your life; when you see folks who used to like you and they do not like you again, allow them to go. Do not stop them.
· Quit trying to sell yourself to people.
· Quit trying to convince people to love you.
· Quit trying to open the doors that God has closed.
· If they want to leave, let them go because God always subtract before he adds and you don't need them to fulfill God's purposes for your life.
The addition may not come immediately but the purposes of God for your life must be fulfilled. People leave you because they are not joined to you, and if they are not joined to you, even if you get a super glue, you cannot make them stay. 1 John 2:19 says - They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
Then went Boaz up to the gate, and sat him down there: and, behold, the kinsman of whom Boaz spake came by; unto whom he said, Ho, such a one! Turn aside, sit down here. And he turned aside, and sat down. 2 And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, Sit ye down here. And they sat down. 3 And he said unto the kinsman, Naomi that is come again out of the country of Moab, selleth a parcel of land, which was our brother Elimelech's: 4 And I thought to advertise thee, saying, Buy it before the inhabitants, and before the elders of my people. If thou wilt redeem it, redeem it: but if thou wilt not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know: for there is none to redeem it beside thee; and I am after thee. And he said, I will redeem it. 5 Then said Boaz, What day thou buyest the field of the hand of Naomi, thou must buy it also of Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance. 6 And the kinsman said, I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it.
The above is the story about the life of Naomi and Elimelech. For an understanding and appreciation of the passage, I need to take you back to the beginning of the story of the book of Ruth. There was a time of great famine in the city of Bethlehem where Elimelech lived with his wife Naomi. Elimelech, who of course wanted to be a good provider for the family, moved them down to Moab where there is food. But here's the problem - Moab was a place where God's children did not live because it was a place full of pagans and heathens. You see the irony of life - God's people were experiencing famine and suffering whereas there was abundance of food in the pagan land of Moab. You need to note something here - Many times God will test us to see if we love Him enough to stay in fellowship at the expense of seeking for welfare. Which one do you love most? God or mammon? Jesus said in Matthew 6:24 that you cannot serve God and mammon. You need to make up your mind that you are not going to be chasing better circumstances at the expense of fellowship. Please don't chase better circumstances at the expense of your soul. Jesus said what will it profit a man if he will gain the whole world and lose his soul? However, even when we don't make the right decision, God's work is still going on in our lives. You don't need to be perfect to experience the plans and purposes of God for your life. All that God needs is total submission and complete obedience.
During their sojourn in Moab, Elimelech died and so did his two sons that went with him. So, Naomi found herself with no husband and no adult sons. In the culture of the Jews then that means that their land in Bethlehem cannot be claimed by the family unless a male relation becomes what was called a "kinsman redeemer" and will redeem it on behalf of the dead so that Naomi and her daughter-in-law, Ruth would be able to prosper. So, Naomi decides to go home by herself. She said, "I left full but I'm going back empty". She told her daughters-in-law to remain back in Moab their country while she goes. Oprah agreed but Ruth did not. I guess she must have said "I know it does not make sense, but something tells me that my destiny ties to you". Child of God, you need to realize that people's destinies are tied to other people, institutions, environments, churches etc? Ruth's decision may not have made sense to a whole lot of people but when God is at work it does not make sense to the wisdom of man. Ruth said to Naomi - I'm going to stick to you. Your God is going to be my God and your people are going to be my people. I'm going to live and die among them. Naomi was full of despair by the time they got back to Bethlehem. In fact, the Bible says that when the people saw her and remembered her from years before they said, 'could this be Naomi?' And she said to them "Don't even call me Naomi, call me Mara" That means, don't call me gracious or pleasant, call me bitter. Child of God, I would like to give you a very important counsel today - NEVER NAME YOURSELF AFTER WHAT YOU'VE BEEN THROUGH. This is because whatever you're going through is temporary. Weeping may endure for the night (and the night might even be long), but the night must eventually give way for the morning. God has promised to bring you out eventually from every negative thing you are going through. Therefore, trust God during those dark times and don't re-identify yourself based on your circumstance.
- I'm not what I've been through...
- I'm not what I am currently going through...
- I'm not all the negative things my haters are saying about me...
- I'm only what God says I am...
- I am a child of God; I am a victor and no matter what I'm going through now, God has better things for me in the future.
While in Bethlehem, Ruth decided to go into the field where harvesters are gleaning to pick up the leftovers behind them. It happened by God's divine assistance and direction that she found herself in the field of Boaz the relative of Elimelech. Boaz having been told who Ruth was, instructed his workers to always leave some stuff on purpose when they see Ruth coming behind them as they glean. How many of you know that even before you reach your place of destiny, God always lives you some stuff on purpose. You may not have all the blessings you need yet but every time you need something, God makes something available. His grace is always there.
Ruth eventually requested that Boaz be their kinsman redeemer having been informed by Naomi that Boaz is a relation of her late husband. However, Boaz informed Ruth of a closer relation who ought to play that role and volunteered to inform the man by himself. This is the event of the passage in Ruth 4 as they gathered at the gate. But the man turned down the request. In other words, the situation of having a kinsman redeemer in this man will not happen. This brings us to the all-important question -
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE TURNED DOWN?
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN ALL YOUR EXPECTATION IS ON SOMEBODY AND THE PERSON TURNS YOU DOWN?
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN IT DOES NOT HAPPEN THE WAY YOU REQUESTED FROM GOD IT SHOULD HAPPEN?
I am here to tell you to praise the LORD for whatever does not happen after you have prayed and committed the situation into his hands.
The man refused to redeem Naomi and Ruth and the next close relation was Boaz. It was a disappointment, but little did they know that this was part of God's plan because Boaz was to be part of the lineage through which David and the Messiah was to come from and Ruth was destined to be part of the story. Do you know that the man that refused to play that role in their lives was never ever mentioned in the Bible? Many times, people refuse God's assignment and have their names cancelled in the scheme and purposes of God for them. May you not miss your divine purpose...! If not for the loses Naomi and Ruth encountered in Moab, all their gains in Nazareth including being in the lineage of our Savior, Jesus Christ wouldn't have come to pass.
God always subtracts before He adds. I will give you TWO important facts I have deduced from the story of Ruth.
- YOUR DESTINY CANNOT BE RUINED BY THE DECISION OF OTHERS EVEN WHEN YOUR LIFE IS GOING DOWN
When you belong to God in honesty and obedience, He alone holds your destiny in His hands. God has never given any individual on earth the ability to disrupt your divine purpose and destiny. Yes, people can make your life painful. They can inconvenience you and get on your nerves, but they can't ruin your destiny. See how the Bible puts it in Romans 8:31 - If God be for us, who can be against us? It doesn't matter who is against me, if God is for me then I'm more than a conqueror. So, learn to praise Him even when you feel your life and situations are going down because nobody has the ability to disrupt your destiny. They can inconvenience you, but they can't ruin what God is doing in your life. In fact, in the plan of God He may even use those haters to fulfill His purpose in your life. Many times, you may not know it but your haters work for God. They help God to accomplish what He's doing because the folks that love you will never help God to accomplish certain things in your life. You all know the case of Joseph. His haters were his brothers who sold him into slavery but never knew they were quickening God's purpose in the life of Joseph. The country they sold him to was the country God has destined for the dream to come to pass. All they did was pay his ticket to the place of destiny. In fact, your haters are just your elevators! Child of God, DON'T GIVE PEOPLE POWER THAT GOD HAS NOT GIVEN THEM. DON'T LET PEOPLE FEEL IMPORTANT WHEN THEY ARE NOT IMPORTANT IN THE SCHEME OF THINGS WITH ALMIGHTY GOD.
2. THE WRONG DOORS MUST CLOSE SO THAT THE RIGHT DOORS CAN OPEN
God makes NO to happen so that He can get some glory for the YES He orchestrates. In the case of Ruth, the man at the gate had to say NO so that we all could be saved by the coming of Jesus Christ because through the lineage of Boaz, Christ was born. (See Matthew 1:5-16)