Text: Deuteronomy 33:27
When we talk of long arms, we talk of involvement. So, we could look at this topic from the angle of divine involvement and then we could look at it from the angle of the Lord saying He will thrust out the enemy before you and ask you to destroy them. That could cause us to look at the fact that one part of God is a lamb, the other part is a lion. The major problem with us Christians is that we only remember that part that says be gentle as a dove; we seem to forget that He says, “no weapon fashioned against you shall prosper”. He went on to say that, every tongue that shall rise up against you shall be condemned. We just think that we’re to be doves. Little doves allow every Tom, Dick and Harry to march over their heads and that’s not what the Bible teaches.
When I was teaching those of you who were in the school of disciples when I was a teacher, I asked, ‘what would you do if you come out at night and you remove your bed cover and find a very poisonous snake lying there?’ Well, you have to be gentle as a dove now, so, you will say to the snake, “thou beautiful creature of God, keep on sleeping and if you don’t mind, I will just lie down quietly beside you.” Is that what you would do?
We want to look at the everlasting arms in another dimension very briefly. When Jesus Christ died, He died on the cross. I don’t know if you have ever wondered why the death on the cross. They could have thrust him through with the sword after all, even after he had died, they still put a spear through his side.
Why the death on the cross? It was so that He could stretch out the left hand in one direction and the right hand in the opposite direction. The left hand going to eternity past and the right hand going to eternity future. Jesus’ arms are everlasting, He can reach as far as your origin. If there is anything that went wrong at your very beginning, because His hands are everlasting, it can reach there and put it right. In 2 Kings 2:19-22, when Elisha came to Jericho, the people of Jericho said our city looks beautiful but, we have problems and Elisha said alright, bring me new cruse, put salt there and he went to the river source, poured in the salt and made a decree and the problems ended.
You see, because Jericho had a problem, the source of which was in Joshua 6:26. Joshua, a mighty man of God, highly anointed, had pronounced a curse on Jericho and as you know, a curse flows like a river downhill. If somebody is cursed way back in the generation of man, for example, if a great grandfather was cursed, grandfather will suffer, father will suffer, the children will suffer, grandchildren will suffer from the same curse. But when somebody with a greater anointing like Elisha came on the scene, he solved the problem from the source. I pray for someone here today, the everlasting arm will go to your origin and whatever is wrong there, He will put it right.
You know that is why the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that old things have passed away, behold all things have become new. I told you this story of a sister who was 33 years old, married with children but the problem she had was bedwetting. I said that’s not a problem. All you need is a brand-new set of kidneys, but she said before you pray, sir, my mother was a bedwetter, all the daughters in our family bed wet. Mother, a bedwetter, grandmother, a bed wetter, so I knew this is not physical; this is not something a doctor can handle. So, I had to go back to the foundation and with a little digging, we discovered that her grandmother fought with somebody who pronounced a curse on her and said that from this moment onward every girl born in the family will bed wet. We settled the problem by asking her to give her life to Jesus. She did, and everything became new by the following day; she said for the first time in 33 years, she woke up and the bed was dry. And then she brought all her sisters and they gave their lives to Jesus and they all stopped bed wetting.
Now, if you want my God to go back as far back into your history to put everything right, let me hear you shout ‘Hallelujah!’.
Because His arms are everlasting, while one is reaching to your past, the other one can reach into your future and if He finds anything waiting for you in the future that is evil, He can deal with it before you get there. In Genesis 49:1-7, the father of Levi cursed him on his deathbed and if your father curses you on his deathbed, you are done for because he has the authority to bless and he has the authority to curse. When you father blesses you, God will say ‘amen’, and if your father curses you, it is a settled matter. So, one of the things the father said concerning Levi is that he will be scattered, that he will never amount to anything. By the time we get to Numbers 3:5-13, Almighty God said to Moses that He has cancelled the curse on the boy that his father cursed. That He will make him His first born. You know the story, what happened next was in Exodus chapter 32:25-26, when the children of Israel were worshipping idols and Moses wanted to discipline them. Moses stood outside the gate and said those of you on the Lord’s side come to my side. Only the children of Levi moved over to the side of Moses and God looked down from heaven and said, ‘you said you are on my side?’ They said ‘yes’. God said, in that case, I’m on your side, too. Whatever evil that might be waiting for you in the future because of your father’s curse, are removed.
We are all sitting down here today, we don’t know what the devil has planned for tomorrow but there is an everlasting arm of God; it can go to the future and whatever evil He sees there, He can wipe it away. More than 30 years ago, a young man came to me and said, ‘daddy, I’m in serious trouble’. I said, what is the problem? He was 39 years old and was approaching 40, and he said, ‘Daddy, there is a curse upon my family that no male child will ever reach the age of 40’. He was 39 years old and he was the oldest man in the family. He said that 40 years is approaching and that means death is knocking at the door. I asked him, ‘are you on the Lord’s side?’ He said, ‘yes’. In that case, that appointment with death is cancelled.
Because today is a child of yesterday, yesterday is the mother of today, the God who can go to your far past and turn things around can take care of whatever is happening in your life now. Why? Because His name is I AM that I AM, Exodus 3:14.
Psalm 46:1 says, ‘He is the ever-present help in time of trouble’. He is the God of the past but He is also the God of the present. So, He can go to your past, put things right so that He will be able to handle whatever is happening in your life as a result of the mistake you made in the past. For example, in Mark 2:1-12, they brought a man to Him, four boys carried a man up to the rooftop, broke the roof and brought him down because he was totally paralyzed from up to down. Now, you would think that Jesus would say this man is sick, that He will just say straight away ‘be healed’. But, no. The first thing He did was to deal with the sin of the man. He said, ‘young man, your sins be forgiven’. He dealt with what the man had done in the past before He turned to the present and said, ‘stand up, take your bed and go home’.
I have told you a story of a young man who came to us; he was one of my students in those days when I was still at the University of Lagos. I told you he had a problem – he kept on sweating like nobody’s business and as he sweated, he also smelled. When you sit down by his side, within five minutes you will relocate because he was smelling like a dead body. Doctors prescribed different soaps and everything they could but he kept on smelling. I was about to pray for him when God said, ‘no, don’t pray, he has a restitution to make’. Anyways, we found out what the restitution was, and he went to make the restitution. When he came back and I was about to pray, God said there was no need to pray, just tell him not to drink ice water for two weeks and that was the end of the problem. What doctors could not handle was a problem of something he did in the past. But, the one with the everlasting arms went to the past, turned the situation around and all of a sudden, good result came in the present.
The one with everlasting arms can reach into your future and bring miracles waiting for you there to the present. In other words, if there are some miracles that are supposed to happen to you, maybe in ten years’ time, the one with everlasting arms will say, ‘why wait?’ Let him begin to enjoy from today onward. In Matthew 15:21-28, a woman came to Jesus Christ begging for help. Jesus Christ told her I cannot give bread for children to dogs. He said, ‘I am not sent but to the household of Israel’. He was telling the woman the time for gentiles is yet to come, because the time for the gentiles came only in Acts chapter 10 when God sent Peter to the house of Cornelius. That was when the time of gentiles came, but here is a woman who needed help now and out of compassion, the everlasting arms went to the future and brought the future to the present. The miracles that were supposed to be available to the woman in the future, she got it that day.
If you read 1 Kings 1:1-49 Solomon became king when his father was still alive. Solomon was a prince that one day he would be king; that one day would be when the father had died. But the everlasting arms went to the future and said, ‘boy, you don’t have to wait any longer, become king now’.
I will tell you a story now. It is a story some of you will need to put two and two together to know who I’m talking about. Once upon time, there was a man in a particular nation and I won’t mention names, who was a lieutenant colonel in the army. Now, if you are a lieutenant colonel in the army, in the future, you can become a colonel and after colonel, you become brigadier general, after brigadier general you become major general, after major general you can become lieutenant general, after lieutenant general you can then become full general. But a coup happened and the man who was a lieutenant colonel became head of state and if you are head of state, you don’t say ‘yes, sir’ to anybody. So, a lieutenant colonel became a general overnight; he jumped colonel, he jumped brigadier, he jumped major general, he jumped lieutenant general and became general in one day.
If you can just obey Him, if you are willing to do whatever He says without argument, you will bring forward your future. It happened in John 2:1-11, when the mother of Jesus came to Him and said, ‘son, they’ve run out of wine’, and Jesus said, ‘Mama, Mama, the time for me to perform miracles is yet to come’. And the mother said to the servants who were standing by, ‘just do whatever he asks you to do’. My time to perform miracles is yet to come; but that time came that day. So, the everlasting arm can go to the future and bring all the goodies there to the present. If that’s what you want let me hear you shout ‘Hallelujah!’
Now, the text we read is bringing me to another point. It says underneath are the everlasting arms: it means God can make sure that you never hit the ground. One of the verses in the special song that we sang said, ‘if I stumble and I’m about to fall, underneath me are His outstretched arms’. The elders have a saying, they say before the last toad will die in the river, rain will fall. But have you ever wondered that a river may dry completely during the dry season? A river may dry completely and all the fishes die and then the rain will fall and the river will begin to flow again and before you know it, fish will begin to swim in the river. Did the fish drop from heaven?
In 1 Kings 17:8-16, the day the widow of Zarephath and her son were to die, help came. God is never too late. The one with everlasting arms will not let you reach the bottom. Before it is too late, help will come.
2 Kings 4:1-7 talks about another widow, the wife of one of the sons of the prophets. The day before they came to take her sons into bondage to serve, help came. She was able to pay off the debt and never to borrow again. I don’t know who God is talking to today, before it is too late, the one with everlasting arms will stretch out His arms towards you.
I have told you this story before… when we were having convention, in those days what we referred to as crowd was about 8,000 people; and as usual then, we said we would feed them. As the Elders say, when a one-legged man is causing trouble, it is causing it for the one who has two legs. When I asked the people to come that we would feed them, I didn’t have money to do it but I was causing the trouble for my Father in heaven. Then one morning, my wife came and said, ‘sir, to feed the people today, we need an extra 5,000 naira. Naira was powerful in those days; God will have mercy on our Naira. Because some of you, young ones, you cannot believe once upon a time, one naira was equal to at least 1.5 dollars; those glorious days will return.
She said we need 5,000 naira. I said to her, ‘Darling, when do you need the money? Today or now?’ She said, ‘what’s the difference, sir?’ There are lots of differences.
She said, ‘today’. I said, ‘in that case, go, when I have the money, I will give you’, because at the time she came, I didn’t have a kobo but I know there is a God in heaven who is called the ever-present help in time of trouble.
She left and I turned to Him and said the people have come, they are your people, you can’t allow them to starve. It wasn’t long after that one man drove in with his flowing ‘agbada’; not a member of the church, he was just passing by. We were at the expressway then, by first auditorium.
He said, ‘what is going on here?’ I said we are having convention. He said what a beautiful idea; I said, ‘yes, sir’. He said next year I will be part of it. I’m talking of today you are talking of next year. Then he put his hand in his pocket and brought out an envelope as he said in the meantime; and I said now you are speaking as he gave me the envelope. I prayed for him and he left. I opened the envelope; it was 1,000 naira. I said thank God, one down, four to go.
It wasn’t long after that, that the youths for one reason or the other gathered themselves together and they came led by Pastor Kuo and they had an envelope in their hand. They began to preach to me, ‘Daddy, we appreciate you. We see all the good works you are doing etc… you should not be the one to feed us, we should be the one.’ I said give me the envelope after that you can preach. Finally, they gave me the envelope. I prayed for them and they left. I opened the envelope; it was 2,000 naira. I said three down, two to go.
I’ve always told you it wasn’t long after that, that I sent for my wife because another 2,000 naira came; and when she came, I said ‘by the way, what time do you say you need the money?’
In the name that is above every other name, before it is too late, the everlasting arms will reach out to you.
Underneath everlasting arms means God is ever-ly promoting, I’m sure you know that promotion does not come from the east, west, north or south, but God is the promoter (Psalm 75:5-7). According to 1 Samuel 2:8, God can pick up a beggar from the dunghill and continue to raise him up until he has reached the top and sitting down with the princes.
In the case of David in 1 Samuel 16:11-13, he started by being the king among his brethren. 2 Samuel 2, He became the king of Judah. 2 Samuel 5, He became the king of Israel and by the time we heard of him in Mark 10, Bartimaeus was calling him the father of the Lord Jesus. He said, ‘Jesus, thou son of David’; David became the father of the King of kings.
When God is promoting you, it is steadily upward. An incident happened years ago. We have a place we called international office; it was our international office then. It was big in our eyes and every A.G.O had a room to himself and there was a friend of mine who was also in Nigeria for several years before he travelled to America and then came back. He came to international office and then he was reading the names on the doors and said, ‘Pastor Ilori is an A.G.O now?’ I said, ‘yes’. He said, ‘okay, I remember he was a pastor before I left and if I remember very well, he was the principal of a grammar school’. I said, ‘yes’. ‘Pastor so and so is now an A.G.O now too?’ I said ‘yes’. He was going one by one then he came to a door and stopped when he saw the name on the door. He opened his mouth wide; he said, ‘am I reading correctly?’s I said ‘yes’. ‘You mean … he is now A.G.O?’, he couldn’t mention the name. I said ‘yes’.
When he was leaving Nigeria, the fellow whose door he stopped at was a worker and an interpreter; later on, he became my secretary; later on, he became something else; later on, he became A.G.O. Some of you already know who I’m talking about; he stood by the door of Pastor Akindele.
“You mean Pastor Akindele is now an A.G.O?” When God decides to promote, it doesn’t matter where you are, the moment He picks you up, you just keep going and going. I can see some A.G.O’s here today, only few of you have the faith to say “Amen”.
If you want the one whose everlasting arms are underneath to pick you from where you are and keep on promoting you to a place where people won’t even believe, let me hear you shout “Hallelujah”.
How do I get Him to be interested in me?
God is sovereign, Psalm 115:3. He is in heaven and does as He pleases but is never arbitrary; He has a reason for whatsoever He is doing. How do I get the One with everlasting arms, the One who can go to my past, go to my source, correct everything there, go to my future, remove every danger, come to my present, settle situations, bring blessings from the future to me and make sure I will never reach the floor and begin to promote me everlastingly? How do I get Him to be interested in me?
The most important thing to the One with the everlasting arms as stated by the Lord Jesus Christ before He left in Mark 16:15-20, is to go to all nations and preach the gospel. This is my will, preach the gospel to every creature. When you read the passage, He will tell you when His disciples obeyed Him and went everywhere preaching the gospel, He kept walking and preaching with them. In John 15:14, He said you are my friend if you do whatsoever I command you. John 15:16 instructs you to win souls, preserve them, and leave the rest to Him. He said I have chosen you that you should go and bring forth fruit and make sure your fruit will abide; then whatsoever you ask the Father in my name, I will give it to you.
That is why I’m hammering win souls, build churches so that the souls you win can be preserved in the churches. That is why you find somebody like me at the age of 81 not resting, jumping from one nation to the other, going from one village to the other, preaching the gospel, dedicating churches, because I know if I can just do this, my future is settled.
If you want Him to get involved with you, get involved with Him and do His will. When He was going to pick a bush boy, when He was going to pick up a shepherd boy from the bush to make him king, He said I have found a man who will do all my will. God is looking for somebody today.