Fathers, during the next planting season I want you to get a pack of seeds, corn, whatever, and gather your family and find the hardest, dried up piece of land and pour those seeds onto that cracked, concrete dirt, say a prayer calling on God’s mighty hand to bring you an abundant crop, and then proudly announce to the family that bounty is going to come.
Silly? Of course, but that is an absurd illustration to illustrate the absurdity of what I believe most churches across America are expecting of God for revival. I may be wrong, and if I am please be sure (I know I don’t need to ask!) to let me know. I cannot find an instance in the Bible of revival where the people of God did not first repent of their evil ways.
We are expecting for revival to come to make us repent of our evil ways. That’s the proverbial cart before the horse. Read Hosea:
“Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the LORD, till He comes and rains righteousness on you. You have plowed wickedness; you have reaped iniquity. You have eaten the fruit of lies, because you trusted in your own way, in the multitude of your mighty men. Therefore tumult shall arise among your people, and all your fortresses shall be plundered as Shalman plundered Beth Arbel in the day of battle—a mother dashed in pieces upon her children. Thus it shall be done to you, O Bethel, because of your great wickedness. At dawn the king of Israel shall be cut off utterly.” (Hosea 10:12-15)
The Prophet Hosea is telling us that we are to sow righteousness for ourselves. God has given us His commandments and we break them every day, primarily the last two—lying and covetousness. And it is in our disobedience to God that our relationship with Him dries up because we stop drinking from the Living Water and do not allow the Holy Spirit to till up our hearts so that new seeds of righteousness can grow.
Beloved, we can call on God to bring revival rains but we must first act. Note well the words of the Prophet Joel:
“‘Now, therefore,’ says the LORD, ‘Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning. So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm.’” (Joel 2:12-13)
Yesterday I wrote:
Revival is again heavy on my heart and I’m to the point I’m not sure most Christians, and pastors especially, even know what revival is. I can tell you what it is not. It’s not something you schedule and advertise about: that’s having revival services, not revival. It is not something you can predict; it is something we fast and pray for and plead with God to revive us. But to say we are going to have revival is at best naïve and at worse deceptive.
The late great lion of revival Leonard Ravenhill defined revival as “an act of mercy in the sovereignty of God.” He further states:
There is a vast difference between revival and evangelism. When we speak of revival in America we think of church advertising, “Our revival will begin next Sunday night at a certain time and it is going to finish the next Sunday night at a certain time.” Obviously this is something purely mechanical, it is something which men have engineered. I think that one of the offenses of revival, in the historic sense, is that it cannot be organized.
So you say you want a revival? Really? No really? Are you willing to do what it takes? I invite you to read Ravenhill’s Lecture 1 on revival at http://ravenhill.org/revival1.htm. Learn what revival is and what it isn’t.
Then, I invite you to join me in doing what Bro Leonard’ hope was: “…that as we go on here we are not just going to gather information and statistics about revival, but that we are going to individually seek personal revival.”
That means fasting and praying. It means repenting of your materialistic desires, not that material goods are bad but that you’ve set your heart on them. Have you allowed your heart to become pragmatic for the sake of earthly gain? Have you stopped trusting the sovereign mercy of God and trust only in your ability?
Is the American Church relying on its ability to make things happen in society instead of obeying God’s laws and watching Him move among and through His people? Am I trusting my abilities over my availability for God?
Beloved, I too want to see a mighty sweep of revival over this land; it is our only hope. I long for what Dr. Adrian Rogers longed:
Study the history of revival. God has always sent revival in the darkest days. Oh, for a mighty, sweeping revival today!
Pray for me as God shares with me in His Word the aletheia truth of revival. Pray that the words I type are His words and not mine. Pray that I will be faithful in seeking individually a personal revival.
I will be praying for each of you.
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Copyright © 2011 David Jeffers