Renew the Work of the Lord: Revival under Zerubbabel (Haggai 1, Zechariah 1:1-6)

Let God Arise! Biblical Revival Blog #11

Renew the Work of the Lord: Revival under Zerubbabel (Haggai 1, Zechariah 1:1-6)

The people of Israel renew the work of God

Hag. 1.7-15  [7] “Thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. [8] Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified, says the Lord. [9] You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the Lord of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house. [10] Therefore the heavens above you have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its produce. [11] And I have called for a drought on the land and the hills, on the grain, the new wine, the oil, on what the ground brings forth, on man and beast, and on all their labors.”

[12] Then Zerubbabel the son of She-altiel, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the Lord their God had sent him. And the people feared the Lord. [13] Then Haggai, the messenger of the Lord, spoke to the people with the Lord’s message, “I am with you, declares the Lord.” [14] And the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people. And they came and worked on the house of the Lord of hosts, their God, [15] on the twenty-fourth day of the month, in the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king.

See also the following:

Return to the Lord and he will return to us Zech. 1.1-6

The essence of revival is a voluntary and wholehearted return to God Jer. 4.1-4

The Lord commands us to think upon our ways so he can instruct us Ps. 119.59-60, Lam. 3.39-41, Isa. 28.10

The return to God must be both personal and corporate Jer. 25.5

Our return to God must be accompanied by both words and actions Hos. 14.1-2

God promises to act on our behalf if we come back to him Deut. 30.1-10

Our return to God must be wholehearted and uncoerced Deut. 6.5, Deut. 13.3, 1 Chron. 29.9, 1 Chron. 29.17, Ps. 119.80, Jer. 3.10, Jer. 29.13, Eph. 6.24

The restoration of God will surely come upon every one who returns to the Lord Hos. 6.1-3

We must humble ourselves before the Lord to be exalted James 4.8-10

True repentance will be met with God’s one gracious reception Luke 15.18-20

God remembers his covenant for those who repent before him Lev. 26.40-45

Today God commands all people to repent and receive his grace in Christ Acts 26.16-20

There is a season by which we are to seek God (i.e., the one where we can find him) Isa. 55.6-7

“ARE YOU willing to return to God–or will you continue to offer excuses, empty alibis for missed opportunities and unjustified neglect?”

This was Haggai’s and Zerubbabel’s word to the children of Israel after 16 years of neglect and distraction from the work of God.

After Josiah’s revival, the people of God ignored his pleadings through the prophets and resumed their disobedience, which unfortunately climaxed in the Babylonian captivity of 70 years. Exposed to the horrible persecutions of a foreign land and people, Israel would learn through its experience of judgment and adversity what it meant to disobey God, to turn their backs on his constant pleading and prophesying, and reap the fruit of their own rebellion. The God of Abraham, even in this, did not abandon his people, but moved on the heart of Cyrus to allow the people of the remnant to return to their own land and establish again their place in Jerusalem (Isa. 44.28). In the 6th century B.C.E. a decree was signed and a rag-tag group of some 50,000 people set out again for their homeland, Jerusalem.

While scholars debate the spiritual condition of this tiny group of people, it is plain that the wear of captivity likely got to them. Although they began laying the foundation of the Temple upon first arriving into the land, it is clear that psychologically they were deeply affected, became disillusioned and distracted, and the work of the Temple was neglected for more domestic and (in their minds perhaps) more pressing matters of their own livelihood and survival. By most accounts, another 16 years would pass without any further work being done by the group to rebuild the Temple of the Lord. Kaiser suggests that the time from the last revival to the one which would come under Haggai and Zechariah was a full 101 years (Kaiser, The Quest for Renewal, p. 126)! What a long period to lie fallow, to be discouraged and unclear! Such is the tragic state of those who refuse to be animated and reanimated through the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit and the preaching of the Word of God.

In a very real sense, the message of Haggai was a prophetic call to action after neglect, to honesty after self-deception, and to commitment after compromise. Kaiser outlines the first chapter of Haggai in conditional terms, i.e., what God would do for his dear people if they would only admit their neglect and return to him with action and acknowledgment:

1. Refuse to blame the providence of God (vv. 1-2).

  1. Set priorities for the work of God (vv. 3-6).
  2. Get involved in the work of God (vv. 7-12).
  3. Receive the enablement of God (vv. 13-15).

Refuse to blame God, set new priorities, get involved in the work, and receive God’s enablement. A simple message for sickened hearts and soured spirits.

In many ways today, we as Evangelicals are distracted and longing for the presence of God in a new way. Drawn into the side ditches of moralism, showmanship, and the quest for power in society, we easily can neglect the most important work of all, what Tozer called the “missing jewel” in the evangelical church. What is that jewel? Worship and honor to God alone, unmixed, undiluted, unshared. Not for the sake of family, or influence in society, or celebrating our positions of power. Simply the true worship of God in our lives as our Creator, our Redeemer, and our King.

What gets lost so often in revival is the simplicity of the message and manner by which we can beckon the presence of God back into our midst. Haggai merely called the people back to the work, the true work of God. He called them back to the Lord God, who was asking his people to return to him, to fall in love with him again, not for his gifts and benefits, not for their security and well-being. Although he promised them many good blessings, his desire above all else was for his people to return to him, to be transformed again in his presence, to love the Giver more than the gifts, to love the Lord of the Temple more than the temple. Is not this a message that could be preached wholeheartedly in our churches and organizations today?

Dear friend, nothing occurred in the midst of God’s people until their propensity for excuse making and deception was overcome. The Lord is more than willing to wash, to cleanse, to renew, and to restore. He wants his people to experience his love and power in new ways, and desires to fill us with the Holy Spirit for power and service. But he is not mocked; we cannot delude ourselves into thinking that we can “pull a fast one” on the Lord. He knows our hearts. He desires mercy, not sacrifice. He wants a broken heart; he delights in a contrite spirit.

Can you admit that you need him? Can you without reservation or hesitation fall before him and ask him for renewal, for restoration, for a new manifestation of grace and his presence? Can you admit that you are empty so he can fill you? Can you declare that you are weak so he can be your strength?

The revival that took place under Haggai and Zerubbabel was a revival ignited by a dramatic and massive admission of neglect of God’s will, and weakness within the people. It burned brightly through the genuine repentance that comes from no longer offering empty and tired excuses for the neglect of God and his worship, of his word and his witness. This is the kind of revival flame that, once ignited, is not quickly extinguished.

Let us, therefore, begin where we should have started already many times before. Where is that?

We must start today where all biblical revivals have started: humbling ourselves before the Lord, acknowledging him and him alone as our source and life. Only then can the Father be released to reveal himself afresh to us. Only then can we be radically repositioned to experience his leading and filling. Only then can we experience what this tired and discouraged group of God’s people received when they came to him afresh–an extraordinary influx of God’s presence and power.

“Are you willing to return to God–or will you continue to offer excuses, empty alibis for missed opportunities and unjustified neglect?”

Let him or her who has ears to hear, let them hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church today. Return today to the Lord, and he will return to you.

Example of returning to the Lord: The remnant under Zerubbabel Haggai 1:13-15

Biblical Principle: Revival is always a form of the renewal of the work of God, one that begins with an honest and wholehearted acknowledgment that we as his people have neglected his work to concentrate on our own selfish ambition. Revival begins when we refuse to protest our innocence any longer, and, being found naked before him, we readily and willingly confess our weakness and need for the Lord. This results in a commitment to resume his work, right where we are, without excuse or delay. Revival is grounded in wholehearted candor, a determination to admit our wrong connected to a desire to give the Lord his due, without alibi and with the whole heart.

See also, James 4.8, Isa. 50.10, Jude 1.20-21

To read the complete article and explore our full array of Let God Arise! resources, click here:

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CATEGORY: Revival

TAGS: Revival, Reformation, Spiritual awakening, seek, empower, repentance, return, work, Zerubbabel, Haggai

Humble Ourselves Before God: Revival Under Josiah (2 Chronicles 30:1-9)

Let God Arise! Biblical Revival Blog #10

Humble Ourselves Before God: Revival Under Josiah (2 Chronicles 30:1-9)

Josiah as a young king follows the ways of his father:

2 Chron. 34.1-3 – Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. [2] And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, and walked in the ways of David his father; and he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. [3] For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet a boy, he began to seek the God of David his father, and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the Asherim, and the carved and the metal images.

We are to remain on the path of the Lord, even as Josiah did, swerving neither to the right nor the left. Deut. 5.32, Deut. 17.11, Josh. 1.7, Josh. 23.6, Prov. 4.27

Josiah’s revival prompted from discovering and becoming acquainted afresh with the Word of the Lord, the holy Scriptures. 2 Chron. 34.14-21

Our response to the Law of the Lord is the key either to our blessing or our weakness. Ezra 7.10, Ps. 1.2, Isa. 5.24, Isa. 30.9-14, Jer. 8.8

Josiah both hears and obeys the word of the Lord, and makes a covenant to obey him. 2 Chron. 34.29-33

The people of Israel covenant to follow the Lord. Deut. 29.10-15

Josiah keeps the Passover with the people of Israel. 2 Chron. 35.1-6, 2 Chron. 35.16-19

Josiah dies for failure to listen to the Word of the Lord. 2 Chron. 35.20-27

Revival is merely the result of consistent, humble obedience to the revealed Word of God. Josh. 1.8, Ps. 19.11, Matt. 7.24, Luke 11.28, John 5.24, John 8.31-32, Rev. 1.3

We must humble ourselves under God’s Word which is his standard of both faith and discipleship. Prov. 29.18, John 12.48, Gal. 1.8, 1 Thess. 2.13

God acknowledges and blesses the humble of heart. Psalm 18.27, Ps. 25.9, Ps. 34.2, Ps. 147.6, Ps. 149.4, Prov. 11.2, Isa. 66.2, Zeph. 2.3, James 1.22-25, Rom. 2.13, Col. 3.17

Like Josiah, revival comes when in humility we both hear the word of God and keep it. James 4.17, 1 John 2.3, 1 John 3.7, 3 John 1.11

Would you describe yourself as a humble person? Of all the Christian virtues, humility may very well be one of the most misunderstood and misevaluated characteristics of the Christ-formed life. In many of our conservative Christian contexts, humility is understood in terms of a kind of non-assertive doormat personality that allows anything and everything to be tolerated within its sphere of life. Others view humility in terms of a kind of demure and pensive sobriety that never smiles, laughs, or challenges anything. Perhaps worst of all are the notions of humility that make any kind of aggressiveness or assertiveness as patently prideful and wrong; only the truly meek in personality are truly humble, so they say. Yet, in light of these and other misconstrued ideas about what it means to be humble, how are we to understand it from a biblical point of view? Is it possible to be completely assertive, even boastful (in the biblical sense), and still be characterized in terms of the virtue of humility?

Josiah, king of Judah, during his reign reveals a dimension of revival in the Hebrew Scriptures that shows the power of humility in authentic spirituality.

As one who even as a young person showed a remarkable ability to act decisively regarding the will of God he knew, Josiah reveals an assertiveness that is indicative of true biblical submission and humility. He began his reign with a commitment to eliminate every vestige of idolatry and immorality among the people of God. The writer speaks clearly of his early reigning years, even as an eight-year-old child, who would reign two decades longer (2 Chron. 34.1-7).

Josiah brought transformation, change, dynamic cleansing in the kingdom of God. His twelfth year was rooted in David-like courageous action for the Lord: he purged high places, destroyed idol images, chopped down Baal and incense altars, eliminated ungodly priests. He purged the land of all its idolatrous practices, and stirred his heart to reinvigorate the nation with the worship and service to Yahweh, God of David and Abraham.

The key to Josiah’s prepared heart for revival is revealed in his response to the discovery of the Book of the Lord in the Temple

2 Chron. 34.14-15, 18-21 – While they were bringing out the money that had been brought into the house of the Lord, Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of the Lord given through Moses. [15] Then Hilkiah answered and said to Shaphan the secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the Lord.” And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan. [18] Then Shaphan the secretary told the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read from it before the king. [19] And when the king heard the words of the Law, he tore his clothes. [20] And the king commanded Hilkiah, Ahikam the son of Shaphan, Abdon the son of Micah, Shaphan the secretary, and Asaiah the king’s servant, saying, [21] “Go, inquire of the Lord for me and for those who are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that has been found. For great is the wrath of the Lord that is poured out on us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the Lord, to do according to all that is written in this book.”

Josiah understood the struggling condition of the people of God because of their persistent disobedience and neglect of the Scriptures. The revivals that Josiah spawned grew out of a profound humility before the Lord, a trembling at his word, a willingness to acknowledge the power of God’s Scriptures to ensure God’s best and deepest in our lives. Here then is one of the master keys of biblical revival. Keeping the Word of the Lord becomes both the cause and the effect of genuine revival before the Lord

The discovery and hearing of the book completely transformed and challenged Josiah the king, who was deeply touched by its finding. He reasoned quickly and directly that the reason behind the judgment they faced in the nation was the failure of their fathers to keep the word of the Lord according to what was written in the book of the Lord. He remedied this disobedience with decisive and immediate action. Josiah kept the Passover, restored the true worship of God, and ended idolatry among the people of God. In a climactic act of obedience to the Lord, Josiah went into the house of God, gathering the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem, with the priests, Levites, and all the people regardless of importance. He read the Book of the Covenant to them, the same that had been found in the house of the Lord, and made a covenant before the Lord to keep his commandments with a wholehearted obedience according to the words in the Book. He exhorted those in Jerusalem to affirm the same commitment, and took away all the idolatrous abominations from the territory of Israel. As the chronicler says of Josiah, “All his days they did not turn away from following the Lord, the God of their fathers.

Josiah embodies a true humility that is rooted in immediate, radical response to the Word of God, the covenant of God written there, and the purpose of the Lord unfolding there regarding the Kingdom of God. The truly humble are creative in responding to God, they act on what God has revealed, and assert their unequivocal commitment to obey the will of the Lord as revealed in the living and written Word of God.

For those who desire revival today, we cannot understand it in terms of emotional refreshment, manifestation of signs and wonders, or special visitations of the Spirit alone. We must understand revival as a courageous and costly obedience to the Word of the Lord, a discovery of that Word, a renewal proclamation of it in the midst of the people of God, and an aggressive, intentional, and deliberate move to eliminate everything that that Word demands cleansing from, and implementation of all it decrees. Revival’s result is nothing more than full obedience to the will of God revealed in the Word of God.

This view of humility will eliminate for some that revival will result in wild-eyed emotional outbursts and weird spiritualizations that have nothing to do with the truth. Rather, real revival always results in a deep commitment to embrace and obey the Word of God as revealed in the Scriptures and the Son of God. Let us banish all views of revival that would make us think that truth, revelation, and the Scriptures would be eclipsed or undermined. Truth comes to the fore in genuine revival, and the Word of God is rediscovered, readmitted, and reckoned upon as it truly is, the living Word of the Lord.

Those who pray for revival are simultaneously praying for a rediscovery of the power of the living Word of God in the midst of his people.

This is the kind of revival that a dry and moralistic evangelicalism needs today, and one which the cities of America long for. Are we truly humble enough to allow the Holy Spirit to so touch our hearts that we make ourselves available to God to obey him radically, joyfully, and vigorously until all idols are smashed, all abominations are eliminated, and all commands are revisited that we may glorify him who gave us his Word?

This is the kind of humility we need today, the kind reflected in the great Zinzendorf hymn “Jesus Thy Blood and Righteousness,” that understands that only through the Blood of Jesus Christ do we have any real relationship with God. His redemption has eliminated all boasting, and we are now set free to obey him without condition or qualification. We are asserting his lordship in our humility. This radical commitment to Jesus and his word is the kind of humility that can transform our Christian communities into outposts of the Kingdom of God. Tell me–are you open to the God-kind of humility, to the Spirit’s purpose to transform you into a truly humble person?

The choice is yours.

Example of Returning to the Lord: Josiah 2 Chron. 34.20-21.

Biblical Principle: Revival is prompted from a deep humility that through the power of the Holy Spirit produces a new reverence for the Word of God, with a commitment to see it obeyed in the most radical way. Revival produces an unconditional commitment of the people of God to live true to the kingdom story that God has given to it, to fulfill in every way the purpose and plan outlined for us according to the Word of God. As we humble ourselves before God, the Word of God takes on its true place, and we obey it for what it truly is–the living Word of Almighty God.

James 4.6 – But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

James 4.10 – Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

1 Pet. 5.5-6 – Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” [6] Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.

To read the complete article and explore our full array of Let God Arise! resources, click here:

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CATEGORY: Revival

TAGS: Revival, Reformation, Spiritual awakening, seek, empower, humility, return to the Lord, Josiah.

 

Dr. Davis Blog: Revival — Set Our Eyes On the Lord

Let God Arise! Biblical Revival Blog #8

Set Our Eyes on the Lord: Revival under Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 20)

See also the following:

Our eyes are upon you, O God. 2 Chron. 20.5-12

Keep your eyes ever toward the Lord. Ps. 25.15, Ps. 121.1-2

Lift up your eyes to the Lord, who alone can show mercy to us. Ps. 123.1-2

Take refuge in God as you look to him for help. Ps. 141.8

Hold in yourselves the sentence of death and rely on God. 2 Cor. 1.8-9

God alone can vindicate his people when they are vulnerable and powerless. Deut. 32.36

The Lord arises to defend the poor and helpless. Ps. 3.7, Ps. 12.5, Ps. 35.1, Ps. 35.23, Ps. 44.26, Ps. 68.1-2

The Lord himself will fight for those who trust in him. Exod. 14.13-14, Exod. 14.25, 2 Chron. 20.22-23

No one can withstand those who fear the Lord and trust in his Word. Num. 14.9, Deut. 20.3, 2 Chron. 20.17, Ps. 27:1-2, Ps. 46.1-3

God will keep us in perfect peace because we trust in him. Isa. 26.3, Isa. 30.15, Phil. 4.4-7

Take confidence in the words of Scripture – God will fight our battles. 2 Chron. 32.8, Ps. 46.7, Isa. 8.9-10, Isa 41.10

Believe in the Lord and you will be established. 2 Chron. 20.20, John 11.40, Rom. 8.31, Heb. 11.6

Believe in God, believe also in Jesus. John 14.1, Acts 3.15-16, 1 John 2.23, Exod. 14.31

 

Some individuals, who are basically well meaning and who strive to do what is right, are also very naive and easily misled. King Jehoshaphat fitted squarely into this category. … But for all of Jehoshaphat’s sins and weaknesses of character, he mastered the discipline of prayer. And few chapters in the Bible can better illustrate the effectiveness and power of prayer than 2 Chronicles 20. If 2 Chronicles 7.14 serves as the paradigm for the whole book, as I have argued, then chapter 20 and the events narrated from the life of Jehoshaphat focus on an important component of all revivals: prayer.  The preaching of the Word moves men and women to humble themselves under the mighty hand of God and to turn from their wicked ways and seek God’s face in a renewed way. Prayer moves God to graciously pour out the blessing of heaven on sinners, undeserving as we are.

                ~ Walter C. Kaiser,
Quest for Renewal
Chicago: Moody Bible Institute, 1986, pp. 89-90.

No matter how godly and sincere you may be, you can wind up depending on the wrong people, bad advice, and phony solutions. This is precisely the journey that King Jehoshaphat walked in his reign over Israel. What is significant is not that the man or woman of God may find themselves in trouble, but how do they handle that trouble, i.e., to whom do we look when we are in desperate need of help?

When you are in trouble, real trouble, who you gonna’ call?

Revival comes during times of recognized need, when trouble, calamity, and danger loom over us, and we are quite literally forced to seek the Lord as the ground of our life and the source of our hope. When Jehoshaphat was confronted with a huge malevolent army determined to wipe Israel from the face of the map, he did not seek human allies or military solutions. Jehoshaphat was afraid, and set his face to seek the Lord, and commanded the people to join him in that spirit of prayer, dependence, and humility:

2 Chron. 20.1-4 – After this the Moabites and Ammonites, and with them some of the Meunites, came against Jehoshaphat for battle. [2] Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, “A great multitude is coming against you from Edom, from beyond the sea; and, behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar” (that is, Engedi). [3] Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. [4] And Judah assembled to seek help from the Lord; from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.

Growing up as a boy, my mother used to make it plain that the key to living in God is not confusing what your role in life is with God’s role. Truly, Jehoshaphat’s prayer reveals a deep understanding of who God is and what God (and only God) can do in the face of our enemies and eminent destruction.

Kaiser nicely summarizes Jehoshaphat’s vision of prayer in five propositions that underscore his view of God:

1. God rules over all kingdoms of the nations (2 Chron. 20.6)

  1. God delights to do what he has promised to do (2 Chron. 20.7-11)
  2. God judges all who oppose his work (2 Chron. 20. 12)
  3. God delivers us from all our distresses (2 Chron. 20.14-17)
  4. God upholds those who believe him and his Word (2 Chron. 20.18-30)

What is striking in this simple outline is the focus: God and God alone must be the source of our hope, our life, and our strength. Amazingly, nothing reminds us of our neediness and finiteness before God more than real trouble, the kind we can’t easily shake loose and won’t simply be resolved or go away. The kind of trouble that keeps us awake at night, that gnaws on the spirit, and wearies our hearts and minds from anxious deliberation and overmuch thinking. The kind of trouble that no pat answer or glib comment can satisfy or silence.

In the midst of facing unusual horror and being on the brink of total annihilation, Jehoshaphat addressed the Lord. Standing in the assembly, he prayed a simple prayer to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and asked for his aid and deliverance:

2 Chron. 20.5-12 – And Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, before the new court, [6] and said, “O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you. [7] Did you not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? [8] And they have lived in it and have built for you in it a sanctuary for your name, saying, [9] ‘If disaster comes upon us, the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before you— for your name is in this house—and cry out to you in our affliction, and you will hear and save.’ [10] And now behold, the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, whom you would not let Israel invade when they came from the land of Egypt, and whom they avoided and did not destroy— [11] behold, they reward us by coming to drive us out of your possession, which you have given us to inherit. [12] O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”

“For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” We are powerless; we are ignorant, but our eyes are on you.

Nothing reveals the heart of revival like the focus of the soul, where our hope is, where our eyes are. The one (or ones) to whom you turn when you are in trouble are revealed to be the sources of your hope and strength.

For Jehoshaphat, this source during the time of trouble was the Lord. I have always said that Jehoshaphat didn’t quite tell that truth in this prayer. Actually, he did have power–he was the king of Israel, and he did know what to do–he had plenty of generals who would have provided him a plan, if he had asked. Jehoshaphat didn’t care about his kingship or military power; when facing destruction, he went to the source, relied upon his God, and God, in a mighty deliverance, gave him the victory.

Ironically, God’s reply was given by Jahaziel, which was literally fulfilled the next morning: 2 Chron. 20.15: And he said, “Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s.’” In a glorious scene with the choir marching before the army, God delivered the surrounding armies up to Judah without their aggression. God caused confusion among them, and they destroyed themselves–a striking end with none of the armies escaping, and so much bounty in terms of spoils that three days of gathering wasn’t sufficient to retrieve it all (cf. vv. 24-26). On the fourth day the people blessed the Lord for his amazing deliverance and great provision.

What an amazing picture of true revival! Simple yet profound. God does not need our help, he only needs our awareness of our helplessness, and our belief in his Word that if we trust in him and him alone, deliverance, victory, and provision will come. This is both the soil and the fruit of revival: believing the Lord, believing his prophets, and leading the army with a chorus of thanksgiving.

2 Chron. 20.20 – And they rose early in the morning and went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. And when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established; believe his prophets, and you will succeed.”

What will it take for us to be made aware that we are powerless against the multitude coming against the city, nor do we know what to do? Truly, may we, like Jehoshaphat and the fasting nation, turn our eyes to the One who alone can provide us with grace and help in this, our desperate time of need.

Amen.

Example of Believing Confidently in the Lord’s Word: Jehoshaphat

2 Chron. 20.20 – And they rose early in the morning and went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. And when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established; believe his prophets, and you will succeed.”

Biblical Principle: Revival results from the deeply held conviction and realization that, in the

face of our spiritual enemies (the world, the flesh, and the devil) who seek our destruction, only one answer suffices. God through Christ alone is our source of victory and deliverance. We are powerless against our foes, and do not know what to do about them, but, if we turn our eyes toward God and believe his Word, he will come to us, deliver us, and lead us into his perfect will.

To read the complete article and explore our full array of Let God Arise! resources, click here:1

http://www.tumi.org/images/stories/uploads/docs/letgodarise/revival08.pdf

 

 

Dr. Davis Blog: Revival — Dedicate Ourselves to God’s Worship

Let God Arise! Biblical Revival Blog #7

Dedicate Ourselves to God’s Worship: Revival under Solomon (2 Chronicles 6-7)

See also: Exod. 20.2, Exod. 24.15-18, Ps. 18.8-11, Ps. 97.2, Nah. 1.3, 2 Chron. 2.4-6, Ps. 132.13-14, Heb. 9.11-12, 2 Chron. 6.14-21, Deut. 7.9, Neh. 1.5, Dan. 9.4, Isa. 66.1-2, Isa. 57.15, Luke 18.13-14.

2 Chron. 6.1,2 – Then Solomon said, “The Lord has said that he would dwell in thick darkness. [2] But I have built you an exalted house, a place for you to dwell in forever.”

What is the most awesome event you have ever experienced?

The birth of a child? Witnessing an historic event? Seeing the Lord move in an extraordinary way? Undoubtedly, each of us would answer the question of “awe-full” experience in a different manner, depending on our under- standing of the meaning of awe, wonder, and the mysterious.

Revival can easily be characterized as the restoration of the awe of God as his presence is manifested in an extraordinary way in the midst of his people.

This simple definition captures the theme of revival we consider in study and meditation in the dedication of the Temple during the reign of Solomon. This story is laid out carefully in the early chapters of 2 Chronicles which records Solomon’s completion of the Temple in obedience to his father David’s instruction before he died.

In his zeal and wisdom, Solomon followed through on the wishes of David’s heart to build the Lord the Temple, a place for his honor to dwell and for the worship and service of God. Without question, the glory and grandeur of the Temple and the Dedication are hard to imagine:

2 Chron. 7.4-6 – Then the king and all the people offered sacrifice before the Lord. [5] King Solomon offered as a sacrifice 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep. So the king and all the people dedicated the house of God. [6] The priests stood at their posts; the Levites also, with the instruments for music to the Lord that King David had made for giving thanks to the Lord— for his steadfast love endures forever—whenever David offered praises by their ministry; opposite them the priests sounded trumpets, and all Israel stood.

The grand nature of these preparations and the lavish construction of the Temple did not overly impress nor fool Solomon into thinking that someone as glorious and infinite as Yahweh could actually dwell in a house of wood and stone. Solomon clarifies the purpose of the Temple as a place of prayer and supplication to God for those who are indeed humble and contrite before him. Truly, the spheres of the universe are not capable of containing the glory of the sovereign and infinite LORD, the Creator of both heaven and earth. Why then a “house” for the Lord? It is made as a place of petition, that God’s ears might be open day and night toward that house, “the place where you have promised to set your name, that you may listen to the prayer that your servant offers toward this place” (2 Chron. 6.20).  The Temple is a place where human petition and divine audience meet, where broken, lowly, and humble people in contrite prayer offer to God their praise and prayers, and where the Sovereign Lord hears and meets them at their point of need. Can anything be clearer for us as a prescription of what true worship is before our great God?

The notion of where God dwells and where his honor dwells is a significant issue in all the major monotheistic religions today–Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. Each focuses on different geographic sites which have special significance in its belief and practice, and oftentimes pilgrimages and petitions are made toward these sacred places as a sign of true devotion and remembrance. The reality with the God and Father of Jesus, however, is that our God demands more than religious conformity to ritual and pilgrimage. What matters to God, what produces revival is humility and a new creation. Revival stimulates those who are regenerated to worship God as he truly deserves to be worshiped.

Centuries later, when our Messiah discussed worship and place, he made it plain that the worship of God under the new covenant now takes on a new and different sense. In a discussion with the Samaritan woman on the nature of the right place of worship, Jesus provides a shocking new revelation. Salvation is rooted in the covenant promise through Abraham, and true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for these are the kinds of worshipers the Father is seeking to worship him (John 4.21-23). Sacred place and pilgrimage has been replaced by true worship in spirit and truth wherever the people of God gather to glorify his name.

The people of God under Solomon, humbled, readied, and led by Solomon at a time of his obedience and openness, were revived at the Dedication of the Temple. The presence of God came in the humble intercession of the king, the obedient worship of the priests and people, and the sacrifices of praise and faith made in the Temple. When the people of God in obedience and humility came before God in contrition and reverence, God truly manifested his glory there:

2 Chron. 5.13-14 – and it was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord), and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the Lord, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever,” the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, [14] so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.

God promised that if his people would in fact humble themselves and pray, if they would forsake their wicked ways and stay true to him, he would heal them, bless them, and come to them (2 Chron. 7.14). Truly, if the fuel of genuine revival always and only be times of adversity and trial, it is equally true that when God’s people are truly humbled before him, he manifests his presence in their midst–he himself actually comes to them, and his presence produces awe, joy, wonder, repentance, healing, blessing, and judgment. Truly, revival is nothing more than the extraordinary manifestation of the presence of God in the midst of his people!

Let us, therefore, obey the command of the Lord to Solomon at the Dedication of the Temple. For emphasis, this is the same stirring we mentioned about revival under Asa: if we seek the Lord in humble contrition he will come to us.

2 Chron. 7.14 – if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Seeking God (revival under Asa) results in the worship of God (revival under Solomon). Let us bring the sacrifice of praise to him, come before him together in assembly with prayers, petitions, intercessions, and supplication of our need for him, not just his gifts. Let us humble ourselves, pray, seek his face, and turn from our wicked ways, and then wait patiently for the God of covenant to hear from heaven, to forgive our sin, and to heal our land.

Revival that comes and is real will result in massive, continuous, and extraordinary new expressions of heartfelt and heaven-sent praise and worship to God. This is only right, for all things were created for his glory (Isa. 43.7), and everything that has breath ought to praise the faithful God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Ps. 150). May God grant us the humility and longing to wait in the presence of the Lord until he appears and sets our hearts free to worship!

Example of Seeking the Lord in Worship: Isaiah

Isa. 66.1-2 – Thus says the Lord: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest? [2] All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the Lord. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.”

Biblical Principle: Revival ushers the truly contrite and humble into the extraordinary manifestation of the presence of the Lord. When we worship the Father in spirit and in truth, humbling ourselves before him, seeking his face, and repenting from our wicked ways, God is set free to reveal his presence in our midst in wondrous and remarkable ways. The fruit of true revival is authentic worship of God who comes and dwells in our midst.

2 Chron. 7.14 – if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

To read the complete article and explore our full array of Let God Arise! resources, click here

http://www.tumi.org/images/stories/uploads/docs/letgodarise/revival07.pdf

Dr. Davis Blog: Revival — Seek the Lord

Let God Arise! Biblical Revival Blog #6

Seek the Lord: Revival under Asa (2 Chronicles 14-16)

See also: Ps. 145.18, Zeph. 2.3, Ps. 148.14, 2 Chron. 30.17-20, Isa. 55.6-7, 1 Chron. 28.9, Job 8.5-7, Ps. 14.2, Ps. 27.8, Ps. 32.6, Ps. 95.7-9, Isa. 45.19, Jer. 29.12-14, Amos 5.6, Matt. 7.7-8, Ps. 22.26, Ps. 25.8-9, Ps. 105.4, 2 Cor. 6.1-2, Heb. 3.1, Ps. 27.8, Ps. 145.18

Must the fuel of genuine revival always and only be times of adversity and trial? Students of revival will immediately see that revival under Asa is different than most of the revivals that took place in the Old Testament economy. Often, the people of God were moved to revival only after they experienced a time of adversity, decline, or even despair. These times of shadow and difficulty were the “dry wood” to ignite the flames of revival, usually through a leader or group which used that occasion to rediscover the need for God’s glory and holiness to be restored among his people. In Asa’s case, however, the revival comes not at a time of tragedy, but a time of reformation, not at a time of despair, but a time of deliberately seeking the Lord.

As Walt Kaiser rightly concludes, a reformation movement is not the same as a revival. While reformation may lead the people of God to hear afresh the Word of God and take action upon it, revival is the literal presence of God infilling and impacting every facet of our lives. It is nothing less than the very life of God, the Spirit of the living God so moving on the hearts of his people that we are led to repentance, to contrition, to cleansing, to transformation, and to spiritual deepening. Reformation leads to helpful amendment; revival leads to deepened transformation.

We read of the revival under Asa’s reign in 2 Chronicles 14-16. Asa began his efforts with genuine reformation:

2 Chron. 14.1-6 – Abijah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David. And Asa his son reigned in his place. In his days the land had rest for ten years. [2] And Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God. [3] He took away the foreign altars and the high places and broke down the pillars and cut down the Asherim [4] and commanded Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, and to keep the law and the commandment. [5] He also took out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the incense altars. And the kingdom had rest under him. [6] He built fortified cities in Judah, for the land had rest. He had no war in those years, for the Lord gave him peace.

Asa “did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God,” (v. 2), putting down idolatry, desecrating the places associated with foreign gods, and commanding the people to seek God and to keep his Word. What is significant about Asa is that he did not require a time of tragedy, discipline, lack, or adversity to get him to get his priorities of seeking the Lord right. God gave Asa favor because he had ordered his loves aright; he sought God because God was worthy of praise and obedience.

As some commentators on Asa have suggested, Asa’s significance for understanding the nature of revival comes from a single phrase in this OT section dealing with his life and work: Asa sought the Lord. 2 Chronicles 14 and 15 record this trait of Asa’s heart and life. For example:

2 Chron. 15.12-13 – And they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and with all their soul, [13] but that whoever would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, should be put to death, whether young or old, man or woman.

2 Chron. 15.15 – And all Judah rejoiced over the oath, for they had sworn with all their heart and had sought him with their whole desire, and he was found by them, and the Lord gave them rest all around.

Throughout Asa’s life and reign, his most memorable mark was his personal seeking of the Lord, his exhorting of the people to seek the Lord, and his leading of the nation to seek the Lord. This focus on seeking God, on pursuing him, consulting him, of focusing the attention and efforts of the nation upon God’s business and concerns, is a distinguishing mark of all true spirituality. In one sense, the idea of seeking God can be used as a synonym for authentic spirituality, for no one can legitimately seek God for himself sake and not also do the things that correspond to that seeking.

This is evidently true from the testimony of the end of Asa’s life, which is recorded soberly in 2 Chron. 16.12-14:

In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was diseased in his feet, and his disease became severe. Yet even in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but sought help from physicians. [13] And Asa slept with his fathers, dying in the forty-first year of his reign.

Ironically, the principle which underlay virtually the entire life of Asa was abandoned before he died. Only at the end, when Asa was nearly 40 years into his reign of the Lord’s people, when perhaps fatigued and ill, did he seek the help of men (i.e., his physicians) instead of the help of the Lord. This punctuation reveals how central seeking God is to not only revival, but every facet of spiritual life and service. We must never tire of seeking the Lord. Where we seek our aid and help, from whom we seek our counsel and support, tells everything about us, and ultimately, will determine our usefulness and fruitfulness to the Lord.

Let us then, therefore, stir up our hearts to seek the Lord afresh. Regardless of how tired, sleepy, or numb our seeking has been in the past, we can seek the Lord passionately today. Nor do we need to compare ourselves with others, or even ourselves (i.e., where we are today versus where we ought to be). Right now, right here today we can turn our hearts to the Lord and begin to seek his face, to focus on his Word, to concentrate on his priorities and purposes, to stir ourselves after his glory and works. Asa’s life and work show the truth of God’s statements summarized in 2 Chronicles 6 and 7, and summarized so powerfully in chapter 7 verse 14:

2 Chron. 7.14 – if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Humble ourselves, pray, seek his face, and turn from our wicked ways–this is the recipe for God’s revival in our time. The results of this are plain in Asa’s reign: the Lord brought them peace in their assembly (14.2-7), an overwhelming sense of his own dear presence (15.2-7), and consistent victory over their enemies and their plots to do them harm (14.9-15; 16.1-10). I find no reason for us not to expect that the same God who cannot lie (Titus 1.2) will not even today respond to his children by faith in Jesus Christ who reorder their priorities to make Christ Lord of their lives, to allow God to be the central organizing power and being in their lives, and to seek his face continually. In this posture, in this longing, in this pursuit we can find God, and in seeking him in this way, he will allow us to find him.

Who knows what is possible when we seek the Lord with our whole hearts again? What may our gracious Lord elect to do in and through us if we were only to seek him as our end, and not merely his gifts and blessings, not his benefits and riches? Like the magi of old, do not the wise still seek the living God in the person of his dear Son?

 

Example of Seeking the Face of the Lord Wholeheartedly: David

Ps. 105.4 – Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!

Biblical Principle: Revival occurs when we seek the Lord with our whole hearts, not for his benefits and help in time of trouble, but also for himself as our source and exceeding great reward. We are to seek his face continuously and passionately, and we will find him if we seek him with our whole hearts. Jer. 29.12-14 – Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. [13] You will seek me and find me. When you seek me with all your heart, [14] I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.

To read the complete article and explore our full array of Let God Arise! resources, click here:

http://www.tumi.org/images/stories/uploads/docs/letgodarise/revival06.pdf

Cry to the Lord For Victory: Revival Under Samuel (1 Samuel 7.1-13)

Cry to the Lord For Victory: Revival Under Samuel (1 Samuel 7.1-13)

See also: 2 Sam. 24.14, 1 Sam. 12.19-24, Isa. 62.1, Isa. 62.6-7, James 5.16, Ps. 50.15 –

Ps. 99.6, Gen. 22.14, Exod. 17.15, Deut. 32.36, Ps. 22.4-5, 2 Cor. 1.8-10, Exod. 34.6

Ps. 86.5, Ps. 103.8-14, Ps. 119.156, Mic. 7.18, Ps. 71.6, Ps. 71.17, Isa. 46.3-4, Acts 26.22, Deut. 33.29, Ps. 84.11, Ps. 115.9-11, 2 Cor. 1.8-10

Sometimes, we just don’t get it.

In the history of God dealing with his people, we have evidence of God’s people being willing to suffer because they fail to respond to his pleas and direction. The revival that takes place under Samuel is such a time. In a time of national defeat, spiritual decline, and communal wandering, the children of Israel finally came to a place of brokenness before God. But, it didn’t come easy.

According to the testimony of Scripture, it took the children of Israel some twenty years to get their hearts in sync with the Spirit of God. Even after the Philistines returned the ark to Israel in Kirjath-jearim, it took the people of God twenty years to acknowledge their need for God and his grace. Twenty years. That is a long time to be in a holding pattern, to be in a point of indecision, to be unclear about one’s allegiances. Yet it is plain it took the children of Israel this period of time before they began to thaw from their spiritual deep freeze.

When they did, they admitted the whole truth about themselves. Before their national repentance, even the capture of the ark didn’t bring them out of their spiritual slumber; there is no evidence in the text that they were affected by it either way–it didn’t seem to matter for a long time whether they lost the ark or recovered it from the Philistines.

Yet, after the twenty years, the texts tells us that all the house of Israel “lamented after the Lord”—they were finally in a position to admit their wrong, to mourn their indifference, to seek God’s authority, and resubmit to his will. Through the powerful prophetic and judging influence of Samuel, they finally were brought to a place of being willing to admit their sin, renounce their adultery with foreign gods, and recommit themselves to the true worship of Yahweh. The text reveals the heart of the matter:

     1 Sam. 7.3-6 – And Samuel said to all the house of Israel, “If you are returning to the Lord with all your heart, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your heart to the Lord and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” [4] So the people of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtaroth, and they served the Lord only. [5] Then Samuel said, “Gather all Israel at Mizpah, and I will pray to the Lord for you.” [6] So they gathered at Mizpah and drew water and poured it out before the Lord and fasted on that day and said there, “We have sinned against the Lord.” And Samuel judged the people of Israel at Mizpah.

Samuel clearly lays out the condition for spiritual renewal and community victory. Return to the Lord with all your heart, put away the foreign gods among you, and direct your heart to the Lord for worship and service to him alone. If this is done, God will manifest his victory in the midst of his people.

Here we have the definition of revival in its clearest, cleanest, and most concise form. All forms of revival are nothing more than the rediscovery of God as the Center and Circumference of our entire lives, both as individuals and as communities of faith. God is merciful, faithful, compassionate, and will never break his covenant promise. He is poised, ready and willing, to act on the sureties of his promise if his people merely acknowledge him as their source and stronghold. When they do, even if they have failed to know of his leading for decades, he will faithfully resume his plan and bring victory and definition of revival: they were then brought, doubtless by the influence of Samuel’s exhortations, to renounce idolatry, and to return to the national worship of the true God.

Through the brokenness and humility of God’s people and the wise judgeship of Samuel, God brought about a time of dramatic spiritual renewal and national transformation. They renounced their idols, humbly admitted their transgression, and opened themselves up to the Lord’s cleansing power. They reestablished faith in Yahweh in a sacred convocation at Mizpeh, and symbolically testified to their confession of sin. They allowed God’s chosen representative, Samuel, to judge them–that is, to lead them in the ways of the Lord, and he demonstrated his merciful kindness to them by giving them his victory, and establishing peace in their midst. In a wonderfully ironic twist, their repentance and crying to the Lord resulted in his giving them his brilliant victory which provided them with a secure peace for twenty years, as well as them being restored with the territory that the Philistines had taken beforehand.

As a visible sign of their drawing water, and pouring it out before the Lord (i.e., a sign of their pouring out their hearts in repentance before God) Samuel erected on an open spot a pillar which would testify of God’s help and his intervening victory. The name given to the pillar was “Eben-ezer,” a title that scholars believe was written on its face. Its meaning is clear, and can give us direction as we intercede on behalf of the cities of the world:

     1 Sam. 7.12 – Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, “Till now the Lord has helped us.”

“Till now the Lord has helped us.” What a clear statement of the past, an affirmation of the present, and an anticipation of the future. As we seek to advance the Kingdom of God among the poorest of the poor in the cities around the world, we can count on with our whole hearts the kindness and help of the Lord. He knows our frame, our weakness, and our need. He will

not abandon nor forsake us. We can trust his word, for it can never be broken, never go unfulfilled, and cannot be ignored. Our God, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is God, and will always come to the aid of those who in humility and brokenness admit their need, cry out to him, and place themselves in a position to be used again for his high purpose.

Let’s not take twenty years to get it. Till now the Lord has helped us, and by faith, we can count on him helping us again, if we humble ourselves before his mighty power. Thank God, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13.8). He will never forsake us if we only cry out to him in faith.

Let us readily and earnestly plead the mercies of the one who stands ready to help us if we renounce our idols, admit our sin, and pour out our cries to him. He will help us if we cry out to him alone.

Example of Crying Out to the Lord in Openness and Humility: Our Lord Jesus

Heb. 5.7-9 – In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. [8] Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.  [9] And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him.

Principle: Revival occurs when God’s people readily admit their neediness before him, when they renounce all false gods, confess their sin, and yield themselves afresh to his Spirit and to his leaders under his authority. Revival is simply the recognition that only through the help of God can his work be done and his kingdom advanced.

To read the complete article and explore our full array of Let God Arise! resources, click here: http://www.tumi.org/images/stories/uploads/docs/letgodarise/revival05.pdf

Dr. Davis Blog: Revival — Let God Be God!

Let God Be God: Revival under Elijah (1 Kings 18)

See also: 1 Kings 18.20-21, Deut. 4.3, Matt. 10.38, Matt. 16.24, Luke 9.23-25, 2 Tim. 3.12, Matt. 6.24, Rom. 6.16-18, 1 Cor. 10.21-22, 2 Cor. 6.14-16, Rev. 3.15-16, Josh. 24.15-18, Matt. 10.37, Luke 14.27-28, 1 Cor. 16.22, 1 Cor. 4.9-13, Gal. 2.20, Gal. 6.14, 1 Pet. 4.1, 1 Pet. 4.13, Rev. 2.10, Deut. 32:39, 1 Sam. 2.2, Isa. 44.6, Isa. 44.8

Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. in his wonderful piece on revival entitled Quest for Renewal (Chicago: Moody Press, p.65) describes the situation that Elijah found himself in during the turbulent times of the nation when this revival in 1 Kings 18 broke out:

Fifty-eight years had passed since the kingdom was ripped apart in 931 B.C. At that time the glorious united kingdom, which had lasted for well nigh a full century with all the splendor of the reigns of David and Solomon, was divided into two southern and ten northern tribes. Subsequently things had not gone all that well, especially for the northern ten tribes. During this relatively brief time, the northern tribes had been ruled over by seven kings: Jeroboam, the installer of the two calves designed to replace the worship of Yahweh (1 Kings 12:28-32); Nadab, who walked in the sins of his father, Jeroboam (1 Kings 15:22); Baasha, who murdered Nadab (1 Kings 15:27); Elah, a drunkard and murderer (1 Kings 16:8-9); Zimri, who was guilty of treason (1 Kings 16:20); Omri, a military adventurer who did “worse than all who were before him” (1 Kings 16:25-26); and finally Omri’s son, Ahab, who did more evil than all who were before him. It was Ahab who married the infamous Jezebel, daughter of the king of Sidon (1 Kings 16:30-31). These were not the best of times politically. Neither were they the best of times spiritually, for the nation had been won over to the worship of the Canaanite gods, especially Baal. The decline of national and spiritual strength was enough to make any God-fearing person weep. But where was that remnant?

Where was the remnant? The same question that plagued Elijah still plagues the Church of Jesus Christ today. In the midst of one of the most confusing, turbulent, and yet pivotal times in the history of the American church, where is the remnant of men and women whose hearts are turned towards God, who refuse to bow to the idol of Baal, who desire to see God in a new, fresh, and empowering way?

Now is the time for a new generation to beg God for new grace, for a fresh manifestation of his power and glory, for pardon for our sin and foolishness, and for zeal for the Gospel and the Kingdom. At a time when the entire nation seemed locked in idolatry and selfishness, the prophet Elijah asked God to demonstrate that he and he alone was God, that the gods of the nations were but idols, and that he still was working in the midst of his covenant community.

Such a time is our time; as brother Kaiser suggests, “It is high time that we in our day let God be God.” In order to get the attention of his people of old, God withheld rain, judged the idolaters, and raised up prophets to proclaim his Word. In the same way, we must ask our God to demonstrate tangibly in our midst that he and he alone is the Lord, that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah, and that the Church of Jesus Christ is called to proclaim the Kingdom come till it is consummated at our Lord’s soon return.

Let us not be stubborn and hard like Israel of old, who failed to respond to the pleas of God despite his merciful and faithful actions to draw their attention back to him (cf. Jer. 5.3: O Lord, do not your eyes look for truth? You have struck them down, but they felt no anguish; you have consumed them, but they refused to take correction. They have made their faces harder than rock; they have refused to repent.) Let us humble ourselves before the Lord, seek his pardon, readily admit our guilt before him, and ask him to reveal his power.

Do not be either dismayed or afraid if you find yourself a lonely prophet in the midst of the people of God. The prophetic voice is often an ignored one; who but the Lord understands all the agonies of Elijah’s heart in pleading for fervency and repentance to a people whose hearts had grown callous due to idolatry, greed, and oppression? God answered the challenge of Elijah, outnumbered 450 false Baal prophets to himself. Yet, God demonstrated through his own power who in fact represented his interests and who was on his side. The revelation of God on Mt. Carmel is testimony that the God of heaven knows those who belong to him, and will work on behalf of those who remain faithful to him, even in the face of rejection, misunderstanding, and persecution.

So, let us ask God to rain fire on the altar, even as he did for Elijah that day on Mt. Carmel. Let’s plead with the Lord to demonstrate in our midst for all to see that he is in fact the Lord God, our Maker and Redeemer, who has sent his Son into the world to establish an eternal Kingdom and who will never forsake his own. As the people fell prostrate before the Lord when the fire fell on the altar, may we fall prostrate before him today, and may we ask for the cleansing fire of his Spirit on us, our churches, our families, our neighborhoods, and our cities. Let us cry with the people of old that “Yahweh, he is God; Yahweh, he is God!” (cf. 1 Kings 18.39). Let us admit no rivals, consider no substitutions, embrace no other loyalties. May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ receive glory in us this month as we plead with him to demonstrate his power in our midst, and may we through the Spirit let God be God in us.

Example of Brokenness before the Lord that Allows Him to Reveal Himself Fully: Elijah

1 Kings 18.36-37 – And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. [37] Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.”

Principle: Revival comes when a prepared people witness the cleansing power of God in such a way that they yield to him without reservation so that in all areas of their lives God can be God. Only when in contrition and prostration we offer ourselves up to him on his own terms can we experience the extra-ordinary power of revival in our community.

To read the complete article and explore our full array of Let God Arise! resources, click here:

http://www.tumi.org/images/stories/uploads/docs/letgodarise/revival04.pdf

 

 

Dr. Davis Blog: Revival — Confess Our Sins Before God

Confess Our Sin Before God: Revival under Moses (Exodus 23-33)

See also: Exodus 23-33, Lev. 26.40-42, Ps. 38.15-18, 2 Chron. 6.37-38, Dan. 9.4-11, 1 John 1.5-10, Ps. 51.10, Luke 15.18-24, Deut. 30.1-3, Ps. 32.1-7, 2 Cor. 7.10-11, Ps. 51.1-7, Prov. 28.13, James 5.16, Exod. 32.7-14, Psalm 51.

Revival in the community of God is simple yet radical. It is simple because those who are open and humble before God, who readily admit their own sinfulness and guilt before him, can receive his forgiveness and restoration through faith in his Son. It is radical because the Father does not forgive either excuses or alibis. He refuses to act on externals, but desires truth in the innermost being of our hearts. He is willing to forgive the admission of sin, but he will neither tolerate nor allow for anything less than the full and naked acknowledgment of our sinful acts. Sin may involve harming ourselves and others, but ultimately, all sin is perpetrated against the Lord.

Ps. 51.3-4 – For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me   [4] Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.

God records in Scripture numerous times when his people, caught in the act of their own rebellion and guilt, faced the choice either to repent from their wickedness and seek the forgiveness of God, or simply continue in the direction of their pride and suffer the consequences. If revival among the people of God means anything, it means that the will of God is restored to its rightful place in the hearts of God’s people, and through their actions in their relationships and conduct. Revival, true revival, is nothing less than a fresh manifestation of the Kingdom of God in the midst of God’s people, resulting in a new love for the Lord, a heart for the truth, a desire to obey his command, and a passion to bring him glory. Revival that does not result in holiness is little more than a spiritual flash in the pan, a kind of pseudo-emotional response that remains only skin deep and ineffective.

The setting of Moses and the children of Israel in Exodus 32 and 33 reveal the power of confession in both the judgment and mercy of God. Because of Moses’ delay in coming down from the mountain, the people demanded that Aaron make them gods that would go before them. Apparently, without any hesitation, Aaron submits to the will of the people, gathering up gold from their golden earrings, fashioning the gold with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf. Incredibly, Aaron exclaims that this image he had fashioned was their god, the one that brought them out of the land of Egypt! Aaron built an altar before it, proclaimed a feast to the Lord, and the people arose early the next morning, offering burnt offerings and brought peace offerings, and celebrated with feast, drinking, and play.

Against this backdrop, God tells Moses of their corruption and quick “turning aside” from his commandments. The Lord saw their stiff-necked hearts and idolatrous passions, and said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people. [10] Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them, in order that I may make a great nation of you” (Exod. 32.9b-10). In one of the moments of high drama in Scripture, Moses implores the Lord for Israel, pleading with God to save the people of his deliverance. He pleads his case for their forgiveness, arguing that the Egyptians will say that he brought them out of their land only to kill them in the mountains and to consume them from the face of the earth. Moses intercedes to the Lord on their behalf, asking that he turn from his burning anger and relent from this disaster against his people. In a striking claim, Moses asks the Lord to “Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, to whom you swore by your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your offspring, and they shall inherit it forever.’” (Exod. 32.13). And, in one of the most powerful displays of the grace and lovingkindness of the Lord, he hears Moses’ plea and relents from the terrible judgment he had spoken of bringing on his people. In response to one man’s pleas for mercy, God hears and saves a nation from destruction.

Above all things, this display of the power of prayer to persuade God, to move him to mercy, to cause him (incredibly!) to relent from the disaster that he would bring on his people ought to encourage us in our petitions for the city. In the same way that Israel deserved God’s just and immediate judgment, so we today deserve his righteous retribution. We have sinned against him. We have failed to keep his commandments. We have rejected his laws. We have turned our backs on his righteous judgment and brought shame to his Son because of our lack of passion, obedience, and hunger. The claim of Isaiah rings true over the centuries in our own case: “All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53.6, NKJV).

It seems transparent enough to suggest that no lasting fruit will come to the cities of America and the world without the gracious presence of God working in the midst of his people. And, correspondingly, no effective mission and ministry can be undertaken, no righteous proclamation of the truth, and no display of God’s power can be seen if we fail to receive his cleansing and mercy for our sin. Holiness is not an option in urban mission; God forgives sin, not excuses, not alibis, not protests, not blameshifting. If we will but confess our sins before him, admit our guilt and acknowledge our “turning aside” from his will, he will surely and wholly forgive us and grant us the power to accomplish his will. The blood of Jesus is sufficient for us; we need only affirm and apply our need for it.

Revival’s spark begins with the heart of God’s people readily willing and open to come before him humbly, to receive from him through Christ what he alone can provide–cleansing from sin, forgiveness, and full restoration into his will. The intercession of Moses, Daniel, Elijah, and others proves that God’s heart can be turned from judgment to grace. Let’s join in concentrated intercession, first for ourselves, confessing our own unbelief, lack of love, pettiness, and worldliness. Let us bow before God seeking his cleansing, and then join our prayers for our brothers and sisters everywhere. Let us seek the mercies of God and ask for his cleansing and empowerment.

Example of Confession before God on Behalf of Oneself and One’s People: Daniel

Dan. 9.3-5 – Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. [4] I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession, saying, “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, [5] we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules.”

Principle: Revival flows from the cleansing and power that occur as a result of the repentance, brokenness, and contrition arising from the confession of our sins. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is a holy God whose being and will are pure and beautiful. The vessels he employs and works through must be prepared, honed, cleansed, and washed; only those whose lives have experienced the cleansing power of the Blood of Christ can truly be in a position to be used of him for his high and holy purposes. Let us bow before him in humble contrition and receive the cleansing that he alone can provide through faith in Jesus Christ.

Only when the people of God, in deep repentance, humility, and contrition, confess their sins before God can they receive the cleansing and anointing necessary to become vessels of God’s Word and his Spirit.

To read the complete article and explore our full array of Let God Arise! resources, click here:

http://www.tumi.org/images/stories/uploads/docs/letgodarise/revival03.pdf

Revival in the Heart: Revival under Jacob (Genesis 35:1-15)

Revival in the Heart: Revival under Jacob (Genesis 35:1-15)

See also: Gen. 12.7, Gen. 13.14-17, Gen. 28.3-4, 10-17, Gen 32.24-32, Gen. 48.4, Exodus 3.8, Ecclesiastes 5.1, Malachi 3.5, Matthew 3.9-10, 1 Timothy 3:15, 1 Peter 4.17, Psalm 51.10-12, Psalm 73.1, Ezekiel 11.19, 18.31, and Matthew 5.8.

Virtually everyone is agreed that the cities of the world could be transformed if the Lord were to provide sustained, intense, and transforming revival to his people. A spiritual awakening among the people of God could lead to a radical holiness in the Church and draw thousands of lost souls to our risen King.

What truly is revival, and spiritual awakening, and where does it need to start? What is the source of authentic spiritual transformation, the kind that spreads like fire and prepares a people for God to dwell in? The answer is quite simple, illustrated in the story of Jacob the supplanter in the Hebrew Scriptures. Genuine spiritual power and spiritual awakening always begins the same way. Revival begins with a single changed heart.

In one sense, wholesale revival is merely the Spirit of God transforming and enriching the heart and minds of multitudes of people, one changed heart at a time. Revival is not sentimental emotionalism or long unbroken meetings with much crying and tears. Similar outward reactions are often experienced at today’s sports stadiums among many multitudes who unfortunately have neither an inkling nor even a dribble of consciousness of the will and Word of God.

Rather, revival is spiritual renewal, spiritual transformation, spiritual awakening. When God sends revival people are changed–they have new perspectives, new passions, and new principles to live and order their lives by.
Jacob is a person who experienced the revival of God in this way. From rogue deceiver to godly patriarch, the presence of God in his life, from visions to wrestlings and disciplines, all shaped together to reforge in him a new man, a person of vision and hope, a true grandson of Abraham.

Even a cursory read of the Scriptures above reveals that revival takes place after much change, honing, burning, and judgment. It goes without saying that God must burn away dross in our lives in order for his pure purposes to shine forth. The Lord must discipline us in order that we can learn to repudiate our propensity for selfishness, immorality, and distraction. And, the Lord must reveal to us the deceptions and selfish preoccupations that dominant us in order for the truth of Christ and his kingdom to become supreme. Simply put, without his intervening savage grace, there can be no overcoming spiritual change.

Jacob’s experience reveals in bold outline this kind of shaping, drilling, chipping, and honing that is at the heart of genuine spiritual awakening in the hearts of those whom he chooses. Jacob’s habits and inclination made him one to cut corners, to deceive others, to take the easy road, and to be conniving and cunning. This kind of style worked for some time, until threatened by his brother Esau for his deception in robbing him of his birthright, and the long night of wrestling with the angel which resulted in his limp for the rest of his life. Jacob learned through a number of situations that working out things on his own time, strength, and will left him nowhere but high and dry. He paid a price for his own selfish scheming.

Jacob, however, also learned through the Lord’s own discipline and leading that only through submission to the will of God can real and lasting change be brought about. Jacob was transformed; through the visitations and rough presence of God he learned his own vulnerability, and was able to allow God to do in and through him the very thing God willed. Only after thewrestling, after the humbling, and after the experience of God’s disciplining and shaping mercies did Jacob come to see God as his very source, his life.

God is faithful to us, even when we are stubbornly refusing to allow his Spirit to work deeply within us. If we are to allow God to use us, we must surrender all efforts to work things out in our own way and time, and truly yield to his wrestling.

If we are unwilling to be wrestled into submission, we will not receive a new name.

If we cling to our own selfish rights and habits of self-assertion, we never have his promise renewed in our lives.

If we refuse his saving grace, we will also miss his empowering grace, that which can enable us to become the kind of men, women, boys, and girls God desires and demands us to be.

Example of God Transforming a Heart for His Glory: Jacob

Genesis. 32.28 – Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.”

Principle: Revival begins in the solitude of a human heart, in a soul whose submission and openness to the Lord allows God to be God in their lives. Revival is not to be associated with outward emotion alone, or vast numbers of affected persons. Like a spark, it begins quietly in the life of one whose heart is open to the discipline, leading, and cleansing of God. When such a soul humbles itself before the Lord in brokenness and surrender, the Lord can transform it in an extraordinary way. And, when this transformation occurs in one, it can awaken the same in others, as God himself leads, awakens, and reveals.  All dramatic revival begins with the Lord’s own transformation himself in the heart of the surrendered disciple–the Lord alone transforms the heart.

Revival is the manifestation of God in an extraordinary way, the divine visitation of the living God to heal, deliver, cleanse, and empower. Let this be true today, in your life and heart, in a new and living way in the here-and-now.

To read the complete article and explore our full array of Let God Arise! resources, click here:  http://www.tumi.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=304&Itemid=690

Revival — The Manifestation of God in an Extraordinary Way

“Revive Us Again,” Seeking Spiritual Revival in the City

See: Deuteronomy 4.29, 32.46-47, I Chronicles 16.11, 28.9, 2 Chronicles 6. 37-39, 20.3, Psalm 14.2, 27.4 and 8, Psalm 32.6, 95.7, Deuteronomy 30.1-6, Daniel 9.3, Haggai 1.5, Isaiah 45.19, 55.6-7, 60.1, Jeremiah 29.12-14, Matthew 7, 7-8. Amos 5.6, Zephaniah 2.2-3, John 12.35-36, 2 Corinthians 6.1-2, Hebrews 3.13.

If the Scripture is clear about one fact, it is plain that our God desires to be desired for, he longs to be longed for, and responds to those who draw near to him. In a real sense, revival is about our seeking the face of God in such a way that he chooses to make his presence felt in an extraordinary way.

Revival is quite simple: revival is the manifestation of God in an extraordinary way, the divine visitation of the living God to heal, deliver, cleanse, and empower. It is nothing less than the very divine presence being experienced in a new and living way in the here-and-now.

The cities of America and the world are beyond our best efforts, our concerted missionary strategies, our most resolute plans to win them. The enemies are too numerous, our flesh too weak, the spiritual climates too dark for us to pretend that the cities can be won without divine power and unction. Only with a new manifestation of the power of God, an extraordinary outpouring of his Spirit, and a fresh mobilization of the people of God under the direction of our Lord himself can we win these dark hulks of human rebellion.

Yet, we have seen how God has done incredible works in individuals, families, churches, cities, and nations when individuals have humbled themselves before the Lord, in prayer and repentance, and sought him with new levels of hunger and passion. If the cities of America and the world are to hear the Word of God regarding the Lord Jesus Christ in a fresh and powerful way, we must humble ourselves before him. If thousands of laborers are to be sent to the far flung regions of the great cities of the world with new energy, direction, and passion, we will need the Lord’s own unction and power. If new churches are to be planted in neighborhoods currently plagued by corruption, immorality, and addiction, God himself will have to visit us with his own glorious presence. Nothing short of God’s own presence will do; no amount of effort, working, and strategy will break the power of the enemy and cause the thunderclouds of blessing to pour on our tired, diseased cities the fresh showers of blessing they need.

We invite you to join us as we explore the following historical instances of God’s manifestation and visitation – OT experiences that will instruct us in the nature of revival and the ways in which God displays renewal:

  • Revival in the Heart: Revival Under Jacob (Gen. 35.1-15)
  • Confess Our Sin Before God: Revival Under Moses (Exod. 32-33)
  • Cry to the Lord for Victory: Revival Under Samuel (1 Sam. 7.1-13)
  • Let God Be God: Revival Under Elijah (1 Kings 18)
  • Dedicate Ourselves to God’s Worship: Revival Under Solomon (2 Chron. 6-7)
  • Seek the Lord: Revival Under Asa (2 Chron. 14-16)
  • Set Our Eyes on the Lord: Revival Under Jehoshaphat (2 Chron. 20)
  • Turn Back to the Lord: Revival Under Hezekiah (2 Chron. 30.1-9)
  • Humble Ourselves Before God: Revival Under Josiah (2 Chron. 34-35)
  • Renew the Work of the Lord: Revival Under Zerubbabel (Hag. 1; 1.1-6)
  • Rejoice in the Lord: Revival Under Nehemiah (Neh. 8)

Our desire is to seek after God with all our hearts and souls, to press toward the upward prize, and to long for him with all our selves. This will demand discipline, focus, energy, and dedication, but, if we humble ourselves before him, he may come to us in such a way as to touch dozens of inner-city communities with his own divine visitation. We must be resolute and clear; we cannot allow laziness, foolishness, distraction, or exhaustion to interfere with our quest.

Let us also not think that our seeking and pining after God makes us any better than those who do not feel so moved to pursue him in this way. Let us admit with broken hearts the truth that the prophet spoke of his people in his own day:

Isa. 64.6-8 – We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. [7] There is no one who calls upon your name, who rouses himself to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities. [8] But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of  your hand.

Yes, we all are the work of his hand, we all need his grace, and we all need his cleansing, whether or not we realize it, whether or not we are mindful of it.

Let us set our hearts, therefore, to plead to God in a new and determined way. Let us determine to hold nothing back as we seek his presence and beg him to advance his Kingdom through his people. Only if our Risen and Conquering Lord comes to us and to his church can we see the kind of spread of the Gospel and harvest of souls that we so desperately desire.

Only if he comes with power can we see the changes we seek. Let him first come upon us, his people, and then upon the world. Our only hope is that he would revive us again–to love him, to turn our backs on our idols, to be cleansed from our sin, to be released to new ministry for God. Let God arise, and (if he does) we will be revived again.

Example of Seeking for God with All His Heart: David

Psalm 27.7-8 – Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me! You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.”

Principle: When the people of God humble themselves before the Lord in brokenness and humility, God visits his people in an extraordinary way. And, when the presence of the Lord is felt, his people are revived, his church is awakened, and his kingdom is advanced.

To read the complete article and explore our full array of Let God Arise! resources, click here:  Revival Resources on TUMI’s Let God Arise! page

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