Revival – noun
A bringing back to a state of prior existence.
A large meeting of people in a church-like setting.
Related to this word are people, the Wesley Brothers, Billy Graham, and the Gaithers. Things such as tents, alter calls, mass conversions, and hymns, Time periods of the First and Second Great Awakenings here in America. These are just a few of the many stereotypical things that come to mind when I hear the word Revival.
However, Revival is not something to be taken lightly, like a feather in the wind. It is much deeper. It is one of the many tools that God uses to get our attention and bring about change. Like a brick falling from a three-story rooftop and hitting someone in the forehead, revival is going to leave a mark. That mark can come in many different forms.
One mark of revival is that of turning back to God. Prime example: Nehemiah
In late autumn, in the month of Kislev, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes’ reign, I was at the fortress of Susa. 2 Hanani, one of my brothers, came to visit me with some other men who had just arrived from Judah. I asked them about the Jews who had returned there from captivity and about how things were going in Jerusalem.
3 They said to me, “Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.”
4 When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven.
God used this news to bring about revival in Nehemiah’s life. A great burden was placed on his heart for the people of Jerusalem. So much so that even the king noticed it as Nehemiah was the king’s cupbearer.
2 Early the following spring, in the month of Nisan, during the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes’ reign, I was serving the king his wine. I had never before appeared sad in his presence. 2 So the king asked me, “Why are you looking so sad? You don’t look sick to me. You must be deeply troubled.”
Then I was terrified, 3 but I replied, “Long live the king! How can I not be sad? For the city where my ancestors are buried is in ruins, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.”
4 The king asked, “Well, how can I help you?”
With a prayer to the God of heaven, 5 I replied, “If it please the king, and if you are pleased with me, your servant, send me to Judah to rebuild the city where my ancestors are buried.”
6 The king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked, “How long will you be gone? When will you return?” After I told him how long I would be gone, the king agreed to my request.
And the king did more than just agree, but sent guards to protect and letters to the governor’s for safe passage. Nehemiah was not expecting the king to give anything, but to his surprise the king was willing to give more than Nehemiah thought possible. Nehemiah went to Jerusalem, rebuilt the wall in record time, and when it was done called a meeting of all the people of Jerusalem and had Ezra read God’s word to them from dawn until noon which brought the Israelites back on track with God.
Which brings us to our next mark of revival, that of God’s visible action and intervention in our lives. Turn to Habakkuk 3:2
I have heard all about you, Lord.
I am filled with awe by your amazing works.
In this time of our deep need,
help us again as you did in years gone by.
And in your anger,
remember your mercy.
Habakkuk is praying for God to intervene for his people. Habakkuk has seen what God is about to do and is filled with wonder. He is praying that God would again come and rescue his people. Revival fills us with this wonder, restores us to a place where we are close to Him and we are more aware of what God is doing in our lives.
This leads to the third mark of revival, a hunger and a thirst for God, even when we don’t see how God is working in us.
Turning back to Jeremiah 29:11, a passage that many of us can say by heart or at least recognize it, yet there is more to this passage.
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 In those days when you pray, I will listen. 13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. 14 I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”
When we pray, when we thirst for action from God, He will listen. The thirst comes out of change revival brings about. We thirst to become closer to God, to read His word, for an action to be carried out.
God wants to work through each of us, build the up the walls again as in Nehemiah’s time. Heal our wounds, mend our relationships, free us from the chains that hold us back from running at a full sprint to Him.
God want to leave a mark of revival in you, to bring you to him, work in your life, fill you with a thirst that can only be quenched by Him who made you. Yet, he can’t if you don’t first let Him in. He can’t bring revival in your life unless you believe that He can do it, that he died on the cross in your place.
I challenge you to allow God to bring about revival in your life. Allow Him to draw you closer to Him, work in your life, quenching the thirst with water from a river that will never run dry.
Let us pray
Lord, we surrender. Loose these chains that we carry so that we can fully come to you. Be our vision for in the way of heavenly things we are blind. Allow us to be a beacon to someone this week and show us the beacon we are to follow. Bring about a revival in us that we may be forever changed and that we may draw closer to you. In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen