(Worship Meditation … April of 2014)
… Now for a brief moment favor has been shown by the Lord to leave us a remnant and to give us a secure hold within His holy place, that our God may brighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our slavery. For we are slaves, yet our God has not forsaken us in our slavery, but has extended to us His steadfast love before the kings of Persia, to grant us some reviving to set up the house of our God, to repair its ruins, and to give us protection in Jerusalem. … The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. … You who seek the Lord, let your hearts revive. … You who made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again. From the depths of the earth You will bring me up again. … Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You? … Thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.” … O Lord, I have heard the report of You, and Your work, O Lord, do I fear. In the midst of the years revive it; in the midst of the years make it known. In wrath remember mercy. [Ezra 9:8-9; Psalms 19:7; 69:32; 71:20; 85:6; Isaiah 57:15; Habakkuk 3:2]
I mentioned before that this year, some of the most conservative evangelical pastors in Lawrence are giving attention to the topic of revival, agreeing on this basic and obvious point, that if we do not know what revival really is, then it is hard to know what we are asking for, it will be impossible to recognize if the Lord has said “yes” to our cries, and (shall we humbly admit together that, maybe) if we find out what revival really is, we may not want it (full strength)?!
That should have occurred to us, as Bible Christians, because in the Holy Scriptures, there are a number of encounters between the holy God and impure humans, and we know how those meetings turn out! Far from being a happy and pleasant experience ~ an adding of a bit more joy and power to an otherwise good life … it is quite devastating in a way that is ultimately necessary, enlivening, saving, killing, healing, sanctifying, and strengthening.
The more famous saying is, “Be careful when you pray for patience” (because God will send trials). So here, take care as you pray for revival, for it will truly disrupt your world and life as you know it. That said, we must prove to be true disciples, who will declare to Jesus Himself as He asks if there are other options we would like to explore: “No, for You alone have the words of eternal life!” That gets to the real meaning of revival, with the root “viv” à life, from what was dead.
So please join me and us, in praying for this life, this revival, not blindly but sincerely, asking like David for that one thing, to know God’s presence, even if it burns away all that used to matter. God is free to send, or to withhold, His special seasons of revival and renewal, but in the history of revivals recorded in the Bible or after, no revival came without genuine repentance on the part of God’s people, for their own failings first. Then seek the Lord, according to His word.