We have asked God for personal revival and greater intimacy. We have looked at what community revival will entail. What else can we do as we wait for God’s revival? G. Campbell Morgan was a well-known British Bible teacher and evangelist who lived at the beginning of the last century. Here is what he said about revival. “Revival cannot be organised, but we can set our sails to catch the wind from heaven when God chooses to blow upon His people once again.” I like that. We cannot make revival happen, but we can “set the sails.” We can prepare the way. We can get ready. This week we will consider how to prepare for revival. Probably the most frequently quoted verse on getting ready for revival is 2 Chronicles 7:14. Let’s start there.
SCRIPTURE: 2 CHRONICLES 7:11-16
When Solomon had finished the temple of the Lord and the royal palace, and had succeeded in carrying out all he had in mind to do in the temple of the Lord and in his own palace, the Lord appeared to him at night and said:
“I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices.
“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.
The challenges and promises of 2 Chron. 7:14 are addressed to a specific context. We just need to check that out to make sure that this verse is still relevant for us today. Solomon had completed his first major building projects, especially the construction of a magnificent temple for Yahweh (God). Solomon and Israel were doing well spiritually at this stage, but God knew that this would not always be the case. In the future, they would abandon him and suffer the consequences. But God promised Solomon that there would always be a way back to blessing for Israel if they humbly gathered in the temple, abandoned their sin and sought God desperately.
This pathway to God’s blessing remains true today. We do not need to gather in a temple to pray and the blessing of God comes more in spiritual prosperity than physical and economic prosperity. But as God’s people humble themselves, pray like crazy, desperately seek God, and desert their disobedience, God promises to see and hear and forgive and pour out his blessing. So that is the way we prepare for revival. That is the way we “set the sails.” We will be exploring this biblical pathway to revival further in the next few days.
Why didn’t Israel use this pathway to God’s blessing more frequently? Why did they suffer so much? Because they were not desperate enough. They thought they had other options. They believed that somehow they could solve their own problems. It is desperation that drives us to God.
I suffer with renal colic (kidney stones). I have had numerous episodes of excruciating pain as tiny stones descend my ureter. I am told that the pain is worse than the pain of childbirth and I believe it! The advantage of renal colic (if there is one) is that, unlike other health problems, it is impossible to sweep under the carpet and pretend that things are okay. A little twinge and I am straight to the doctor for painkillers. I know what is coming. I can focus on nothing else. I am desperate. It is when we experience this kind of desperation spiritually that we humble ourselves and pray and seek God and turn from sin. Then revival is imminent.
Lord we are not okay. Our sin is not alright. The brokenness of our society is not acceptable or solvable. Our lukewarmness is not tolerable. God we need you. There is no other answer. If you don’t do something soon, we are destined to spiritual oblivion. Please forgive us and heal us.
PRAYER FOR REVIVAL
Thank you Lord for the good people who are trying to solve our problems. Many are giving so much and it does make a difference. But Lord our nation is not going to be saved by capable leaders or smart scientists or generous donors. We need you. You are truth. You are hope. You are life. We need you to work in power.