Thursday, April 19, 2012
OUR GREAT NEED: REVIVAL
“Will You not revive us again so that Your people may rejoice in You?” (Psalm 85:6 HCSB)
Today, my wife and I are planning to go to one of the early voting sites and hand out literature in support of North Carolina’s proposed Marriage Amendment. We believe it is important to support traditional marriage between one man and one woman, in a culture where the foundations of society are being eroded every day. Through good legislation and electing solid politicians we are trying to shore up those foundations. But, ultimately, as important as it is, these efforts are limited in what they can accomplish. They treat symptoms more than the disease. We are the little Dutch boy trying to plug the dike with his finger—there are just too many holes! Certainly, we want good government. Still, at its best, good government has limitations on what it can accomplish. The great need of the hour is not a new President, as important as that might seem. The great need is not new laws as important as that might appear. The great need of the hour is not more jobs as important as that might be. Our great need is revival!
Our nation’s survival depends on revival—a spiritual awakening like that which swept through Nineveh as a result of their repentance. Jonah came declaring the Word of God and a wicked nation bound for judgment cried out to God and were spared (read Jonah 3). There have been such times in America’s past. God moved in answer to His people’s desperate pleas. He can do it again!
We need revival TO RESTRAIN GOD’S ANGER.
“Return to us, God of our salvation, and abandon Your displeasure with us. Will You be angry with us forever? Will You prolong Your anger for all generations? Will You not revive us again so that Your people may rejoice in You?” (Psalm 85:4-6 HCSB)
God is slow to anger. That is one of His marvelous attributes. But, He is holy and just. There reaches a tipping point, where sin demands to be dealt with, and the psalmist realizes that time has come for Israel.
I remember a pop song by Jim Croce, “You Don’t Mess Around With Jim” that had this chorus:
“You don’t tug on Superman’s cape
You don’t spit into the wind
You don’t pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger
And you don’t mess around with Jim.”
Yet, everyday, more and more people think they can “mess around” with God—increasingly so. The blasphemy of His name, the rebellion against His laws, and the disposition of defiance that permeates our society is building to critical mass. An explosion of judgment is imminent.
We can turn or burn.
We need revival TO RESTORE GOD’S AWARENESS.
“Will You not revive us again so that Your people may rejoice in You? Show us Your faithful love, Lord, and give us Your salvation. I will listen to what God will say; surely the Lord will declare peace to His people, His godly ones, and not let them go back to foolish ways.” (Psalm 85:6-8 HCSB)
It isn’t that every citizen in America has shaken their fist in the face of God. There are hundreds of thousands—perhaps millions—of God-fearing citizens who make their way to church each Sunday. They believe the Bible, they have a fundamental morality and are nice folks. But, far too many hang up their Sunday clothes at noon on Sunday and their faith is stashed in the closet also, insofar as it is a vital part of their lives. The Bibles they say they believe collect dust during the week. Their focus is on work and play, watching TV and mowing the lawn—a myriad of activities. God is put on a shelf—nice to have around as a decoration—but, basically ignored.
That is a bigger problem than the deviancy of our culture. The world has always been a corrupt place, since Adam and Eve’s bite into the forbidden fruit. Sinners do what sinners always will do—sin! When there are seasons of “heaven on earth” where God’s righteousness prevails and evil is restrained, it is because the light is shining from God’s people and they are being salt to arrest the spread of corruption—an antiseptic quality that stops the germs of wickedness from rotting everything.
Revival must come to the church before spiritual awakening can come to the nation. We, as God’s people, must remember who God is—and tremble before Him! We must hear and heed His Word. If we do not urgently, passionately seek for heaven to come down, then all hell will break loose! God’s blessing will not return to us, until we return to God—in the church. Someone has well said that, “Revival is a fresh awareness of the presence of God.” Nothing can stop that, but me. I can determine, as the psalmist said here, “I will listen to what God will say” and if we do, “surely the Lord will declare peace to His people, His godly ones, and not let them go back to foolish ways.”
We need revival TO REVEAL GOD’S ACTIVITY.
“His salvation is very near those who fear Him, so that glory may dwell in our land. Faithful love and truth will join together; righteousness and peace will embrace. Truth will spring up from the earth, and righteousness will look down from heaven. Also, the Lord will provide what is good, and our land will yield its crops. Righteousness will go before Him to prepare the way for His steps.” (Psalm 85:9-13 HCSB)
There have been times in our history when God’s glory broke through in remarkable fashion. Nothing else will suffice for us, but another such day of righteousness to dawn. The marks of such a Divine visitation will be faithful love and truth; righteousness and peace. Spiritual prosperity will permeate all the nation and material prosperity will grow from that fertile soil.
“It’s the economy, stupid,” was the focus of the campaign that swept Bill Clinton into the Presidency. As far as getting votes from people, that may be a winning strategy. People are extremely concerned about the economy today—and should be. But, the cure isn’t within the minds of economists or within the hands of the politicians. “It’s our morality, stupid!” That needs to be the laser-like focus. There is really only one Voter we need to persuade—God! If God be for us, who can be against us—but, if God be against us, does it matter who is for us? Have we not been disappointed again and again by the failed promises of government? But, we will never be disappointed in the faithful promises of God!
I want my heart to be unobstructed by sin—to be a wide-open thoroughfare of righteousness where a Holy God can walk in and bring His blessing. If enough of us will have that resolve, we can open the doors of the church and the Son of God will walk in and bring His grace. If the church will make God welcome and experience His grace we will become a channel through which the Spirit of God will flow and brings rivers of mercy to our land.
There is no hope apart from such a Divine intervention, but if we will seek Him, there is hope! Kneel down, draw a circle around yourself mentally and pray, “God, revive everyone in this circle!” This is where it begins—revival in a heart, in a home, in a church, in a country. It is our greatest need!