Heaven-Sent Revival Can Save A Nation
By Al Whittinghill
"Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD…" (Psa. 33:12).
"Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people" (Prov. 14:34; cf. Deut. 8:11; Psa. 9:17; 50:22).
For hundreds of years historians and scholars have carefully studied and evaluated the factors that have caused the decline and death of great empires. Their careful conclusions are readily available to those who really want to know them. They are consistent and clearly observable if one has the courage to honestly investigate. Scholars like Edward Gibbon, who wrote the classic "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," and Arnold Toynbee, who wrote "A Study of History," have set forth in great clarity and disturbing detail the reality that twenty-one of the last great empires on earth all showed the same common signs of decline just before they dissolved and disappeared from world history. This simply cannot be refuted by any honest person.
History is littered with the remains of once great empires, each one having had their turn at the very helm of the world. They rose so high and enjoyed such prominence, yet today they are only a memory. Will this be true also of America? Many historians have catalogued the "commonalities of calamity" or "the pathology of death" for human societies, and the diagnosis is alarming! Nations do not really die…they dissolve, a slow process of erosion and decay from within. They self-destruct due to disintegration caused by evils and dangers lurking within that they had not attended to. They forgot God and His Truth!
Let us list some of those common symptoms, "harbingers of impending death," that the historians found were commonly shared by all twenty-one of those last great, but now extinct, societies:
The Social Symptoms: (1) An increase in lawlessness and the promotion of the wrong people. (2) A loss of economic discipline and self-restraint; greed. (3) Rising government taxes and regulations, and a growing bureaucracy. (4) A decline in the relevance and quality of education.
The Cultural Symptoms: (1) An increase in materialism and selfish luxury. (2) The weakening of the foundational principles that built the nation and made it great. (3) Policies based on feelings and not moral discipline. (4) A loss of respect for established authority.
The Spiritual Symptoms: (1) A rise in immorality and perversion. (2) The lure of alien gods and the exaltation of man. (3) A decline in the value placed on human life as evidenced by abortion, brutality, loss of natural affection and care for the elderly. (4) The decline of the family and its value.
Nations that are ready to die are plagued by lawlessness, economic insolvency, a loss of values, self-centeredness and the breakdown of social order. Peace and order become impossible to maintain despite a deluge of "new laws" to stem the flood of lawlessness. The barbarians then come and infiltrate, and the nation cannot resist the continual internal chaos. The nation loses its moral fiber, and the will to sacrifice is no longer present in the people. The nation is divided and full of crisis.
These are well-worn paths to disaster that nations mindlessly take, and these symptoms should remain stark warnings to any nation. They are absolute alarms to "wake up," to turn to the Lord, and not continue the fatal movement away from God that ends in oblivion. The old expression, "No man loves his alarm clock!" is appropriate here.
A nation that has forgotten God has no chance. It is doomed to idolatry that ends in death. The nation that does not fear Him and has forgotten Him seldom hears His warnings. The reason that history repeats itself is that most people do not listen the first time! Someone has said, "The future cannot be seen clearly without the past." (See Ecclesiastes 1:9-10 and Job 8:8-13.) As Aristotle first said, "Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it." The lessons of history are meant to lead us to the Lord of history. It is really His-story, and it lovingly and practically shouts at us that every individual and nation is accountable to Him. History will end at the feet of our Risen Lord. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
The Hope of Revival
God repeatedly warns a nation and pleads with that nation in many ways before He removes it. But history shows that nations seldom listen. The great hope in a wayward nation is that God will mercifully send a mighty move of His Spirit in that nation and bring the people into a right relationship with Himself. The people must respond to the revelation of God and get to that place of letting God be God. (Nineveh is a good example of how God will have mercy on a nation when there is a heart response to His Word.) In America, true revival will not come by simply making people aware of our great need for revival. Revival will not come even if we are successful in pointing out all our present grievous sin and error. It will not come because of multiplied meetings to encourage us, and to make us want revival; even sing about it. It will not come even if we are successful in setting forth the symptoms of impending judgment until the people are truly fearful.
Revival will come only in God’s sovereign grace when the people of God recover God’s revelation of who He is and respond in faith to Him. It is only united believing prayer that can grasp eternity and open the heavens in authentic revival. What will bring God’s people to the place where they recover His heavenly vision for believing prayer? We must have fresh revelation of God Himself through His Word. Jesus Christ the Lord must be lifted up and proclaimed in all His beauty and power. Inherent in this revelation will come the glorious realization of what He wants His people to be. Then, the people of God must choose to genuinely respond to Him in such a way as to allow Him to clear up the discrepancies and contradictions that are in the church. Apart from Him there is no hope for us! Submitted to Him, the church will once again become "salt and light" as He graciously pours His Spirit out upon her. A Spirit-filled church is the greatest need in America – she will become a channel of His resurrection life and power.
Friends, in our day who would dispute that the church at large has lost sight of who He is? And because we don’t see or know His holiness there is no fear of God. Because we don’t see our unholiness there is little brokenness and contrition. Because we don’t see His forgiveness and grace there is little joy. Because we don’t see His plans and eternal purposes we sense a lack of purpose and meaning. We end up settling for endless lesser things.
Let each of us realize today that America is in grave danger and is repeating the mistakes of nations long gone. In fact, we are outdoing them in their error! The fact that we have enjoyed so much blessing and truth from God only makes us even more accountable to Him. Surely we are living in the mercies of God and in the momentum of yesterday’s blessings. Wouldn’t you agree that we have taken His blessings for granted? Isn’t it time to fall before Him in fresh repentance and faith and absolute surrender? It is time to seek the Lord in a holy desperation – together. The Body of Christ on her face, seeking His face; it is the need in all our churches.
When revival comes it will make the church "a bull’s-eye for the world," not just a blessing. The enmity of a hostile world will become focused against the church because the devil fears a glorious church. Antagonism and attacks will come upon God’s revived people from the world, and also from the worldly that are inside the church. But God will own His church and demonstrate that she is His in manifest power. There will be fresh demonstrations of resurrection life in His body. She will worship the Lord in the beauty of His holiness (Psa. 96:9), and the Gospel will go forth in majestic power! Just imagine what the church would be like if our wonderful Lord had His way. Oh, for an outpouring of the glory of God! It is time for the church of the Lord Jesus to heed the Scriptures afresh! We must deal with the real issues of the heart…the ones that have kept us from heavenly intimacy with God and have stifled a passion for His glory.
The world is waiting to see the New Testament church, clothed with power from on high and brimming over with the joy of resurrection life and the presence of the Lord. Nothing else will impress the world or convince it that Jesus Christ is the wonderful Lord the Word says that He is. We must have revival in the church! It is the only hope for our nation and the world. So the question for each of us is, "What will we do to respond worthily to what the Spirit of God is saying to His churches in this hour?" Will we diligently seek the face of God in united, humble, desperate, repentant, passionate, Bible-based, Spirit-given prayer?
Isn’t it true that the church cannot have a message for the heart of the world until the Lord has the heart of the church? The church must be ignited by the Lord, or we will be ignored by the world! God loves a church aflame; He cannot abide the lukewarm. It is time to seek the Lord …to let the Holy Spirit burn the promises of God into our very being.
Heaven-sent revival can save a nation. Let us turn to Him in prayer that is worthy of Him and that is appropriate and right for the desperate hour in which we live. There is glorious hope in Him.
"Lord send revival, and let it begin in me."
– Used by permission. Al Whittinghill is an itinerant preacher/teacher of God’s Word with Ambassadors for Christ International, 1355 Terrell Mill Rd., Bldg. 1462-100, Marietta GA 30067. Web: http://afci.us