God Demands Sacrifice On Which To Kindle His Flame
By Leonard Ravenhill
Revival is possible anywhere, any actime, if the conditions of God are met. Wesley cried, "Oh! for a trumpet voice on all the world to call!" I want a trumpet voice to call the church and say, "[God] is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us" (Eph. 3:20). This leaves the responsibility for the lack of revival on the doorstep of the church, where it belongs.
God demands sacrifice on which to kindle His flame. His fire does not fall on empty altars. Obedience would seem to be the altar and self the sacrifice. Self argues a thousand reasons why it should live. Doubtless Moses had every ability naturally to lead Israel from Egypt. He was mighty in word, a statesman and a soldier. Yet in God’s eyes he was unfit to lead. At forty years of age this product of the schools needed forty years shepherding to bring him to nought. Paul the social and religious aristocrat with colossal intellect needed years of process after the Damascus Road crisis to reduce him to nothing, that henceforth he would count all things but dross.
Our talents are our handicaps, and our abilities, our stumbling blocks. In revival the race is not to the swift nor the battle to the intellectually strong. We have abilities, therefore the Lord should use us, so we think. But Bible logic is often inverted logic. The way up is down. Save your life and you lose it; lose your life and you find it (Matt. 16:25). The things that are not bring to nought the things that are (1 Cor. 1:28).
Chapter 2 of Joel seems to me to be the key chapter for this hour. This is the time for fasting and weeping (v. 12). Today we should sanctify a fast and call a solemn assembly. As I see it, the whole structure of the possibility of revival pivots on verse 17: "Let the ministers of the Lord weep."
Priest of the most High God, when last did you weep for souls, for the dying souls of men? Here is a law as sure as that of gravity: He that goeth, weeping, bearing, shall be coming, rejoicing, bringing sheaves! (Psa. 126:6).
"See if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow," cried Jeremiah (Lam. 1:12). Jesus offered prayers with strong crying and tears. "I ceased not to warn…with tears," declares Paul (Acts 20:31). Brethren, how true it is today, "Laugh and the church laughs with you, weep and you weep alone." There never was more sin to weep over than today; there was never less weeping.
Robert McCheyne went into his grave, a veteran of twenty-nine years, burned out, wept out for souls. Within an hour of his death the streets of Dundee were lined with weeping people. Even a secular newspaper article said that no one could ever say that Jesus Christ has not trodden the streets of Dundee. He had – in McCheyne! Aye! when we get wet-eyed preaching again we will get wet-eyed penitents.
George Whitefield, gifted orator though he was, knew when the holy unction had left his soul, and sometimes even for weeks at a stretch he would prostrate himself before God and groan in spirit until the unction had returned, and melted and compassionate again he could once more go forth weeping.
Let the priests weep! Let the priests weep! Then the church will weep, then the sinners will weep; then by the Spirit’s blessed power revival will come, and hallelujah, He will turn our mourning into dancing. Lord, haste the day!