Can We Expect Revival?
There was once a man who believed a revival was needed. He stood high in the court of the greatest empire of his day, Persia. He was a Hebrew, and had learned that the walls of God’s city Jerusalem were broken down, the gates burned with fire, and the Jews who had returned there from the Babylonian captivity in great affliction and reproach. He believed in God, and he loved his people. The story of what followed is told in the book of Nehemiah. Nehemiah, cupbearer to King Artaxerxes, was the man who dared to hope for a revival. Nothing could have seemed less likely just then. But it came, in the face of deadness, discouragement and attacks of the most determined and desperate sort.
If there was to be a spiritual revival of God’s people Israel, there must be a revival of wall building also, so that Jerusalem might be honorable instead of a public dishonor in the land. Nehemiah was both spiritual and practical – neither of these can really exist without the other. After he had secured the royal authority for his work in Jerusalem, and systematic plans for rebuilding the wall of the Holy City had begun, an enemy made an attack upon the movement. Sanballat, an influential Samaritan, prompted perhaps by political motives, ridiculed Nehemiah and his fellow workers.
“What do these feeble Jews?” he exclaimed. “Will they sacrifice? Will they make an end in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned?”
Another enemy allied with Sanballat predicted with sarcasm: “Even that which they build, if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stone wall.”
But Nehemiah’s work went straight forward. The walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt and one of the great revivals of history followed as God’s people turned to the reading of His Word and the doing of His will.
Revival Needed Today
Here is a lesson in revival that God’s people need to take to heart today, when revival is sorely needed again. Revivals usually come to pass in the face of intense opposition, and in times of great darkness and declension.
No intelligent observer can doubt that we are in such times today. Determined attacks are being made on the Word of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the true Christian faith. Immorality is on every hand. Open atheism flourishes. Materialism grips the hearts of men. All these conditions make a call to revival.
God’s Way to Revival
Nehemiah’s first move toward revival was significant. When he learned of the dire distress of the people of Jerusalem, he said: “I sat down, and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven.”
His very prayer was the sure pathway to revival. It began with worship of God “that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love Him and observe His commandments”; and at once his prayer went on to confession of sin. Then Nehemiah boldly reminded God of the divine promise to forgive and to restore if confession was made. God heard and honored that prayer.
Revival has never come in any other way, but it has come over and over again in times of darkness and need in just that way. There is a passage of Scripture that may well be used in prayer for revival today: “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him” (Isa. 59:19).
The enemy is coming in like a flood today…in every favored land where Christianity is a glorious reality and where also the working of the powers of evil is a dread reality.
Not only are there plenty of dark signs that a revival is needed, but there are also many bright signs of its coming. For many years many individuals and groups of Christian people have been praying persistently for revival. Those in touch with the prayer life of the church are receiving news that God’s people are pleading for a heaven-born, heaven-sent revival.
In parts of the world where, humanly speaking, there is reason for the greatest discouragement, there are also brightest signs of coming revival. In spite of (or shall we say because of) the devilish and official activity against all true religious life, and indeed against God Himself and His only Son, heart-hungry people are turning to God in their tragic need and are finding salvation through Christ as Savior. Revivals have broken out in various parts of China since – and because of – the political turmoil and tragedy of that land….
Yes, we can expect a revival. But our expectation must be from God. Only He can send it.
– From The Globe.