Aug 21 2010

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How Does Revival Come?

Many Christians have been praying for revival.  Many Christian leaders say that we are on the brink of a massive move of the Holy Spirit –  the final revival before Jesus comes back.  In many countries around the world, especially where there is persecution of Christians, thousands of people are coming to Christ every week.  But in the U.S., Canada, and many European nations, we are not seeing this happen yet.  However, there are sparks of it here and there.

Many who pray for revival are wanting to a move of God that will change our culture and will bring many into a personal relationship with Christ.  But the Scripture is clear that true revival starts in the hearts of the followers of Jesus first, and then spreads out to those who do not know Him.

We can see some things about the nature of true revival in the life of Hezekiah, especially in 2 Chronicles 29 and 30.  Hezekiah became the king of Judah at age 25.  Although his father was a wicked king who shut the temple and encouraged idolatry in his country, Hezekiah was totally different.  He had a heart for God and wanted to see his people follow God’s commandments and worship Him.  2 Kings 18:5-6 describes him like this:  “He trusted in the Lord God of Israel, so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor who were before him.  For he held fast to the Lord: he did not depart from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the Lord had commanded Moses.”

Very quickly, within the first year of becoming king, Hezekiah ordered the priests and Levites to clear the rubbish out of the temple and reopen it for sacrifices and worship to be resumed.  Today, since Jesus gave His life as the ultimate sacrifice for sin, we do not have to offer animal sacrifices any more.  We come directly to Him, accepting His shed blood on the cross as the sacrifice that cleanses us.  When we do this, our bodies become the temple of God.  Have we let the rubbish of worldliness and sin into our temple?  If so, coming to Him in repentance will clear out the rubbish so that we can be ready for true revival.

Hezekiah had compassion for the priests and Levites who probably had not been in right relationship with God themselves during the years of idolatry in Judah.  He called them his sons.  2 Chronicles 29:11:  “My sons, do not be negligent now, for the Lord has chosen you to stand before Him, to serve Him, and that you should minister to Him and burn incense.”  He encouraged them to get back to what they were called to do.

Many of us who are Christians have wandered away from what God has called us to do.  We look back over times in our lives when we were passionate about gathering with other believers to worship and about sharing Jesus with others.  If we have become complacent and neglectful of our calling, Hezekiah’s call is for us also.  Let’s return to our first love.

It’s interesting that the Levites, who were the worship leaders, embraced this call right away and cleansed themselves and began worshiping again.  However many of the priests took a long time to get involved.  It wasn’t until a great move of God took place, with huge numbers of people coming together to worship, that some of the priests cleansed themselves and got back into the ministry they were called to do.  Some of the Levites temporarily had to take on priestly duties because there were not enough priests to do them.

Once we receive Jesus into our lives and commit ourselves to follow Him, we become priests of God.  Revelation 5-6 reveals that Jesus “has made us kings and priests to His God and Father…”  He wants to use us in ministry to each other and to those who do not know Him.  Let’s not be like the priests who held back to wait and see what would happen.  Instead, let’s be like the Levites who eagerly embraced what God was doing.

Hezekiah not only went to the religious leaders, but he went to the civil leaders as well.  He gathered them together to go to the House of the Lord.  There they joined in repentance, cleansing, and worship.  Out of that small beginning came a cultural change in the country.  People flocked to the temple to experience God and did not want to leave.  Praise and worship went on continually.  It was a wonderful revival, which resulted in idolatry being removed and true worship restored.

One man, Hezekiah, took a stand for God and inspired others to do the same.  They repented and allowed God to cleanse them from sin.  They turned their attention back to God.  As they gathered to worship and celebrate God, revival came to their nation, and also involved others from other tribes of Israel who came to join them in worship.

Let’s ask God to use us to spark revival in others, just as He used Hezekiah.  And let’s pray,”Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?  Psalm 85:6

Note:  All Scriptures were quoted from the New King James Version.

One place where revival has been breaking out is the International House of Prayer in Kansas City.

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