“Get Ready for Revival”
I am always reminded of the story about the little boy who knelt to say his bedtime prayers after a full day of being at church. In his prayer to God he said, “we had a great time having church today, it’s too bad you weren’t there to join us.” Ouch! Unfortunately, this story is true more than we would like to admit. Too often we are attending church and having church but the Lord’s presence isn’t there with us. That is why we need to be revived. It is imperative that we as the people of God be known not by our buildings, budgets, baptisms, or the number of butts in the pews; but by the presence of our Almighty God.
Isaiah the prophet knew that and after years of captivity and enslavement to the Babylonians, the people of God came to know that without the presence of God they were nothing. Therefore, in Isaiah 64, the people pour out their hearts before God in a passionate lament requesting the manifested presence of God to return once again. This is encouraging news to all of us who feel spiritually stuck, stagnated, dry, and distant from God today. Revival, renewal, a re-calibration between us and our God can happen again.
But how? Isaiah the prophet gives us 3 clear directives in this text. First, he tells us that must be a craving for God. In Isaiah 64:1, the prophet yearns, cries out, longs for the face of God not simply the hand of God when he says “rend the heavens and come down.” Isaiah’s plea is not about something; it is a plea about someone. He is hungry for God and God alone. If we are ever to experience true revival we must switch from pursuing power, possessions, and positions and begin to whole-heartedly pursue a person- Our great God and Savior.
But that is not all, because we all face a constant craving killer called sin. Sin makes us satisfied with a lesser god and lesser things. Sin makes us become in awe of ourselves instead of in awe of God. It seems like the exiled people of God finally came to their senses in verses 5-7 when they confessed we sinned and have been in sin a long time. Wow! What a confession. Their sin led to their dirty living (v.6) their dryness (v.7) and their life of defeat (v.7) because sin always kills. (Romans 6:23a) But praise God for their heart change and humility to freely admit their hardheartedness toward God. They gave Him back his glory through their repentance.
Surely, they were uncertain how things would turn out after years and years of self- centered living that drove them into captivity, and yet they not forgot one key fact: God was their father in verse 8. Verse 8 introduces a scene change, a mood change, which was preceded by a heart change. They remembered that they were His seed and as such they were willing to submit into a clay status instead of a potter status as in the past. They appealed to His grace and they received His grace. REVIVAL happened and eventually the exilic people returned home.
What about you? Haven’t you been living in exile long enough? It is time to come back to an intimate communion and unending fellowship with God. Revival in the church begins with a revival in the heart one person at a time. Will you let it begin with you today? Rise up out of the rut of ritualism and religious routines. Let the fire of God’s presence fill you and burn deep within you as He did on Mt. Sinai in Exodus 19 and as He did in Solomon’s temple in 2 Chronicles 7. God wants you to be revived, but are you ready?