Have you ever thought about genuine Christian Revivals? I have heard pastors saying they are going on a revival or will be having a revival meeting or they had a revival. Once again, words change their meanings. From where I come Biblically and Theologically, a revival means a spiritual awakening in the Church of God that influences and affects a whole community, town or district. The great question is “what precedes a revival?” The next question is “where does a revival start?” Maybe another question that follows is “what happens during a revival?”
(1) Firstly, from a Biblical point, in no way am I referring to the Pentecostal, Holiness or Charismatic Movements that started from the beginning of the 1900’s. Let me explain this a little … I am not referring to a second blessing. This means I do not support being born again and needing a second blessings such as the so called speaking in tongues, some suggested miracle or extraordinary experience of being in a trance, having a dream or some other experience. These things do not compromise a revival in the Biblical sense.
(2) From a Biblical point, I am not referring to an evangelistic meeting. I support such meetings and encourage them but an evangelistic meeting is not a revival.
(3) Thirdly, for the record, there is a huge difference between evangelism and evangelicalism. Evangelism is preaching the gospel expecting people to respond positively to the message of the Cross. Evangelicalism means believing that the 66 books of the Bible are one Book with God’s message to mankind. It is His inspired, inerrant and authoritative Word.
1) What is a revival? Biblically speaking it is God visiting His people as He did as Pentecost, reviving His Church to true humbleness, holiness and godliness. In short, it is a serious return to God by His people. In the wake, as the church or society are spiritually revived and live godly lives, non-Christians become interested in the Gospel and in His grace God tends to soften the hardest hearts, melting them as the Spirit comes upon them, convicting them of sin and their need for God, which leads to salvation.
2) What precedes a revival? Because a revival is God’s work there is only one thing Christians can do and that is to pray earnestly that God would revive His people and His Church. The focal point is holiness in life and in prayer. This means the praying comes from people who desperately want to honour God in their lives and see His Kingdom come. They are prepared to sacrifice the world and pleasure to concentrate on seeking God’s face for personal holiness and that He would come in power and purify His Church through His Word. The content of prayer is God, His glory and His Kingdom. Many hours of early morning and late night prayer as well as setting apart days for fasting (abstaining from the world in every aspect) to pray. I would like to spend some time over a few days looking at two real revivals in the Old Testament. The first relates to Hezekiah …
3) The geographical and political setting to revival during Hezekiah’s reign.
2Ki 18:1 In the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Hezekiah son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign. 2 He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother’s name was Abijah daughter of Zechariah.
It is interesting to see how important a king was. His importance is determined by how much space was given to the king in the Biblical record. Saul and David we written about in 1 and 2 Samuel. Although David is mentioned at the start of 1 Kings, it was to do with Solomon who is the most written about king. He is followed by the wicked king Ahab. Next in line was Hezekiah. Hoshea was king of Israel. He was in the line of Ahab. By the time Hezekiah came to power, Israel (The Northern Kingdom) was on the verge as a nation being taking into exile by the Assyrians and their king, Hoshea, would be the prisoner of Sargon II of Assyria. The Assyrians were the superpower of the day. Their activities throughout the regions were well known. Many kings and political leaders feared Sargon and his military machine. I have no proof in saying what I am about to say. I wonder how much the Assyrians influenced young Hezekiah. The reason I say this is that his grandfather Jotham was a good, godly king, but his son Ahaz, Hezekiah’s father was wicked to the core. He was a bad example as a husband, father and king to his son. More, he was a bad example influencing the people of God to follow idols. Did Jotham have some spiritual influence over his grandson Hezekiah or was it the Assyrian invasions that drove him to God? On the other hand it could have been God working in advance. There were always good prophets and they would have been praying for the present and future kings of the people of God whom they served. That was part of their function. Although Hezekiah was young at 25 to become king, he was not the youngest king. We are told he reigned for 29 years. That was a long reign. From personal experience, pastoring the same Church for 29 years, lots change … but the one thing that ought never to change is one’s belief in God, the gospel and the Bible as the rule for ministry. I am certain Hezekiah saw his fair share of changes throughout his reign. Apart from reigning over Judah, he witnessed the displacement of the nation of Israel being taking into exile, never to return again as a nation. One other thing about Hezekiah is that he comes from the direct blood line of the great king David.
2Ki 18:3 … as his father David. Not only did he come from a good bloodline, he was part of the bloodline to the Messiah.
I don’t want to lose the theme of revival, but I needed to set the stage both spiritually and politically. In Jesus it does not matter what our background is. Whether you come from up the line or down the line. Whether you stay on this side of the highway or that side. Whether you are wealthy or not, educated or not … God does not need those things to usher in a revival. He needs holy people seeking His face in fervent prayer.
O Lord, grant me a passionate desire to be one who prayers for personal holiness and the revival of Your Church on earth. Amen.