If you have had the opportunity of reading the article on “prayer before revival” from the C.S. Lewis Institute, “Revival Born in a Prayer Meeting”, you will have noticed that there was a lot of hard work preceding the revival. Spiritual disciplines are hard work. Holiness, passionate prayer, dedication and desperately wanting God to visit in power is hard work. Put another way, although a spiritual revival is God’s work, His people need to do their part. After king Hezekiah’s “command or preaching” we find …
1) Hard work takes time. Apart from what had already been done by Hezekiah and his people, the Levites and Priests went into action
2Ch 29:17 They began the consecration on the first day of the first month, and by the eighth day of the month they reached the portico of the LORD.
For eight more days they consecrated the temple of the LORD itself, finishing on the sixteenth day of the first month. True, this was physical work cleaning up and removing all that degradation and depravity created by king Ahaz and those before him. It is equally true that it only took 16 days to complete the task … but don’t forget that only 14 men did the task (See 2 Chronicles 29:12-14). Although as said it was physical work, it was also spiritual work because what they were doing was for the LORD. Christianity is not a religion of works. It is spiritual and by faith. That which is done before a spiritual revival is hard work. A visitation by God in this way does not just happen as we move a switch and have light. It takes true holiness from those who will be involved in earnest prayer. Holiness is not easy because we live in a world saturated by wickedness and evil all around us. This is real not speculation! Read the newspapers, gossip magazines and watch / listen to the news and you will see how sinister people are. We are in the world yet not of the world, though we mix with people in the world. This is why holiness making so hard. People talk to us, we listen, we debate, we make contracts, we … and it’s endless because often their language and intentions are far from godly. There’s fighting, drama and many other problems we have to face each day. This disturbs our ability in prayer. Holiness is hard work. The 14 Levites and Priests put their shoulder to it … so you and I need to put our spiritual shoulder to the grind with regard to holiness making and prayer.
2) Once the hard work was completed, a report back was needed.
2Ch 29:18 Then they went in to King Hezekiah and reported: “We have purified the entire temple of the LORD, the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the table for setting out the consecrated bread, with all its articles. 19 We have prepared and consecrated all the articles that King Ahaz removed in his unfaithfulness while he was king. They are now in front of the LORD’S altar.”
Everything was corrected, purified and ready for the worship of God and for the revival started to continue. I don’t think we can do everything so that revival will come … but we need to be ready, personally and corporately so that should God deem it good, He will come in revival to waiting people.
3) The results of the hard work. The passage is too long to put here but if you have the time please read 2 Chronicles 29:20-35a, yet notice a few things.
(1) The king assembled his officials to gather at the temple v20. The Church leaders need to get the people together for a special re-dedication service where the body recommits to faithfulness and holiness.
(2) There was a sin offering for the kingdom, the sanctuary and Judah v21. What the king started developed into a national need for cleaning from sin. We don’t offer sacrifices for sin because Jesus sacrificed Himself for us, but what we need is real continual repentance with a commitment to holiness.
(3) There was sprinkled blood v22. The Bible says there is no pardon without the shedding of blood.
Heb 9:22 without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. It was the Blood of Jesus that was looked forward towards when animals were slaughtered in the Old Covenant.
Today we look backwards to the shedding of Jesus’ Blood on the Cross. No blood, no cleansing.
(4) There was the laying on of hands v23. The symbolism was that the sin was transferred to the animal with the laying on of hands. Today, through faith in Jesus, our sins are transferred to His account.
(5) There was a sin offering for atonement v24. Atonement (and expiation) means to make amends to restore a relationship. God receives the sin offering (blood sacrifice) by sincere worshippers to atone for sin … to repair the relationship between Him who is holy and sinners who need and want pardon and reconciliation. The only way to be right with God relationally is through Jesus’ atoning blood sacrifice.
(6) There was music and singing v25-27 & 30 and
(7) There was corporate worship. You need to grasp that this was not just music and singing in the sense of praise. There was heart felt worship from the soul. There was reverence for God and not emotions at the center of the worship. The people fell to their knees. There was sincere gratitude for being able to come before the True God (He was present) thanking Him that once again they could bring animal sacrifices to appease God, make atonement for their sin and be received by God, being pardoned and reconciled. That is exactly what music and singing ought to be in corporate worship. Where this fails and becomes man centered and emotional, God is not present.
(8) There was rejoicing.
2Ch 29:35b So the service of the temple of the LORD was reestablished. 36 Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced at what God had brought about for his people, because it was done so quickly.
O I hope you see the revival that took place! After many years of an inactive temple, the temple was fully functional again. God was present and the rejoicing was because of what
(1) God did. It was a sovereign work. A real revival.
(2) The heart that wants revival works hard and quick to seek purity before a Holy God. How much do you really want a revival?
Lord, mercifully come visit us in power and might. Renew Your Church even in our day. Cleanse Your people. Cause us to want You more than anything else. Amen.