Not everything was good about spiritual revivals. There is a story coming out of the Welsh Revival about Humphrey Jones.
“He was part of the Wesleyan Methodists. He had immigrated to the United States in 1854 and conducted ministry among Welsh settlers in Wisconsin and New York with tremendous success. Having witnessed the effect of the 1857 Fulton Street Prayer Revival that spread across the United States, he returned to Wales in June of 1858 with the intention of seeing revival happen there. During the 1859 revival, he had a very powerful ministry at the beginning, and was effective in leading many to Christ, as well as inspiring other revivalists. But his fame evidently got the best of him, and his pride set him up for demonic deceptions, designed by Satan to bring the revival to an end. Jones began proclaiming he was receiving prophetic revelations, and one of those revelations was that on a certain day in July 1859, the Holy Spirit was going to descend in visible form in the Welsh Chapel in Aberystwyth at 11 a.m. It was expected that this was to be the commencement of the Millennial Reign of Christ. When this didn’t happen, it led to Jones having a nervous breakdown, being hospitalized, and finally returning to the United States where he died in 1895.” (Romans1015.com).
Within a visitation from God … the devil works. The example about is a great warning and caution to all Pastors, Evangelists and Gospel Workers. Always remember that pride was the first sin … to be like God. There was another Reverend Jones … he also started well and landed up as a cult leader and a murderer. Jim Jones led hundreds of people into a mass suicide. Congregants need to prevent making their spiritual leader’s image greater than God’s. They will be his downfall. Now we return to Hezekiah.
1) Hezekiah wanted to share this revival far and wide. They would celebrate the Passover for the first time in years. This was instituted by God as a memorial to Him delivering His people from the bondage of Egypt. Yet due to being led in pagan worship and idolatry, the Passover had not been commemorated in many, many years. Revival meant God had restored His people and the king wanted His people to restore the Biblical Feasts. It was a huge issue. The king was excited, sending invitations to the feast to the Northern Kingdom of Israel and to the Tribes living in the Transjordan Region. In other words, Hezekiah wanted all 12 tribes to celebrate.
2Ch 30:1 Hezekiah sent word to all Israel and Judah and also wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh, inviting them to come to the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem and celebrate the Passover to the LORD, the God of Israel. 2 The king and his officials and the whole assembly in Jerusalem decided to celebrate the Passover in the second month.
2) Hezekiah’s invitation was provocative. Being so serious about the LORD, He wanted those attending the Passover to a serious about God and the purpose of the festival. His faith being so enlarged by God created the passion for Truth and Holiness. That is why he could be so provocative in his invitation! Read 2 Chronicles 30:6-9.
(1) He called those he invited to return to God. You have to feel this. He was desperate to get those who were supposed to be God’s covenant people back following the true God. His promise to them was a Biblical Promise … you return that He may return to you. “Return to the LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, that he may return to you who are left”. Have you perhaps been baptized or confirmed or started off with a bang in the church only to have cooled down spiritually and in great need of returning to God? If you do He will return to you!
(2) He called them not to be foolish like their fathers and brothers. They were unfaithful to the LORD, so He made them an object of horror. “Do not be like your fathers and brothers, who were unfaithful to the LORD, the God of their fathers, so that he made them an object of horror”. God turns His back on the unfaithful with the reality of hell hanging over their heads! You have to hear this … God does not respond kindly to unfaithfulness.
(3) He called them not to be stiff-necked. The verse explains this as not submitting to the LORD’S Lordship. “Do not be stiff-necked, as your fathers were; submit to the LORD.” If Jesus is not your Lord and not Lord of all your life, you are un-submissive …stiff-necked.
(4) He called them to return to worship. Spiritual people worship with spiritual people. “Come to the sanctuary, which he has consecrated forever.” Do you attend worship services for the right reasons?
(5) He called them to serve the LORD. They had been serving pagan gods and idols. “Serve the LORD your God, so that his fierce anger will turn away from you.” Often God’s people serve themselves or “objects” of worship. God is jealous and wants your whole heart. This is the king preaching in his invitation to the 12 tribes. The revival in his heart is so weighty that he wants all attending to get right with the LORD and experience what he has.
(6) Hezekiah makes a promise to them that God will respond favorable to those who return with the right motive. “If you return to the LORD, then your brothers and your children will be shown compassion by their captors and will come back to this land, for the LORD your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face from you if you return to him.” This promise still holds true for all who seriously return to God.
3) Hezekiah’s invitation was rejected by some.
2Ch 30:10 The couriers went from town to town in Ephraim and Manasseh, as far as Zebulun, but the people scorned and ridiculed them.
This happened in all spiritual revivals. Those who are decidedly anti Jesus will scorn and ridicule those who serve Him. They will make life hard for those following God and seeking personal and corporate revival, but by the Spirit, God’s people continue to serve faithfully because revival is God’s work.
Dear God, help us to seek a true spiritual revival from Your good hand. Protect us from pride and rejection. Encourage us to be faithful in loving and serving You. Cause us to desire Christlikeness we pray. Amen.