Revival and the House of the Lord
What were we praying for so fervently in all those early morning prayer meetings during my years at Yale? Revival! We loved to sing that old hymn of William P. Mackay,
Revive us again; fill each heart with Thy love;
May each soul be rekindled with fire from above.
Hallelujah! Thine the glory, Hallelujah! amen;
Hallelujah! Thine the glory, revive us again.
But what does revival mean? People often talk about revival meetings as if revival were something people plan and make happen. But genuine revival comes directly from the throne of God. In the words of Hosea, chapter 6: 2-3 (NKJV),
After two days He will revive us;
On the third day He will raise us up,
That we may live in His sight.
Let us know,
Let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD.
His going forth is established as the morning;
He will come to us like the rain,
Like the latter and former rain to the earth.
Note that all-important phrase, “That we may live in His sight.” No man or woman comes into the presence of the Lord lightly. We must be washed to the depths of our being of all sin, selfish ambition, pride, unyieldedness, and anything else that will not bow the knee to Almighty God. The Kingdom of Heaven is not a democracy, it is an absolute monarchy. Pride will never enter God’s presence, only humility will!
As one fellow prayer warrior from my freshman year put it, “Humility is knowing God as He really is, and yourself as you really are. When you understand that, there is no room left for pride.” Or, in the words of Andrew Murray from his book, Humility, “As Christians, the mystery of grace teaches us that as we lose ourselves in the overwhelming greatness of redeeming love, humility becomes to us the consummation of everlasting blessedness… nothing is more natural and beautiful and blessed than to be nothing that God may be everything.” Are we ready to “pursue the knowledge of the Lord” until we truly know Him, and He becomes everything to us? Or are we claiming to be more than we really are spiritually? One of the marks of genuine revival is that believers, and not just worldly sinners, come trembling and repentant into the presence of the Living God. In the words of Job 42:5-6,
My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself
and repent in dust and ashes.
The simple fact is that sinners are far more likely to repent when believers get real with God, and throw off their half-heartedness and hypocrisy!
Why should sinners repent when we who claim to bear the name of Christ refuse to do so? Why should sinners change when believers do the same things they do? And why should the world fear Almighty God when Christians prove by their actions that they do not? What Spurgeon stated about nineteenth century London could easily be said of New York City today:
“Oh sirs, the lives of too many members of Christian churches give us grave cause to suspect
that there is none of the life of godliness in them all! Why that reaching after money, why that
covetousness, why that following of the crafts and devices of a wicked world, why that clutching
here and clutching there, that grinding of the faces of the poor, that stamping down of the
workman…if men are what they truly profess to be?”
Malachi 1:6 declares, “’If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?’ says the LORD Almighty. ‘It is you, O priests, who show contempt for my name.’” In the covenant of grace depicted in the New Testament, all who belong to Christ Jesus have been made kings and priests: “To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever.” (Revelation 1:4-6, NKJV)
Therefore, it is not just pastors, evangelists, and the like who must honor God in their everyday lives. Every member of the Body of Christ must honor and respect the Lord and His name in all that they do, for “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 5:10) Do our daily lives bring honor to the Lord whose name we bear? “Your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.” Or do men mock God Himself because of the way we behave, and hold the church of Christ in contempt? No wonder judgment begins with the house of God!