Bringing about revival
Chaplain Bertram Bobb
Thanksgiving Day was declared a national holiday to remind us to give thanks to God for His bountiful blessings. The first verse of Psalm 106 also reminds us to express our thanksgiving and praise. “Praise the LORD! Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His loving kindness is everlasting.” (NAS) We are thankful for this special day when we can remember our God, our Savior, our family, and our friends.
We thank God that He is Sovereign and it is exciting to realize that He has a plan for all of us. His plans for us are plans of “Future and Hope!” For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29-11 NAS).
We are looking for revival in our churches, that is, we should be if we’re not. For this revival to come about, it must begin with us as individuals. It must begin with you. Well how can this be done? How can I have a revival, you may ask.
We can find the answer to all of our problems in the Word of God, even to all the problems the world faces. This is quite a statement to make but I believe it to be true, because the Bible is the Word of a Sovereign, Almighty God.
For the answer to this question, “How can we have a revival?” We look at two books in the Old Testament. The Book of II Kings and the Book of II Chronicles. In these Old Testament books we learn there are two kingdoms, a Northern Kingdom and a Southern Kingdom. A total of 19 kings reigned over the Northern Kingdom of Israel and of the 19 kings none of them could be considered a righteous king. There were 20 kings in the Southern Kingdom of Judah, ten of whom could be called righteous kings. Five of the ten were exceptional kings: Asa, Jehoshaphat, Joash, Hezekiah and Josiah. When these men were reigning as kings there were spiritual revivals. Revival spread throughout the nation.
These revivals had one similarity – a thing which is basic to all revivals – it was a return to the Word of God. Today, we want to study the life of one of these five kings, Hezekiah. In II Kings 18:5 (NAS) we see what is written about this man of God, Hezekiah: “He trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel; so that after him there was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor among those who were before him.”
As we look at this personal tribute paid to this man, we learn two outstanding spiritual characteristics. First, we see that he was a man of faith – “he trusted in the LORD.” A man of faith is one who by the work of the Holy Spirit lives so near to the heart of God that he naturally asks for those things which are pleasing to God. God will surely answer this kind of prayer. It is this kind of faith out of which revival is born. Hezekiah “trusted in the LORD; the God of Israel.” The second great thing which describes Hezekiah was that he was a man of prayer. In II Chronicles 32:20 (NAS) we read, “But King Hezekiah and Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, prayed about this and cried out to Heaven.”
Having seen something of Hezekiahz’s life of faith and prayer we are not surprised to find that a great revival took place in his day. One of the greatest dangers of the human heart is to have something, a material, something that we can see, to admire, to think so much of and to forget God. We can spend so much time and money on these things that it becomes an idol. Idolatry is something, or even someone that you think more of than you do of God. What did Hezekiah do? We read in II Kings 18:4 (NAS), “He removed the high places and broke down the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah. He also broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the sons of Israel burned incense to it; and it was called Nehushtan.”
The first thing Hezekiah did was to put off or put away idolatry among the people, he cut down the groves which were the scenes of awful immorality.
Hezekiah did something that was very startling to the people. We find the children of Israel were worshipping this brazen serpent which was once a symbol of their deliverance, but now become an idol. Hezekiah destroyed it saying that “it was just Nehushtan,” meaning that it was just brass, and there was nothing profitable in it.
Hezekiah destroyed the things that were standing between their souls and God, the things that were just “Nehushtan.” After putting away these idols, the first thing he did was to go and open the doors of the temple. At this time in Israel’s history, the temple was absolutely boarded up.
Do you think that there needs to be a turning back to the house of God on the part of God’s people? Hezekiah instructs the leaders two things, “… Consecrate yourselves now, and consecrate the house of the LORD, the God of your fathers…” (Read II Chronicles 18:4-5). These are two of the steps toward revival.
Then the third thing Hezekiah did was to take a public stand for God. We read in II Chronicles 29:20 NAS: “Then King Hezekiah arose early and assembled the princes of the city and went up to the house of the LORD.” He got all of the rulers and told them that they were going up to the house of the Lord, this was setting an example, and this is what they did. I believe this is what is needed among Christians today. Set an example. Hezekiah demonstrated in life and actions that he had turned to God. The world is watching Christians. A living sermon will have a greater testimony than an oral one.
John writes in his first epistle, I John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” You can believe this promise and confess your sins today. Will you do that?
Pray for our nation and for our leaders – both governmental and spiritual. Pray for our service men and women as they serve our country.