Revive Us Again

November 12, 2017

Even Christians experience peaks and lows in their lives. It is akin to the land that God gave Abraham and his descendants that were described in the Book of Deuteronomy as mountains and valleys that drink rain from heaven and where the eyes of the Lord are continually on it from the beginning of the year till its end. To some, there are more lows than peaks and they struggle for their survival. What could be the hope of these people? Well, there is much hope for them, “For this is what the high and lofty One says- he who lives forever, whose name is holy: ‘I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite’” (Isa. 57:15). Only the Lord, who watches over his people day and night, can bring in the needed revival.

While the Lord, the high and exalted one, is holy and lives in high and holy places, he is not beyond reach. In fact, it was him who came down from heaven to dwell among men. In the gospel of John, we are told that God sent his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, into the world. And John said of Jesus, “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:11-12). This is the infinite humility of God. Though he was God, he came down to earth to bring revival to those who were perishing. However, not all were revived and saved, but only those who were contrite and lowly in spirit.

But even as those who were contrite and lowly in spirit were saved, there are still those who would experience the weakening of their spirit and would start to drift away from God. This was the experience of Israel and thus the Psalmist pleaded, “Restore us again, O God our Savior, and put away your displeasure toward us. Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger through all generations? Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?” (Psalm 85:4-6) The Israelites were once revived and enjoyed the forgiveness and blessings of the Lord, but they now found themselves drifting away. Here they were pleading for another chance of revival. Likewise, we too need to seek the Lord for revival when overwhelmed by sin.

For revival to happen, there are three “R”s to consider. The first R is to Remember. We need to remember the love and goodness of the Lord and how we responded also in love when we first came to know him. The apostle Paul appropriately said, “Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated” (Heb. 10:32-33). In rebuke to the church in Ephesus, that seemed to be doing right outwardly, Jesus said, “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen!” (Rev 2:4-5). Unless we remember our first love and the things that we used to do, hope for revival is dim. 

Next is Repentance. After Jesus rebuked the church in Ephesus for forsaking their first love, he admonished them to repent. He said, “Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place” (Rev. 2:5b). Repentance is needed for us to be refreshed from the sin that burdened us again. There is no restoration and revival without repentance. Knowing our weaknesses and limitations, the apostle John said, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

The last R is Rejoice. Revival has to be manifested through rejoicing. This is the reason why the apostle Paul commanded, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Phil 4:4). Even the devil cannot stand seeing believers rejoicing in the midst of suffering. When we rejoice, the devil will flee. No wonder even the Book of Proverbs said that “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Prov. 17:22). 

The Lord will indeed bring revival to those who are contrite and lowly in heart. Remembering the good old days will bring us to our right senses and move us to repent of our neglect of our first love. There is no true joy apart from the Lord. Therefore, let us desire to be revived and be restored unto God that we may again rejoice in his presence, as in former days. Hallelujah!