reviveTrue revival.

Nehemiah has orchestrated the process of rebuilding the physical walls of Jerusalem – despite resistance from the enemies of God. Now we see him help orchestrate the rebuilding of the spiritual walls of God’s people as well. 60-70 years prior, Ezra the priest had led a group of Israelites out of Babylon and back to their home land. Now, as an old priest, Nehemiah has Ezra stand before the entire assembly of God’s people and read the Word. He (and the other Levite priests) read the Word from daybreak to noon – as all of the people listened attentively (Neh 8:3).

This is how true revival starts. It is clearly mentioned many times that the Israelites had failed to obey God’s instructions over the generations. By now – things had been so long forgotten that they were foreign to the ears of the people. So, as Ezra read from the Word, they were all focusing on what was being said – fully understanding that their past troubles were directly linked to their disobedience. (Neh 9:37). True revival begins with the Word – both reading it and understanding it. In Nehemiah 8 we see that “they read from the Book of the Law of God distinctly, faithfully amplifying and giving the sense so that [the people] understood the reading.”Neh 8:8 AMP.

After reading God’s Word to the people – and explaining it to them so that all understood it – the reaction was immediate. “For all the people wept when they heard the words of the Law.”Neh 8:9 AMP. This is the second step for true revival – heartbroken repentance. When the people of Israel heard the Word of God and came to the realization that their forefathers (and thus themselves as well) had sinned against God – they didn’t just shrug it off or “feel sorry”… they wept. Their hearts broke. This is typically a sure sign of repentance – the breaking of the heart due to sin.

If sin does not grieve you – then repentance has not taken place.

After repenting – Ezra instructed the people to go home and celebrate. That is the third step of true revival! While repentance is filled with weeping and tears – it does not last forever… for God has redeemed us and forgiven our sin! The people of God who enter into true repentance must then enter into true celebration and praise. Ezra has the people gather together and enjoy food and fellowship – not due to their past – but in anticipation of the future obedience to the Lord. (Neh 8:10).

After a night of celebration – the people gathered again to hear the Words of God. This is the next sign of true revival – a hunger for Truth. Once the realization huts that they had strayed from God’s Truth for many years – the now repentant people earnestly sought to return to obedience (and had to know how to do that). Like them – when we go through revival we will see an increase in our hunger to know the Lord and His Truth.

Finally, once it became clear what they were to do – the Israelites (under Ezra’s teaching) were quick to obey. Upon reading the Law, they learned about the various Feasts God has instructed His people to annually hold in remembrance of what they had gone through in the past. (The Feast of Tabernacles was a way of helping them remember how God had led them out of slavery from Egypt). Not since the very beginning had God’s people obeyed this instruction (Neh 8:17). In the same way – the final step of true revival is immediate obedience to the newly learned Words of Truth.

  1. Reading the Word.

  2. Repenting of disobedience (sin).

  3. Celebrating forgiveness.

  4. Immediate obedience for the future.

The Israelites had tasted the bitter waters left for them by their forefathers disobedience – and they gathered under Ezra to form a new covenant with God… ushering in a national revival. In the same way – you and I must come to our own personal place of revival – marked with these same steps of the Word – repentance – celebration – and obedience. When we do that – Sunday mornings no longer are a habitual regulation – but a weekly opportunity to read/hear God’s Word – repent – celebrate continued forgiveness and favor as we seek to obey the Lord in our lives.

Be Fruitful & Multiply,

PK

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