Let the Revival Begin with Me
2 Chronicles 7:12-18
“I’m just too worn out to go worship God.” This statement is implicating that attending church requires too much effort. It would be nice to hear someone proclaim, “although I am worn out from working all week. I need to go to worship to get re-energized or revived.”
We sing the song “Revive Us Again.” Individual Christians need a revival, that is, to be made alive or brought back from the brink of spiritual death. Christ called upon the church at Ephesus to revive her first love. “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love” (Rev. 2:4). God told Judah, “I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me…” (Jer. 2:2). As in a marriage, couples need to renew or revive their love, so Christians must revive their love for God.
God once promised Solomon that He would revive His people, if they would return to Him. The Temple had been completed. At the Temple dedication, the sacrifices were many. Some 22,000 bulls and 120,000 rams were offered. They worshiped God in song with musical accompaniment. The glory of God fills the Temple. There was a seven day feast. Solomon offered up a great prayer to God.
Then the Lord appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him: “I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. As for you, if you walk before Me as your father David walked, and do according to all that I have commanded you, and if you keep My statutes and My judgments, then I will establish the throne of your kingdom, as I covenanted with David your father, saying, ‘You shall not fail to have a man as ruler in Israel.’
Often this text has been misapplied as a promise to America. If the nation of the United States turns back to God there will be a great revival from God. However, this promise was give specifically to the nation of Israel. It is true that “righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:34). Although this should not be applied to our nation today to as a promise from God, individual Christians need to revive their relationship with God. This passage would be applicable on a personal level. The best definition of a personal or individual “revival” is found in Acts 3:19 where Peter says, “Repent then and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out and that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”
Notice the conditional “if.” A small word with huge implications. When “if” statements are used, they are generally followed by “then” statements, which are the effect part of the cause and effect. Man has a duty to fulfill before God gives His blessings.
What Conditions Must Be Fulfilled By the Individual?
Be a Child of God
God’s above promise was made to His people. We must be a child of God to receive the blessings God has in store for us in Christ. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12). This takes place when one is born again by obeying the Gospel plan of salvation.
The word “humble” carries the idea of being bowed down. It is an awareness of our sinful condition before a holy and awesome God. Humility involves a willingness to listen to God’s Word and obey His will. It also requires one to be empty of self instead of full of themselves. God chooses to fill empty vessels not those full of themselves. “be clothed with humility, for ‘God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.’ Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:5b-7).
If one has sin in their life they must repent. The psalmist said, “if I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear” (Psalm 66:18). James encouraged Christians to “confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16).
Seek God’s Face
The idea of seeking the face of God means a desire to have a relationship with God. Since God is Holy we must be holy as He is holy. It takes time to be holy; one cannot be holy in a hurry. Many cannot find God in the same way they cannot find a policeman. They want to avoid him because they are guilty of unholy conduct and do not wish to change.
Turn from Wicked Ways
God has always required people to turn away form their wicked ways before they could have a blessed relationship with Him. The equivalent of this Hebrew phrase in the text is the New Testament to the Greek word metanoeo which means repent. Probably the best way to define it is with the word “abandon” or “turn away from” Without repentance there will be perishing. “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3).
What are the Blessings of God for Those Who Meet These Conditions?
God Will Hear
God has promised to hear the prayers of the faithful Christian. “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him” (1 John 5:14-15).
God Will Forgive
If the erring saint will confess God will forgive. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (1 John 1:8-10).
God Will Restore
God promised the Jews of Malachi’s day “return to Me and I will return to you” (Malachi 3:7). “For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones’” (Isaiah 57:15). God, like the prodigal son’s father, longs to be reunited with His sons and daughters.
What Consequences Will Result From Turn Away From God?
God goes on in 2 Chronicles 7:19-22 to warn Israel of the consequences of failing to serve Him. If they go after other gods and worship them, God will remove them from the land of Israel and destroy the Temple. Some centuries later after their refusal to give up their idolatry God did remove both the nation of Israel and the nation of Judah by way of the Assyrian Captivity and then the Babylonian captivity. In 586 B.C. God sent King Nebuchadnezzer of Babylon to destroy the Temple.
Christians can also turn away from God. Peter warns of the consequences. “For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire” (2 Peter 2:20-22).
May God revive us again. Let the revival begin in me.
– Daniel R. Vess