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. — 2 Chronicles 7:14
During a recent Christmas season, while I was passing through our kitchen where my wife was busy preparing the big family meal, my eyes fell on an old notecard that had yellowed with the years. Looking closely, I saw my mother’s handwriting on it. It was her old recipe for one of my favorite dishes. When done precisely as the directions said, it tasted exactly like my mother used to make it!
Within the heart of each of us is a longing for something more, a season of new spiritual refreshing, a personal revival, if you please. God has His own recipe for revival in our hearts. He has written it down for all of us: “If My people will... then I will hear from Heaven.” And when this recipe is followed precisely and put into practice, it will result in a new spirit reanimating us and enabling us to soar into spiritual regions some of us may have never known.
Much talk of revival is from man’s side, man’s viewpoint. Thus, it becomes man-centered. For a moment, let’s seek to transport ourselves and view personal revival from the throne of God. That is, from God’s viewpoint.
GOD’S DESIRE “If My people... then...”
God is waiting, willing, and longing to send a new spirit of revival to His people. However, He does not overrule our own will. Consequently, in a very real sense, while revival is always the sovereign work of Almighty God, it is also conditional. The Bible says, “If My people...” If certain conditions are met, certain results will follow.
God longs to send revival to us:
He is not willing that any perish. — 2 Peter 3:9
- There is a very real sense in which personal revival is not a miracle. It is simply God’s promised response to conditions met by His people.
GOD’S DESIGN “If MY people...”
Revival is conditional upon God’s own people. Hear His invitation: “If My people...” The real story behind any revival in history begins when God’s own people become convicted of neglect and begin to beseech the throne for a fresh wind of His Spirit. Reading the history of many great awakenings reveals that they usually begin with one man or one woman who becomes desperate for what the psalmist called “fresh oil” (Psalm 92:10).
God’s problem today is not with the lost but with His own people. Many are pointing to the decay of our culture as being the result of the decline of our moral fabric and the influence of secular, and often downright godless factors all around us. However, God reveals that the real issue is not with “them” but with “us.” Or, as Jesus once said, we should not try to get a small splinter out of someone else’s eye until we first remove the large beam from our own eye (Matthew 7:3–5).
- God’s design for revival begins with His own people.
GOD’S DEMAND “humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways”
God’s demand begins with a call for His own people to “humble themselves,” to recognize and confess their need to seek Him in all things. The Christian must be on constant vigil to avoid the temptation of spiritual pride and self-centeredness. True humility involves a broken spirit before the Lord.
Second, God calls His people to pray. The word does not entail the mere recitation of prayers but an earnest calling out to Him. Too many Christians’ prayer testimonies can be summed up with four words from Ephesians 6:12 — “we do not wrestle.” Every true revival in history has been born and cradled in the place of prayer. We read of the early church that “when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31).
Next, God demands that we “seek [His] face.” He said to Jeremiah,
You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. — Jeremiah 29:13
If believers today spent as much time seeking His face as we do seeking His hand, we would be on the way to revival. Much of our own praying seems to be consumed with seeking something from His hand in the way of material or physical needs. Perhaps too little of our praying is consumed with simply seeking His face for personal revival.
God’s demand also includes turning from our “wicked ways.” Sin that is unconfessed and therefore unforgiven is the greatest obstacle to revival. As Solomon reminded us, “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13). Note that it is not enough to simply be sorry for and to confess our sins; we must also forsake them.
GOD’S DELIGHT “I will hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
God’s delight is to forgive and cleanse us of our sin. Why? So that we might appropriate all that the cross of Christ involves, so that, as far as we might personally be concerned, His death would not be in vain.
- God delights more in healing our hearts and our homes than we do ourselves.
He is willing, waiting, and longing to be faithful because of conditions we are called to meet.
If my daughter and I had a misunderstanding or something had broken our fellowship, I would long for restoration. If she came to me in humility, asked for forgiveness, and looked lovingly into my face, how do you think I would react? Of course I would forgive her and welcome her with open arms and an open heart. No wonder the Bible reveals that our heavenly Father will do so much more for us! This great God, who sees a small field sparrow when it falls to earth, cares much more for you (Matthew 6:25–27, Matthew 10:29).
As you memorize this verse, meditate on the fact that personal revival, while it is God’s work, is also conditional: “If My people... then I will hear from Heaven.” God has a recipe for personal revival. Our part is not that difficult. It simply calls us to follow the directions.
Excerpted with permission from The Joshua Code by O. S. Hawkins, copyright O. S. Hawkins.
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What if this Advent we met God’s conditions for us and His guarantee of a revival began? He delights to heal us and be faithful to us! What if we sought His face and followed His path? Come share your thoughts with us! We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily