Revive Thy Work!
In recent years the spiritual declension in our land has been gathering pace. Living at such a time as we do it is our duty to pray with God’s servant Habakkuk: “O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy” (Hab.3:2). But what are we seeking when we ask God to revive His work? What do we expect to happen? It is good to have a zeal for God but we require knowledge also.
Believers rightly lament the falling attendances at public worship, the lack of young people in their congregations and the sheer ungodliness of our present society. Many Christians think that the problem lies in these things. They imagine that a revival will deal with such difficulties and then the church will flourish. Yet they are wrong. It may be humbling for us to acknowledge it but the fact is that we need to look closer to home.
Revival actually begins with the people of God. It is there that the real problem is found and there that it must be sorted out. The Bible must have its proper place again in our lives so that we no longer ignore the truths it contains but do the will of God from the heart. When Scripture has a living authority over our thoughts, words and actions then the current dire situation will be transformed.
Revival must firstly be personal. David prayed, “Plead my cause, and deliver me: quicken me according to thy word” (Psa.119:154). When we are burdened by the sinful world around us and the world of sin within us we realise that only the Spirit of God working the grace of God in our hearts can give us the likeness to Christ that we are meant to have.
Has God kindled a flame of faith, hope and love in your soul by His regenerating power? Then thank Him for it. He will surely preserve it and prosper it. But do not neglect the means which God has given whereby that precious flame may be kept alive. Feed it with the pure oil of the Word of God. If you feel that the fire in your soul is not burning as it should be then pray earnestly to the Lord that He will strengthen you and make you a brighter and better witness for Christ.
Revival must then become ecclesiastical. When the cause of Christ is low faithful saints unite in calling upon God: “Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?” (Psa.85:6). How does the Lord respond? When God revives His cause, “Truth shall spring out of the earth” (v.11). In a time of revival Christ raises up those who take the lead in cleansing His temple: the church recognises her errors and abandons unscriptural beliefs and practices, no longer seeking to justify them.
Revival must finally be national. Habakkuk prayed for Judah when trouble came from the Chaldeans because of Judah’s sins. Our own nation has enjoyed much blessing since the Reformation but we have gone back upon the solemn vows we made to God. The result is that we are now enduring divine chastisement in the form of various difficulties.
All is not lost however. God only chastens those whom He loves (Heb.12:6). He is calling us to heartfelt repentance – something essential to true revival. The way to God is open through the mediator Jesus Christ. May the Lord “visit this vine” (Psa.80:14), forgiving us and cleansing us from our sins and making us more fruitful in holiness, to His glory.