I’ve come to discover that “revival” is an Old Testament concept. If you search your Bible you will find no mention of the word or concept in the New Testament. Now it does use the word revive in a different context, but, you see, the New Testament church was still young and on fire for the most part that revival in general wasn’t needed. That was not the case for the people of Israel in the Old Testament. Over and over again, you can see God’s people crying out for revival. From Ps. 85:6, “Revive us that we may rejoice.” Hab. 3:2, “Revive thy works.” Ezra 9:8, 9, “Revive us in our bondage.” But you also see the promises of God. In Is. 57:15, God tells His people that He will “revive the spirit of the humble and the heart of the contrite.” And then there is 2 Chr. 7:14, where the word is not used, but the message is clear. “ 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.”
That sounds like a promise that every Christian would want to claim. Ask any church leader why America–or the churches in general or a denomination in particular or all Christians–does not (do not) have revival and the answers will usually come out to something like: “We’re not praying,” or “We’re not praying hard enough,” or “This takes prayer and fasting.”
You can spend hours on the internet reading hundreds of websites on the subject of revival. Those that attempt to cover the subject of why we are not experiencing revival usually attribute it to sin, complacency, or prayerlessness. Maybe they’re right, but it seems to me those answers are missing the point. The reason we’re not having revival may indeed be that we’re not praying for one. After all, Scripture assures us that “you have not because you ask not.” (James 4:2)
But that just leads to the question of why we’re not praying for revival. The answer, I strongly suggest, is simple: we don’t want a revival. We like things the way they are. I said it and will stand by it: we do not want revival. The churches don’t, the church members don’t, and very few of the pastors want a genuine Heaven-sent revival.
After all, revival means change, and we don’t want change. We’re too comfortable the way things are at the present. Joe McKeever, formerly the Director of Missions in New Orleans, tells the story of an elderly man in his last church who showed up for services from time to time mainly because of his wife. Once when he was visiting in their home, he learned that five years earlier, he had had a heart bypass operation. His wife said, “And pastor, the doctor ordered him to walk several blocks a day, but he won’t do it.” So Joe tried to shame him a little. After all, the walking was for his own good and might prolong his life. He said, “Preacher, the reason I don’t walk is simple. Walking interferes with my routine.” His wife scoffed, “What routine! Pastor, he goes to the casino!” He lived two more years, still spending his days with the slot machines.
That, in a word, is why the great masses of Christians do not pray for nor desire revival: it would interfere with their routine. But it is desperately needed, so over the next 10 days or so, we are going to be looking at revival: what it is, where it comes from, and how we experience it. Would you join me in praying that God will use this to “Revive Us Again?”