16 December 2011
The Blessings of Revival, Part 2
In our last post we sought to give a definition of revival and named one of the blessings that come as a result of it. In this post we want to again examine Isaiah 64 and note some of the other blessings Isaiah listed. Meditating on these things will help to develop in us a genuine hunger for God to move mightily on our behalf in the church today.
B. The Name of God is Exalted
Isaiah prayed for a manifestation of the awesome presence of God in order “to make Your name known to Your adversaries” (64:2). We should desire for revival to take place because we want to make His name known. We want to exalt the name of God. Sometimes we do not experience revival because we are more concerned about making our name known, or our church name known, than making God’s name known. Ask yourself this question; “If you could pray and start a revival and never get the credit for it would I still be willing to see revival come?” Are you more concerned with God getting the glory or you getting the credit? Our motives must be right if we would see a mighty work of God. We must be consumed with the passion of seeing God’s name exalted and made known to a lost and dying world. We must be focused on His glory! This is a principle in Scripture that is often overlooked. Scriptures teaches that if we focus on God’s glory the Spirit of God begins to work on our behalf. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” As we focus on the glory of God the Spirit in return lifts us to new levels of glory. The prayer of Isaiah reveals that God’s name and glory was his focus. When we also lift our voices to God praying for His glory to be revealed then I believe God will answer and bring revival.
C. The Fear of God is Established.
Isaiah said prayed “that the nations may tremble at thy presence” (64:2). I am convinced that people don’t fear the Lord as they should today. People don’t tremble before God as a result of understanding His holiness and their own sinfulness. But when revival comes, with it will come a healthy fear of God. What is the fear of God? For an unbeliever the fear of God is the fear of judgment of God and eternal death, which is eternal separation from God in hell. Despite the attempts to explain it away hell truly exists and those who remain unrepentant sadly will be banished there for eternity. For the believer it is something different. It is a deep reverence of God. Hebrews 12:28-29 is a good description of this. “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire.” For a believer a fear of God is not only a sober respect and reverence but it is also an understanding of how much God hates sin and a fear of His judgments on sin. When it was revealed to the prophet Daniel how God was going to punish King Nebuchadnezzar because of his pride, the Bible says Daniel was astonished for one hour (Daniel 4:19). That is an example of the fear of God. It is being overwhelmed by the judgments and character of a holy God. When I read of great revivals in the past I find that this fear of God is a common factor.
D. The Power of God is Exhibited.
Isaiah 64:3-4 “When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence. For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.”
The word terrible in this verse means awesome, miraculous or impressive. Isaiah noted that another result of genuine revival is God does things that go beyond our expectation. God does things that are beyond our imagination. Isaiah 64:4 is quoted twice in the New Testament by the apostle Paul. Both times it is a reference to the mighty works of the Spirit of God. It is quoted in 1 Corinthians 2:9, “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” It is referenced in Ephesians 3:20, “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” Often when we heard this verse quoted it is with regard to the glorious things God has prepared for us one day in the future in heaven. But that is not how Paul quoted it. Paul clearly refers to the great things God wants to do for us here and now in the church! Revivals often start small with just a handful of people or sometimes with just one individual. They gather together because they want to have revival for themselves. They never really intended for it to be anything other than a personal renewal. Much to their surprise God does things that they never imagined! Revival explodes all over the community into the churches leaping over denominational, social, and geographical barriers. The great Fulton Street Revival started with just one man that wanted to have a prayer meeting and by the time it was over more than a million people were saved. That is how God works. His power is manifested.
E. The Fellowship of God is Enjoyed
Isaiah 64:5 “Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember thee in thy ways”
When revival comes God comes and meets with His people in a unique way. We experience in a very real way the sweet fellowship and joy of God. We are filled with joy at the wonderful presence of God. I recently read a book written by the late great Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones called Joy Unspeakable: Revival and Renewal in the Holy Spirit, in which he wrote of the marks of true revival when it comes. One of these was the unique fellowship and joy produced by the presence of the Lord. He gives examples of great revivals in history and demonstrated that this refreshing fellowship and joy was evident in every case. Oh to have God come and meet with us!
Do you long for these blessings in your personal walk? Do you desire these things for your church? If you do let me challenge you to seek God’s face and pray earnestly for revival! What God did for Isaiah He will do for us! Next week we will look at Isaiah 64 and consider the barriers to revival!