Pleasant View Baptist Church
It is getting to the time of year when many churches start having revival services. I don’t think that it is a stretch to say our nation is in great need of a revival.
Revivals have been around for a long time. We even find them taking place in biblical days. Of course the services weren’t a week long with special music each night but on more than one occasion Israel experienced a special awakening that brought them back to God. I Samuel 7:3-13 shares with us one of those awakenings and gives us some insight into what is necessary for a revival to take place.
In the text, Israel is a nation in need of revival. The nation was having problems politically and religiously; sound familiar?
It was in this context of corruption and spiritual decline that Samuel stood in the gap as God’s man for the hour. In his message to the people he stressed the demands the people faced if they were to experience spiritual renewal. Those same requirements for spiritual renewal (revival) challenge us today.
In verses 2b-4 we are reminded that revival includes repentance. In the face of the tragic consequences of their sin, the people recognized their need to be restored to God.
Unfortunately, when a lot of folks hear the word “repentance” they assume simply feeling sorry for their sins is enough. As one writer said, “Repentance without amendment is like continually pumping without mending the leak in the pipe.” Real repentance, sincere repentance involves turning from sin and turning toward God.
Revival also requires sacrificial commitment. When you talk about sacrifice in the church people think about having to serve in the nursery during the worship hour. We don’t like to hear much about sacrifice these days. That’s why our politicians keep talking about all the giveaways in their political speeches. They understand that people would rather have things given to them than to have to sacrifice to get them.
Perhaps that’s why we know so little about revival. Sacrifice prepares our hearts to hear God and our lives to receive His touch.
One of the sacrifices Israel had to give up was their false gods. Ralph Waldo Emerson said that, “rather than freeing ourselves from idolatry, we’ve merely transferred our idols.” We no longer worship wood and stone; today our gods have picture screens and touch pads, doors and windows, motors and doors.
Something else that moved Israel towards God was significant action on their part. Though the people were afraid, they were willing to trust God and act on the basis of that trust. God calls on us to move out in faith and claim the victory He has already promised.
All of us face challenges every day…perhaps financial, or family, or career, or our relationship with Christ. We have a choice when it comes to personal revival. But revival does have a cost. The question is, are we willing to pay the cost to see it happen, not only in this wonderful country we live in, but also in our lives?