Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Three basics of Revival

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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Psalm 119:145-160

TO CHEW ON: “Revive me…” Psalm 119:154, 156, 159

Do you ever hear comments like, “We need a revival in Canada, the U.S., Europe”, or “Oh, for the revivals of the old days”?

The quest for spiritual revival isn’t new. The prayer “Revive me” occurs three times in an eight verse section of our reading (Psalm 119:153-160).

"Revive" is chayah in Hebrew. It means to live, to have life, remain alive, sustain life, live prosperously, be quickened, be restored to life or health.
The psalmist names three possible catalysts of revival:

“Your word” (vs. 154): "word" = imrah - the word of God, Torah.
“Your judgments” (vs. 156
): "judgments" =  mishpat - judgment, justice, ordinance, legal decision.
“Your lovingkindness” (vs. 159): "lovingkindness" = chesed - goodness, kindness, faithfulness.

How might these things be catalysts for revival in our own time?

- Revived by the Word (Psalm 119:154):
For us this is the Bible. We need to read it, get it into us as much as and more than we allow TV, the news, political pundits, movies, etc. get into us. God’s word puts an entirely different slant on life than does our culture. It tells us what's important to God; what He values.

- Revived by God’s judgments (Psalm 119:156):
God, as revealed especially in the Old Testament, often appears harsh, a God of black-and-white, of judgment. David, the writer of many psalms (perhaps even this one?) discovered that when he tried to move the ark to the tabernacle in Jerusalem (a good thing) in the wrong way (on a cart instead of secured with poles and carried on priests’ shoulders). The man who reached out to steady the ark from falling, touched it (something God had expressly forbidden - Numbers 4:15), and died on the spot. Read the story in 1 Chronicles 13:1-14.

God’s judgment side carries on in the New Testament where He allows His own Son to present Himself as a sacrifice for sin on our behalf.

I think if there is any aspect of the Gospel we moderns have watered down, it is the fact of God’s holiness, His hatred of sin, and the inevitability of sin’s judgment. We easily live with a mindset of “cheap grace.” The picture we have of God is a version of ourselves (Psalm 50:21).

- Revived by God’s lovingkindness:

 We also see the merciful, kind, faithful side of God throughout the Bible and highlighted in the cross. In the words of Paul:
“…God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them. … we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” - 2 Corinthians 5:19,21.

I’m also reminded of the verse: “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?’ Romans 2:4 (emphasis added).

In our quest for revival, let’s not miss going deep into these three basics!

“Revive me” I pray with the psalmist. Please use Your word, an awareness of Your holiness, and the deep inner experience of Your love in this process. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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