Summary: STORY: Wife goes with husband to doctor. Not good, husband has but one week to live. Extend time by cooking, rubbing feet, back, take golfing, fishing, etc. Be as affectionate as when you were first married. This might extend his life. “Honey, what did do
If your visiting with us we want you to know -studying this fall on the subject of revival and beginning next week we’ll be looking at some of the greatest revivals in the Bible. This week we will conclude our study of that great verse in the Bible telling us what God is looking for before he sends healing and revival to a land in 2 Chronicles 7:14. We’ve seen that we must humble ourselves, and we must pray and seek God’s face, and this morning we’ll look at the third thing God is looking for before revival comes.
STORY: Wife goes with husband to doctor. Not good, husband has but one week to live. Extend time by cooking, rubbing feet, back, take golfing, fishing, etc. Be as affectionate as when you were first married. This might extend his life. “Honey, what did doctor say?” He said you’ve got one week to live. You see many people do not get healed, not because their condition is incurable, but their not healed because they do not want to follow the doctors orders. And I want to suggest to you that many nations are not healed for the same reason. God is his word has said clearly, “I am the Great Physician and I can heal the land.” The question really is do we want to follow the doctors orders. Because here’ what they are 2 Chronicles 7:14. READ.
The issue is not whether or not God can heal a land. The issue is whether the people will swallow the prescription and the last pill is the hardest of all. The first piece of medicine wasn’t easy: humbling ourselves is not something we do readily. The second was no easier to swallow: Pray and earnestly seek the face of God. But the third pill is the hardest of all to get down: We must turn from our wicked ways, and God says “Then, after you turn, then will I hear.”
So write this down: We need to learn that God will tune in when we turn around. That’s what he said. God wants us to understand that there is a connection between his seeming distance between Him listening to us and our sin. God wants us to see the connection and this is something that America has steadfastly refuses to do. We will admit anything else is the problem. We will try anything else except confessing sin and asking God for forgiveness.
National Day of Prayer. Every May in this nation. Let me tell you some history about that day. Begun as act of Congress in 1952, first day in 1953. President Dwight D. Eisenhower made declaration in which he quoted Abraham Lincoln. Now Lincoln was our most theological President. In 1863 with our country in midst of horrible Civil War Lincoln called on the people to turn to God and ask for His deliverance. And Lincoln said we need to pray and confess our sins to God so that he will heal this nation. And Eisenhower quoted Lincoln. Since then 45 more National Days of Prayer. Every President, both Republ and Democr all have called for us to pray. Not one time since Lincoln was quote in 1953 has any President used the word “sin”. How politically incorrect, how immensely unpopular and offensivel it would be for a national leader to tell us as Americans that our problem is sin. And so we as a nation arrogantly presume we can pray and ask God for all kinds of intervention while refusing to admit our sin.
We arrogantly assume we can turn our backs on God and it will not affect our communication with him. And what we forget is that when we choose sin God turns his back on us. God will not look at sin. That’s why on the cross his own son, as the sky went dark, screamed, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” What Jesus feared most about the cross was not the pain of the nails or the taunts and insults of the crowd. What made him tremble was the thought that when sin was on him, God would turn his back. God will not look at sin, even when it is on his own son. And until America, and until you and I come to grips with that basic truth, we won’t have revival. Because we wont have revival until God comes, and God is going to turn back when we turn around.
II. TURNING BACK TO GOD
God said in Malachi 3:7, “Return to me and I will return to you, says the Lord Almighty.” You cannot reverse that order. Word in the Bible for this turning around: REPENTENCE. And I want to talk to you today about what it means to turn from wicked ways back to God. And I think it would help us to understand what it means to turn around if we understood what it means to turn away.