Summary: STORY of young man, he was in his 30’s, still single and was starting to get a little nervous about that. Went to a church fellowship, caught eye of very attractive young lady who smiled at him so he immediately worked his way across the room and engaged
I want to begin this morning with the first great revival in the Bible. It’s in the book of Exodus and we’ll be reading there in a moment.
STORY of young man, he was in his 30’s, still single and was starting to get a little nervous about that. Went to a church fellowship, caught eye of very attractive young lady who smiled at him so he immediately worked his way across the room and engaged her in a lengthy conversation. Now at which point he said rather boldly, “Tell me, what kind of men do you like?” She said, “Well, I’ve always been attracted to Native Americans for their survival instincts. I’ve always admired Jewish men for their moxie. I’ve always, particularly enjoyed cowboys for their rugged individualism.” She said, “By the way, what’s your name?” Thinking quick he said, “Well, my given name is Geronimo Bernstein, but my friends call me Bubba.”
Everybody wants to make a good impression on other people. In fact you are making one whether you realize it or not. Your life is having an impact on people. But what I want to tell you this morning is where to go where you can have a greater impact on people than any other place. Do you know where it is? It is on your knees. Because you can have no greater impact on people that to pray for them. All revival begins with a select few who believe in praying for presence.
Let me give you a principle as we begin the lesson this morning:
“Intercession makes an impression.”
Why is it in Kingdom of God the least are greatest? How can that be? In no other kingdom is that true. Because in Kingdom of God even the weakest believer can use the strongest weapon: PRAYER. And as I have studied the revivals in the Bible and throughout church history, always you find revival comes because a few people are behind the scenes, often unnoticed, interceding for the many.
Intercession makes an impression. God longs to send revival but he waits to be asked. Can I show you one of the only times in the Bible that God says he was amazed about something? In Isaiah 59:15-16 it says, “The Lord looked and he was displeased that there was no justice. He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene.” Look at that same verse in NASV and it says, “And the Lord was astonished there was no one to intercede.” It amazed God that nobody was interceding for the land. Nobody was praying. Nobody was asking him to come and bring healing.
II. THE FIRST GREAT REVIVAL
Could it be that next great revival in America is going to begin by prayers of somebody in this room? Somebody who’s praying for presence. Let me explain what I mean in story in the O.T. The first great revival in the Bible. Children of Israel had been delivered from Egyptian bondage. God sent plagues - many miracles to Egypt and now they were in Sinai. God had spoken through his servant Moses about covenant he wanted them to enter. The people said yes, promised to obey all laws of the Lord our God. Now Moses gone up the mountain so the covenant could be written on stone.
The Bible says in Exodus 24:17, “To the Israelites the glory of the Lord looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain. Then Moses entered the cloud as he went up on top of the mountain and he stayed on the mountain for forty days and forty nights.” Now I want you try to imagine being at the foot of mountain, that is literally on fire with the presence of God. Night and day you could look up and you could see the fire and the cloud and you can see the visible manifestation of the Lord God.
A. The Sin of Irreverence
You would think nobody could wander, no heart could stray with that kind of presence. But….chapter 32 verses 1-6 says: READ. Now what we’re going to study this morning is no less than the saving of the nation of Israel. What we just read almost caused the nation of Israel its very existence. God was so angry with Israel he was ready to destroy them. Now what was the great sin that we just read. We’ve heard this story since we were kids in Sunday School. What was it that caused God to get so angry? Obviously their idolatry was a grievous sin. They broke the command they had promised to keep to not make graven images. Obviously their immorality was a great sin, in fact, it said they were out of control with their sexual immorality. That was a grievous sin before the Lord. But I want to suggest to you that there was sin underneath their idolatry and their immorality, and that was the sin of irreverence. That Israel irreverently ignored the presence of God shrouding that holy mountain. There was God visibly burning in front of them and they had the gall to look for a substitute God. The presence of Moses could keep their waywardness in check but the presence of God couldn’t. Notice, in fact, they said, “We don’t know what happened to this Moses who brought us up out of Egypt!” Hey, Moses didn’t bring them up out of Egypt. God brought them up out of Egypt. And God was still there visibly in their sight. And they weren’t impressed.