Summary: We’re wrapping up our study on revival today. I hope it’s been a blessing to you to study some of the revivals in the Bible. I think it would be good for us to study today the last revival found in the Old Testament and that’s in the book of Nehemiah, bec
We’re wrapping up our study on revival today. I hope it’s been a blessing to you to study some of the revivals in the Bible. I think it would be good for us to study today the last revival found in the Old Testament and that’s in the book of Nehemiah, because we want to ask the question this morning, “Can revival be built to last, or does it just go away and you never know it?”
Have you ever seen people who do not realize when something is gone? Maybe they even realize it but do not want to admit it. Maybe it’s an athlete at the end of his career, he’s lost a step, but he says he’s the same, but everyone knows what he had is gone. I wonder what it is like when the fire of revival is gone. Wouldn’t we all suddenly be aware of it? Wouldn’t we all show up one Sunday and say, “You know, it’s gone. Revival is gone.” Or does it happen so gradually that few even notice the fire is out?
In fact, after the studying the revivals like I have I have to ask the question, “Why don’t revivals ever last?” There’s no revival in the history of humanity that has lasted. We studied a couple weeks ago the revival in Ninevah. It saved an entire city for a generation or two, but it didn’t last. We saw a revival under Elijah, under King Asa, we’ve studied revivals in Christian history, and they’re great encouragement for us but they never lasted.
And we don’t have to even look at history, do we. Can’t we even look at our own hearts? Can’t you look back on a time in your life when you became a Christian or you rededicated your life to God, and you said, “God, I want to burn for you.” And for a time you were on fire for God. But it’s not burning like that today maybe. Why do revivals never last?
I’m not sure I have all the answers, but one thing I’m sure is revival cannot be inherited, it can’t be just passed on from father to children. Every generation has to make their own decision for it. But I do want to study a revival that had a longer impact than any other revival in the Bible, and it’s from the book of Nehemiah. And I’d like for you to open your Bibles there. Now Nehemiah was a cup-bearer for the king of Persian. He was a Jew. And word came back to him that some exiles had returned to Jerusalem but they had not yet repaired the city. And particularly the wall of the city was down. So Nehemiah humbled himself before God and he wept and prayed and fasted for forty months, God opened a door and Nehemiah was able to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls.
He got some people together and there was much opposition, especially from the Samaritans, but he motivated the people and he rebuilt the walls in 52 days! And you might think, “mission accomplished”, but Nehemiah knew the mission was not accomplished. Because Nehemiah knew the real problem was not that the wall was down. You see the wall was never the issue.
It makes me think, for example, you’ve seen pictures of the Great Wall of China, it stretches for 1,000 miles. They say it’s the only man-made object you can see from space. Why did they build it? Because they were tired of bring invaded by the barbarian hords from the north. So they built this awesome wall that was too big to climb over, it was too big to knock down, it was too deep to dig under, and yet 100 years after it was completed China was invaded three times by hords from the north. How? The barbarians simply bribed the gatekeeper and he let them right in.
You see, I don’t care how strong the wall is if the character of the people that maintain it is weak. And Nehemiah knew that no wall could secure the future of the nation. What really need to be repaired was the spiritual life of the people. Many of those exiles had returned to Jerusalem but they hadn’t returned to God. And the real threat was not outside the wall but inside, and I see we get a hint why revivals don’t last. Write this down. I believe revivals crumble because more from neglect than from attack. The problem in Jerusalem was not strength of enemy outside the wall. The problem was the weakness of people inside the wall. And I want to suggest to you that revivals crumble today not because our enemy is so great that he breaks down the revival wall, but because we allow, through neglect, for that revival fire to go out.