Main Idea: God revives and restores all who come to Him with a desire for renewal and a repentant heart.
Introduction: last night in ch. 29, we saw how the revival under King Hezekiah started with the leadership. We saw the three calls that King Hezekiah issued to the leaders of the people: the renewed call to purity, the renewed call to worship, and the renewed call to service. We saw that revival must begin with leadership – from the top down!
Tonight, we are going to see how that revival spread from the leadership to the people of God. And how the people responded to this letter that King Hezekiah sent out to the people of Judah to call them to celebrate the Passover, even though they were celebrating it a month late. I believe that God placed the desire in the heart of Hezekiah to celebrate the Passover because God was going to use that time to restore the people.
My prayer for you tonight is that God will revive you and your relationship with Him. I want to reiterate and expand on something that I said on the first night about revival. We get revival and spiritual awakening mixed up many times. Revival is for the church (for God’s people). Revival is not for the lost. The word revival means: to bring to life AGAIN!
You cannot revive a lost person, because they have never been alive in the first place. Before we come to Christ, the bible says we are all spiritually dead. 1st John 5:12 says “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” In order to revive something, it has to have been alive to begin with. Some people may get saved during a revival, BUT that is not the goal of revival.
The goal is to revive the people of God so that they will go out and win the lost in a spiritual awakening!
In this passage, we find four very real reminders to the people of Judah of God’s promise to revive and restore those who are seeking it with all their hearts. The crux of tonight’s message is that God revives and restores all who come to Him with a desire for renewal and a repentant heart.
I. THE REASSURANCE OF GOD’S LOVE (vv. 6)
1. God issued a love appeal to His people through King Hezekiah – the appeal is summed up in this one verse – God said to them: “Return to me, and I will return to you!” It is so simple, it’s profound!
(1) Ultimately, God will never leave us nor forsake us, (eternal security) BUT I believe that there are times in which we depart from him – they are like times of dryness – times when the Glory departs in our own lives and in the life of the church.
(2) In spite of Judah’s unfaithfulness to God – Idol worship – God reassured them of His love by pleading with them – “return to me (because I still love you) and I will return to you.”
2. Maybe tonight you have departed from God to worship other God’s—the gods of this age – maybe you are experiencing dryness – maybe the Glory has departed – God is issuing a love appeal to you tonight – “return to me (because I still love you) and I will return to you!”
(1) Do we have any Prodigal son’s and Daughters here this evening? (Luke 19:11-32) Illus. Left fathers house went into the far country (out of God’s will) blew all of his inheritance, spent some time with the pigs – when he came to his senses he went back home
(2) Look at the father, the father was waiting for him on the front porch every day – binoculars in his hands – searching the for his son – one day he saw a dot on the horizon – coming closer – realized it was a man – “maybe it’s him?” – he looked again and it was – and the father didn’t wait – he ran to the son – before the son could finish His speech – his father fell on his neck and kissed him.
3. In spite of all of our waywardness, God wants us back! God says come home!
II. THE REQUIREMENT OF A REPENTANT HEART (vv. 10-15a)
1. Many of God’s people were cut to the heart by God’s appeal to return to Him and they responded in earnest.
(1) They humbled themselves – Pride is a barrier to revival
(2) God gave them singleness of heart to follow the kings command – they agreed that returning to celebrate the Passover was the right thing to do even though it was past the normal time.