Summary: The dangerous impact of hiding sin.
WHAT HINDERS REVIVAL? We have entered into a season where we are collectively praying that the Lord would send His revival fire among us whereby He restores His life in us so that we may once again experience the joy of our salvation and a passion for His person and purposes. Last week we took a diagnostic approach to Luke 7:36-50 to see whether we need a revival or not. We looked at some signs that were present in the lives of two different people and one revealed what a life in need of revival looks like and from the responses I have received from many of you it is indeed the case that we are in need of revival. Hopefully you have joined with me in this time of prayer where we ask the Lord to revive our hearts. As we ask the Lord to revive our hearts we are going to look at some things that can hinder revival among us. Today we are going to look at how Hidden Sin Hinders Revival.
Asking and Expecting God to Show Up… JOSHUA 7:2-3 Israel had a great desire to see the Lord show up in a big way in their lives. They had seen the Lord show up and show off on their behalf in a big way in their recent past. Think about what the Lord had done…
• The Exodus Out of Egypt. God broke the chains of slavery through plagues.
• The Crossing of the Red Sea. God made a way where there was no way.
• The Provision of Manna from Heaven. God gave food where there was no food.
• The Provision of Quail. God gave meat when the people got tired of bread.
• The Provision of Water from a Rock. God gave water while in the dessert.
After a faithless and complaining generation had passed the Lord raised up another generation that would be allowed to enter the Promised Land.
• The Crossing of the Jordan. God made a way for His people to enter the Promise.
• The Conquest of Jericho. God made a way of victory where there seemed to be none.
NOW, with victory over Jericho still in the rear view mirror, the people stand before the city of Ai in great expectation. The city of Ai is nothing compared to Jericho and the leaders of Israel do not even see it necessary to send the whole army to go out against it. They have seen God do what He did in Jericho and for Him the conquest of Ai is going to be a minor thing. With great anticipation the people of God are waiting to see God show up, show off and show out among them in the conquest of Ai. There was a great desire among the Israelites to see God do something great among them.
REVIVAL IS ASKING GOD TO SHOW UP IN OUR LIVES. Revival is God’s people asking God to show up in their lives in a fresh way that results in a renewal/revival of His people who where almost dead spiritually. Revival is God’s people asking Him to show off in the saving of the lost and the sanctifying of the saved. Revival is God’s people asking Him to stoke the embers of the fire He put in us at the moment of salvation that has nearly been extinguished by the events of life. Therefore, we find ourselves in this story for we, like the Israelites, are asking/expecting God to show up in and among us to revive us again.
When It All Goes Wrong… JOSHUA 7:4-5 Israel was expecting God to show up and show off in and among them but when they went up against Ai in battle they were embarrassingly defeated and those who survived ran back to the camp with their “tails between their legs.” This unexpected defeat did not make sense to the people of Israel. Joshua had led the people in the way God had led him. The leaders had prepared the army just as they should have. The army devised a plan of attack just as they should have. Everything seemed to be in line. They were where they were supposed to be doing what they were supposed to do how they were supposed to do it but suddenly and unexpectedly it was clear that SOMETHING WAS WRONG.
Joshua and the Elders Seek the Lord… JOSHUA 7:6-9 When things do not go as planned Joshua goes before the Lord about it. There is something for us to learn in Joshua’s response. When something in our life does not go as we have planned our first response should not be simply to take another approach. When the defeated army came back Joshua did not meet with the specialists and strategists and devise another plan of attack but went to the Lord to inquire of him. Joshua’s prayer reflects how things look from his perspective. He does not know why it is that they were defeated and turned back by the army of Ai. He is not privy to what has taken place in Jericho. Notice as well that Joshua’s prayer is not simply driven by Israel’s success and prosperity. His concern is not the exaltation of Israel’s name but for God’s! He assumes, and rightly so, that Israel’s defeat would result in the pagans defiling the name of God throughout the land. This is what makes Joshua a great leader. His concern is not for his own fame or the fame of Israel as a nation but the fame of God’s name. IT COULD BE THAT YOUR PLANS ARE NOT SUCEEDING BECAUSE YOU HAVE SELFISH MOTIVES BEHIND THEM!