Summary: Sermon on our prayer for God to revive us again. This is taken from two of my teachings at a men's retreat on revival.
Revive Us Again
At this weekend men’s retreat the theme of our time together was “Revive Us Again.”
This was actually a prayer for God’s mercy upon the nation of Israel by the sons of Korah in Psalm 85:6.
“Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?” (Psalm 85:6 NIV)
And it is such a prayer that the church has been praying for, and is usually attached to a prayer for the Holy Spirit to come down much as Isaiah’s prayer in chapter 64.
“Oh, that You would rend the heavens! That You would come down! That the mountains might shake at Your presence.” (Isaiah 64:1 NIV)
And while I didn’t want the mountains around us to shake, what Isaiah and then what we should desire is for the Holy Spirit to come down in power and shake loose those mountains in our lives that have stopped God from doing great and mighty things.
To do this I went to one of the main Scriptures that is often quoted when people pray for revival, especially here in America, is found in 2 Chronicles 7:14.
“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14 NKJV)
What many people miss is that this is a conditional prayer and promise. It is one of those “If/Then” promises. The condition is that if we want God to forgive our sins and heal our land we must first humble ourselves, pray, seek God’s face and turn from our wicked ways.
The first part of my message surrounded our need to repent, to turn from our wicked ways, and the Lord led me to a Scripture that speaks as powerfully as 2 Chronicles 7:14. In fact, I would put this Scripture on par with it. It’s from the prophet Hosea.
"Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, till He comes and rains righteousness on you." (Hosea 10:12 NKJV)
He’s telling us to break up the hardness of our hearts so that we can bring fruit that is worthy, fruit that is deserving, and fruit that proves our repentance.
And the conclusion of this message was that when we break up the fallow ground of our hearts through forgiveness and repentance, sowing the seed of God’s word and righteousness, then God will send down the rain of the Holy Spirit and we’ll reap a bountiful harvest of God’s grace and mercy as He forgives our sins and heals our land.
And as I have studied the revivals of the past, this was one of the main aspects that can be pointed to that happened amongst God’s people.
But it’s the second part of this message that I’d like to spend some time on with you today, and that is our need to become a generation that seeks after the Lord, or what King David describes as a “Jacob Generation.”
But a generation that seeks after God is not what we think of when we think of Jacob. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Jacob was the second child born to Isaac and Rebekah. Actually he and his brother, Esau, were twins. Esau came out first, but not without a fight. The Bible tells how they both wrestled in Rebekah’s womb, and they were still wrestling as they came out because Jacob was trying to pull Esau back in. As Esau came out, Jacob’s hand was holding onto his heal.
That is actually the meaning behind Jacob’s name. Jacob in the Hebrew means, “heal catcher,” or “supplanter,” which means someone who wrongfully or illegally seizes the place of another.
This was who Jacob was; he was a liar and a deceiver. He got Esau to sell him his birthright, and then he deceived his father into giving him Esau’s covenant blessing. Thus he fulfilled what he tried to accomplish in the womb, and that is to wrestle away from Esau God’s blessings. So instead of it being the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Esau, it’s the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
But, is that the Jacob generation that we are to be like? If it is, then our society certainly has this part down. We live in a generation that lies and cheats its neighbor. We live in a generation that deceives and connives to get what they want. This generation is definitely a Jacob generation as it regards this part of Jacob’s life.
But this is not the type of generation God wants us to be. God wants us to be a generation marked by a new beginning like it was for Jacob when God changed his name to Israel prior to his re-entering the Promised Land twenty years later.