Summary: A sermon examining the way to experience revival in your life.
The Pathway To Personal Revival
When you see a tree broken over in a windstorm, it’s easy to think that it was the wind. If you look closer, you will often see that insects have been at work a long time on the tree, making it weaker and weaker. It really wasn’t the wind that did it - other trees around it withstood the wind. It was the slow decline of strength, as insects nibbled away month after month that caused it's demise. (David Guzik: From Comments on Hosea 14:4). David Guzik
So is the case when a Christian has fallen, in most cases the fall was not instantaneous. It is likely that sin had been at work in that individual's life for some time. Sin is a slippery slope that leads to devastation. One sin unaddressed leads to another and then another and soon you find yourself away from God.
Many Christians have wandered away from God and find themselves in a backslidden condition today. You may ask, "how do I know if I am backslidden? Listen to how Thomas Guthrie answers that question. He says: "If you find yourself loving any pleasure more than your prayers, any book better than the Bible, any house better than the house of the Lord, any table better than the Lord's table, any persons better than Christ or any indulgence better than the hope of heaven — be alarmed
The term "backsliding" in the Old Testament speaks of people who were once near to God but have allowed sin to take them away from Him. Scripture tells us that there are consequences for sin in our lives. But scripture also tells us that forgiveness and restoration is available for those who have walked away! 1 John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness”. This means that if you have turned from God, restoration is possible!
Our selected text records the story of an entire nation that had turned away from God. In this passage Israel comes to their senses and cry out to God for one more last chance. Israel's relationship with God was inconsistent to say the least. They would serve God and experience His blessings, then they would turn form Him and serve false idols. Eventually trouble would come and they would run back to God and beg Him to fix everything. God would honor their request and things would be good for a while. Then inevitably Israel would once again turn to false idols, once again trouble would come and they would run back to God! Chapter 10 records one of those occasions where they cried out to God for mercy and deliverance. Verse 9 says that "Israel was sore distressed" 10 "And the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, saying, We have sinned against thee, both because we have forsaken our God, and also served Baalim."
This time when Israel cried out to God, they did not receive the response that they expected. Listen to what the Lord says in v13 “ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more. 14 Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation.” Imagine the shock of God's people when He said "...nope not this time!"
God is not some heavenly bail bondsman who is just waiting to come and get you out of trouble. He is our Heavenly Father... He is our Lord... He is our Master. He deserves our honor, our obedience, our respect and our love.
One lesson we can learn in this passage is that if we go to God with a broken spirit and a contrite heart we can be restored. At this point in history Israel needed a national revival. We live in a day where the Church is in desperate need of revival. However, we will not see revival in the Church until the individuals who make up the church to experience revival on a personal level.
- As we walk through these verses I would like to preach on "The Pathway To Personal Revival". The first step on The Pathway To Personal Revival is to:
I. LISTEN TO WHAT GOD SAYS ABOUT YOUR SIN v13-14
God rebuked Israel for their sin. Notice - v13a "ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more. v14 Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation."
God confronted Israel with their sin and explains their transgressions to them. Their sin was that they had forsaken Him and served other gods. After a time of rebellion and sin, Israel again cries out to God for deliverance. But this occasion is different than the others...this time God proclaims that He will not deliver them. He says “go and cry out to the false idols you have left me for!!” It seems that this time they have crossed a line.