Summary: God’s word has the power to bring restoration to our lives.
The Restoring Power of God’s Word
Nehemiah 7:73b - 10
If there is one thing that we, in the Pentecostal movement, have been concerned with over the years, it is revival. Looking back through the years, we can see revival upon revival that has taken place. We have seen the Brownsville revival, the Toronto Blessing, the Smithton outpouring, and countless others. We have seen excitement and controversy over them. We have seen praises and criticisms. There are always people who chase after them and people who run away from them. There are books and articles written on these revivals to try to analyze and pick them apart. Many Pentecostals have been guilty of obsessing over revival just for the sake of revival and some have been guilty of refusing to allow a genuine move of God in their lives for fear that they might become one of “those wackos”. Why the infatuation with revival? Why are we often so obsessed with it? Because each and every one of us has areas in our lives that need new life. Each and every one of us has dead things in our lives that need new life.
Revival is a hard thing to figure out. How do we know what’s real and what’s not real? Where do we draw the line? How do we know when it’s man and no longer God who is pushing a move forward? It’s sad the way that things turn out sometimes. You see what appears to be a true, genuine move of God and then the people lose sight of what it’s all really about but they just keeping beating the dead horse so to speak. They’re desperately trying to keep something going when God has long since said, “This is no longer about me. It has become the pursuit of what YOU want.” How do we know when that line has been crossed? It’s all very confusing.
I remember when I was at school in Southeastern and Rodney Howard Brown had begun preaching a revival at Carpenter’s Home church (at that time a very large church in Lakeland, FL). Now I’m not trying to analyze this revival and say whether or not it was genuine or not genuine. I try my best not to get involved in doing that. But, I remember when some of the manifestations that were happening in that revival began to happen in our chapel services and guess what happened as a result of it? Division. About 50 % of the students were involved in this move and thought that it was genuinely a move of God and about 50 % of the students wanted nothing to do with it, shunned it.
It caused a major uproar among the student body there. Arguments were breaking out about whether this was of God or whether that was of God. There was a tension on the campus that was so thick that you could have cut it with a knife. It all just kept building and building until one day it came to what I thought of as the climax. We were in chapel and some people began to show these manifestations right in the middle of the message. It pretty much brought things to a halt. There was no way that the speaker could go on in the midst of what was happening there. People began to murmur and complain. The louder they groaned, the louder the people got who were experiencing these manifestations. And then someone stood up with a “Word from God”. They began in a very loud voice to explain how God was displeased with those who didn’t give themselves over to the move of God. Before that person could finish, someone else stood and began in a louder voice to condemn all of those who followed along with the false move of God. Professors were trying to stop the madness and bring order back to things, but the more that they tried, the worse things seemed to get. Half of the people in the chapel got up and left. It was absolute chaos.
I remember that I, along with a number of other students got up and went to the altar and threw ourselves facedown before God. Now, I’m not trying to make myself out to be a saint in the situation, but I was truly grieved in my spirit that we had come to that point. I threw myself down and cried out to God, “God, forgive us! Forgive us that we have allowed ourselves to get to this point. Forgive that we have obviously lost sight of what’s really important here. Restore us, God.”
So many times this happens where there is a move of God. People get confused about what revival is really all about and they began chasing after signs and manifestations. Why? Because they don’t understand what revival truly is. They don’t have a firm, biblical example of God’s restoration of a people. And that’s where we come to the word tonight. As I was reading through the book of Nehemiah just the other day God showed me some things about how he restored the people of Israel.