Summary: If you were to ask my why revival tarries, whether it be your own personal revival or a corporate church-wide or city-wide or nation-wide revival, I would say it is because we don’t want it badly enough.
Why Does Revival Tarry?
Pastor Jim Luthy
In the climactic final scenes of "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," Indy becomes desperate to reach the Holy Grail, the cup from which Jesus drank at the Last Supper, because his father has been shot and needs to drink from the grail to survive. To get to the cup, Indy has to pass three tests: he must avoid the saws and swords that shoot out unexpectedly from the walls; he must step only on designated stones on a path or else fall through into an abyss; and he must cross an impossibly wide ravine. His father had already deciphered the clues he would need to pass the tests. Indy’s job was to interpret the clues to avoid death on the path to the grail.
The first clue required that he become like a penitent man. At just the right time, Indy realizes that a penitent man is one who humbles himself and kneels before God. As he kneels, the first of the deadly saw blades crosses over his head.
The second clue suggests that he follows the word of God. The word, he determines, is "Jehovah". Indy steps on the J and begins to fall through the floor into the abyss. Saving himself and climbing back on to the safe ledge, he remembers from his childhood lessons that "Jehovah" in Latin begins with an I. He then promptly crosses the stone path safely, stepping only on those stones that spell "Jehovah".
The third test requires him to take a step of faith. Looking across a huge ravine, he sees no way to cross but is urged by the clue to step out in faith. As he finally does, due to the desperation to reach the grail and save his father, he finds himself along a path he could not see because of the illusion that it was the rocks on the other side of the ravine. He crosses the path and finds himself in a sacred cave, guarded by a 700 year-old knight who had vowed to guard the grail until a worthy replacement would come to relieve him of his duties.
In many ways, the Christian life is similar to the journey Indiana Jones took to reach the grail. It is clear that we’re to be penitent people who humble themselves before God. Indy bowed only on the outside, but we’re to bow in our hearts with contrition. We are also called to follow the word of God carefully. Joshua 1:8 says we’re to "meditate on this word day and night and be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful." If we humble ourselves and avoid the schemes of the devil to stand, and if we will follow the word of God carefully, we are still presented with the challenge, at times, to step out in complete faith, even if we are unable to see how God will move us to the other side.
In Indy’s case, the villain challenges Indy by asking him what he really believes. His belief in his father’s clues and in the power of the grail drive him and guide him to the other side. In our case, it is our belief also that drives us and guides us to see the glory of God. Hebrews 11:6 is clear: "Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."
The reward for Indiana Jones became very personal when his dad was dying. Pursuing the grail and the healing it offered became his uncompromising and unwavering agenda. Our reward, according to Isaiah 35:2, is "the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God." God the Father sent Jesus his Son to become the only sinless man who could die in our place and provide a way for us to be reconciled to him. He has made a way for us to know God. The question is: How badly do we want it? Is the glory of God our uncompromising and unwavering agenda?
A.W. Tozer wrote, "Revivals come only to those who want them badly enough." If you were to ask my why revival tarries, whether it be your own personal revival or a corporate church-wide or city-wide or nation-wide revival, I would say it is because we don’t want it badly enough.
In Israel, there was evidence that they weren’t ready for renewal. Maybe they didn’t want it bad enough. Maybe they couldn’t see past their circumstances well enough to wait for it. It is plain, though, that there were at least three outward expressions of a weakness within that needed to be remedied for revival to come.
The first was hands that are feeble. The people were too weak to serve, too short in reaching out, too lazy in their efforts.