Revival – Part 1

Let’s talk revival. What is it? Really? And just as importantly, what is God’s process for revival? The particular revival I want to look at today is the revival of life and hope, understanding and obedience, joy, truth, faithfulness, focus, and endurance. This is a revival of the Godly life. Let’s start by looking at what David had to say about being revived.

My soul cleaves to the dust; Revive me according to Your word. I have told of my ways, and You have answered me; Teach me Your statutes. Make me understand the way of Your precepts, So I will meditate on Your wonders. My soul weeps because of grief; Strengthen me according to Your word. Remove the false way from me, And graciously grant me Your law. I have chosen the faithful way; I have placed Your ordinances before me. I cling to Your testimonies; O LORD, do not put me to shame! I shall run the way of Your commandments, For You will enlarge my heart. – Psalms 119:25-32 NASB

The type of revival David spoke of, and we should desire, is a revival that is lived out by faith. In 1 Corinthians 9:24, the Apostle Paul instructed his readers to “run in such a way that you may win.” To win the race, we require a revival of Godly life. We see that David used the same type of language in verse 32. He said, “I shall run.” This is a vivid illustration that shows our responsibility and God’s sovereignty. When we run the race in such a way that we will win, God is faithful to enlarge our hearts and give us perseverance.

David used the phrase “revive me” ten times in Psalm 119 alone. It then appears over thirty times throughout the remainder of the Psalms.

Along with the meaning of this phrase, there is also a particular means—or method—through which God revives us. David also communicated several reasons—or purposes—for God’s revival. First, let’s explore the means, then we will look at some reasons. Finally, we will finish up by tying it all together, verse-by-verse.

When we run the race in such a way that we will win, God is faithful to enlarge our hearts and give us perseverance. #whatisrevival? Click To Tweet

Means of Revival

The most common (and arguably only) instrument God uses for our revival is His word. This truth is communicated repeatedly, although often synonymously throughout the Psalms. For example:

“…revive me in Your ways.” – Psalms 119:37

“Revive me through Your righteousness.” – Psalms 119:40

“I will never forget Your precepts, For by them You have revived me.” – Psalms 119:93

“Revive me, O LORD, according to Your word.” – Psalms 119:107, 154

“Revive me, O LORD, according to Your ordinances.” – Psalms 119:149, 156

The fact that revival comes via God’s word shouldn’t take any of us by surprise. After all, Hebrews 11:3 (ESV) says, “By faith, we understand that the universe was created by the word of God…” In other words (no pun intended), if God created life by the word of His mouth, then it should easily follow that He would revive that very same life by His word.

The most common (and arguably only) instrument God uses for our revival is His word. #revival Click To Tweet

Reasons for Revival

So the means (way) by which God revives us is clear—his word. But what about the reasons for this revival? We could spend hours speculating on why God revives people, or we could just read what the text says.

Psalm 80:18 and 85:6 reveal that revival results in sustained repentance, a calling upon God’s name, and rejoicing. (By the way, these Psalms were written by Asaph and Korah. Why does this matter? Well, it shows us that David wasn’t just making up the whys and hows of revival.)  Let’s hear what Asaph and Korah said:

“Then we shall not turn back from You; Revive us, and we will call upon Your name.” – Psalms 80:18 NASB

Notice two things here: first, we call upon God’s name as a result of revival. That means that we run to King Jesus in times of need instead of to all of the other supposed helpers in our world. The second thing to note is a slightly backward way of saying ‘sustained repentance.’ Repentance is the turning away from our way to God’s way, and what the Psalmist went on to say is that revival produces in him the desire and ability not to turn back from God.

“Will You not Yourself revive us again, That Your people may rejoice in You?” – Psalms 85:6 NASB

Revival produces rejoicing. I think we’ve all seen this in new believers. There seems to be a heightened enthusiasm or excitement because, in their conversion, their revival, they are genuinely celebratory. This is why I believe the story of The Prodigal Son ends with a party. The natural outflow of a son being brought from death to life is praise. The natural outflow of revival should be the same.

Also, in Psalm 80:19, with similar language, Asaph sang, “O LORD God of hosts, restore us; Cause Your face to shine upon us, and we will be saved.” So now, we even see salvation. The reasons for revival abound.

In Psalm 119:88, David wrote, “Revive me according to Your lovingkindness, so that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth.” Right here, we see that the reason God revives us is his own lovingkindness. “Revive me according to…” not unto.

The reason for God choosing revival is because of God’s character. Because of his lovingkindness. He lavishes revival on us because he chose to do it, not based on us but based on his own character. (see Ephesians 1:7-9).

We see this clearly in Psalm 143:11, where the verse communicates both the reason God revives, and the means by which he does it. “For the sake of Your name (reason), O LORD, revive me. In Your righteousness (means), bring my soul out of trouble.”

Even if we wanted to view righteousness here as the nature of God, it would still prove the point. The whole of God’s word tells us that he who knew no sin became sin on our behalf so that we might become the righteousness of God. Put it all together, how did we become revived, how did we become the righteousness of God? Via the word made flesh, Jesus Christ.

The reason for God choosing revival is because of God’s character. Because of his lovingkindness. He lavishes revival on us because he chose to do it, not based on us but based on his own character. Click To Tweet

Let’s Talk

In the next post, we’ll touch on the glory of God and finish investigating God’s motivations for revival. Until then, I’d love to hear how God used his word to bring revival into your life. Comment below or email me at nathan@nathanfranckhauser.com.

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