Revival – Part 2

In the last post, we dove into the topic of revival. What is it? How does it come? Through our study, we saw that revival brings sustained repentance, a calling upon God’s name, rejoicing, salvation, the lovingkindness of God, and also the very glory of God. All of these are reasons for God to revive us. Let’s talk a little bit more about God’s glory.

The Glory of God & Revival

With respect to the glory of God, I want to highlight something significant. Some in the Church today seem to imply that all that matters to God is His own glory; people are minimized. Meanwhile, others overcorrect, believing that people are the only thing that matters, and God and His glory get minimized. The truth is, it’s a both/and situation. God reviving us for His glory is like a father who, for his own reputation AND for the one in need, stops at nothing to restore a wayward child.

In Romans 2:24, Paul pointed out that the name of God is “blasphemed among the Gentiles” because of the hypocrisy of God’s people. It’s clearly a concern. This idea, taken from Isaiah and Ezekiel, is intended to call God’s people back to faithful obedience (clearly a concern for them). God’s revival has always been two-fold. It is for our good and also for the sake of his own glory.

Scripture is clear, God wants our good deeds to shine out, He wants people to know us by our fruit, but He also wants people to know that all of this is possible because He remains faithful even when we do not.

God reviving us for His glory is like a father who, for his own reputation AND for the one in need, stops at nothing to restore a wayward child. Click To Tweet

God’s Motivation for Revival

We touched in-depth on different motivations through the last post. If you haven’t read it, check it out here. I’d like to hit one last thought on the matter and then we’ll head into our main text verse-by-verse.

Isaiah records a breathtaking word from God in chapter 57. The text reads, “For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, “I dwell (or live) on a high and holy place, And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit In order to revive the spirit of the lowly And to revive the heart of the contrite.” – ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭57:15‬ ‭NASB‬‬

God, Himself declared that He lives to revive those who humble themselves. As evidenced through the Book of Jonah, God surely is “gracious and compassionate,” “slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity.” (Jonah‬ ‭4:2‬)

So why am I bringing all of this up now before our verse-by-verse? Because I want you to see that the reason David was a “man after God’s heart” was because he was actually after God’s heart, not his own. The way we become a people after God’s heart is by looking to His means (the word) and living for His reasons. 

There’s nothing wrong with desiring good things in this life. BUT the good things we should be looking for are found in King Jesus and His ways. They are never found within us or in our own ways. 

This should broaden and deepen our understanding of humility. As true humility does not look inside self for answers or worth. True humility acknowledges the fact that it all comes from God alone.

True humility does not look inside self for answers or worth. True humility acknowledges the fact that it all comes from God alone. Click To Tweet

Verse by Verse

“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.” – Psalms‬ ‭119:25-26‬ ‭NASB‬‬

In most Arabic-English lexicons, the idea of cleaving to the dust is understood as poverty or neediness. In some cases, this is accurate (see Psalm 44:25-26). But as we recently learned, words and phrases have an intended meaning per their author. And in Psalm 119, the idea of cleaving or clinging to the dust is intimately connected with repentance. This is also seen in the ancient Eastern practice of putting on sackcloth and ashes (Esther 4:1-3; Jonah 3:5-7). 

David, here, is in a state of repentance. Repentance, as we very well know, is turning away from man’s way and turning back or to God’s way. This does begin with remorse but it always ends in action. This is true revival. 

In verse 25, David said he was cleaving or clinging to dust. In verse 31 (which comes after the grace of God in verse 29), David was now clinging to God’s testimonies. David had turned. His remorse had sparked action.

Verse 26 confirms this repentance idea, as the wording indicates confession. David, cleaving to the dust, confesses (tells of) his ways. God’s answer to David— whatever it was—caused him to seek understanding. 

The language in verse 26 jumped off the page at me when I read it. It’s incredibly similar to another conversation in Scripture—the dialogue between God and Job, which can be found in Job 38:1-3.

“Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Now gird up your loins like a man, and I will ask you, and you instruct Me!”‬‬

In Psalm 119:26, David revealed that he had also told God of his ways (very much “words without knowledge,” I’m sure. Otherwise David might have kept them in the Psalm.). The difference between these two accounts is that we don’t know how God answered David. What we do know is that David responds the same “teach me your statutes.” David, like Job, surrenders. This is the kind of person we ought to be. Here’s how Job’s encounter ended after God set him straight:

“Then Job answered the LORD and said, “Behold, I am insignificant; what can I reply to You? I lay my hand on my mouth. Once I have spoken, and I will not answer; Even twice, and I will add nothing more.” – Job‬ ‭40:3-5‬ ‭NASB‬‬

And again,

“Then Job answered the LORD and said, “I know that You can do all things And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. (You asked) ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. ‘Hear, now, and I will speak; I will ask You, and You instruct me.’” – Job‬ ‭42:1-4‬ ‭NASB‬‬

David, like Job, required revival, which led him to repentance. True revival includes life, hope, and the source of understanding. In the next and final post, we see what understanding results in.

Let’s Talk

Has there been a time in your life when you “told” God of your ways? Would you like to share how that turned out? Comment below or email me at nathan@nathanfranckhauser.com.

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