It’s easy to avoid the world when your family is safely gathered together at home for work, play and school. But should we as Christians stand by and watch America destroy herself? Will God ever grant revival to the visible church? What saith the Scripture? In my study and teaching through the kings of ancient Israel, I’ve come across some important truths that families can discuss and share with others.
The book of II Chronicles is a divine call to revival for individuals, families, churches and nations. In chapter 7, verses 13-14 you find the theme and outline of the book: If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray , and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. As you read through the book of 2 Chronicles, you notice that over the entire nearly 400 years of the existence of the southern kingdom of Judah, there were five major revivals. And each revival, wrought by God’s sovereign hand of grace upon the people of the nation, exhibited one or more of the elements for true Holy-Spirit-produced revival as outlined in verse 14: humility for sin, earnest prayer, whole-hearted seeking the Lord, and repentance and turning back to the Lord. It is upon these divinely-ordained requirements that we must come to God in prayer for revival. Only then will He hear from heaven, forgive our sin and heal our land.
But what do we do while we wait for God to cause His face to shine upon us? II Timothy 3:1-4:8 gives us the answer. First, we should not be surprised that perilous, difficult times will come; God has forewarned us. Second, we must abide in the sound doctrine of Scripture, God’s holy and inspired word, the Bible, that is in its entirety also profitable for doctrine [teaching], for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that we might be fully equipped to obediently serve the Lord (II Tim. 3:14-17). Third, we must find strength and grace through the word of Christ and His Holy Spirit. Then we must stand out as diligent and faithful in whatever ministry God gives us (II Tim. 2:15-16), both personally and publicly, in the home and in the workplace and community. Likewise, we must stand up for the truth of God in all areas of life (II Tim. 4:2), as we eagerly look for Christ’s return (II Tim. 4:1-8).
Upon this foundation then, we must trust and rest in the Sovereignty of God. Trust in God’s Sovereignty to work all things together for good for His glory and your blessing. As you read through II Chronicles chapters 21-28, you can see time and again that God is not taken by surprise nor perplexed by any events or circumstances. Psalm 139:1-4 tells us, O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. In Ephesians 1:11 we are told that we have been predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will. Our God is the Sovereign Lord of all the Universe, who rules and overrules over all times and events both great and small. Man’s kingdoms are weak and unstable; apostate and anti-Christian tyrants are under God’s control, who works out His redemptive purposes throughout history.
The Bible shows us that God is always at work accomplishing His sovereign will & eternal purposes – even if there is no sweeping revival – even if there is increasing apostasy and severe judgment upon the nation. Jesus Christ is always building His church, sometimes by purifying it (which causes the visible church to shrink) and sometimes by enlarging it through revival. But in God’s gracious providence, there will be seasons of respite from evil; the ebb and flow of apostasy vs. righteousness will always bring glory to God alone, as He works out His redemptive purpose saving a people for His names’s sake. The triumphant kingdom of Jesus Christ shall rule over all the kingdoms of man and fill the whole earth! Neither the devil or his minions, nor anti-Christ and his hoards shall ultimately be victorious, but Jesus Christ alone!
We can also take comfort that there is always a righteous remnant, who exist as a testimony to God’s faithfulness and power. Even though persecuted and/or hidden from public view, there is always a faithful remnant and there will always be faithful preachers proclaiming God’s word and salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone
Yet we also learn from various passages throughout Scripture, but especially in the book of II Chronicles, God will judge/chastise the visible church and all nations for apostasy & evil
In Ex. 20:5-6 God declares, for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments; and Psalm 9:17 announces, The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.
Therefore, the church should look to the Lord alone for strength; not to political or even spiritual leaders (cf. Psalm 118:8-9 – It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.)
Because even good men still have feet of clay and are prone to error and to leave the right path of faithfully serving the Lord, we must ever look to Christ and His Word!
Today is the day to live for Christ, His Word and His gospel. God’s Spirit and power is always available to God’s people to do right and live as conquerors through Jesus Christ. The Bible is always completely sufficient to show us how to live for Christ, That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world (Phil. 2:15); We must learn how to be obedient to Scripture and maintain the centrality of the Person and Work of Jesus Christ in every area of life (worship, music and the arts, food and health, family relationships, government, education, money and material possessions, etc.) both personally, in the family context, and in business, the community and nation – all to the glory of God alone!
We can be assured that God will revive His people and their nation when they turn back to Him. II Chron. 7:14 is God’s solemn and holy promise: If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray , and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
”One of the most powerful influences on the spiritual [and cultural] history of Britain and America was the general Puritan emphasis upon the kingdom of Christ advancing through revivals. . .A most important part of the heritage which [the Puritans] left to posterity…was that the kingdom of Christ would spread and triumph through the powerful operations of the Holy Spirit poured out upon the Church in revivals. . .They rejected altogether a naturalistic view of inevitable progress in history… but asserted that the sovereign purpose of God in the gospel, as indicated by the promises of Scripture yet unfulfilled, points to the sure hope of great outpourings of the Spirit in the future.” (Ian Murray, The Puritan Hope, pp. 51-52)
Therefore, let us pray for revival – first in our own hearts, then in our family and in our church, and then across the nation. May God be pleased, by His Spirit, to send a sweeping revival to America, and then to all the nations of the world, in response to the humble prayers of His people who seek His face and turn from their wicked ways.