Revivals in History 4

Amos 8:11 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord GOD, “When I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, But rather for hearing the words of the LORD. 12 “People will stagger from sea to sea And from the north even to the east; They will go to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, But they will not find it.

Acworth N.H.
Nothing has appeared like a revival in this town until 1814…At the first communion after his consecration, sixteen offered themselves to the church. Immediately after this, instances of individual conviction made their appearance in different parts of the society and one and another were made to rejoice in God. A solemn and strict attention was paid to the word preached, and the good work progressed gradually until Sept 1816. In which time about sixty were added to the church. Every seat in the house of God was filled, not with drowsy inattentive hearers, but with awakened immortals, hanging on the lips of the speaker with almost breathless attention; looking, as if their everlasting all depended on the proper improvement of a single sermon…[speaking of the school there] They began to discover a greater relish of the scriptures. In searching for the answers to their questions, they felt an increasing desire to know more of the lively oracles of divine truth. Every vacant moment when relieved from their other school exercises, the bible was taken up.

Brian Edwards defined or described revival as a people saturated with God. Whether or not one agrees with that description or whether or not one agrees that revival is something to be sought, that is descriptive of what happened in several different nations and many churches in those nations in times past. A true revival has not been reported (at least to my hearing) since around the early 1900’s. Some say that there has not been a true revival in the United States since the time of the Civil War. If Brian Edwards’ definition or description is correct, then God has not come down and saturated His people with Himself since the Civil War.

There are reasons why God does not come down and fill His people with Himself. On the one hand people say it is because we do not pray enough and we don’t do enough evangelism and on and on, but that would mean that God comes down on certain conditions if His people will meet them. I would argue that we have fallen into that type of thinking a long time ago and it continues until the modern day. We should seek the Lord to give us hearts to truly pray and seek Him to come down and manifest His glory. We should plead with the Lord to change our hearts and give us humbled and broken hearts that we may pray for His kingdom and glory as our greatest desires. We have to learn to pray from the heart for His name’s sake.

We want revival as a way of excitement, a way of church growth, or perhaps as a secret hope that we will be distinguished by God among ministers or people. But our hearts must learn to seek His presence for the sake of His name and be content with Him to do according to His good pleasure and for Him to distinguish those whom He pleases if He pleases. He alone deserves to be distinguished in a true revival and those who seek to be distinguished are thieves of His glory and are idolaters. Revival is when God manifests Himself to His people and in His people. It is when people are taken away from themselves by His power and by His free-grace they are caught up with Him and His glory.

In times when people are seeking the Lord and not themselves they study Scripture looking for Him and His glory and looking for Him to show them these things by free-grace. God does not show Himself to His people because they study the Bible as if He responded to their works, but He shows Himself to those that seek Him for humbled and broken hearts and seek Him as they study the Bible. God does not show Himself to people because they pray, but because they seek Him during prayer for hearts to know Him and for Himself to manifest Himself for His own glory. During times of revival people are delivered from dutiful study, prayer, and attending church and they all become means of seeking Him and for Him to glorify Himself to them and in them and through them. While no one can prepare his or her heart to seek the Lord, one should use the means and seek the Lord to prepare his or her heart. It is His work to teach the heart and we cannot do that. How joyful are the people when the Lord opens their eyes to see and their ears to hear something of His presence and glory!

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