Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Revival Call

My personal devotions have been spent in the book of Joel for the last few days. The theme of Joel is revival. Revival to the nation of Israel. Joel opens his book by lamenting Israels plight. A nation that has lost sight of and touch with its God, ground that is no longer fruitful, crops destroyed by locust swarms, people enjoying the lives of sin with no regard for closeness with God.

Joel begins to call his people back to their God, with this admonition,

Blow the trumpet in Zion, And sound an alarm in My holy mountain! (Joel 2:1)
It is important to pause here and look at the significance of the "trumpet". The horn referred to here was most likely the rams horn or shofar. In Hebrew culture the shofar was blown only on certain occasions:
  • to summon warriors to battle, and signal the beginning of an attack.
  • to summon worshippers to Jerusalem.
  • blown by watchmen to indicate important news (of celebration, or disaster)
  • on holy occasions (Day of Atonement, return of the Ark, renewal of the covenant, temple worship)

Joel was calling Israel to revival! He was calling them to a spiritual attack, signaling the beginning of a spiritual battle to take back the hearts and minds of the Israelites, and return them to the things of God. He was calling the people to put aside their sinful ways and return to their worship of God, that they once couldn't escape from. Joel was warning of the disaster of life without God.

Joel does not just give warning, he also proclaims the battle plan,

"Now, therefore," says the LORD, "Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning." (Joel 2:12)

Perhaps Joel's call to the Israelites, also serves as a call to Revival for us today. As "Christians" become more and more casual in their relationship with God, happy to come and go to church, without ever experiencing the face and power of God, happy to return home to a life void of devotion to Him, perhaps this is the call that God wants us to heed. The call to revival!

Joel's strategy for battle for the Israelites, is our strategy for revival today. "Turn to Me with all your heart", we have to actively turn our hearts to Him. We need to step away from the distractions, and the things that pull us from His presence, and make a concentrated effort to turn all our heart to Him.

As committed and captive Christians God is calling us to battle. To battle the things of this world, the distractions that draw us away from God, the lack of a "need" to worship, God is calling us to fight for our souls, and the souls of those around us. He is calling us to fight for Revival!

Revival of our hearts will require fasting, weeping, mourning. It will require fervent, dedicated, and focused prayer. It will require weeping, mourning, remorse, and regret over the condition of ours and others souls. It will require a desire to be close to God!

What is it in your life that you need to battle? What actions do you need to take to draw close to the heart of God? What distractions do you need to step away from, so you can see Him more clearly?

In conclusion I would like to close with this story of the Boston Tea Party:

After the Boston Tea Party, the British navy retaliated by blockading the port of Boston. The colonies surrounding Massachusetts responded with sympathy and action. On May 24, 1773, the House of Burgesses in Virginia proposed and approved a Day of Fasting, Humiliation, and Prayer:

This House, being deeply impressed with apprehension of the great dangers to be derived to British America from the hostile invasion of the city of Boston in our Sister Colony of Massachusetts Bay, whose commerce and harbor are, on the first day of June next, to be stopped by an armed force, deem it highly necessary that the said first day of June be set apart, by the members of this House, as a Day of Fasting, Humiliation, and Prayer, devoutly to implore the Divine interposition, for averting the heavy calamity which threatens destruction to our civil rights and the evils of civil war; to give us one heart and mind firmly opposed, by all just and proper means, every injury to American rights; and that the minds of his Majesty and his Parliament, may be inspired from above with wisdom, moderation, and justice, to remove from the loyal people of America all cause of danger from a continued pursuit of measures pregnant with their ruin. (from The American Patriot's Bible)

No comments: