Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
In Nehemiah 8, we find a recipe for spiritual revival. First of all, revival always begins with our recognition of our need for God. Here is a principle to remember: God only satisfies those who are truly hungry. Jesus said in Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” Only when you realize it is not another relationship that you need, it is not more money, it is not a different career, it is not a nicer mate, but it is God who is your ultimate need–only then are you going to have spiritual revival in your life.
That was true for the Israelites in Nehemiah’s day. One reason they experienced this great revival is they recognized their need for God. In Nehemiah 7, they had finished the work on the wall and gone back home to their cities. Then Nehemiah issued a call for them to return back to the wall. Look at the first verse of chapter 8: “And all the people gathered as one man at the square which was in front of the Water Gate, and they asked Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses which the Lord had given to Israel.” The people had gone back home for some R and R, but Nehemiah said, “Now that you have rested, it is time to come back for this great revival service, so that we can become the people God wants us to be.” So they gathered together out of hunger to hear the Word of God. The people had spent seventy years in Babylon, seventy years with no temple worship, seventy years without a word from God, seventy years in a godless culture. That had caused them to be spiritually hungry.
Back during the Vietnam war, there was an air force pilot named Howard Rutledge who was shot down over North Korea. He was taken captive and held in what we know as Heartbreak Hotel, or the Hanoi Hilton, in North Vietnam. Years later, he wrote a book about that experience in solitary confinement called “In The Presence Of Mine Enemies.” Here is how he described the spiritual hunger in his heart during that time in prison: “Now the sights and sounds and smells of death were all around me. My hunger for spiritual food soon outdid my hunger for steak. Now I wanted to know about that part of me that will never die. Now I wanted to talk about God and Christ and the church. But in Heartbreak solitary confinement there was no pastor, no Sunday school teacher, no Bible, no hymnbook, no community of believers to guide and sustain me.” I am sure the Israelites felt that same way, so when they received the invitation from Nehemiah to come back to the wall and to hear the Word of God, thousands flocked to the Water Gate. Verse 2 says, “Then Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly of men, women and all who could listen with understanding.” They were hungry to hear the Word of God. No revival will begin in your life until you first of all recognize your hunger for God.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Recipe For Revival” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2010.
Howard Rutledge and Phyllis Rutledge, “In The Presence Of Mine Enemies” (Old Tappan, NJ: Revell, 1973), 34.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org