The sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret.
–2 Corinthians 7:10
What is revival? It is when the Spirit of God using the Word of God motivates the people of God to do what? To obey the will of God. That is the third ingredient for revival: there must be a response to the Spirit of God. We see that in Nehemiah 8. When the Israelites heard the Word of God, they were moved by genuine emotion. Verse 9 says, “All the people were weeping when they heard the words of the law.” What is it that caused them to weep? If you have drifted away from God and you start hearing the Word of God, do not be surprised if there is genuine grief when you suddenly realize how far you have fallen short of God’s plan for your life. In 2 Corinthians 7:10, Paul said, “The sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret . . . but the sorrow of the world produces death.” There is a kind of grief that is not good. It causes you to live with regrets about your past, thinking, “How could God ever use me?” If grief causes you to be paralyzed, that is not from God. That is from Satan. God wants us to be awakened to our sin so that we can be delivered from our sin. A true, godly sorrow leads to repentance. So what did Nehemiah and Ezra say to the people? “Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). They were saying, “Do not be sorrowful forever about your sin. Today is a day for great rejoicing, because the fact that you are aware of your sin means that the Holy Spirit of God is working in your life.”
That leads to the second response of the people, and that is unconditional devotion to the will of God. Look at verse 14: “They found written in the law how the Lord had commanded through Moses that the sons of Israel were to live in booths during the feast of the seventh month.” Once a year, the Israelites were supposed to leave their homes and go and live in huts for seven days. The reason God commanded them to do this was so they could remember God’s faithfulness during their forty years of wilderness wanderings. It might be that you need a fresh reminder of God’s faithfulness. Maybe you have experienced a layoff at work. Maybe you are going through financial upheaval. Maybe there is a medical crisis affecting you or your family member. There is something about reflecting back on ways God has cared for you that will give you courage for the present situation. God understood that, so He said, “Once a year I want you to live in these booths and remember what I did for you back then. I will be faithful to you now as I was then.” The people realized they had not been keeping this command. So what did they do? “The entire assembly of those who had returned from the captivity made booths and lived in them. . . . And there was great rejoicing” (v. 17). The greatest lie of Satan is this: obedience to God leads to misery. Satan would love you to think of God as some cosmic killjoy who wants nothing more than to stamp out any happiness you have in your life. That is a lie of the enemy. The Bible says obedience to God leads to happiness, exhilaration, and joy you could never experience any other way. The Israelites obeyed the will of God, and there was great rejoicing. That is revival.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Recipe For Revival” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2010.
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