Restore to me the joy of Your salvation.
Every time there is a building program in the Bible, it is always accompanied by a great spiritual revival. When Christians pray for a revival, exactly what are we praying for? If you have spent any time in a Baptist church, you might think about a series of meetings during which a church invites an evangelist to come in and reach unbelievers with the gospel. Of course, you have all kind of gimmicks to get unbelievers to come out to the revival service. On children’s nights, you give an iPad to the kid who brings the most guests with him. Then on youth nights, you bring a Christian band, and on adult nights, you give every Sunday school class a pew to fill. That is what we think of when we think of revival. But in the Bible, revivals were not aimed at unbelievers; they were aimed at believers. Think about it: you cannot revive something that is spiritually dead. People without Christ do not need resuscitation–they need resurrection. Revival is for God’s people. Anytime you have a revival in the Bible, it occurred when people who were believers become lethargic in their walk with God, and God awakened them. Here is a good definition of revival: revival occurs when the Spirit of God using the Word of God motivates the people of God to obey the will of God.
Do you want a revival in your life? Do you want to regain that excitement you once had in your relationship with God? If so, Nehemiah 8 is for you. We see a shift of emphasis at this point in the book of Nehemiah. The focus of the first seven chapters is on the material needs of the city, but beginning in chapter 8, the focus is on the spiritual needs of the people. The action in the first seven chapters is the construction of the wall, but the second half of the book deals with the instruction of the people. And finally, the main character in the first seven chapters is Nehemiah, but when we come to chapter 8, the main character is Ezra.
God used three specific men in the return back to Jerusalem. The first guy was Zerubbabel. He came with the first group in 516 BC to rebuild the temple. Then in 458 BC the second man came back. That was Ezra, who was a religious leader. His job was to reinstitute the worship that was to occur in the temple. Unfortunately, he was not very successful in doing that. Fourteen years later, Nehemiah came back with the third group of people. His job was to rebuild the wall, and he did so in just fifty-two days. But that was not Nehemiah’s ultimate purpose. More than just building a wall, God wanted to build a community of devoted believers who would be His representatives in the culture. That is what Nehemiah’s ultimate purpose was. And just as God wanted to renew a group of His followers in Jerusalem, God wants to do that same kind of renewal work in our hearts as well. If you long for a renewal of your relationship with God, if you want that vibrancy restored to your relationship with your Creator, Nehemiah 8 has three ingredients for a true spiritual 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