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 Hezekiah's revival


The Glorious Revival under King Hezekiah
Wilbur M. Smith
(Published 1937)


AN ANCIENT REVIVAL AND ITS LESSONS FOR OUR MODERN WORLD TODAY

THE LONGING FOR REVIVAL
Not for years has there been such a consciousness of the need for a real revival in our country as at the present time. Our religious papers are talking about it, ministers are speaking of it from their pulpits, young people at Bible Conferences are encouraged to pray and labor for a great advance in the Church of Christ. Even our secular papers, now and then, give expression to a longing to see a great renewal of religious life in our land, e. g., the Wall Street Journal, which, a few weeks ago, in an editorial, said: “What America needs more than railway extension, Western irrigation, a low tariff, a bigger cotton crop, and a larger wheat crop is a revival of religion, the kind that our fathers and mothers used to have, a religion that counted it good business to take time for family worship each morning right in the middle of the wheat harvest, a religion that made men quit work a half hour earlier on Wednesday so that the whole family could get ready to go to Prayer Meeting.”

THE NEED FOR A REVIVAL
That our nation needs such a revival everyone who believes in a living God, who acknowledges there is such a thing as sin and a judgment for sin, will admit without any argument. The rising tide of crime in our country, the spread of Communism, the enrollment of thousands of our young people in the ranks of atheism, the godlessness of many of our universities, the subtle and powerful influence of modernism in our theological seminaries, the un-morality and immorality of our contemporary literature, the declining influence of the Church, the very noticeable decline in Church attendance, the war clouds that hang over the world, and all the vast problems that confront the whole world so persistently today (which no man and no nation seem able to solve), all testify to the preeminent need of a return to God, confession of sin, and the acceptance of Jesus Christ as Saviour. In any great national way this can only take place by the outpouring of the power of the Holy Spirit upon our nation, resulting in a true and deep revival, first in the Church of Christ, and then, kindled by the Church, in the hearts of the millions of unbelievers who live in our land today.

SEVEN GREAT OLD TESTAMENT REVIVALS
These things being true, there is hardly a study that could be more profitable, more interesting, and more important, just at this time, than a careful consideration of the great revivals in the Word of God. There are, we believe, seven outstanding revivals recorded in the Old Testament, in addition to the great revival at Nineveh during the time of Jonah, about which we have almost no details. The seven outstanding revivals in the Old Testament are as follows: the one which occurred in the household of Jacob (Gen. 35:1-15); the one that occurred under Asa, king of Judah (II Chron. 15:1-15); the one that occurred under Jehoash, also king of Judah (II Kings 11,12; II Chron. 23,24); the revival under king Hezekiah (II Kings 18:4-7; II Chron. 29.31); the revival under king Josiah (II Kings 22, 23; II Chron. 34, 35); and the two revivals after the Exile, the one under Zerubbabel, in which the prophets Haggai and Zechariah played such a prominent part and the revival in the days of Nehemiah, in which Ezra was the outstanding figure (Neh. 8:9; 12:44-47).
There was also, apparently, a real revival under Jehoshaphat (II Chron. 17 :6-9), but details are not given, and we have not counted it as one of the major revivals of the Old Testament.

THE NINE OUTSTANDING CHARACTERISTICS OF EACH REVIVAL
If one will make a careful chart of these seven revivals, he will discover that they have the following nine characteristics:
they occurred in a time of deep moral darkness and national depression;
they began in the heart of one consecrated servant of God, who became the energizing power behind the revival, the agent used of God to quicken and lead the nation back to faith in and obedience to God;
each revival rested upon the Word of God, and most of the revivals were the result of a return to the Word of God and of preaching and of proclaiming the law of God with power;
all of the revivals were marked by a return to the worship of Jehovah;
each revival witnessed a destruction of idols (except the last two, which occurred after the Exile, when no idols were to be found in Judah);
in each revival there was a separation from sin (there is one single exception and that is in the revival under Asa, where, though we believe there was such a separation from sin, the brief account of the revival does not record it);
in every revival there was a return to the offering of blood sacrifices;
almost all of the revivals resulted in an experience of exuberant joy and gladness among the people of God (the only two revivals where such joy is not recorded, though it easily may have been manifested, are those in the house of Jacob, and during the reign of Josiah);
finally each revival is followed by a period of great prosperity.

In this study we will confine ourselves to a consideration of the great revival that occurred during the reign of King Hezekiah, which is recorded briefly for us by the author of the Second Book of Kings (18: 4-7), and, in much more detail, by the writer of the Second Book of Chronicles (chapters 29-31).


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 Re: Hezekiah's revival


1. JUDAH’S HOUR OF DARKNESS
During the sixteen years of the reign of King Ahaz over Judah, a record of which will be found in II Kings 16, and II Chronicles 28, we find Judah sinking into deeper and deeper idolatry and iniquity. In the first place, we are told that the king “made also molten images for Baalam,” and this means that there was brought into Judah not only a form of idolatrous worship, but a system of worship which was marked by licentiousness and unspeakable sensuality. Professor Keil says that Baal was “a sun god, and, as such, the vehicle and source of physical life, and of the generative and productive powers of nature.” Consequently, Baal worship degenerated into orgies of sensuality, and was always fatal to the morals of those people who participated in these wicked rites. Baal was the male god of which worship Astarte was the female goddess, and every student knows the meaning of Astarte worship.

While, in our natural life today, we do not have actual altars and images dedicated to such a pagan deity, such as the Israelites had in the times of Hezekiah, nevertheless we do bow down and worship those things for which Baal stood. Most of our theatres and movies today are nothing else but temples for the adoration of sensuality; our night clubs, many of our summer resorts, are catered to by multitudes, who, though they would be surprised if they were so charged, are actually offering the worship of their hearts to impurity and evil of various kinds.

Some of our most widely-heralded books today, which have attained enormous sales, and which contain scores of pages of lascivious conversations and foul descriptions of fleshly wickedness, testify, in the very fact that they have sold into hundreds of thousands of copies, that our country today is worshipping at the same altar of fleshliness, guilty of violating the most sacred things of life.
In fact, are we not even more wickedly guilty of these things than the Israelites in the days of Hezekiah, for no doubt many in Israel, in their ignorance, were led to worship Baal only because they were under the influence of the king, and the officers of his court, and followed blindly where the supposed leaders of their nation led them, whereas in our country, though we would be ashamed to set up an altar to a dead idol, before which we would worship or lead others to worship, yet, in the depth of our hearts, even with many who may be found on the Lord’s Day in the house of God, there is an offering of life, thought, money, and character to the god of sensuality?

Furthermore, we read that Ahaz “burnt incense in the valley of the son of Hinnom, and burnt his children in the fire, after the abominations of the heathen whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel” (28:3). No less an authority than Professor A. H. Sayce tells us that: “On the one hand, Baal (was supposed to) give light and warmth to his worshippers; on the other hand, the fierce heats of summer destroyed the vegetation he had himself brought into being, hence human victims were sacrificed to him in order to appease his anger in time of plague or other trouble, the victims being usually the firstborn of the sacrificer and being burnt alive.”

Now it is true we also today are not burning our children alive in any actual furnace of fire, but is not our civilization becoming increasingly marked by a terrible spirit if inhumanity and brutality, such as characterized these Baal worshippers? John Gunther, e.g., in one of the most discussed books of recent years, Inside Europe, tells us that: “There is an inhumanity about the inner circle of the Nazi party that is scarcely credible.”
When we think of the thousands of political prisoners that have been brutally beaten and maimed for life in the concentration camps of Germany; of the hundreds of thousands of Russians, innocent citizens, sent off to work in the forests of Russia, there to suffer unspeakable hardships, finally dropping in their tracks from starvation and cold; when we remember the terrific punishment meted out to those in Italy who opposed the rise of Mussolini and his black shirts, and when we think today of great multitudes in our own country who are treated with unnecessary harshness by unsympathetic labor-bosses and sweatshop-owners, we realize anew that to forsake the living and true God for the worship of any false deity, leads inevitably, not to the liberation of the human race from its sorrow and suffering, but to a tightening of those chains from which humanity attempts to escape. A godless nation is always a cruel nation.


In the nineteenth verse of this same chapter, our Revised Version tells us that Ahaz “made Judah naked,” but, in the margin of the Revised Version, there is a remarkable variation in translating the original Hebrew clause, when we are told that Ahaz “cast away all restraint.”

Can one think of any single phrase of four words which would more perfectly describe our modern civilization than these? It seems as though economically, socially, domestically, in the home, in business, in the nation, throughout the world, men have thrown aside all restraint, and live, and act, and think, and plan, as though there were no universal law of recompense, as though men would never be punished for breaking the law of God, as though the future would take care of itself, and as though we should live only for the immediate present.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/7/12 12:41Profile









 Re:

In the nineteenth verse of this same chapter, our Revised Version tells us that Ahaz “made Judah naked,” but, in the margin of the Revised Version, there is a remarkable variation in translating the original Hebrew clause, when we are told that Ahaz “cast away all restraint.”

This is the best definition of our present situation that I ever have come across.
Repentance of the most profound kind is certainly needed.
A priestly ministry is called for.
Hanna

 2004/7/12 13:24
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 Re: Hezekiah's revival



THE DISASTER THAT FOLLOWS FORSAKING GOD
In II Chron. 28:5, we have a sentence beginning with the significant word “wherefore.” Reading the preceding sentence, and the lines that follow, this is the sequence of thought: “He sacrificed and burnt incense. . . Wherefore the Lord his God delivered him into the hand of the king of Syria. . . And he was also delivered into the hand of the king of Israel.” We read that in one day Pekah slew one hundred twenty thousand people in Judah, “because they had forsaken the Lord God of their fathers,” and the Israelites “carried away captive of their brethren two hundred thousand, women, sons, and daughters, and took also away much spoil from them.”
We read further that the Edomites and the Philistines came into Judah and took away more captives, so that Hezekiah, in the first year of his reign, reminded the people of Judah: “Lo, our fathers have fallen by the sword, and our sons, and our daughters, and our wives are in captivity for this” (29:9).

Had Judah been faithful to hear God, who in His omnipotence had promised to fight her battles, if she had remained obedient to His laws, she would never have come into the position of prostrate weakness in which we find her, helpless before one invasion after another.
Now Ahaz was not content to see his nation stripped of people and wealth without some attempt to resist his invaders, so he sent to the king of Assyria, Tilgath-pilneser, to help him, but, instead of strengthening him, we read “that he strengthened him not, but distressed him.” Indeed, he did more than weaken Judah. He really robbed the people he was supposed to help: King Ahaz himself “took away a portion out of the house of the Lord, and out of the house of the king and gave it to the king of Assyria!”
The king of Judah, in the line of divinely anointed kings, ruling over the people of God, never should have stooped to call upon a pagan, foreign king to strengthen him in the days of his weakness, for it was the Lord that weakened him, and the Lord could have strengthened him, if he had turned to Him for help.

Our own nation, however, within the last few years, entered into economic and commercial alliance with Russia, a nation which hates our God, blasphemes His Son, repudiates His Word, and prevents the preaching of His Gospel! We can be sure that our nation will never be permanently strengthened or enriched, by any such compromising alliance as this.
Ultimately the people whom we expect to help us, who are the enemies of the God of our nation, will weaken and then rob us. It is a sad day for America when, instead of turning our faces upward to God for help, we look across the water, and across most of the countries of Europe, to the godless communistic government of Russia for economic help!
We read in this same narrative that Ahaz “sacrificed unto the gods of Damascus which smote him: and he said, because the gods of the kings of Syria help them, therefore will I sacrifice to them, that they may help me. . . but they were the ruin of him, and of all Israel.”


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 Re: Hezekiah's revival



THE HOUSE OF THE LORD IS CLOSED
One cannot serve Baalam and the gods of Damascus and Syria without deliberately repudiating the worship of the God of Israel, and undertaking to prevent others worshipping the true and holy God. Consequently, we read that Ahaz not only promoted the worship of Baal throughout his kingdom, but he “gathered together the vessels of the house of God, and cut in pieces the vessels of the house of God, and shut up the doors of the house of the Lord.” As Hezekiah said later: “Also they have shut up the doors of the porch, and put out the lamps, and have not burned incense nor offered burnt-offerings in the holy place unto the God of Israel.”

Whether it intends to do so or not, modernism shuts the door of the house of God. Modernism has a withering, killing effect: when it comes in, the Gospel is no longer preached, and prevailing prayer is no longer heard, and the inevitable consequence is that, first the prayer meeting service goes, and then the Sunday evening service goes. Open the Saturday newspapers of any great city and see how increasingly many hundreds of churches in our country are today having just one service each week, in place of the three or four which they had a quarter of a century ago.
While Russia, by its legislation, is not only compelling the churches to close, and destroying their buildings, or turning them into museums of atheism, modernism, in our country, and an indifference to the things of the Lord Jesus is, without announcement, also shutting the doors of the temples of God. I know personally of a famous evangelistic singer in our country, who, one July evening in New York City, walked three miles, looking for a place of worship, and fund not one single Protestant Church open in the evening for divine service. A friend of mine from the state of Virginia told me only last week that his own Presbytery had appointed a committee to investigate and report on the question of church services, and that the committee had reported to the Presbytery a program whereby the public services for worship in the churches of the Presbytery could be drastically reduced, simply because people were not going to church.

SORROW AND BEWILDERMENT FALLS UPON A PEOPLE
Hezekiah himself, about to begin the great revival that changed the whole aspect of Judah’s life, pitifully described the condition into which his country had come when he said: “Our fathers have trespassed, and done that which was evil in the eyes of the Lord our God, and have forsaken him, and have turned away their faces from the habitation of the Lord, and turned their backs. . . Wherefore the wrath of the Lord was upon Judah and Jerusalem, and he hath delivered them to trouble, to astonishment, and to hissing, as ye see with your own eyes” (29:6, 9 - in the R. V. the phrase “to trouble” reads, more vividly, “to be tossed to and fro”).


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 Re: Hezekiah's revival



THE DARKEST BEFORE THE DAWN
One would think that such a condition as we have here seen prevailed in the days of Ahaz was hopeless, and yet, surprising as it may seem, every revival has begun in such a time of darkness and hopelessness as this.
We are all acquainted with the wretched condition which prevailed in England before the great revival under Wesley and Whitefield but perhaps all who read this are not quite so intimately acquainted with the conditions, let us say, that prevailed in Florence immediately before the coming of Savonarola in the last half f of the fifteenth century. James Burns, in his excellent book, Revivals, Their Laws and Leaders, informs us that at this time: “The ancient simplicity of life disappeared as wealth increased; culture took the place of piety, habits of life became more and more luxurious, dress more costly, entertainments more lavish, worldliness more pronounced. Along with this outward refinement there arose a decay of morals; the standard of rectitude began to oscillate; the sanctities of home began to be invaded; language, while becoming more polite, became charged with double meanings, and in the midst of elegant courtesies men looked for concealed impurities.
Beneath the outward polish, too, there began to grow, with startling rapidity, that cruelty which all men possess, and which only the fear of God imprisons; in the decay of faith these evil instincts, no longer chained, began to prowl about. Men could no longer be trusted; beneath the velvet tunic peeped the dagger, and in the sparkling cup men expected the deadly poison. Murder and incest, lust and cruelty, haunted alike the palaces of the great and the hovels of the poor. Italy was full of bravos and cut-throats, who, before they struck down their victims from behind in the quiet street, did not think it incongruous first to visit the cathedral, and, kneeling down, ask God’s protection.”

Dr. Warren A. Chandler, in his well-known book, Great Revivals and the Great Republic, speaking of the conditions which prevailed immediately before the revival of 1858 in our country, says: “Gold was discovered in California, railroads, telegraphs, and steamship lines multiplied. Harvests were plenteous and commerce was prosperous. Riches increased and multitudes set their hearts upon them. The nation was forgetting God, fighting the battles of greed, and fanning the fires of sectional animosity. Political strife grew more bitter and the great Civil War grew on apace.
In the midst of all its plenty and pride, the nation woke one morning to find that the dory was all a dream. While speculation was at fever heat, and when men were wild with a mania for money-making, there came a financial crash unprecedented in the nation’s history. In the twinkling of an eye, the riches of many took wings and flew away. Bankruptcies, failures, and defalcations were on every hand, and the hearts of men failed them for fear. It was the repetition of the old sad story of a people grown great by godliness, then gradually departing from the true God in the worship of mammon, and finally prostrated by its evil idolatry. And now that the wheels of industry stood still, and the noisy cries of greed were hushed, men stopped to hear the voice of the Spirit calling them to repentance, and they heeded the heavenly call. Another revival of national extent began.”


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 Re: Hezekiah's revival



2. A KING WHOSE HEART WAS YIELDED TO GOD

Every great revival begins with one yielded servant of God, and, of course, begins first in the heart of such a man.

The revival in the Samaritan village, recorded in the Gospel of John, was begun by one woman testifying to what Christ had done for her. The revival at Pentecost came through the Apostle Peter by the Holy Spirit. The great revivals in the provinces of Asia and northern Greece in the first century of our era came through the preaching of the Apostle Paul.
It was Savonarola who stirred Florence. It was Luther that shook Europe. It was the Wesleys and Whitefield that f transformed the whole moral and religious life of Great Britain. It was Finney who was responsible for the great revival in our country in the middle of the nineteenth century. It was Moody whom God used to kindle revival fires both in the British Isles and in our country during the last quarter of the nineteenth century.

Somehow revivals do not begin anonymously. There is a man behind them, and behind that man is God. But this man must be, and always is, one utterly yielded to the Holy Spirit, kept clean by the Spirit’s indwelling, filled with a burning passion for souls, understanding what the will of God is, and being anointed with the power in such a way that, however simple his preaching and teaching, great multitudes are brought to a realization of their guilt, and are led to confess the Lord as Saviour. In the revival we are studying, we discover that it is one man who is primarily used by God to change the whole religious life of the nation. This man was Hezekiah, none other than the king of harassed, and troubled, and weakened Judah.

Edersheim once wrote: “There is not a more striking instance of divine mercy on the one hand, nor yet, on the other, of the personal character of religion even under the Old Testament, than that Ahaz should have been succeeded on the throne of Judah by Hezekiah. His name, ‘Strength of Jehovah’, or perhaps, better, ‘God is Might’, was truly indicative of the character of his reign.” Professor George Rawlinson has well said: “Of all the monarchs who ruled over the kingdom of Judah after its separation from Israel, Hezekiah is the most remarkable. He was a statesman, a warrior, a poet, an antiquarian, an engineer, and the leader of a most important religious movement. Judea, in his day, seemed to be at the point of dissolution. It was to him that she owed her recovery which gave her a fresh lease of life, and enabled her to outlive her sister kingdom by nearly a century and a half.”

One clause gives the secret of Hezekiah’s history and the key of the mighty revival that broke out during his day – “It is in mine heart to make a covenant with the Lord God of Israel” (II Chron. 29:10). Many men, probably, could say this with their lips, but when a man says this in his heart, then we know that his life is yielded to the Spirit of God, that he has given up his own stubborn will for the will of God, that the honour of Jehovah has become the pre-eminent passion of his life, and that everything else is subservient to God’s sovereign will, first for his own life, then for the life of the nation.
How many there are who pray for revival, and even preach in a revival, and know that a revival is the greatest need of our day, and yet could not truly say that they had made a covenant with the Lord in their hearts! Probably the greatest need in the Church of Christ today is a body of men who are absolutely devoted, every selfish purpose and plan given up, to the one great end of magnifying the Lord Jesus in the midst of the nation.

The interesting thing to observe is that the moment the king declared his purpose to radically alter the whole religious life of the nation, and went about cleaning the city of Jerusalem from its idolatrous abominations, great multitudes of his own people gladly fell in with his plans and did as he commanded. Many of them were no doubt sick and disgusted with things as they had been going on in Judah, and were waiting for the hour when a great leader would appear. Is it not true that there are thousands of devoted Christian men and women in our country today who are just waiting for some anointed prophet of the Lord to arise to lead the Christian Church out in a mighty crusade for souls? No one knows who this man is. He may be utterly unknown today. He may be you, and God may be indeed waiting for you to yield to Him that which you are holding from Him, and which is making it impossible for Him to endue you with the power and wisdom which will be required by the one who will be the leading power, by God’s grace, in our next revival.

Such a leadership is not mechanical. It does not follow that one great minister of the Word can confer such privileges upon any of his sons. No theological seminary can say that it is only from its graduates that such a man will arise. All the scholarships in the world, and, indeed, orthodoxy, even as positive as John Calvin’s, will never, in themselves, give us the man needed.
It is first a matter of the heart, of yieldedness to God, of putting everything on the altar and letting His divine fire consume all the dross and selfishness of our lives. Revival could never have come to Judah had Hezekiah been half-hearted in his vast program. Small revivals may be kindled by half-yielded lives, but a great national outpouring of divine power will only come through a channel utterly cleansed and open for a river of power and blessing coming out from the throne of God.




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 Re: Hezekiah's revival



3. THE RETURN TO THE WORD OF GOD

A revival is from God or it is no revival at all. A revival first results in the conviction of sin. This is followed by a confession of sin and a cleansing from sin.
Now there is no conviction of sin possible except it be a by the proclamation anew of the law of the Lord, revealing what sin really is, that man may know the sinfulness of his deeds and thoughts. There is no salvation from sin, and no cleansing from sin, except in and through the Lord Jesus Christ and His shed blood, and this precious truth can only be brought to men and women under the conviction, by the preaching of the Word of God. In other words, no revival with permanent consequences, actually resulting in multitudes being truly redeemed, born again, united to the Lord Jesus Christ, confessing Him as their Lord and Saviour, can be expected, except the holiness of God, and the redemptive program of God, and the saving power of the Son of God, are clearly, powerfully unfolded to men.

These truths are never found anywhere but in the Holy Scriptures. Every revival worthy of the name begins in the restoration of the Word of God to the pulpit, and its fearless proclamation by those anointed of God to preach the Gospel. The revival under Josiah took place when “Hilkiah found the Book of the law of the Lord” (II Chron. 34:14).
In the record of the revival under Jehoshaphat, there is a remarkable statement regarding the relationship of this revival to the Word God, which could certainly serve as a perfect text for a charge to ministers: ”And they taught in Judah, and had the book of the law of the Lord with them, and went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people” (II Chron. 17:9).
During the revival under Nehemiah, we read that “all the people gathered together as one man. . . and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses which the Lord had commanded of Israel” (Neh. 8:1).
Even in the revival that burst forth in the family of Jacob, we read: ”And God said unto Jacob, Arise” (Gen. 35:1).

In the particular revival under King Hezekiah, we come upon such phrases as ”the word of the Lord” (30:12), “the good knowledge of the Lord” (30:22), “the law of the Lord” (31:3, 4, 21), “the law of Moses the man of God” (30:16), ”as it was written” (30:5, 18), ”his commandments which the Lord commanded Moses” (II Kings 18:6; cf. II Chron. 31:21). As soon as Hezekiah announced his purpose to cleanse the city of Jerusalem from its abominations, we read that the Levites and others ”gathered their children, and sanctified themselves, and came, according to the commandment of the king by the words of the Lord, to cleanse the house of the Lord” (29:15).
Later, when the Temple had been cleansed, and Hezekiah had begun to restore its neglected services, we are told that the king ”set the Levites in the house of the Lord with cymbals, with psalteries, and with harps, according to the commandment of David, and of Gad, the king’s seer, and Nathan, the prophet, for so was the commandment of the Lord by his prophets (29:25).

A revival which does not rest solidly upon the Word of God will ultimately either fade out, because there is no fountain of divine truth continually refreshing it, or it will run into dangerous and sensational emotionalism which, after it has passed, will make those who have been the subjects of such an experience dry and indifferent to the things of God, at times more easily accessible than ever to the inroads of Satan himself.
There is something about the Word of God that men recognize as divine: when it is preached men know that they are hearing the Word of God, and nothing less will ever arouse a nation sunk in selfishness, self-satisfaction, and godlessness. It is the only two-edged sword that can ever pierce through the armor of self-righteousness the only light powerful enough to expose the iniquities of the human heart. Examine the sermons that were reached by Wesley, Finney Moody, Billy Sunday, Morehouse and Jonathan Edwards, and see how saturated they were with the Word of God.

If we may be allowed to refer once again to Mr. Burns’ book, Revivals, Their Laws and Leaders, we discover the closest connection, e. g., in the days of Savonarola, between a knowledge of the Word of God and the revival that God sent through the ministry of this mighty servant:
”In the monastery of Bologna, to which Savonarola had fled, he remained for seven years. During this period he gained fame for his extraordinary piety and religious zeal. His learning and his remarkable mental gifts were early recognized, and immediately on his entering the monastery he was given the instruction of the novices.
Through these silent years, however, a great change was taking place in his mind, as well as in his character, for here, by prolonged and intense study of the Scriptures, he was laying the foundation of that tremendous power which he afterwards revealed. The Scriptures, at this time, were practically unopened; all knowledge of them was denied to the common people through the scarcity of the manuscripts, and through the wide-spread illiteracy. Even when they were openly read, their meaning was obscured by excessive allegorising; they were overlaid with the subtleties of the schoolman, or the refinements of Greek philosophy.

For long Savonarola’s mind was clogged by his training, but gradually he shook himself free and brought to the study of the Word of God a flaming imagination, an almost oriental delight in imagery, and, above all, a faith which flamed at white heat. More and more he began to realize that it was the messages of this Book, with their startling images, with the awful denunciations of sin, with their exalted and throbbing pity, which alone could break up the corruption which abounded, and bring back to earth the peace of God, and the recognition of the sovereignty of Jesus Christ. So he poured over them day and night until it was declared that he knew the Scriptures from the beginning to the end.”

There is no greater example of the power of the Word of God rightly wielded than the ministry of Dwight L. Moody. Very early in his ministry, Moody visited a little mission chapel, a part of Theodore Cuyler’s out-station work. So dead were the meetings that the congregation finally dropped to eighteen. In his fascinating Bush Aglow, Dr. Richard Ellsworth Day tells us that:
”there was in that meeting a godly woman who said to Moody: ’We have plenty of preaching in Brooklyn; but if you will tell us something about the Bible, it will be blessed to us.’ He wept in his room to think what a fool he had been, always letting his eyes run toward the pagan hills for help, forgetting his help should come from the Lord. ’God forgive him and help him’ - to ’go simple again.’ The next afternoon, it was not an early sermonic peacock that he preened for a restrutting, but a simple Bible reading. The ravishing sweet Fires of God at once came down, enveloping not only the little mission, but sweeping right up into Cuyler’s home church. So mighty a visitation was it, that a church in Philadelphia invited him to hold meetings there. When he arrived in Philadelphia the idea of using old, sure-fire sermons was repugnant. He had a heart for nothing now but the glory of the Word.”

More and more all through his ministry from this time on, Moody was, as everybody knows who ever heard him, distinctly a preacher of the word of God, and in that Word the power of his great revivals was found. Toward the very end of his ministry, in 1899, when speaking in the First Congregational Church of San Francisco, he said to the scores of ministers that were there gathered together:
”Don’t be deceived. The coming preacher will be the one who takes the Word of God and makes it plain to the people. That man will be a hearing! The Bible and the Cross have power to draw, but a moral essay, never! I am sick and tired of their essay-preaching. Will Bible preaching ever fail? No, a thousand times, No! Highly cultured people ask me in surprise if there are those who really believe the Bible – Well, I guess so! If the minister who stands in the pulpit from week to week is full of the Bible and the Holy Ghost, people will be sitting in the aisles and crowding every available space, just as they are in this building today!”


_________________
Lars Widerberg

 2004/7/17 13:54Profile
lwpray
Member



Joined: 2003/6/22
Posts: 3318
Sweden

 Re: Hezekiah's revival



4. THE RETURN TO THE WORSHIP OF GOD

The first thing Hezekiah did in the restoration of true religion in Judah was to open the doors of the Temple which Ahaz had shut, and then he ordered all the glorious services of the Temple of Jehovah restored.
As soon as the king made his own convictions known and gave to the people an opportunity to again worship God as their forefathers had done, it seems that almost the whole nation arose to participate in these privileges. Of course, opening churches and even keeping them open, will not bring about a revival, but when a revival does come, the problem of Church attendance will disappear, for it always happens, without fail, that, during days of real revival, the places of public worship throughout the land are crowded with sincere worshippers and seekers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
There are very few ministers in America today who are not frankly facing this problem of constantly decreasing Church attendance. Every human device to solve this problem is doomed to failure, ultimately. Many churches are more keenly suffering in this matter than perhaps the general public knows.

The writer of this article, last year, passing through a great city in the middlewest on a Saturday morning, purchased a Saturday newspaper, in which he read, with amazement, the church announcements for the following Lord's Day. He was interested, of course, in the churches of his own denomination, with the pastors of which he was more intimately acquainted, and he noticed that the largest Presbyterian Church in that city had no evening service announced. It was not the summer season, but in mid-winter. The church had approximately two thousand members at that time, with a Sunday School of more than half that size, and had a budget of something not far from fifty thousand dollars.
Not in any critical way, but in a friendly spirit, he wrote the pastor of the church, who is one of the outstanding ministers of the denomination, a conservative, who preaches the Lord Jesus Christ, asking him why they held no evening service. In a very gracious reply, this pastor stated that the evening attendance at his church, some five or six years ago, had fallen to as low as sixty, and even lower, and that then the officers of the church had concluded that the evening service should be abandoned, and none had been held in his church since. This situation is to be found in thousands of churches throughout our land. It is tragically serious. A revival alone will solve this problem.


_________________
Lars Widerberg

 2004/7/22 11:47Profile
TerryLee
Member



Joined: 2003/8/12
Posts: 61
Sweden

 Re:

We must pray forth these men in our societies:

"Somehow revivals do not begin anonymously. There is a man behind them, and behind that man is God. But this man must be, and always is, one utterly yielded to the Holy Spirit, kept clean by the Spirit’s indwelling, filled with a burning passion for souls, understanding what the will of God is, and being anointed with the power in such a way that, however simple his preaching and teaching, great multitudes are brought to a realization of their guilt, and are led to confess the Lord as Saviour. In the revival we are studying, we discover that it is one man who is primarily used by God to change the whole religious life of the nation."


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Terry Lee

 2004/7/27 9:32Profile





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