Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Psalm 126, Day 7

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: I don’t know how we can have the heart of Jesus without having a weeping heart.

Leslie Basham: When you look at the pain in the world and the sin in your own heart, do you ever slow down and weep. Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth says we don’t slow down enough.

Nancy: I look at that and I say, “Lord, You've got to change my heart.” You can’t manufacture this. “God, I want You to give me the heart of Christ.”

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth for Tuesday, May 31, 2016.

Nancy: Over the years, I have had a commitment and have really made an effort not to teach beyond where my own life is, or at least my commitment to walk there. Occasionally, we come to a topic, and today is one of those, where I’m really hesitant to teach it because I know that what I’m teaching is way beyond where I’m living.

Leslie: This is Nancy Leigh DeMoss in a series called "The Cry of the Captives."

Nancy: We’re in Psalm 126. I would just skip this, but you can’t teach this passage and skip this verse. We’ve been talking about the cost of sowing. Psalm 126:5: “Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.” First, the cost of sowing: We sow in tears. And then the certainty of reaping: We will reap in joy.

We’ve been talking about this in the spiritual realm, whether it’s you as a mom or in ministry in the context of the local church as we’re investing in the lives of others. We want to see God send revival. There’s a price tag, and part of the price tag that is talked about in this passage is this issue of tears.

We talked in the last session about a couple of different of kinds of tears. First, the tears of labor, travail, effort, perseverance, patience, like a mother in travail to give birth to a child. That’s one kind of weeping. The apostle Paul said when he ministered in Ephesus, “For three years,” he says, “I did not cease night or day to admonish everyone with tears” (Acts 20:31). There was an earnestness in his ministry.

Then we talked about tears of confession, tears of contrition over our own sins and our spiritual condition. There have been times in my life when I have had tears of labor as I was preparing to teach. It might be the night before a recording session, and I was desperate because it wasn’t coming together, so I was in tears.

I know something at times about tears of confession and contrition over my own sin—not nearly as often as I wish or as there should be, but I have experienced that. But something I’ve experienced very little of (and as I’ve been meditating on this passage, I’ve just asked God to give me more) is a third kind of tears that I want to talk about today: tears of compassion and concern for the spiritual condition of others.

We talked about tears of confession and contrition for our own sins, but now we’re talking about tears of compassion and concern for the spiritual condition of others. This morning as I was getting ready to teach this passage (I’ve been studying this passage over a period of years) so many passages came to mind in the Scripture that talk about this matter of weeping on behalf of others.

I’m not a weeper. Now I know that some people are more naturally criers and some people are less that. Some people—their eyes just leak all the time, and I love to be around those people who are tenderhearted. I get around them and I think, Lord, I need more of that. I have that sense as I read this passage.

I just want to walk through some verses with you that are speaking to me and just see what they say to you. “Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Ps. 126:5–6).

When I say “the weeping prophet,” do you know who I’m talking about? Jeremiah. You read Jeremiah and Lamentations and you see a man who really knew how to weep over the spiritual condition of others. The sense of burden and longing that he had. He says in Lamentations . . . I mean, he wrote a book called Lamentations. Lamenting.

We don’t know a lot about lamenting today, about grieving and mourning, not only over our own sins, but over the spiritual needs of others. He says in Lamentations chapter 2:19,

Arise, cry out in the night, as the watches of the night begin; pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord. Lift up your hands to him for the lives of the children who faint from hunger at the head of every street (NIV).

See God had told him that judgment was coming, that Jerusalem was going to be demolished essentially, that the people were going into captivity. Jeremiah cries out to the Lord with tears, with pleading, with earnestness for the lives of the children who were going to perish with hunger. There’s a compassion, a tenderness, a concern here.

Then he says in Lamentations chapter 3:48–49, “Streams of tears flow from my eyes because my people are destroyed. My eyes will flow unceasingly without relief, until the LORD looks down from heaven and sees” (NIV). Here’s a man who was so burdened that tears just flowed out of his eyes unceasingly, continually, because of the spiritual condition of his people.

Then he says in Jeremiah chapter 9, "Call for the wailing women to come; send for the most skillful of them." This is, of course, referring to women coming to a funeral, a durge. They were paid mourners, professional mourners. He is using that as a word picture. He's says,

Call for those wailing women to come . . . Let them come quickly and wail over us till our eyes overflow with tears and water streams from our eyelids (vv. 17–18). 

He says that maybe if we see them weeping, it will provoke us to weep over the spiritual condition of God's people. 

Well, it wasn’t just Jeremiah who had that kind of burden. Of course, we know the Lord Jesus had that kind of burden. You remember seeing the heart of Christ in Luke chapter 19? It says, “As He approached Jerusalem . . .” (v. 41). This is shortly before He goes to His death. He realizes that He is their Savior. He is their Redeemer. He is the gift of God, the Messiah, to save them from their sins. But they don’t get it. They’ve rejected Him.

He’s not so burdened for how it affects Him as how it affects them and how it affects the whole plan of God, the whole redemptive plan of God. It says, “As he [Jesus] approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it” (Luke 19:41 NIV).

If you look at that word "weep," there are different kinds of crying. I mean, sometimes just a tear falling from your eye or your eyes get misty or moist and maybe well up with tears. That’s not the kind of weeping it’s talking about here.

That word, “Jesus wept over the city,” means "to sob, to wail aloud, a loud expression of grief, especially in mourning for the dead." Jesus looked over that city, and He saw these people who were spiritually dead. The chosen people of God. Zion, the City of God. And it broke His heart. He wept over the city.

I don’t know how we can have the heart of Jesus without having a weeping heart. I look at that and I say, “Lord, You've got to change my heart.” I mean you can’t manufacture this. “God, I want You to give me the heart of Christ.”

The apostle Paul had the heart of Christ. We think of Paul as a hard preacher and a kind of stern man. I don't know what your image is of him, but you think of the apostle Paul and you shake a little bit. But he was a man with a very tender heart. He said in Romans chapter 9, “I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart” (Rom. 9:2 paraphrased). Why? He was burdened for his fellow Jews. He said, “I would be willing to be damned myself eternally if that could help you have salvation. I want you to believe. I carry this continual burden in my heart” (Rom. 9:23 paraphrased).

He said to the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 2 . . . He’s talking about a previous letter he had written to them where he had to admonish them, rebuke them, discipline them about an issue in the church where there was sin that wasn’t being handled God’s way, and people were making light of sin. They weren’t dealing with it. So he had written a rather stern letter to them previously.

Now he refers back to that letter, and he says, “I wrote to you out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears” (2 Cor. 2:4). He says, “I didn’t just dash off that letter. I wasn’t mad at you. I wasn’t just shaking my fist in your face. I wasn’t giving you a hard time. I was brokenhearted when I wrote that letter.”

I think, by the way, some of you have sons or daughters or friends or a parent or someone that you need to confront with the truth in love. It’s one thing to just dash off a letter and say, “You’re wrong. You need to repent.” It’s another thing to write that kind of letter that’s tear-stained and to be brokenhearted and say, “I’m grieved over what you’re going through.” He said, “I wrote you in much affliction, with anguish of heart, with many tears.” Why? “To let you know the abundant love I have for you.” His compassion motivated those tears.

Well, in seasons of revival, one of the things you’ll see is that tears flow freely from the eyes and the hearts of God’s people. I quoted Jonathan Edwards earlier who was one of the men God used in the First Great Awakening, and he spoke about a particular season of revival. He said, “Believers were in tears while the word was preached; some weeping with sorrow and distress, others with joy and love, others with pity and concern for the souls of their neighbors.”

It’s a fruit. It’s a by-product of revival when God does that work in our hearts. He stirs something up in us. It’s the heart of Christ that He stirs up in us. The compassion of Christ, the tenderness of Christ. Jesus had it. Paul had it. Jonathan Edwards saw that in the First Great Awakening.

Earlier in this series, Byron Paulus, the Director of Life Action, referred to Leonard Ravenhill. He’s a man who’s now been with the Lord for a number of years, but he was a man of tears. He was a man with a heartbeat and a passion to see God send revival in our days. He wrote a piece called Have We No Tears for Revival? He said,

The true man of God is heartsick, grieved at the worldliness of the Church, grieved at the blindness of the Church, grieved at the corruption in the Church, grieved at the toleration of sin in the Church, grieved at the prayerlessness in the Church. He is disturbed that the corporate prayer of the Church no longer pulls down the strongholds of the devil.

It’s that burden.

The apostle Paul sent a letter, again tear-stained, to the Philippians, and he said, “I’ve told you often and I now tell you even weeping that these certain people are the enemies of the cross of Christ” (Phil. 3:18 paraphrased).

Paul couldn’t talk about those kinds of things, he couldn’t think about those kinds of things, he couldn’t deal with those sorts of issues without weeping. “I tell you,” even weeping as he’s writing this letter . . . As you read the book of Philippians, do you think of Paul weeping as he writes this about those who are the enemies of the cross of Christ who are planted within the church?

  • Does it grieve you when you see Christians going through the motions, living worldly, sinful lives? 
  • Does it grieve you when you see so-called Christians with temporal values, no sense of eternity? 
  • Does it grieve you when you see marriages in the church breaking up, Christians divorcing their mates when God says He hates divorce? 

So where are the tears in the church today? If our eyes are dry, could it be because our hearts are dry? Or maybe as we've been studying in this psalm, because our captivity has not been overturned. Maybe we are still living in some area of bondage and we are not free to let Christ express His love and tenderness and compassion through us.

You see, tears flow naturally from broken and contrite hearts. That’s what you see in Joel chapter 2, a passage that came to my heart earlier this morning. In fact, let me ask you to turn there if you have your Bible. Joel chapter 2. I’m going to read several verses here, and it will kind of pull this whole concept together for us.

To give you some context for this, Joel has been talking earlier in this chapter about the coming day of the Lord. It’s a day of terrible judgment. A day of destruction and devastation. So in response to that, verse 12, the Lord speaks to His people.

"Yet even now,” declares the LORD [in light of this coming threatened, impending judgment] "return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning."

That’s the tears we talked about in the last session, the tears of confession and contrition over our own sin.

"Return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments." Return to the LORD, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster (vv. 12–13).

He is a God who wants to show mercy. He delights to show mercy. So come to the Lord in brokenness and repentance.

Who knows whether he will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him (v. 14). 

God wants to bless. God wants to revive. God wants to visit His people. God wants us to be spared judgment and wrath, so turn from your sins and let it be evident in tears of confession and contrition.

Then He calls us to weep not only over our own sins, but over the sins of others. Look at verse 15:

Blow the trumpet in Zion; consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly. [We don’t hear much about those today because we don’t want to do anything solemn at church.] Call a solemn assembly; gather the people. Consecrate the congregation; assemble the elders; gather the children, even nursing infants. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her chamber (v. 16).

This is an important family council being called here. Everyone come: nursing infants, couples on their honeymoon. Leave whatever you’re doing. Come to this place. Consecrate yourselves. This is serious. God wants to meet with us. He wants us to meet with Him.

Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, [do what?] weep (v. 17).

Let them weep. You say, “Well, that’s for the ministers to do.” What do you think we are? Priests unto God. This is our calling in this day.

“Let the priests" not to be the pastors of our churches but to be ministers, servants of the Lord, as every believer is a priest unto God.

Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep and say, "Spare your people, O LORD, and make not your heritage a reproach, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the nations, ‘Where is their God?’” (v.  17).

Do you remember earlier in the series, we said that when God sets His people free from captivity, the nations will say, “The LORD has done great things for them”? (Ps. 126:2). They will have an awareness of God, an awareness, a consciousness of God’s presence. But now he’s saying the spiritual condition of the people is such that the nations are mocking; they’re scoffing; they’re laughing at the Church, or they’re saying, “Where’s their God? I don’t see any evidence. Why should they say where is their God?”

So what are we to do? We’re to come and stand between the people—that’s the vestibule where the people stand; and the altar—that’s where God is. We’re to stand between them and we’re to say, “Oh, Lord, please spare Your people,” crying out to God for mercy. “Lord, don’t make Your heritage a reproach. We want Your name to be glorified. We want You to be honored.”

How are we to make these prayers? With weeping, earnestly, out of compassion and concern for the people of God. You see, when we rend our hearts and weep before Him, God will rend the heavens, and He will visit us with His glorious presence.

Kim Wagner is a woman who’s been a dear friend for a number of years, and we’re kindred spirits. God has used her in my life in so many ways. She’s got a tender heart, a sensitive heart. She has compassion and concern for God’s people. We’ve had the privilege of praying together for revival in the church over the years. Kim is with us here in the studio today, and I just asked her if she would close this session by leading us in prayer.

I want to invite you to join your heart as Kim prays. We all want to pray as she leads us aloud. Just ask God to give us His heart—His heart over our own sin and His heart over the sin of the church. Ask God to give us that tender heart that we may sow in tears so that one day we may have the privilege of reaping in joy.

Kim, would you just lead us?

Kim Wagner: [Crying] Father, I want to thank You for the truth of Your Word that opens our eyes to where we are and who You are and where You desire for us to be. Oh, Father, as Nancy has again today just faithfully proclaimed Your Word, my heart is just so burdened with the need for the church to experience true revival, not just talk about it and not just read about it.

I know there are people in other nations that are crying out for revival for America. There are believers all over this world that are crying out for revival for America.

I'm so ashamed of our nation and our church here in America. As a believer, I'm so ashamed. It's so hard to ask You to bring revival. Lord, You need to bring discipline to us because we have turned so far away from Your calling.

I fear we have brought such shame to Your name because we do not reflect or look like who You are and who You desire for us to be. Father, I do just ask that You would do whatever it takes. I know You desire for revival to come. You desire for us to glorify You. You desire for the nations to proclaim that You are God because of the work that You are doing in Your church.

Father, we do cry out for that. We ask that You would do whatever it takes to bring us to a place of brokenness, to bring us to a place where we have teachable and responsive hearts and surrendered hearts to You. Open our eyes really to the reality of where we are.

Father, give us a hunger for revival. I pray that You would raise up believers all over this nation that would be interceding for revival, that would be crying out to You. Father, please begin . . . even if You would today just from this moment that You would be igniting fires of hunger for revival within this very room that would spread that You might be glorified, Father. Not that we would feel better, not that we would have some kind of just spiritual high, but where Your name would be known. That there would not be atheists that sit by and do not see evidence of You.

Oh God, we cry out. We desire for them to see and know that You are real because You and You alone are God. And please, if you would, use us to convey that and communicate that. Bring revival. I ask, Lord Jesus, for Your sake and Your glory, amen.

Leslie: That’s Kim Wagner, a pastor’s wife, who is burdened for revival. Before her prayer, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth explained how valuable it is to weep before God in prayer. I don’t know about you, but I usually try to avoid tears as much as possible. Today’s program and Nancy’s whole series have been showing us that tears can be a very good thing. That message is part of the series called "The Cry of the Captives."

We’re able to bring you programs like this one thanks to the support of our listeners. And Nancy, it’s been encouraging to see how some listeners have been responding here in May as we wrap up a fiscal year and get ready to launch a new budgeting cycle.

Nancy: That’s right Leslie, I’m thankful for all who have given toward our fiscal year-end need of just under half a million dollars. We’re asking the Lord to meet this need so we can keep current ministry outreaches going and also to take advantage of some incredible open doors that are before us. The last report I saw last week showed that we were at about half the goal that we had set for the month, so we really need listeners like you to stand with us here on this final day of the fiscal year-end.

If this is something the Lord has put on your heart and you haven't had a chance yet to send a gift, today is the final day to help meet this substantial need. It’s also the final day we’ll be offering the CD Love Divine by pianist Jan Mulder, along with the London Symphony. This is a special Revive Our Hearts version of the CD that's been produced just for our supporters. My husband and I have so enjoyed the beautiful hymn arrangements on this CD in our home and I know you will in yours as well.

Be sure to ask for the Love Divine piano CD when you call to make your gift to the ministry of Revive Our Hearts. The number to call is 1–800–569–5959, or you can donate online at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Thank you so much for getting involved at this crucial time and helping Revive Our Hearts on this final day of our fiscal year as we continue together to call women to experience freedom, fullness and fruitfulness in Christ! 

Leslie: We’ve been talking a lot about weeping for revival. Tomorrow we’ll hear about the results of that weeping: the joy that comes as a result of revival. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

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