Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Rend the Heavens

Leslie Basham: Would you say your spiritual life is more like a geyser or a mud puddle? Has your walk with God grown stagnant or are you brimming over, excited to share your faith in God with others?

It's Monday, January 3; and this is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Sometimes our faith in God can grow a little cold. Maybe we become a little slack in our prayer life or reading the Scripture,

or perhaps life's disappointments have left us wondering where God is. All this week on Revive Our Hearts, Nancy Leigh DeMoss will be telling us how God renews and refreshes His people through spiritual revival.

Here is Nancy to help us explore what it means to experience true revival.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Last week I was out of town and enjoying an evening meal with some friends, and we were talking about the church. We began to reflect on the fact that in the particular state we were in at the time, that there are so many, many churches.

In fact, one person at the table said that there are 14,000 churches of just one particular evangelical denomination in that state. And it's not a big state.

And then we commented on why it is that in that particular state crime and violence are accelerating and there are so many social issues that seem to have no solutions with a church on every corner, it seems.

I received a letter some time ago from a missionary in a country in East Africa. He talked about some of the pressures and huge social issues in this particular country. And then further on in the letter he talked about the corruption of many of the Christian leaders that is actually hampering efforts to correct abuses in the system.

And then this key sentence: He said, "We are to be the counterculture, we as Christians, we as believers in this country, we are to be the society of Christ. And yet, sadly, the only difference between us and many in our country is that some go to the bars on a Sunday and others to church.

"Where is our salt and light?" Then he came to this conclusion. "A revival is the answer."

Now I don't know what you think of when you hear the word revival. I went to the Internet and looked up the word revival and here are some of the categories that showed up on the World Wide Web.

It speaks of the Great Hudson River Revival, revivalnow.com, Design Revival, Big Tent Revival, River Ablaze Revival Ministries, Greg and Shandra's Metal Revival--I'm not sure what that is--Swamp Things Revival, Country Classic Revival, Celebrating the Celtic Revival, The Third Stone Revival. Here's one, Billy Blocks Western Beat Roots Revival, BBWBRR for short.

There is an entry on the Satanic Revival, Revival of the Islamic Movement in America, Occult Practices in Revival, Counterfeit Revival, Greek Revival Architecture, Revival Quick-a lot of people would like that one.

And then there was an entry that said, "For an expert human guide about revival, click here. Now I'll tell you, I'm a lot more interested in finding a divine guide about revival than a human guide.

And the wonderful thing is that God has given to us an expert guide on revival. It's found in this Book, in the Word of God.

And I want us to begin today by looking at a revival passage in the Scripture, actually a prayer for revival, in the Book of Isaiah, chapter 64, Isaiah 64:1.

We won't look at the whole passage, but I just want to give you at the outset here, a flavor of what we are talking about when we speak of revival, the kind of revival that we need in our world today.

Now Isaiah 64 is actually picking up in the middle of a prayer that begins in the previous chapter, chapter 63, verse 15. We won't read that portion except to notice that this prayer actually begins with these words: "Look down from heaven."

The prophet prays that God will look down from His place in heaven, but by the time he comes to chapter 64, verse 1, it's not enough for him that God would look down. Now he is praying that God would come down--that God would supernaturally visit His people with His presence.

Listen to these words beginning in verse 1, you sense the urgency, the desperation in the heart of the prophet knowing what is going on in his nation, knowing the condition of the people of God. He cries out and he says, "Oh, oh, Lord," this is longing, "Oh that You would rend the heavens, that You would tear open the heavens," there's an intensity that will pick up in this passage. "That You would come down" it's not just enough to look down, but Lord would you "come down that the mountains might tremble at Your presence."

Now when I think of mountains, I don't think of things that will tremble. Of course, if you live in certain parts of the country, the mountains may tremble, but, typically, mountains we think of as stable and permanent and unshaking.

But the prophet says, "God, we have some mountains in our lives and in our world that need shaken and only You can do it. It takes Your presence."

Notice those three words at the end of verse 1, "At Your presence." You'll see those words again throughout this passage, "that the mountains might shake at Your presence. As fire burns brushwood"--consumes it--"and as fire makes waters to boil."

I've traveled a little bit in some other parts of the world where one of the things they caution you is, "don't drink the water." So what do you have to do to the water to make it drinkable? You have to heat it up; you have to boil it to take out the impurities. The prophet Isaiah is saying that when the presence of God comes it's like fire, fire that causes waters to boil, the complacent waters of our lives that have impurities in them. God's presence is like a fire that gets lit under those waters and causes it to boil and causes the impurities to be removed.

"To make your name known to your adversaries," verse 2, "The enemies of God," Isaiah says, "I want them to know your name. I want them to know your character, your ways, your heart; your enemies I want them to come face to face with you." And then he says, he prays, that the nations may tremble at your presence. When I think of our world today and troubles between many of the nations of the world, I don't think of any nations that are trembling at the presence of God. But Isaiah prays for this. He prays that the time will come when nations will quiver in fear--that's the word there--"shake at the presence of God."

Verses 3 and 4--"When you did awesome things for which we did not look,--we weren't expecting this, You came down. The mountains shook at Your presence. For since the beginning of the world, men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, nor has the eye seen any God besides you."

What does this God do? Isaiah says, "You are the one who acts. You're not just sitting up in Your rocking chair in Heaven letting the world tick on by. You're active God." And what kind of a person does God act for? Who are the candidates for revival we might ask. "You act for the one who waits for You."

Now when we use that word, "wait," we often use it in a passive sense, like I'm waiting for summer to come or I'm waiting for my kids to grow up. It's not something we're thinking about all the time. But the word in the Hebrew here is an active word. It means to tarry, to long, to cling to, to adhere to--something that this person is thinking about all the time. And he says, "God the person who sees You act on his behalf is the person who waits, actively, earnestly, seeking You."

In Verse 5--"You meet Him who rejoices and does righteousness, the one who remembers You in Your ways." I like that phrase, "You meet." Revival is really an encounter with God. It can be a personal encounter with God--just you and the Lord. It can be an encounter that your family has with the Lord. It can be encounter that your church has with the Lord. It can be an encounter that your community has with the Lord or even at times, that a whole nation can have with a Holy God.

Regardless of the extent, I can tell you this for sure, your life will never be the same again after you've met with God. Revival is life-changing. It's an encounter with God, and it happens to the one who rejoices and does righteousness.

Another translation puts it that, "You meet with those who gladly do what is right, those who are eager to obey God." I know that many of you in this room are here because you have a heart and a hunger to obey God, to do what is right, that makes you a candidate for revival.

"God, You meet with those who rejoice to do righteousness and You meet with those who remember You in Your ways." Over these next days we're going to try to do some of just that. We're going to remember God in His ways. Most of us have never seen a widespread corporate revival with our own eyes, but we do have some records from those who have. And we're going to try and remember God in His ways--to see what it was like when He sent seasons of refreshing in revival to the hearts of His people.

Leslie Basham: Nancy Leigh DeMoss will be right back with some closing thoughts, but I need to cut in here and tell you how to get a free booklet. It's called When Do We Need Revival? Just call 1-800-569-5959 and ask for a copy.

We want to give a lot of these away because we want a lot of people to be seeking personal revival. In fact, we hope that in the coming months thousands of believers in small groups in churches will get together all across the country to seek personal revival.

So many people have already put together small groups and ordered copies of Nancy's new workbook, Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival. You still have time to order a copy of this Bible study and go through it with us on Revive Our Hearts.

Now remember, Nancy will be teaching material related to the daily Bible study entries, starting on January 24th, and our goal isn't just to get people involved in more activity. It's to get people to ask God to do a fresh work of His spirit in our day.

Get more information on the workbook, Seeking Him, at www.ReviveOurHearts.com or call 1-800-569-5959, and make sure to ask for your free booklet, When Do We Need Revival? What do you think of when you hear the word revival--summer tent meetings or old gospel hymns? No matter what image comes to mind, I hope you can join us tomorrow when Nancy will be telling us what a revival is and what it isn't. You know Nancy's been talking with us today about Isaiah 64.

Here she is with some final thoughts.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: As I read that passage, does that create in you a hunger, an appetite? I see some heads nodding. I see some of your eyes getting a little big as we talk about God moving and shaking mountains and boiling waters and burning up brush fire--there's fire involved.

God is a holy consuming fire, but to see and experience and be transformed by the presence of God is something that I live for, and it's something that I sense many of you do as well. So let's begin to pray even at the outset of this series, "Lord would You not just look down from heaven, would You come down. Would You come and in a unique and special manifest way reveal Yourself to me, to my family, to my church, to my community and to my nation?" "Lord, rend the heavens; tear them open; let us see You; visit us with Your presence."

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

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