Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: When you're in the middle of a dangerous situation, it's no time to party. Nancy Leigh DeMoss says that's what too many are doing.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: What grieves me is not so much that the world is partying but that the church is partying, that we are unaware of the impending danger and threat of God's judgment. Somehow, we do not see the connection between our sinful choices—and I mean our sinful choices—and the consequences that we will surely reap.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Monday, April 20. Our nation has been shaken with one financial crisis after another over the last several months, but the problems we're facing go far deeper than economics.

Ten years ago today, the nation was reeling from news of school shootings in Littleton, Colorado, and a few days after that event, Nancy reflected on the tragedy in the message, A Call for the Wailing Women. I think her words will resonate today just like they did back then. We'll begin with a story. Nancy remembers being on the phone with a woman in great danger.

Nancy: I call her Sandy. She had just told me that she was falling in love with a married man who was not her husband, and as we talked, I knew we didn't have much time. I said to her,

Sandy, if my neighbor's house were on fire, I wouldn't worry about offending them, hurting their feelings, or waking them up in the middle of the night.

I would go, and I would not be nice. I would not be kind. I would not be calm. I would not be soft. I would go screaming and yelling at the top of my lungs to warn them of the danger and to try and help them get out of that house. Sandy, I've got to tell you, you are in a burning house, and I want to help you get out.

My words today, because this is a message that God has just been putting on my heart within the last several days, may not be polished or refined, but I feel compelled to wake us up to the fact that we are in a burning house and to do everything I can to rescue as many lives as possible before it is eternally too late.

If you've been following the news at all in recent weeks, you will agree that we are living in troubled and troubling days from the White House to the schoolhouse to the church house to many of our own houses. We have ignored and rejected the Word of God, and as a result, the fabric of our society has unraveled. The foundations have eroded, and we are being swept away in a torrent of corruption and violence and fear.

In the wake of the Littleton massacre just a month ago, we've been hearing a lot of commentary and analysis from the so-called experts. But I want to tell you, like Humpty Dumpty that sat on a wall, our culture has had a great fall. All the king's horses and all the king's men and all the politicians and all the educators and all the sociologists cannot put Humpty back together again.

The truth is, we don't need to hear what one more expert thinks. These are days when we desperately need to hear from heaven, to hear what God has to say to our generation, and I want you to know that God does have a word for our day. I'm holding it in my hand, and this Word is as true, as relevant, as necessary today as it was when it was first penned.

Recorded in this Book is a bold message delivered by two courageous men of God to the people of God more than 2,500 years ago. Isaiah and Jeremiah, two prophets of God, lived and ministered in a time of great moral and spiritual decline among the people of God. They confronted the people with their hypocrisy for claiming to worship God while at the same time practicing gross idolatry.

Theirs was not a message primarily to the pagan nations but primarily to the people of God in the nation of Judah. They cried out against the pagan practices that God's people had come to justify and embrace, practices as vile and corrupt as child sacrifice. Those were dark days, and it culminated in the destruction of the nation of Judah by the Babylonians, all the way through the Scripture, a picture of the world system.

The prophets wanted the people to realize that God was in control of the historical and the political events of their day and that He was using adversity to chastise His people, to warn them of even greater judgment to come, and most important, to give them opportunity to repent. Their message was never a popular one, but these faithful, fearless men of God, never wavered in their relentless proclamation of truth.

Day after day, year after year, they confronted God's people with their sin and begged them to repent. Theirs was a message of judgment, of dire, cataclysmic judgment that was certain if God's people refused to repent. I want to tell you, theirs was also a message of hope, a message of grace, of restoration, and of the final triumph of God over evil.

I want to read two passages, one from the book of Jeremiah, one from the book of Isaiah. I'm going to give you the references. You may wish to jot them down, but then I'm going to ask you to just listen as I read these passages that I believe speak to us with as much relevance as the day in which they were first written.

The first one will be from Jeremiah chapter 9, verses 17-22. Then I'm going to move to the book of Isaiah, chapter 32, verses 9-18, and I want you to hear the Word of the Lord.

Jeremiah said,

This is what the LORD Almighty says: "Consider now! Call for the wailing women to come; send for the most skillful of them. Let them come quickly and wail over us till our eyes overflow with tears and water streams from our eyelids."

The sound of wailing is heard from Zion: “How ruined we are! How great is our shame! We must leave our land because our houses are in ruins." Now, O women, hear the word of the LORD; open your ears to the words of his mouth. Teach your daughters how to wail; teach one another a lament.

Death has climbed in through our windows and has entered our fortresses; it has cut off the children from the streets and the young men from the public squares. Say, "This is what the LORD declares: 'The dead bodies of men will lie like refuse on the open field, like cut grain behind the reaper, with no one to gather them.'"

The prophet Isaiah says,

You women who are so complacent, rise up and listen to me; you daughters who feel secure, hear what I have to say! In little more than a year you who feel secure will tremble; the grape harvest will fail, and the harvest of fruit will not come.

Tremble, you complacent women; shudder, you daughters who feel secure! Strip off your clothes, put sackcloth around your waists. Beat your breasts for the pleasant fields, for the fruitful vines and for the land of my people, a land overgrown with thorns and briers—yes, mourn for all houses of merriment and for this city of revelry.

The fortress will be abandoned, the noisy city deserted; citadel and watchtower will become a wasteland forever, the delight of donkeys, a pasture for flocks, till the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the desert becomes a fertile field, and the fertile field seems like a forest.

Justice will dwell in the desert and righteousness live in the fertile field. The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.

So I hear a four-fold message from the prophets, simply these four phrases: wake up, wail, warn others, and wait on the Lord.

The four-fold message of the prophets: first, there is a cry to wake up, to wake up, to move from complacency to concern. “You women who are so complacent,” he says, “rise up and listen to me; you daughters who feel secure, hear what I have to say!”

I don't know about you, but as I read these passages, I hear a sense of intensity, of desperation, of urgency, as they say, “Consider now! Call for the wailing women to come quickly.” I believe they're saying we need to wake up to our current condition, to see that we are in trouble, that our land is in trouble. Our churches are in trouble. Our culture is in trouble. Our homes are in trouble.

“The sound of wailing,” Jeremiah says, “is heard from Zion: 'How ruined we are! . . . We must leave our land because our houses are in ruins.'”

Then in verse 21 of Jeremiah, “Death has climbed in through our windows and has entered our fortresses; it has cut off the children from the streets and the young men from the public squares.” Jeremiah is saying, “Death is everywhere you look. It's indoors. It's outdoors. It's everywhere.”

The past several weeks, we've seen the images of death everywhere, from the rubble of Kosovo to the aftermath of the killer tornadoes in Oklahoma City to the carnage left inside the walls of Columbine High School. So Jeremiah says, “Wake up to what is going on around you.” God is trying to get our attention.

We are in trouble. We are in trouble when two teenage boys walk into a public school and gun down 14 of their classmates and one of their teachers as they laugh their way through the halls. The massacre at Columbine High School has been a wakeup call to a lot of people who are saying, “I didn't realize it was this bad.”

We are in trouble when a 39-year-old man plows his car through a daycare center playground killing two toddlers and injuring four others, saying as he was led away, “I was going to execute those children because they were innocent.” We're in trouble, but the trouble we're in is not just a matter of physical violence and death.

Our marriages are in trouble. They're dying. Our relationships are dying. Our culture is suffering the deadly loss of purity, morality, decency, and integrity.

Ladies, we're in trouble when terms like these become part of our everyday vocabulary, terms like: divorce, incest, date rape, anorexia, homosexuality, euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide, abortion, Prozac, sexually transmitted diseases. Every young person knows those words today, but the problem is that we have little or no comprehension of such concepts as chastity, modesty, discretion, virtue, responsibility, fidelity, integrity.

Here's what grieves me perhaps the most. It's not just the secular culture around us that's in trouble. Week after week, I'm hearing the desperate heart-cries of women in our Evangelical churches, our Bible-preaching churches.

I received a letter recently from a woman who wrote this after attending one of my conferences. She says, “I have struggled with internet addiction. At one point, I was on my computer up to 15 hours a day. It was my way of escaping my empty, lonely marriage.”

This, by the way, is a woman who's a graduate of a Christian college. She says,

In the last couple of months, I've curbed my Internet usage. I realized I was neglecting our six children and decided to make some changes. However, I met a wonderful man through a chat room. We've met face to face several times now, and I'm considering leaving my husband for this man.

You say, “Oh, that's just an exception. That's so extreme it's bizarre. Surely these things aren't going on as a rule in our Evangelical churches.” That's what you think. Each weekend conference where I speak to women in Revive Our Hearts conferences, I ask the women on Friday night to fill out a prayer card and to tell us how we can pray for you and how can we pray for your family.

I want to read to you several comments that I received on those prayer cards in one recent conference. This was one conference, and here's what some of these women had to say. There are many others I could add to these from that one conference, and it's everywhere. Listen to these.

My marriage is breaking up. It's been an unloving, un-nurturing marriage for over 12 years. My heart is broken, and I'm spent. I have nothing left for him or this marriage. My 17-year-old ran away nine months ago and moved in with her boyfriend. The hurt is so deep. My 26-year-old daughter has denied her faith in Christ and is involved in a gay relationship. My son is in rebellion. My husband's in depression, and I'm barely hanging on. My heart is so hard. I don't care about anything anymore.”

And then this one,

My pastor and I are very close. Just yesterday, he acknowledged in the counseling session that he was very attracted to me, but he would never act on his desire because he knew that would hurt. Now I feel deeply attracted to him. Help me, Lord, to let go of this, and give me wisdom in setting boundaries. I cut his hair and give him a massage once a month.

And then this one,

Pray that God would deliver my 17-year-old son from an addiction to pornography that he has had since early childhood.

And then this,

I have not loved my husband for a long time, and I am miserable. I had an affair three years ago and ended it to stay with my husband for our two boys' sakes [and then she gives their ages]. Six months ago I began the affair with the same man and have fallen in love with him. I know this is wrong. He's married also, but I can't imagine life without him.

One conference and many more like that, and I'm looking into the eyes of women that I just told your story. So what does the prophet Jeremiah say? “Wake up! Wake up to our current condition. See that we are in trouble.” But he says also, “Wake up to your future prospect, to the even greater judgment of God that is going to fall.”

In little more than a year [Isaiah says], you who feel secure will tremble . . . The fortress will be abandoned, the noisy city (will be) deserted. Say, "This is what the LORD declares. 'The dead bodies of men will lie like refuse on the open field, like cut grain behind the reaper, with no one to gather them.'”

Isaiah and Jeremiah are saying, “It's not going to stop. It's not going to get better. It's going to get worse,” and I think they would say the same to our generation.

For years and years, decades, we have sown the wind. Now we are reaping the whirlwind. But our natural attitude isn't one to be really concerned about these things—as long as it's not our kids who are getting shot up, as long as things are going relatively fine in our own lives. The stock market's up. We're secure.

It's to those kind of people that Isaiah and Jeremiah are addressing their words, to people who say, “I have my job, my house, my kids, my stuff, my church. As long as it doesn't affect me or threaten my lifestyle, I can go on with life as usual, and so we're blind to what's going on.

We've been deceived. The world has always scoffed at the threat of impending judgments. It did in Noah's day, and it does in our day.

The world just keeps on partying, oblivious to the danger that is at hand. But what grieves me is not so much that the world is partying but that the church is partying, that we are unaware of the impending danger and threat of God's judgment. Somehow, we do not see the connection between our sinful choices—and I mean our sinful choices—and the consequences that we will surely reap.

We don't see that choices have certain consequences. They cannot be avoided, and when we talk about the judgment of God, we think, “Oh, this can go on forever.” That's what they said in Noah's day. “There won't be a flood!” They laughed at the thought.

Well, I'll tell you, God has a kind of judgment that we're experiencing right now. It's the remedial judgment of God. It's God just withdrawing His hand of grace and leaving us to our own devices, and the goal of that remedial judgment is to give us time to repent.

That's the judgment we're under right now, but I'll tell you this. There's another certain kind of judgment. It is coming. It's a final, cataclysmic judgment. The day will come when God shuts the door on the ark, and anyone who is not in will be eternally damned and lost. Judgment is coming, and we need to wake up to the threat of impending judgment, the judgment of God.

For so many years, decades, we have rejected God. We have marginalized God. We've thrown Him out of our churches, our schools, our political life, our civic activity, and even out of our churches. I heard a great preacher say recently, “Prayer back in the public schools? We need to get prayer back in our churches . . .”

Applause

“. . . and prayer back in our homes!”

Four days ago, a 19-year-old friend in my town fell asleep at the wheel of his car as he was driving home from a late-night job. He drove the car off the road to his death. His fiancée came across the wreck.

Some of us—a lot of us—in this place are asleep at the wheel, and Jeremiah and Isaiah are saying to us today, “Wake up! Wake up! Wake up to our condition. Wake up to the certain judgment of God.”

So you say, “What do we do after we wake up? I know what's going on. I'm aware. I don't have my head in the sand. I have been awakened. Then what do we do?”

There's a second instruction they give to us, and that's the call to wail. It's right in the text. “Consider now! Call for the wailing women to come;” a picture of professional mourners in those days. “Send for the most skillful of them. Let them come quickly and wail over us till our eyes overflow with tears and water streams from our eyelids.”

“Strip off your clothes,” Isaiah says, “put sackcloth around your waists. Beat your breasts for the pleasant fields, for the fruitful vines . . . mourn for all houses of merriment and for this city of revelry.”

Jeremiah's known as the weeping prophet, the man who poured out his heart for the wayward people of God. In chapter 9, the first verse—I didn't read this one earlier, but Jeremiah says, “Oh, that my head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tears! I would weep day and night for the slain of my people.”

When I read those words, I can't help but think of the heart of our Savior, who we read about in Luke chapter 19 as He beheld the city and wept over it. The word weep there is a word that means "to sob," "to wail aloud," "a loud expression of grief, especially in mourning for the dead."

Ladies, this is not a time for playing games. It's not a time for partying. This is a time to wail, to mourn, to grieve over what is happening in our land, in our homes, in our churches. This is not just someone else's problem. We've got to make it our problem.

Nancy: Well, as I listen to that message that I gave ten years ago, just after the fateful massacre there at Columbine High School, I remember how heavy my heart was and how burdened to see God raise up women who would get on their knees and who would cry out to God to have mercy in our land.

As you're aware, the shootings there on the Columbine campus that day proved to be just the beginning of a rash of violence throughout this land. Our burden through the ministry of Revive Our Hearts is to call women today to prayer, to earnestness, to fervency, to wake up and to turn from merriment to mourning, to cry out to God on behalf of our land, on behalf of our families and our churches, starting with repentance in our own hearts.

We'll play the conclusion of that message tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts, but I want you to know how very grateful I am for the many partners who undergird this ministry and make it possible with their prayers and their financial support. We desperately need revival in our land.

That's the message we're trying to proclaim day after day through the various outreaches of Revive Our Hearts. So when you pray for me and for this ministry, and when you support the ministry financially, you're enabling us to continue extending this call for the wailing women. It's a message that not many people understand, but if you understand it and it's on your heart, can I just encourage you to consider making a contribution to Revive Our Hearts to help us keep getting that message out?

When you send a donation of any amount today, we'll send you a CD of this message. I know it's not great audio, but I trust God will use it to spark a fresh burden in your heart. If you'd like to make a donation, call us at 1-800-569-5959 and request a copy of Call for the Wailing Women. Or you can log online and let us know that you'd like that CD, and you'd like to make a donation when you go to ReviveOurHeartsRadio.com.

O Lord, how I pray that on this tenth anniversary of such unspeakable tragedy, You would turn that tragedy—what Satan meant for evil—that You would turn it into a season of repentance and ultimately great blessing in our nation, that You would turn the hearts of Your people and then turn the heart of this nation to You, for You are our only hope. We pray it in Jesus' name, amen.

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

All Scriptures are from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.

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