Study 8 A BELIEVER’S HEART-CRY FOR REVIVAL
TEN STUDIES IN PSALM 119
by Francis Dixon
Key-verse: “It is time for you to act, O LORD; your law is being broken.” (Psalm 119:126)
It is quite obvious from these words that the psalmist was a very burdened and troubled man. He loved the Lord and wanted to please Him, but he was surrounded by godless and careless people who lived and acted as if God’s laws, and even God Himself, did not exist. David was so affected by this spiritual and moral laxity, that suddenly all the pent-up longings of his heart gushed forth in an urgent heart-cry for revival, a passionate prayer to God Himself to step into the situation and do a mighty work that would turn back the tide of godlessness. How up-to-date this subject is! Indeed, this prayer of David’s is the one prayer above all others that should be in our hearts and on our lips! The greatest need of our time is for God to work in spiritual revival in His Church, and thus to the world around.
We need to remind ourselves that revival is God’s work. Only the sovereign Lord Himself can send revival. Man cannot produce it – “according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will” (Ephesians 1:11). And that is why in Psalm 85:6 we read, “Will you not revive us again?” – with the emphasis on the word “you”. It is also true that revival is the work and power of the Spirit of God manifested in the Church and through the lives of God’s people. God is the Author of revival, but God’s people have a responsibility to do their part and to open channels through which God may pour out His blessing. Notice 2 Chronicles 7:14, which reads, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves…” Only God can send revival, but it begins in the hearts and lives of God’s people and through their obedience to Him. So we see there is a divine and a human side to revival. Let’s consider, therefore, two main propositions:-
1. IT IS TIME FOR THE LORD TO WORK
Wherever we look we see the need for revival and for God to come down and work in His Church. There is lukewarm-ness, worldliness, lack of prayer, half-heartedness, lack of clear testimony to the saving truths of the gospel, few conversions, small attendances at worship, and God’s people are weak and powerless. All these indicate that there is great need for revival. Notice that the psalmist asks the Lord to step in and do a great work because “your law is being broken”. In the world, and in the Church too, the declaration of God’s will in His holy Word has been disregarded and flaunted. Look at the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:1-17, and see how every single one of them is being broken, not only by people in the world, but also by the people of God :-
- 1. You shall have no other gods before me.
- 2. You shall not make for yourself an idol.
- 3. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
- 4. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
- 5. Honour your father and your mother.
- 6. You shall not murder.
- 7. You shall not commit adultery.
- 8. You shall not steal.
- 9. You shall not give false testimony.
- 10.You shall not covet.
How we need God to work in our land, our churches and in our hearts. It is time for God to work; and if He does not work in revival, He must work in judgment. What, then, is our part in the matter?
2. IT IS TIME TO WORK FOR THE LORD
What can we and should we do to make it possible for God to do this work?
- 1. Recognition. We must recognise the desperate need that exists, as the psalmist David did when he suddenly cried out for God to step in and work mightily. We must have our eyes open to see the need for revival, and we must be burdened men and women.
- 2. Faith. It is clear that David believed fully in God’s willingness to hear and answer prayer and to send revival. Some do not believe that revival is possible today. The late R.A. Torrey did; he said, “I have a theory, and I believe it is true, that there is not a church, chapel or mission on earth where you cannot have a revival, provided there is a nucleus of faithful people who will hold on to God until it comes.”
- 3. Prayer. Having recognised the need, and believing that God is willing to send revival, we must then present ourselves before Him and ask Him to “work”. All the great revivals of which we have record have been preceded by earnest, believing prayer – sometimes by the prayers of just a few people; always by the prayers of some; and often by the prayers of a great many – look up 2 Chronicles 7:14 again, and compare Psalm 85:6.
- 4. Amendment. That is to say, there must be amendment and adjustment of life, a willingness on our part to bring our lives into complete conformity to God’s will, so that we may be instruments in His hands to use. See verses 127 and 128, where the psalmist tells us two things: first, that his great desire was to love and to do God’s will, and second, that he had a holy hatred of sin and of all that was contrary to God’s will.
This is the way to revival. It is time for the Lord to work, for only the Lord can send revival; but it is also time for us to work for the Lord, because revival must first come in our own hearts, and when it does come the blessing will flow out to the needy world around.