A man, a heart, a spark
As Christians in an ever-darkening world, we beg for revival. We want to see our family, our church and our community on fire for the Lord and witness the power of the Holy Spirit falling upon us. People desire it deeply enough to schedule “revivals”- I’ve seen the flyers and had leaflets pressed into my hand by earnest believers.
It doesn’t appear that God works that way, though. He’s got His timeframe and man’s desires and petitions often receive that least-loved response from God: “ “. Silence. Historical revivals such as The Great Awakening (1734-1743), The Second Great Awakening (1800-1840), The Businessman’s Revival (1857), The Post-WWII Revival, the Jesus Movement (late 1960’s-early 1970’s) and more- all serve to show us the truth that men cannot make an appointment for revival but one man’s heart for God’s righteousness can be the spark that kindles a firestorm.
King Hezekiah had a heart like that. He reigned alongside his father, Ahaz the Idolator, for about 15 years and when Ahaz died in 715 BC, Hezekiah wasted no time in beginning the restoration of the house of the Lord. Hezekiah’s heart was on fire for the Lord so he called for the priests and Levites, delivered a sermon of exhortation and restoration, then gave them their marching orders. Inspired and aflame, they sanctified themselves, cleaned the house of the Lord and restored the altar and all the articles.
Next, Hezekiah gathered the city leaders and made an offering at the altar. After that, the entire city became ablaze for the Lord to the extent that there weren’t enough priests to process the offering (2 Chronicles 29:34) God brought this revival through a single man- Hezekiah, one man with a passionate heart filled with the words of the Lord, and the revival swept through Jerusalem so quickly that Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced (2 Chronicles 29:36).
Later, this renewed passion for the Lord and rededication to His commandments went out from Jerusalem and messengers were sent to every city throughout Judah and Israel (2 Chronicles 30:1-9) to celebrate a second Passover. A SECOND Passover was needed because there weren’t sufficient priests who had consecrated themselves in time for the first Passover to meet the needs of all the people. When the people of Judah and Israel gathered at Jerusalem, the people became incensed that, even though the house of the Lord had been restored, Ahaz’s pagan altars had been left standing throughout Jerusalem. 2 Chronicles 30:14 describes how the people, inspired by their passion for God, tore down the altars and threw them into the river.
As revival came to Jerusalem, it also left. Upon Hezekiah’s death, Manasseh assumed the throne and guided Judah into darkness once again. But that’s the nature of revivals because that’s the nature of man. Great churches and cathedrals all across Europe stand empty or visited only by tourists or the very pious. Even worse, huge churches in the USA are packed shoulder-to-shoulder with people who want to hear that repentance is unnecessary- and they joyously receive sermons that tell them just that.
Ten thousand people packed into a beautiful new church stadium, clamoring to hear sweet words to comfort them in their sin is not a revival. One broken person receiving Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior is a revival, or at least it’s a start.
Revival is like a bonfire; it starts with a spark that kicks off another. A few tiny sparks together make heat enough to start a small flame. The small flame- will it end like the Welsh Revival of 1904 that brought thousands to the cross of Christ but eventually burned out, leaving only historical markers in front of empty churches to tell of the souls saved? Or might it begin the revival that leads to the fullness of the Gentiles which Paul wrote of in Romans 11:25?
Revival begins in one person’s heart but it needs to spread. If you’re not the first spark you might be the second, or tenth, or five hundredth, or seven thousandth. You are a spark when you are filled with the Holy Spirit and on fire for Jesus Christ. Burn boldly for Him.
One person. One heart. One spark.
Your brother in Christ,