I want revival.
I look at the condition of the world, our nation, our communities, our churches, our families—and I know that we need revival. Who but the Lord can rescue us from the mess we have gotten ourselves into by our hedonism, materialism, moral relativism, and lack of regard for God and one another?
But revival didn’t come the first time I prayed for it. Or the second. Or the third.
Actually, I know people who pleaded with God for revival for years already. And they are, for the most part, still waiting.
So I didn’t know whether to be encouraged or dismayed a few days ago when I read something I’d never noticed before in 1 Samuel. I probably don’t need to remind you of the context. It’s the same tired, old story of God’s people—both then and now. He blessed them, they became complacent, He let them go their own way. When that resulted in unpleasant repercussions, they became miserable, scared, and at last, wistful: they remembered they needed Him.
By the time 1 Samuel 7 opens, the people are desperately aware of their need for God. Verse 2 says, “For 20 years the entire nation of Israel mournfully sought the LORD” (GWT).
I’ve been chewing on that verse ever since I read it. Here are things that stood out to me.
They sought the Lord for 20 years. That’s a long time to stay with one prayer request! But they didn’t give up. They didn’t resign to “It is what it is.” They hung in there and persevered.
The entire nation sought the Lord. How many million people was that? I don’t know, but “the entire nation” is a lot of people. A lot of unity. A lot of intergenerational collaboration. How did that even happen? These days, there are a few people praying for revival—some who, bless them, have been doing it for years, maybe even decades. But we’re a long way away from an entire nation seeking the Lord. May it be, Jesus! Turn the entire nation’s hearts toward You!
They mournfully sought the LORD. Their attitude, it seems, was humble and contrite. They sought God, didn’t demand from Him. Unlike their ancestors, they don’t seem to have grumbled against God—they meekly sought and waited on Him.
They sought the LORD. Even though He seemed far away and silent, and, to their credit, Him alone. Although they weren’t always that single-hearted, during this time period, it seems that they didn’t seek outside remedies. It was God they needed—not trendy religions, popular psychology, political platforms, retirement accounts, or mindless diversions. They needed the Lord—and it was Him they earnestly, mournfully, persistently, unitedly sought.
As I pondered all this, the question that came to me was How badly do you want it? I do want revival! I know that we need God to come. We need His deliverance, His conviction, His forgiveness, His healing, His renewal. We need Him. We need His holy presence. So, 1 Samuel 7:2 calls me to a deeper level of prayer. If this is what I want—and I do—then I think He’s calling me, us, to really go after it, to really go after Him. Anyone with me on this?