Revival - A Glimpse at the Back of God - Exodus 33:23.
I've been really enjoying a discussion that has been carrying on between some readers that I respect most highly - namely Sheila, Don and Jul - after I posted some comments on the "Practics of Pioneering", thanks to Sheila! For those whose time is short, the discussion covered how pioneering demands change. Just as revival demands change. The two are linked - and Sheila noted this:
"As to revival, Dan....I'll tell you its getting bashed in my circles. Not by me, but by men (tired men - pastors) who my husband and I love and are in relationship with. "Living from revival to revival with nothing in between"....I've even heard men say, "I've had it with the revivalist mentality." They truly feel that they are DONE with it".
I really and truly understand this. I've only been praying for revival for ten years and already the seed of doubt sometimes crops up; "Will He EVER come?". Don, for me, laid down the challenge and the solution to "hope deferred". He said:
"The challenge is *not* to just dry up till the next revival, like some frog burrowing into the mud, but to stay in the Spirit, moist and supple so the next New Wine won't burst the container".
So with the aid of Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones and some of my other favourite authors, here are some of my thoughts on how we can best balance our desperate hope for revival and that God will come, but marry that with staying in the Spirit and living in Him, continually being filled to overflowing with His Presence. I would contend that one of Dr Lloyd-Jones' most powerful sermons was from his series on Revival - his text being Exodus 33:18-23 - which is, of course, Moses powerful prayer: "Show Me Your Glory!". He said:
"The first thing obviously is Moses' request ... Now this is the thing that really almost staggers one. Moses is still not satisfied. He is not satisfied in spite of all that he has just been receiving. Consider this man Moses who had been up on the mount forty days and forty nights, there in communion with God. He has already had that experience, he has already had the experiences that are recorded in this chapter, where God we are told "spake unto Moses face to face as a man speaketh unto his friend" - a most unusual thing! Yet Moses goes further. He is not satisfied. He does not stop, he goes on and says, "Shew me thy glory". This is what we may very well describe as the daring quality that always comes into great faith".
"Do we know anything about these advancing steps and stages? As we look back across our Christian experience, do we know what it is to rise like this, from step to step, and from platform to platform? Do we know this increasing boldness in the Presence of God, this increasing assurance and the desire for yet more and more? While we thank God as Moses did for all that we have received, do we have this longing for yet something above and beyond this striving, this rising, this scaling the heights as it were?".
"What is the matter with us my friends? We, who like to boast about our superiority over the Old Testament saints, some of us even to the extent of being so foolish as to believe they were not saints at all. How do we compare with them in actual experience?".
"There is no doubt that as we advance in faith and in knowledge and in experience, we shall more and more desire God Himself, and not only and not merely, the things that are given to us by God".
"Christianity is to know God".
"Ah, but says someone, that has only happened to men in the Scriptures (the showing of God's glory). No that is not so. This is something that has gone on happening to God's people who have realised the possibilites and who, throughout the running centuries have sought God Himself. Have you ever read of Jonathan Edwards describing his experienceof it in a forest while he was there kneeling in prayer for about an hour? Have you read of David Brainerd, the great apostle to the Indians, experiencing the glory of God and literally sweating, though it was cold and though it was freezing around him? What was causing the sweating? Oh it was the glory, the character and transcendence of the glory".
"You will often find that you will read of things like this: that men and women in the Presence of this glory and of this Presence have literally fallen to the ground, have fainted".
What is Revival?
"Do you know what a revival is? Well this is a perfect description of it. It is just this glimpse of God, of the glory of God passing by. That is precisely what it is. Just this glimpse of God. The God who is there in the glory and as it were, comes down and pours out His Spirit and ascends again, and we look on and feel, and know that the glory of God is in the midst, and is passing by. It is only a touching of the hem of the garment, as it were, it is but a vision of the Back".
"WE WERE NEVER MEANT TO BE CONTENT WITH A LITTLE". (One of my favourite Dr Lloyd-Jones quotes of all time!).
"Ask Him for it. Climb the steps. Follow the example of Moses. Enter boldly in faith and say to God, "Show me thy glory".
Smooth Stones from Leonard Ravenhill.
"To the question, 'Where is the God of Elijah'? We answer, 'Where He has always been - on the throne!'. But where are the Elijah's of God? we are not men of prayer like he was! One praying man stands as a majority with God! Today God is bypassing men - not because they are too ignorant, but because they are too self-sufficient".
"Revival and evangelism, although closely linked are not to be confounded. Revival is an experience in the church; evangelism is an expression of the Church" - Paul S Rees.
"God never intended His Church to be a refrigerator in which to preserve perishable piety. He intended it to be an incubator in which to hatch out converts" - F. Linicome.
"Power from on high is the supreme need of today" - C G Finney.
"If Christ waited to be anointed before He went to preach, then no young men ought to preach until he too has been anointed by the Holy Ghost" - F B Meyer.
"The sign of Christianity is not a cross but a tongue of fire" - Samuel Chadwick.
"The Church has halted somewhere between Calvary and Pentecost" - J I Brice.
"Revival - the inrush of the Spirit into the body that threatens to become a corpse" - D M Panton.
"A baptism of holiness, a demonstration of godly living is the crying need of our day" - Duncan Campbell.
"A ministry that is college-trained but not Spirit-filled works no miracles" - Samuel Chadwick.
"From the Day of Pentecost, there has not been one great spiritual awakening in any land which has not begun in a union of prayer, though only among two or three; no such outward, upward movment has continue after such prayer meetings declined" - Dr A T Pierson.