As we seek God’s face for revival in our church and in the body of Christ in our region it is important for us to understand what we’re asking for and what God requires of us. George Otis of the Sentinel Group recently gave this definition of revival: It is God settling down and making His habitation among us. Duncan Campbell of the Hebrides Revival in the late 1950’s said, “Revival is a community saturated with God.” In a similar way George Otis of the Sentinel Group said, “Revival is when a community becomes a habitation of the Lord’s presence.” Well, if revival is God choosing to come, settle down and dwell among His people then the question before us is what must we do to prepare a place for Him to dwell?
Six years ago when my desire for revival became the burden of my heart I asked the Lord, “How good do we have to be for you to come and visit us?” The answer came to my mind immediately. We could never be “good enough”. Then why would God come? What are the conditions He is expecting? What attracts the presence of the Lord? I believe the Lord is attracted to hearts that readily admit not being good enough. The condition needed from us to see revival is humility and brokenness. There is a picture of such humility and brokenness in 1 Samuel 7:2-6.
First, the people lamented after the Lord. “So it was that the ark remained in Kirjath Jearim a long time; it was there twenty years. And all the house of Israel lamented after the LORD.”
To lament is to express grief and sorrow about something. The road to revival begins when God’s people begin to realize that God is not pleased; and they begin to grieve over the fact that He is not dwelling among them.
Secondly, the Lord calls His people to repentance. “Then Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, “If you return to the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths from among you, and prepare your hearts for the LORD, and serve Him only; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines.” So the children of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtoreths and served the LORD only.
All idols must be taken away. We must turn full face to the Lord as we turn away from all the things that have taken His rightful place in our lives. The proof of genuine repentance is seen in that the people put away their idols and served the Lord only.
Thirdly, the people humbly admitted their sin and submitted to God’s correction. “And Samuel said, “Gather all Israel to Mizpah, and I will pray to the LORD for you.” So they gathered together at Mizpah, drew water, and poured it out before the LORD. And they fasted that day, and said there, “We have sinned against the LORD.” And Samuel judged the children of Israel at Mizpah.
We find a place of brokenness before the Lord when we realize that we’ve grieved Him with our sin; that He is not pleased to dwell among us and manifest His presence and power. This awareness leads us to seek His face to know what we’ve done to grieve Him that we might repent of it and turn fully to Him.
May the Lord continue to lead us till we find a place of true brokenness before Him. Then, He will be comfortable to make us a habitation for His divine presence.