Revival in the Rain “So all the men of Judah and Benjamin gathered at Jerusalem...and all the people sat in the open square of the house of God, trembling because of this matter and because of heavy rain.” Ezra 10:9
I don’t know how many people there were, the Bible doesn’t say but it took three days to get the word around that they were to come to the temple in Jerusalem. But there they were, this large contingency of people sitting in the open square in pouring rain trembling, not just because of the rain but because of the issue that brought them there.
What would cause such a scene? Why would such a crowd of people sit outside in pouring rain? What would cause them to tremble? Had foreign invaders attacked them? Was their a severe food shortage? No. One thing produced such willingness. They had come to answer for their sin.
Preposterous, isn't it? I mean, what’s the big deal? We all sin, don’t we? God understands, doesn’t He?
These people had come out of captivity in Babylon about 20 years earlier. God had been very gracious to them. Yet so soon after such a merciful deliverance the people had married pagan wives and the nation’s spiritual heritage was in danger of being corrupted. The people understood the severity of what they’d done.
When Ezra, one of their primary leaders, was informed about what the people and many of the leaders had done he “sat down astonished” (vs. 3). He prayed, “O my God, I am too ashamed to lift up my face to You” (vs. 6). He continued “confessing, weeping and bowing down” (10:1) and a large assembly of people came to him weeping bitterly. What a scene. They knew they’d done a horrible thing. They were ready to take responsibility for their sin. They were ready to call many others who were ready to do the same and three days later there they were...all sitting in the pouring rain to make things right with their God.
It was revival in the rain. Their godly response to their sin of “shame, astonishment, weeping” is the stuff of revival. And the proof that their repentance was genuine is seen in their obedience. They put away their pagan wives.
I would encourage you to read Ezra 9-10 and put yourself at the scene. Feel the cold rain. Hear the bitter weeping of the people. Look and see them trembling. And consider that this is what revival looks like.
Oh, for such a scene today! Have we not done wickedly? Has not our nation turned its back on God? Does not the church have a cavalier attitude about sin? Have we not sinned grievously against our God?
Could it happen here? Could the day come when we as God’s people would gather in pouring rain trembling over what we’ve done to God? Yes, it can happen. But first we must see that our transgressions have put our nation at great risk just as Israel had put their nation at risk. We must recognize that our sin of apathy and unbelief threatens the well being of our children and our children’s children. Then, we must respond to our sin with the same godly response we saw in Ezra’s day. We need some leaders who will sit down in astonishment over our situation. We need pastors who will identify with the sins of the people and confess, and weep and bow down before God. We need people who will weep bitterly over their sin. And then we must prove the sincerity of our confession by putting away our sin. Then, we will experience the mercy and forgiveness of God and have the joy of knowing that He is smiling over us again! It is our only hope!
What would such scenes be? It would be revival in the rain.