Week Four: Spiritual Revival
History and Scripture show us that repentance and obedience lead to revival, and build to a crescendo as God’s people come together. This is true for individuals, communities, nations, and eventually all creation.
The people of Jerusalem in Nehemiah’s time came to know God’s Word, His commands, and the transformation they bring. This led to repentance and a revival of worship, rejuvenating their lives. When we follow our Lord and move forward out of obedience it will lead to revival in us and the surrounding community. We want to have freedom to bless our community with the Lord's revival!
Scripture Reading: Nehemiah 8
The people hear the Law, read by Ezra the scribe and are cut to the heart. It is more than something emotional that happened to them in the moment. We see that they hunger for more, a deeper understanding of God’s will, and a deeper commitment to Him, and to one another. They came together for the Feast of Booths and to take part in a week of scripture study and prayer. They encouraged one another in this, so they would have full participation. The people were encouraged in joy. What have you taken joy in lately? How has the Lord moved your heart and spirit to be joyful in Him? Take time today to thank Him for the joy He brings to you in His word, in life circumstance, in His Holy Spirit moving within you and those you know. Close by praying Psalm 29.
Scripture Reading: Nehemiah 9
Joy begets repentance. The people respond to their feasting and joy with fasting and repentance. The Law, while a joy to learn, points out to them the ways they have not been following God and their need for repentance. This is not a mournful or sorrowful repentance but one of joy, celebrating God’s call upon their lives and His gracious willingness to forgive. They come to know on a deeper level the essence of His love for them, a love that will forgive again and again. They take heart in this and are strengthened and encouraged! We began three weeks ago in confession and repentance, to have clean hearts before God as we began this adventure together. If you are still in need of knowing God’s forgiveness, confess you sins to him and like the people in Nehemiah’s day, recommit your life to Him. Be open to how and where He leads, and respond in obedience. Remember, He has the best plan for your life. Close by praying Psalm 30 in joy!
Scripture Reading: Mark 10:46-52
“[T]hen the eyes of the blind shall be opened” - Isaiah 35:5
This was a prophetic witness to the work of Jesus Christ. We hear it repeatedly in the Book of Isaiah, as well as the other prophetic books of the Old Testament. In Mark’s gospel account, we see tension throughout the narrative of the blind being given sight, (physical sight and spiritual sight into the person of Jesus) and those who should see clearly, (the Pharisees, scribes, Romans and even at times the disciples), being spiritually blind to who Jesus is and what He came to accomplish for us. Blind Bartimaeus comes to Jesus in the right posture saying, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Interestingly, he is both humble and exuberant at once. He came to Jesus in a posture of repentance, but was excitedly certain of the outcome. Jesus had the power to forgive, set him free of his sin, and heal his blindness, giving him not only physical sight, but the assurance that Jesus was his savior and Lord. Bartimaeus, like Nehemiah saw the goodness of God. How do we see His goodness in our lives today? Close with prayer in Psalm 118.
Scripture Reading: Nehemiah 10
“[W]e will obey God’s laws and observe all his commandments. We will not allow ourselves or our children to be polluted by the surrounding culture, we will obey Sabbath rest, we will give generously for the service of the house of God” - Nehemiah 10:29-32
The people are sealed in covenant with God. God’s people renewed in revival, now commit to their side of the covenant. They know the blessings in store for them by keeping the covenant, and the consequences for unfaithfulness. They also want to continue to realize the joy they have come to know in walking with the Lord. A central component of all this is their offering of their means. In their time it meant crops, grain, wine, oil, and livestock as well as money. What is our offering to the Lord? How can we best be faithful? Pray for God’s guidance and conviction of what he is calling you to offer. Pray for the obedience to follow where he leads. Close with prayer in Psalm 145.
Scripture Reading: Ephesians 2:11–3:12, 4:1-7
“Grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift” - Ephesians 4:7
The grace of God was upon the people of Nehemiah’s day. The covenant He offered was once again a covenant of grace; a gift they did not deserve, but one He desired to give them in order to reconnect with His people in His love. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul explains with New Testament perspective the gift of grace and how now it is Jesus who is humanity’s covenant keeper. He took the consequences of our unfaithfulness so we could enjoy the grace of God. He calls us to enjoy this together as the Body of Christ on earth, built on Jesus, our one true cornerstone. There is a sense in which Paul is sharing with us that we together as a Body of believers are so much more than a collection of individuals. When we come together in the name of Christ, committed to walk as His Body, there is nothing His Church cannot accomplish through Him. That means leaving behind our individual ambitions, likes, and dislikes, and yielding to Christ speaking to and through His Church, that all may know the hope that comes in Him through His Church. Are we ready to be that Church, one in Christ, interdependent with each other, rather than a collection of independents? Pray for the Lord’s clarity as we continue to move forward. Close by praying Psalm 133.