Believers around the world have been hoping for, praying for, and prophesying revival for decades. It seems that every couple of years someone or some group declares a revival only to have it fizzle out in a few weeks or months. “Ok, maybe it wasn’t an actual revival,” they say. “But lots of people came to the Lord.” That’s wonderful and personal revival can and does happen.
The truth is that since 2020 there has been a 13% drop in church attendance among Gen X and a 30% drop among Gen Z. Add to that the blatant heresies of denominations that support gay marriage, transgendersism, and abortion, and it makes sense that research shows only 6-9% of professing Christians in America maintain a biblical world view. This is understandable given that only 37% of all Christian pastors have a biblical worldview themselves. Gal 1:8-9 Of course this begs the question; how do the researchers define a Biblical worldview?
Seven criteria of belief were measured.
1. A Biblically orthodox understanding of God’s existence and nature.
2. Acknowledgement of being a sinner in need of a saviour.
3. Jesus is the only way to salvation.
4. Absolute moral truth exists; God is the basis of all truth.
5. The Bible is the true and reliable words of God.
6. Success is defined as consistent obedience to God.
7. Life’s purpose is to know, love, and serve God with all your heart, mind, strength, and soul.
Still what is revival?
The closest we get to an actual biblical description of revival is found in the little book of Jonah. The mass repentance and salvations of Assyrians in Ninevah remain unmatched today. Billy Graham called it “the greatest revival the world has ever known”. Revivals like Azuza Street, Brownsville, and The Toronto Blessing were but drops in the bucket in comparison.
Unfortunately, one hundred fifty years after its collective repentance and subsequent reprieve as a result of Jonah’s obedience, Nineveh was back in the biblical judgment news.
While Nahum was clear that “The LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him.” Nah 1:7 like any true prophet he was also clear that God isn’t playing games and “reserves wrath for His enemies.” Nah 1:2
Still the question remains; who are His enemies?
Nahum is clear in his rebuke and declaration of God’s judgment. Nineveh had become a nation of many races and was sustained by greed. Substance abuse was rampant. Nah 1:9-10 There was violence in the streets, leaders plotted against the Lord and looting abounded in all its forms. Nah 2:9
But looting was not limited to rioters in the streets. Nahum describes Nineveh’s leaders as “swarming locusts, and grasshoppers”. Nahum 3:17 Grasshoppers and locusts pillage and never produce. They disappear in the light of the sun.
As in the days of Jeremiah who rebuked the lying prophets for their ear-tickling false positivity and their claims that God said things that He never did, Jer 14:13-15, Jer 23:9-40, Jer 28 the people of Nineveh had become complacent and oppositional towards God. Perhaps like so many today, they thought they were immune to His judgments. To which Nahum replies,
While his meaning may have been euphemious and not quite as literal as my interpretation today, Nahum declares,
“Your people (men ) have become women” the gates of your land are open to your enemies.” Nah 3:13
“Your shepherds slumber, O king of Assyria; Your nobles rest in the dust. Your people are scattered on the mountains, And no one gathers them.” Nah 3:18
While the fantasy continues to fall apart there remains a lot of ear-tickling teachers 2 Tim 4:3-4 and prophets assuring us that America shall prosper and abound. They minister to individual self-esteem at the expense of salvation and stoke the flames of personal significance instead of apprehending the fear of our God who is a consuming fire. Heb 12:29
Everyone loves and promotes them. Everyone speaks well of them. Luke 6:26
The Bible is the most positive and hopeful message mankind has ever seen. Yet it is a conditional one. Its time frame is eternal. It demands we abandon our ways and become set apart (Holy). This process begins with individual and collective repentance from sin. 2 Chron 7:14 Apart from this, no message, no word, no action on our part means anything. The idea that the God who does not change Mal 3:6, who is the same today, yesterday and forever, Heb 13:8 would not respond today as He has in the past is incoherent and does not correspond with experiential or biblical reality.
If you compare the state of the world today with the likeness of Israel back then; what do you see? Do you see a pleased God declaring contemporary interpretations of Jeremiah 29:11 over an American society at large or do you see Isaiah 5:20 and Jeremiah 14, 23, and 28? I see a rebellious nation deserving of God’s discipline which is the true context of Jeremiah 29:11. I see that God’s mercy and truth can not be divorced from His righteousness and justice. Psalms 89:14 His judgments on earth are an aspect of His mercy in eternity.
If that idea stumps you then consider that God’s chosen, covenant people were captured 44 times, and besieged 23 times. Jerusalem was destroyed twice and its people were sent into captivity. And yet He will restore them. Rom 11:25-36 Anyone claiming that Old Testament principles do not apply to us today should understand Paul’s words in Rom 11:22 and Heb 12.
Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.
Given that God’s character, plan, and purpose do not change and Ecc 1:9 tells us that history repeats; why would anyone believe that it won’t repeat today? “Surely God would not repeat what He did to Sodom and Gomorrah!” you say. Gen 19, Mat 10:15.
What does true love look like in the context of today?
What kind of messages do people really need?
Nineveh did not repent and was subsequently overrun and destroyed in Nahum’s day.
If revival is what we desire, then perhaps consider this. The first great American revival known as the First Great Awakening began in Enfield Connecticut in 1741 when. Johnathan Edwards preached a sermon titled Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God.
2 Chronicles 7:14, in the spirit of Jesus’ words in Luke 13:1-5 and the Psalmist in Psalms 138:2 remains the most, if not the only relevant starting point for evangelism that might help rekindle the flames of revival in America today.
If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.