The Nature of Revival

From Josiah we see what revival looks like.

Friday, March 11, 2016
Last week we noted the preconditions for revival, as Josiah moved to put these in place in 2 Kings 22. Central to these were the repairing the house of God and rediscovering the Law of God. These steps led to humility (Josiah, leading by example), seeking the Lord in prayer and His Word, and taking steps to call the people to revival and renewal.

God honored these first steps, and a great revival of true faith broke out among the people of God. This revival began in a renewing of the covenant with God. It was expressed in purity of worship, and it issued in profound changes in Judean society.

Revival led to reformation, so that not only the spiritual condition of the people was affected, but their moral, social, and cultural lives as well.

King Josiah read the Book of the Covenant to all of the people (v. 1-4), a stark contrast to what the people experienced under the reigns of Manasseh and his son Amon. He turned loose the power of God’s Word to do the work of conviction and revival which only God can do. Josiah’s bold initiative should encourage us today to persevere in our prayers for our leaders, that they will sow the Word of God into the hearts of His people, where it can do its convicting and converting work.

Then Josiah led the people to renew their covenant with God, which involved public acts of repentance, devotion, sacrifice, and celebration.

Next, Josiah led the people to return purity to their worship. Vessels used in the worship of Baal, Asherah and the host of heaven, were removed from the temple, and their priests were deposed. Houses of cult prostitutes and high places were destroyed and defiled to deter later use. 

The Valley of the Son of Hinnom, where children were sacrificed to Molech, was destroyed and defiled. This had the dual effect of removing idolatrous worship and eradicating a societal practice that was repugnant to God.

But the reforms were not directed only towards the foreign idolatry or the common people. Long accepted syncretistic idols, put in place by prior kings, were removed and destroyed. This included altars of Ahaz, of Manasseh, and high places built by Solomon himself. Consider some of godly kings who had preceded Josiah to put the extent of these reforms in perspective – Asa, Hezekiah, and Uzziah. 

We cannot expect revival to continue or to have outward effects in our lives and times unless the very fountainhead of revival – true and pure worship of God – is restored among us.

As we see in the case of Josiah, revival is not simply a brief period of heightened spiritual interest or focus. Revival changes lives, and changed lives change culture and society. We pray for revival because we want to see the power of God at work among us, willing and doing the good pleasure of the Lord.

Next week we will finish looking at the revival under Josiah. Meanwhile, let us pray that God will raise up many Josiahs in His Church throughout the world.

Ralph Lehman, Men’s Prayer Coordinator
T. M. Moore, Principal

Men, let’s call other men to join us in seeking the Lord for revival. Our booklet, If Men Will Pray, provides a 30-day challenge for you and other men to improve your prayers according to the teaching of Paul in 1 Timothy 2.1-8. Order several copies from our bookstore (click here). Then use them to enlist the men you know in this growing movement of Men at Prayer.

Download “Men of the Church: A Solemn Call” for free by
clicking this link. Make copies for all the men you know, and urge them to join you in this movement of Men at Prayer. Order your copy of Restore Us! and start your own regular Revival Prayer Group.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Ralph Lehman

Ralph Lehman, JD, CFA, CAIA, is an investment adviser after having spent nine years in a discipleship-focused ministry, Worldwide Discipleship Association, where his ministry focused primarily on college students and inner-city work. Ralph resides in Knoxville, TN with his wife Charlotte and he is a Board member for the Fellowship of the Ailbe.

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