First Things First

Without this, no revival.

Now it came to pass the same night that the LORD said to him, “Take your father’s young bull, the second bull of seven years old, and tear down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the wooden image that isbeside it; and build an altar to the LORD your God on top of this rock in the proper arrangement, and take the second bull and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the image which you shall cut down.” So Gideon took ten men from among his servants and did as the LORD had said to him. But because he feared his father’s household and the men of the city too much to do it by day, he did it by night. Judges 6.25-27

The story is well known how Gideon led his small band, with their torches and trumpets, in a surprise attack against the Midianites and Amalekites, resulting in a rout of Israel’s oppressors. Their amazing victory over their vastly superior enemies convinced many of the power and presence of God with Gideon.

But before God used Gideon to bring deliverance from Israel’s enemies, He first cleared the way for revival in the land by setting aside the pagan altar where many compromised Israelites worshiped. And to do this, He used this same Gideon, who was “the least of his father’s household and whose clan was the weakest of Manasseh.” 

The people of Israel were in need of revival. They had been doing evil in the sight of the Lord for so long that they didn’t consider their compromise with pagan religions to be of any concern. Tolerance, relevance, contemporaneity and all that, you know.

As a result, God gave His people into the hand of Midian for seven years. In spite of prolonged oppression, Israel refused to relinquish the idolatry of their neighbors, and continued to assimilate their views and practices.

Before God could lead His people to victory over their enemies, He would have to lead them to victory over their false deities. Repentance, then revival and renewal. First things first. 

Our situation today is similar. God’s people are assimilating more and more into a culture that rejects His Word. We have become accustomed to and comfortable with being relevant, tolerant, and contemporary, even if it means we are no longer a people holy unto the Lord. Our pleas for revival will go unheeded until we stand up for God’s Word, shake off the trappings of our secular and materialistic age, and embrace God’s truth over and against the idols of our age. 

The Church has a rich history of coming to revival in just this way. And when revival has come, it has brought with it a sincere desire to see people come to saving faith in Christ.

Where revival is concerned, it’s always first things first. Let us learn from Gideon, and from the Church’s past, and apply ourselves to repentance as urgently as we do seeking the Lord for revival.

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

Visit the website to watch the brief video on using our booklet, If Men Will Pray, to begin enlisting other men for a deeper, more satisfying, and more powerful life of prayer (click here).

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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