Revive Me! (6)
Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things,
And revive me in Your way.
Establish Your word to Your servant,
Who is devoted to fearing You.
Turn away my reproach which I dread,
For Your judgments are good.
Behold, I long for Your precepts;
Revive me in Your righteousness. Psalm 119.37-40
God promises that revival comes to those who seek it: “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (Jer. 33.3). They will seek revival who understand the glorious promise of it, and who desire to attain that promise, even though they have never known it before.
That which we earnestly desire, we diligently seek. The psalms we will be considering in future installments of this study hold out “great and mighty things” which few, if any, of us in this generation have ever known before. The challenge to us, as we read and pray these psalms, will be to let God’s Word form our desires, so that we believe and anticipate the blessings of revival, and seek them – and God Who gives them – with all our hearts: “Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jer. 33.12, 13).
The question before us is thus twofold: Do we really understand the promise of revival? And are we committed to seeking that promise in the ways God prescribes?
Let’s look at the first of these questions – in a strictly introductory manner – to see what Psalm 119 – and other places in Scripture – teaches concerning the promise of revival. The other psalms we will consider in this study will greatly enlarge on this outline. But for now, let’s just glimpse the broad parameters – and blessed hope – of the promise of revival as Psalm 119 guides us.
Increased love for God
Revival begins in a greater devotion to God, nurtured through prayer and penance, leading us to know and love Him more. As we have seen, our focus is too much on the things of this earth – our work, our problems, our fears, and our fleeting desires. Our souls drag the dust much of the time (Ps. 119.25); and, when we recognize this, we must allow the Spirit of God to convince us that this is not what God intends. He has higher joys and more lasting values in store for us, where Christ is seated at His right hand (Ps. 16.11).
As Psalm 119 makes clear throughout, God calls us to know Him, to delight in Him and His Word (Ps. 119.70, 103, 127; cf. Pss. 37.4; 40.8), and to know fullness of joy and holy pleasures forevermore, by abiding in Him (Ps. 119.111). Everything in this dusty world militates against our knowing the beauty, goodness, and truth of God with increasing joy and satisfaction; but we must determine that nothing will prevent us from pursuing increased knowledge of the Lord (Phil. 3.7-14).
When God begins to revive us, He turns our hearts and minds to Him, to contemplate His beauty and wait on His goodness (Ps. 27.4, 8-14). As our focus becomes more consistently on the things that are above, where Christ is seated in heavenly places (Col. 3.1-3), then our desires will turn from the fleeting matters of this earthly existence to the eternal priorities and pleasures of our exalted Savior and King (Ps. 119.37). The way of Christ will unfold more clearly before us, and we will delight to walk in it, worshiping the Lord with all our soul and strength, with renewed vigor, constancy, and joy (Ps. 119.164, 175).
As God opens spiritual vistas, spreads before us horizons of glory and splendor, leads us more deeply into eternal verities, and draws us more constantly into His Presence, our desire will grow to know these great and mighty things, these heavenly joys, more fully and consistently here on earth, in our lives, and with the people and in the places where we live, move, and have our being (Matt. 6.10).
The heavenly Kingdom on earth
As God revives and enlarges our love for Him, and we participate more consistently and fully in His eternal Presence and glory, we will embrace the work of proclamation – by life and word – which brings the glorious rule of King Jesus to earth as it is in heaven.
Our hunger for God’s Word will increase (Jer. 15.16), and we will devote ourselves to spending more and better time in it (Ps. 119.82, 97-99). As we do, our understanding of the Word will grow (Ps. 119.104). As our understanding grows, our love for the Scriptures will increase (Ps. 119.88, 97), leading to greater delight in feasting on the Word (Ps. 119.143), more expansive understanding of its mysteries, greater love for Jesus, Who is revealed there (Jn. 5.39), and more power to obey the Word in every area of our lives (Ps. 119.105, 106, 112).
Through this renewed commitment to and delight in God’s Word, we will come to know more of His redeeming and empowering grace (Ps. 119.88, 154, 159). Our souls will fill with God’s love for us, and we will gladly give them over – heart, mind, and conscience – to the greater realization of Christ’s image in us (2 Cor. 3.12-18). Imagine the effects of this on our outlook, countenance, demeanor, relationships, and work, as well as on our trials, setbacks, and struggles! With Jesus increasing in us, our old, dust-coated way of life will decrease, and the light of glory will sparkle and shine increasingly in and through us (1 Cor. 10.31). We will light up for Jesus, and He will light up the dark world through us, as His Kingdom advances and the darkness flees His growing Presence in us (1 Jn. 2.8).
As grace increase in us, and Jesus takes our thoughts, affections, values, and priorities captive to His will (2 Cor. 10.3-5), we will experience more of the life of righteousness and good works for which we have been redeemed (Ps. 119.40; Eph. 2.8-10). We will throw off chains of fear and rejoice through every hampering affliction (Ps. 119.50, 107), as the power of God’s Word yields profit unto every good work in our lives (2 Tim. 3.15-17). We will walk at liberty in the Holy Spirit (Ps. 119.45; Gal. 5.16-23); we will proclaim the Word of God to everyone around us (Ps. 119.46); we will sing the praises of God’s Word (Ps. 119.54); we will learn good judgment and whatever knowledge of God we need for serving Him (Ps. 119.66); and we will bring the gladness of the Lord to everyone who knows Him (Ps. 119.74).
Imagine, if you can, what great and mighty things can happen when not just you, but all the people of God in this generation begin to know His reviving power!
Can you say with the writer of Psalm 119 that your soul faints to know this experience of revival (Ps. 119.81)? Seeing the promise of revival, can you be content with your spiritual status quo? Are you beginning to see the great depth and breadth of Kingdom transformation the Word of God can bring when revival begins (Ps. 119.96)?
If so, then you are ready to begin the work of seeking the Lord for revival, using His Word to guide you into great and mighty things you have never known before.
1. How would you explain the promise of revival to another believer?
2. Why is seeking God, and increasing in Him, the necessary first phase of any revival? Can revival be sustained apart from this?
3. How would your life be different if revival began to occur in you today?
Next Steps – Preparation: Add today’s verses to those from Psalm 119 that you have begun praying already.
T. M. Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.