The Need for Revival (1)
Why do the nations rage,
And the people plot a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
And the rulers take counsel together,
Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,
“Let us break Their bonds in pieces
And cast away Their cords from us.” Psalm 2.1-3
To rebel or to submit?
A common complaint – made more emphatic during seasons of political jockeying – is that there isn’t much love in the world. Whether the symptom is incivility, cocooning, churlishness, indifference, greed, name-calling, hoarding, blame-shifting, bullying, or any of a dozen other maladies that seem to be everywhere on the rise, the complaint is the same: “We just need to love one another!”
We would do well to consider why this lack of love is so pervasive in our society. It will not surprise us to learn that Jesus has the diagnosis: “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold” (Matt. 24.12).
The reason why so little love is in evidence in our day is that people are in rebellion against God and His Law (Ps. 2.1-3). And not just secular, unbelieving people. Believers are in rebellion against God and His Law. You might be in rebellion against God and His Law. Instead of yielding their hearts to the Spirit, Who comes to teach and empower us for obedience to God’s Law (Ezek. 36.26, 27), many people, including many believers, prefer to follow the deceitful inclinations of their stone-cold, loveless hearts (Jer. 17.9).
The religious leaders of Jesus’ day prided themselves in being staunch adherents to the Law of God, when in fact, they had substituted for the Law human traditions which gave them power over the people they were supposed to serve, and allowed them to live in relative prosperity amid their Roman captivity (cf. Matt. 15.1-9; 22.23-29).
The people in our generation – including many who identify as Christians – do not want to be under the “bonds” and “cords” of the Law of God. They want to be the captains of their own fate, autonomous, shape-shifting, values-swapping epicenters of moral and ethical decision-making, who prefer to go with the flow – though, as they suspect, the flow is heading over the waterfall – rather than to be anchored by the unchanging, holy and righteous and good Law of God.
The world is in rebellion against God, His Messiah, and His Law. If there ever was a reason to devote ourselves to praying for revival, it is certainly now; and our prayers must certainly include this condition among those for which we seek healing.
God’s answer to rebellion
God has a solution to this chronic and deadly condition, and it has nothing to do with politics: He has appointed His Son as King of the cosmos, and He is giving everything over to Him to revive, restore, retool, repair, and redeploy:
He who sits in the heavens shall laugh;
The Lord shall hold them in derision.
Then He shall speak to them in His wrath,
And distress them in His deep displeasure:
“Yet I have set My King
On My holy hill of Zion.”
“I will declare the decree:
The LORD has said to Me,
You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
Ask of Me, and I will give You
The nations for Your inheritance,
And the ends of the earth for Your possession.” (Ps. 2.4-8)
The way back from our rebellion against God is by submitting to His King, embracing the Good News of His salvation and Kingdom, and returning to “the Law and to the testimonies”, as the prophets of old counseled.
And this is yet another reason both why the world needs revival, and why revival must begin with each of us (2 Chron. 7.14). We are those who have turned from God’s Law, even though we know Jesus commended keeping and teaching that Law as crucial to living in His Kingdom (Matt. 5.17-19). Our failure, as followers of Christ, has encouraged the world to look in places other than God’s Law and Word for its moral and ethical values. And, having thrown off God’s Law – with the encouragement of Lawless Christians – the peoples of the world are now in outright rebellion against Him.
God warns that a day is coming when this rebellion will be put down, and all rebels will perish under His wrath (Ps. 2.10-12). But we do not know when that day is coming. In the meantime, God calls all rebels to “Kiss the Son” and come under His power and authority, that they might once again find a true anchorage in His Word and Law, so that love for God and neighbors may increase on earth as in heaven.
In times of revival, this is precisely what happens.
Praying Psalm 2 for revival
Pray Psalm 2, using it to seek the Lord’s mercy and grace to help the world in its time of need. Pray that people will recognize that their rebellion against God is dangerous and futile. Pray that they will realize they have no power in themselves to heal the blight of lovelessness that has settled on the world. Pray for believers, that they will take up the Law again, and organize their lives and communities around its holy and righteous and good teaching.
Pray that, as a result of meditating in God’s Law day and night (Ps. 1), our love for God and neighbors will grow (Matt. 22.34-40), and our sense of the blessedness of the Gospel will increase, so that we once again take up our mandate to call the world to see Jesus, exalted in glory and advancing His rule on earth as it is in heaven. Pray for boldness for yourself and your fellow believers. Pray that believers and churches everywhere will be revived, and will get back on track with the task of making all the nations disciples (Ps. 2.8; Matt. 28.18-20).
Only God can put down this rebellion that is rending the fabric of humanity and gouging deep cliffs of tribalism throughout the world. We serve the Lord in fear, rejoice with trembling, and kiss the Son Who died and rose again as we come to God in repentance and faith, seeking His blessing for all who put their trust in Him, and calling on Him to revive us again.
1. Why does neglect of or indifference to God’s Law lead to a lack of love?
2. Why is the only solution to mankind’s rebellion against God a spiritual rather than a political one?
3. What is your own relationship to the Law of God? Are you part of the problem of lovelessness, or part of the solution? Explain.
Next Steps – Transformation. Begin using Psalm 2 to pray for revival. Set up a schedule to meditate on the Ten Commandments as part of your daily time with the Lord. Listen as His Law guides you in showing greater love to Him and to your neighbors.
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.