Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Tide Versus Wind



2 Chronicles 7:14

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves,
and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways;
then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

For some time now, this verse has been coming up
again and again in my Bible reading and
studies. We recently attended Revival Meetings
in a neighbouring community
and were blessed with many coming and
hearing the Word of God boldly preached.

The Webster Dictionary defines Revival as:
the act or instance of reviving: the state of being revived:
a renewed attention to or interest in something.

Revival is something that has to start in each individual
heart and life. In the life of the Christian, that means,
becoming revived. Remembering our 'first love'.
In the book of Revelation, we see that the church
of Ephesus was rebuked for leaving their first love.

Revelation 2:4
Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee,
because thou hast left thy first love.

We all know that at times, our Christian walk
goes through periods of growth and we experience
peace and joy abundantly, and at other times, we seem
to stagnate and become sluggish. But our growth
is dependent on us and our willingness to grow.

If revival is a 'renewed attention or interest in something',
then turning our backs on the things that distract us,
renewing our interest in the things of God
and getting serious in our service and our walk with
the Lord will help bring the spiritual renewal that we all need.

As we look at the verse in 2 Chronicles, and we put it into context,
Solomon had just finished building the 'house of the Lord' and the Lord came
to him by night and told him that He had heard his prayer and had chosen
'this place …....for an house of sacrifice'. He then gave Solomon conditions
to follow in order for the blessing to come.

What I find interesting, is that it's so simple to understand
the steps to follow in this verse.

Firstly is our part:

Humble ourselves
Pray
Seek God's face
Turn (repent) from sin

Then God will:

Hear
Forgive
Heal

We have the human side, our part to be done,
then we have the divine aspect, God's part.
We do our part, He does His. And the same is true of prayer. The divine side is the promise to answer and the human side is to ask and believe.

Here in this verse, God lays out our part clearly
then He tells us what He will do for us.
He tells us to PRAY. But notice that humility comes first.
Humble themselves and pray.....”

It's hard to pray in the right spirit if there is pride in your heart.
We pray, we seek God's face, we ask for answers,
we ask Him to search our hearts and cleanse us
from any sin lurking there, we turn from our sin and God hears.
He hears, He forgives and He heals.

I read an interesting story in my daily studies recently
written by J. Sidlow Baxter.

Some years ago I spent a holiday near the fringe of a lonely bay on the rugged coast of north east England. Toward sunset one day I went out along by the shore to watch the incoming tide, and became much impressed by the power of the wind as it smote the water with its mighty breath.

The weather that day had been fitful, with quickly alternating rainy gusts down from the Cheviot Hills, which sloped away inland,
and become a determined gale,
sweeping down full in the face of the incoming tide.

As I walked along the inmost reach of the beach, partly sheltered from the wind, I could see, just a little way out, where the
wind struck the water; and it seemed as
though the waves were forced back by the mighty impact. I learned from a coastman afterwards, that the wind had
actually retarded the tide to some degree that night.

As I looked out across that wind-smitten tide, I found myself comparing it with the present moral and spiritual situation. On the one hand, wherever we go, we seem to see indications that a spiritual revival might break forth at any time, and people seem to be vaguely longing for it; but on the other hand the forces of godlessness seem more rampant and aggressive than ever.

The tides of God are flowing in- tides of blessing and glorious revival. The tides of God are breaking on the shores of our national life, and there could be a flood-tide of cleansing and salvation.
But there are strong winds of evil beating back the tide!

O that the cleansing tide might flood in ! What can we do? We must PRAY!”

How amazing that the tide could be influenced so greatly
by the wind. The winds of evil are strong.
But oh what God could do with a nation
that would come to Him in humility and pray
and seek his face and repent.

If we as Christians
could really get serious about seeing the lost saved
and having a good Godly witness and testimony
in our own communities, then the tides of God
could flow in and break on our shores.

God is waiting for us as Christians,
to wake up, stand up, throw off our mediocre,
half-hearted, lukewarm Christianity
and start radiating some heat to a Godless world.
Show them that we have something worth having.

Oh that we wouldn't become content
going about our lives, no different to anyone else,
with our lights under a bushel.

I pray that we would be ready to give an answer.
I pray that people would see our light shine
and want a reason for the hope we have.

1 Peter 3:15
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts:
and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh
you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

Pray for God to light a fire under you
so hot that you can't help but shout about it!

We have the good news!
We have the Saviour.
We have the Redeemer.
We have the Creator.
We've been washed in His blood.
We are His children.

What is there NOT to shout about?