Humility: The First Step Towards Revival
In the book of Second Chronicles we find a wonderful prescription for revival. God tells Israel, any time bad things happen “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” We need to understand the setting for this passage before we go any further together.
God spoke these words to Solomon just after the dedication of the Temple. God filled the house with His glory and promised to attach His name to it as a place that represented His presence and His glory forever. Understand, Solomon built the Temple but it was not his idea, nor were they his plans. The vision for the Temple belonged to his dad, King David. David saw the Temple finished in his head, right down to the weight of the furniture and the shape of the utensils to be used in it. All this was recorded and given to Solomon as a blueprint. It took an incredible amount of courage and perseverance for Solomon to finish the Temple, but it also took a good amount of humility. Not once was he allowed the freedom to deviate from his dad’s plans.
This incredible building that he had just dedicated and taken seven years to build was finally complete. As he stepped back and reflected on the accomplishment the Lord gave the King this word about restoration. God knew restoration would be needed. In that moment He could see the exile and the return. He understood the weight of the first coming of Jesus and saw Him on the cross. In that moment when God said “If you turn aside from following me…I will cut off Israel and I will cast out this house”, He knew that all of these things would happen. Yet He still offered the invitation for return. If all of this falls apart and you want to come back to me, this is what you do first: humble yourselves.
Humility is not a secondary value for us. Humility recognizes two things: first, these blessings that we enjoy are ours in large part due to the dedication of the generations before us. They were the creators, the builders and the achievers. We are most definitely standing on their shoulders in the life we enjoy. We must constantly keep this before us if we are to be humble. We are not the architects or the builders of Rome.
Second, in order for humility to be something that we can embrace, we must recognize our sin. This is not a call for everyone to confess murder. I’m not suggesting you are an awful person. I am saying that you and I are not God. In order for God to begin His powerful work of revival among us our minds have to be right. That means we have to fess up. Sin is a part of the human’s DNA. It has been twisted into us in the womb since the Garden of Eden. It is the part of us that naturally rebels against God and His invitation for us to embrace grace. Our natural response is “Forgiven? What do we need forgiveness for? We haven’t done anything wrong!”
I’ve discovered in my own life that this sin of rebellion runs much deeper than I would expect or imagine. Many times, as I pray and listen to the Lord, I experience Him exposing a deep root of rebellion. It may be pride, which runs very deep, or it may be a lesser sin like selfishness or bitterness. Whatever the case, in these times of exposure I can either embrace grace and confess this sin God has revealed or I can ignore God’s revelation and go my own way. There is no way for us to ignore us sin and go with God. It takes a good amount of humility to recognize sin that we did not know was present and walk away from it. Do you see why humility is a key part of inviting revival?
In these times of preparation I cannot encourage you enough to embrace humility. Take the time to open your heart before the Lord and the Church. Trust God’s skillful hand. The sin He exposes will always be something that must come out. He is not a rude, hurried surgeon. He will remove your roots of rebellion as gently as possible. It will still hurt but the end result is freedom!
Please take the time this week to enter God’s presence. Read His Word with care. Approach His throne in prayer with reverence and gratitude for Jesus’ sacrifice. Worship Him in view of His holiness and the incredible invitation He makes to broken sinners like us to join Him in Heaven’s work. Make no mistake, the work of holiness is the work of humility. Let’s take this first step together and see what God will do next!