Spiritual revival on a large scale or as an individual usually follows a pattern. The revival under Judah’s King Hezekiah is typical:
Hezekiah opened the doors of the house of the Lord and repaired them. He brought in the priests and the Levites and gathered them into the square on the east. Then he said to them, “Listen to me, O Levites. Consecrate yourselves now, and consecrate the house of the Lord, the God of your fathers, and carry the uncleanness out from the holy place. For our fathers have been unfaithful and have done evil in the sight of the Lord our God, and have forsaken Him and turned their faces away from the dwelling place of the Lord, and have turned their backs. They have also shut the doors of the porch and put out the lamps, and have not burned incense or offered burnt offerings in the holy place to the God of Israel. (2 Chr 29:3-7)
If we want God to breathe His abundant life into us and into our world, these four steps are a great place to begin:
- Clean house! In Hezekiah’s time, the temple needed a spiritual spring-cleaning. For us the application could be personal or extend to our Christian community. God is pleased when we remove spiritual grime. That includes blatant evil but also unfaithfulness to God.
- Consecrate yourself. The word means to set apart or to make holy, to devote to the Lord. Hezekiah told the levitical priests to consecrate themselves and the temple. Both apply to us; our bodies are a temple of God and we are His royal priesthood. Let’s wholeheartedly recommit our lives to serving God’s purposes.
- Commit to sacrifices, incense, and offerings. The Old Testament rituals were precursors to a new level of relationship with God through Jesus. They represent repentance, worship, prayer, giving, and service. None should be simply a religious ritual; each one is part of our relationship with the Lord. Hezekiah’s priests also relit the lamps. Outside the temple veil, stood a seven-branched lampstand called the menorah. It symbolized God’s greater glory just feet away behind the veil and reminded Israel that He dwelt with them. Let us cherish the lamp of God’s glorious presence above everything else.
- Clear the access to God. Hezekiah’s first step was to fling wide the temple doors, oil the hinges, and repair them. God has made a way to approach Him; we sometimes clutter or neglect it. Unless we take a determined and humble step and return to God, nothing will happen. Unless we assure those who have no relationship with God that He cares for them and is always ready to receive and forgive repentant sinners, our communities will not begin to change.
Let’s prepare the way of the Lord.