Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the sons of Israel assembled with fasting, in sackcloth and with dirt upon them. The descendants of Israel separated themselves from all foreigners, and stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers. –Nehemiah 9:1-2
Many “prophets” of the western Church are “prophesying” that revival is coming and a billion souls will be saved. Some even say revival is here. Yet, the first sign of every true revival is sadly missing. What is that sign? Brokenness over personal and corporate sin.
Nehemiah 9 contains the longest recorded prayer in Scripture. The wall had been rebuilt around Jerusalem in 444 BC. On the eighth day of the Feast of Tabernacles there was a holy assembly where the Law of God was read for a fourth of the day (Neh 9:3). Upon hearing the Law of God the previous seven days, the people were broken over their sin of intermarrying with the Gentiles around them. They separated from those wives and came weeping in brokenness and repentance before the LORD God for HOURS! According to Nehemiah 9:4 the leaders, “cried with a loud voice to the LORD their God before the entire assembly. No one was looking at their sundial.
This is true revival–when God’s leaders and God’s people come corporately weeping, broken, and crying out for forgiveness before the Holy LORD God for the shipwreck they have made of their lives.
I saw this recently in Juba, South Sudan. Several students began weeping uncontrollably and cried out to the LORD for cleansing and forgiveness for their sins. Some of the men went to their brothers in tears begging for forgiveness. That is a true sign of the work of the Holy Spirit.
Do you see that in your church? When was the last time you wept over your own sins, broken before the Lord? Most churches no longer have a regular corporate prayer meetings because they devolved into “organ recitals.” Many churches no longer have a time of repentance in their worship services because “we don’t have time for that.”
Since repentance and brokenness over sin is a gift of the Holy Spirit (2 Tim 2:25), what are we to do? Leonard Ravenhill stated, “the only reason we don’t have revival is because we are willing to live without it.” In other words, the status quo is quite acceptable. I have settled for that status quo. So let’s ask the LORD to make us weary of the status quo. Ask Him to give us an intolerable burden for Him and the gift of brokenness.
Ask our Father to search your own heart for hidden sins and beg Him for the gift of brokenness and repentance. Pray through Nehemiah 9 and and ask the One who brought revival in Nehemiah’s time to do it again in the church leaders and congregation where you worship. He delights to answer that prayer.
“Oh LORD God, please do it again!” And begin with me.