Aug 26, 2016 Words of Grace – Left Praying
“Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?
Show us your steadfast love, O LORD, and grant us your salvation.” Psalm 85:6-7
The last verse of Judges is, “In those days, there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” The context of Judges shows us that this verse does not mean that the people overthrew a tyrant and are now free to flourish. It means that the people had thrown off the kingship of their covenant-making God for the folly of their own ways. It means they are in a dark place.
The people of Judges couldn’t work their way out of spiritual lethargy. They couldn’t will their way into spiritual life. They couldn’t find their way back to a better day. They didn’t even want to. They needed God to revive them.
As I sit this morning reflecting on the book of Judges, wondering how we are to be shaped by its message, I am left praying for revival. Particularly, Psalm 85:6 has been my prayer: “Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?”
In the state of spiritual decline only God can revive us. Only God can return us to love for his kingship and willing submission to him. God must give us the inclination toward his word and his will. The fruit of love for others must come from the Spirit.
Judges leaves us praying for revival. I believe that is by design.
Charles Spurgeon, a great pastor and preacher from the nineteenth century, maintained that when God intends to spiritually bless and revive his people it will begin with some of them praying. Since God intends to bless the church, and then people start to pray, it is God who stirs the people to pray.
Could it be that Judges ends the way it does because God intends to stir us to pray? Wouldn’t it be amazing if the dark ending of Judges is really God’s way of producing the cry for revival from his church? It would be just like God to bring light from darkness.
A great way for you and me to end this sermon series from Judges is to begin to pray the prayer for revival in Psalm 85. For how long? Until times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord.
Spend time this weekend reading, and praying, Psalm 85. See you Sunday.