Psalm 85.6 reveals the heart-felt cry of a psalmist wanting to see God work. He has looked back to past victories. In verse 1, he remembers the favor of God. In verse 2, he remembers the forgiveness of God. In the midst of this, the psalmist is grateful as he contemplates the fierceness of God in verse 3.
In verse four, the tone changes. He is no longer remembering the past – he is living in the present. He prays for God to turn his nation back toward God (vs 4), to cease from His anger (vs 5), to revive His people (vs 6), and to grant a display of mercy to a people who do not deserve it (vs 7).
In verse 8, the psalmist is anticipating the future with great faith. He knows God will speak peace to them (vs 8), that He will once again show His glory in the land (vs 9), and that truth, righteousness and peace will be abundant in the land (vs 10-13). This is the context of this song – a pressing need in the nation that causes them to look back to the past, live in the present, and with an eye of faith anticipate the future.
In the middle of all of this is the one pressing question that Christians have asked throughout the ages: “Wilt thou not revive us again…?” The prayer for revival is passionate, genuine, and real. The psalmist already understands the product of revival: “…that thy people may rejoice…” Ultimately, he also understands that this prayer is centered on the Person of revival: “…that thy people may rejoice in thee.”
What does revival look like? What are the signs? It must be more than just a great service in which people leave emotionally charged and fired-up. If it is from the Lord, it surely must last more than just a few hours?
God’s presence seems near
Years ago, I read a simple book entitled God came near. In it, the writer marveled at how the world changed with the incarnation of Christ. Yet, this was not the only time in world history in which God desired to draw near. He has told us that if “we draw nigh to God, He will draw nigh to us.” One clear sign of a spiritual awakening is that there is an increased perception of God’s presence among us.
God’s Spirit works unhindered
In times of revival, God’s Spirit is not being quenched or grieved. His work of conviction, leading believers to repentance is more pronounced, more observed – how can we put into words when the Divine is working to draw us even closer to Him. As more believers confess their sins, that which had been a hindrance to His work is removed.
God’s people desire to be in His house
Have you ever wondered what would happen on one Sunday if every person on a church roster actually showed up? What would it be like if every single believer heard and responded to a sermon on the same Sunday. Today, it is easy to find excuses to miss here and there. We are too busy, we are tired, we don’t feel good, we need a day to ourselves, we can worship at home – you name it. These and many more excuses are offered on a weekly basis. Yet, when revival happens, God’s people hunger for truth and righteousness and cannot wait to get to hear preaching.
God’s people tell others about Christ
When revival fires are kindled in our heart, we cannot help but tell others about Christ. He becomes our focus, our passion – the main priority of our life. We cannot help but to speak about the One that we love, worship, and serve.
Question: Have you ever seen a true revival? I’ve pondered that question recently. I’ve been in great services; I’ve witnessed tremendous blessings; I’ve seen God do amazing things. I’m not sure I have ever seen revival. I’ve read about it. I’ve listened to sermons about it. I’ve prayed for it. Yet, I have not seen it. I still believe revival is possible, so I pray…
Wilt thou not revive us again: that they people may rejoice in thee?