Revive Me, Oh Lord!!

     The writer of Psalm 119 was no spiritual novice.  He was very acquainted with his God.  He was acquainted with spirituality, worship, and the study of the law.  He had “tasted and seen” that the Lord, He is good.  And yet, he prayed for personal revival.

     He writes, “Revive me, according to Your Word.” (Psalm 119:25); “Revive me in Your Way.” (119:37); “Revive me in Your Loving-kindness.” (119:88); “Revive me in Your Righteousness.” ((119:40); “Revive me, Oh Lord, according to your Word.”; “Revive me, according to Your Justice.” (119:144); “Revive me, according to Your Word.” (119:151); “Revive me, according to Your Judgments (119:156) and finally, “Revive me, according to your Loving-kindness.” (119:159). Eight times during this Psalm, he prays for personal revival according to the things of God that he has previously experienced.  And yet, he ends the Psalm with his current spiritual condition, “I have gone astray like a lost sheep!  Seek your servant.” (119:176) He is well aware that he has had a falling away from God.  He is acutely aware that he is powerless over his current condition and he seeks God for personal revival.

The Hebrew word used repeatedly in this Psalm is the word hyj pronounced “chaya.”  It basic meaning is “Life is the ability to exercise all one’s vital power to the fullest; death is the opposite.  The verb “haya”  ‘to live’ involves the ability to have life somewhere on the scale between the fullest enjoyment of all the powers of one’s being, with health and prosperity on the one hand and descent into trouble, sickness, and death on the other.” (1)  The Psalmist recognizes that life apart from God is death and that intimate communion with God according to the kingdom principles of promise, justice, loving-kindness, and righteousness is what it means “to live.”  This knowledge can only come by experience.  True personal revival presupposes a falling away.

Charles Finney once wrote, “A revival of true Christianity presupposes a falling away.  Almost all true Christianity in the world has been produced by revivals, because God has found it necessary to use humanity’s excitability to produce powerful awakenings among them before He can lead them to obey.  People are spiritually sluggish.  So many things lead their minds away from God and oppose the influence of the Gospel that God must arouse excitement in them until the wave rises so high that it sweeps away all obstacles.  Before they will obey God, people must be thoroughly awakened.  Only then will they overcome counteracting forces.  No that excited feeling is spirituality.  It is not.  But it is excited worldly desires, appetites, and feelings that prevent true Christianity.” (2)  Any relationship that involves humans will have revivals and falling aways.  It is somewhat to be expected based upon the human condition.  The enemy would have us believe that since we have fallen away, God has subsequently rejected us.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The fact of the matter is that this particular falling away has positioned us for perhaps the greatest personal revival of all time.  If only we can refrain from judging ourselves, we may be 5 minutes from a great personal awakening.  Perhaps this is the norm of Christianity and should be expected for real spiritual growth.

Endnotes

  1.  Harris, R. Laird; Archer, Gleason L.; Waltke, Bruce; “The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament” Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL, 1980, page 280.
  2. Finney, Charles G., Lectures on Revival,  Bethany House Publishers, Minneapolis, Minn., 1988, page.
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