2002-04-23 - Scotland and Revival
Psalm 66:18 If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear.
It was interesting to read some of your responses to the Monday devotional on revival. I am amazed how many people from Nashville responded to my comment in that devotional. I was also amazed how many of you wrote and indicated how you pray for revival and how your church prays for revival. In fact, just to encourage those of you who do pray for revival I thought I would spent today on a revival in Scotland, and Wednesday on the Great Awakening, which was most noted in America. Seeing how God has worked amazingly in the past should only encourage us to continue to pray for revival in our day and age.
A question came up regarding the Vineyard movement in Canada and the "Brownsville Revival" movement in Florida. There was also a Christian college campus revival of sorts about seven years ago. You are free to disagree with me, but I don't see these as true revivals for several reasons. They were all limited in scope and sphere and revivals are historically not tied to denominations or local manifestations. I hope to show that today in some manner.
Typically revivals last from between one to five years and then fizzle out. One exception that proves this rule is the revival in Scotland which began under John Knox and lasted close to 50 years. It has been stated that the entire nation was, "converted by lump." In other words, the revival hit the nation when unexpected and like a wallop on the head transformed the lives of a nation. It has been likened to a rushing wind. Under the preaching of Robert Bruce it is reported that five hundred souls a day were being converted to Christ. One pastor stated that, "I have seen more than one thousand persons, all at once, lifting up their hands, and the tears falling down their eyes."
If you are of a Pentecostal background you might say, "So what, I see that every week." Remember who we are talking about here. The Scots were known for decency, order, and structure in worship. It is quite extraordinary to think of that many violating, together, every rule of worship they had been taught. It really does take a work of the Spirit to move in hearts in such a manner. We all have propensities that are various, but to think of the nation of Scotland, 400 years ago, lifting up hands and crying in worship is quite extraordinary.
Revival on a national scale is unusual. However, we all know what individual or personal revival is like as Christians. Just as conversion to Christ occurs individually, so also, it seems that revival occurs almost nationally as it touches each person affected by the Holy Spirit. Revival diverts one's attention from temporal good to an absorbing passion after holiness, the Kingdom of Christ, and seeking heavenly mindedness. The eternal takes over the temporal aspects of our lives. When real revival hits a community the bars close, vice is vanquished, and people are found praying with their families.
It is hard to open my eyes and think that revival is possible. However, revival is not something we can create or something that we work up. Revival comes as the Spirit brings and we must seek to, as I like to say, "Pray it down." All we can do is seek the Spirit and hope that He brings us the blessing of revival in our lifetimes. It would be an amazing thing to experience. There are parts of me which think that the experience of going through a true revival in my lifetime would be to experience heaven on earth. So let us seek to pray down revival by seeking the Lord to bring it to us.
Soli Deo Gloria,