So far we’ve looked at how our pride, prayerlessness and (misplaced) priorities delay revival. Now we reflect on how our presumption is also an enemy of revival.
The dictionary defines presumption as arrogance, pride, audacity, impudence, impertinence, irreverent, insolence, overconfidence, forwardness, immodesty, or notions of self-sufficiency. Colloquially you could describe it as pushiness, cheekiness, nerve, or gall.
When you act with presumption, convinced that you’re right, don’t be surprised if you fall flat on your face! But humility leads to wisdom. Proverbs 11:2 TPT
2 Chronicles 7:14 finally tells that God’s people are “to turn from their wicked ways” – that is forsake their sins and embrace holiness. The problem with Israel was that her people were repeatedly guilty of presuming upon the grace and goodness of the Lord.
Almost as soon as the Israelites had exited Egypt they sadly turned to the worship of what was visible when they got tired of having to wait on the invisible God. Later God raised up many prophets, like Elijah, Amos, and Hosea to expose and warn against any kind of idolatry. Sometimes these warnings worked – for a short while – but frequently the Israelites kept on blending their worship of Yahweh with that of worthless idols. They presumed that by possessing the Ark of the Covenant they had God’s “talisman” which made them invincible in battle – but the Philistines captured it, routing Israel’s army. Because of idolatry, the Northern Kingdom fell to Assyria. Yet Judah continued to flagrantly breach the Covenant presuming that because they had the Temple, God’s House, it would be safe from mighty Babylon – how utterly arrogant and wrong they were.
Sin is the one great obstacle to revival – sin in our hearts and lives, sin which is unjudged, unconfessed, and therefore unforgiven. Scripture tells us in a most unambiguous fashion:
“You can’t whitewash your sins and get by with it; you find mercy by admitting and leaving them.” Proverbs 28:13 MSG
Seek the Lord while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near.
Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong.
Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously.“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. Isaiah 55:6-8 NLT
Just as Israel presumed so much on the grace and goodness of the Lord so the same trend is evident throughout much of the history of His church and right up to this present day. Many have said, “I am saved and some of the things I do, don’t matter!” Yes emphatically, they do! Sin keeps us from benefitting from the presence of the Lord –
Look! Listen! God’s arm is not amputated—he can still save. God’s ears are not stopped up—he can still hear. There’s nothing wrong with God; the wrong is in you. Your wrongheaded lives caused the split between you and God. Your sins got between you so that he doesn’t hear. Isaiah 59:1-2 MSG
Our sins can close the Lord’s ears to our prayers
If I regard sin and baseness in my heart [that is, if I know it is there and do nothing about it], The Lord will not hear [me]. Psalm 66:18 AMP
Now consider the hypocrisy and sin in our country filled with fleeting pleasures, immorality, and arrogance – for example, the normalisation and promotion of gambling (or some other addictive behaviours) in the media and by sport; how notions of rampant autonomy and “so called rights” increasingly determines how unplanned, unwanted or “imperfect” pregnancies are dealt with; the epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases; or the seeming lack of integrity of individuals in high public office. Could these be some of the reasons why revival delays here and now? Then very carefully ponder the state of the church – are we failing to experience revival because we are just as guilty as the world? What we’re doing, thinking, or expressing is dragging the precious name of Jesus through the gutter. Jesus cannot and will not bless this mess we’re in.
Yes, we are saved by grace, but this is never a license to sin and keep on sinning. Our many excuses for and quick rationalisation of our sinful behaviour won’t cut any ice. Our repeated failure to repent before the Lord, to confess our sin and receive His forgiveness inevitably means that Jesus will never bless us with revival until we change our ways and do. Put simply we must, individually and corporately, come clean about our sins, before He can bless us.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 ESV
Therefore, confess your sins to one another [your false steps, your offenses], and pray for one another, that you may be healed and restored. The heartfelt and persistent prayer of a righteous man (believer) can accomplish much [when put into action and made effective by God—it is dynamic and can have tremendous power]. James 15:6 AMP
We need revival but it won’t come to a presumptuous people. It will only come if we are honest about our sin (our spiritual adultery and idolatry), confess and forsake it and turn to God with all our hearts. We must cease conformity to the world around us – we are to be other-worldly, radically different. We have to deal with the inward pollution in our lives – including our jealousy, envy, pride, criticism, gossip, and resentment. Finally, we must radically deal with our hardness and lack of concern – we should be deeply worried and ashamed about the state of our churches and the low level of our spiritual life of our nation. Have we a deep burden and concern for revival?
Reflect and Pray
The Gospel is a fact; therefore tell it simply.
The Gospel is a joyful fact; therefore tell it cheerfully.
The Gospel is an entrusted fact; therefore tell it faithfully.
The Gospel is a fact of infinite moment; therefore tell earnestly.
The Gospel is a fact of infinite love; therefore tell it feelingly.
The Gospel is a fact of difficult comprehension to many; therefore tell it with illustration.
The Gospel is a fact about a Person; therefore preach Christ. Amen