The Francis Asbury Society

Fall Revival in the Old Testament

Posted on | October 31, 2017 | Comments Off on Fall Revival in the Old Testament

By Ellen Bullock

EBullock Treasure Lake - webFall revivals have been a longstanding tradition in many evangelical churches. I was pleased to be invited to participate in a five-day fall revival held at the Treasure Lake Church, in DuBois, PA, a non-denominational church of over 300 people that serves the resort-residential community of Treasure Lake and surrounding neighborhoods. Scheduled to preach the final two evenings, I decided to close out the October revival by looking at another October revival described in the book of Nehemiah.

After a 70-year exile in Babylonia, the people had returned and were settling into their homes (Neh 7:73) once again, led by Ezra, the scribe, and Nehemiah, the builder. A Life Application NLT Bible notes succinctly that Nehemiah found not only broken walls but also broken lives. Interestingly, it was on an October 8th that the people gathered together to seek the Lord, with profound effects. There were shouts of “Amen,” hands lifted in praise, tears shed, sincere confession of sin, and an actual change of behavior (Neh 8–9). Revival!

What strikes me particularly about this ancient October revival is what precipitated it. It was simply the Word. After a long famine of the Word, the people themselves asked that the Book of the Law of Moses be brought out and read. With impressive stamina, men and women stood reverently and listened attentively from daybreak until noon for days. Not only was the Book read but it was meaningfully read so as to be understood.

In a lengthy prayer that recalls Israel’s history with YHWH, there is a heartbreaking admission (Neh 9:26): “They put Your law behind their backs” (NIV); “They turned their backs on the Law” (NLT). That could be said of much of American Christianity today, as so many—even whole denominations—have distorted and disrespected, ignored and neglected, and given only the most shallow reading to the Word. It’s a privilege to join with those who faithfully teach and preach the Word of God. As usual, Dr. Dennis Kinlaw says it so well: “The Word is ‘the key to life…the clue to reality. We find Jesus best in His Word'” (This Day with the Master, Mar 29).

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