“But the high places were not taken away out of Israel: nevertheless the heart of Asa was perfect all his days”. 2 Chronicles 15:17
No matter what way we try to dress it up, partial obedience is disobedience. In 1 Kings 15:11 we are told that “Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, as did David his father”. However this does not tell us the complete story, as Oswald Chambers puts it, “Asa was incomplete in his external obedience; he was right in the main but not entirely right”. Asa was willing to trust God with the biggest challenge he faced, Zerah the Ethiopian (2 Chronicles 14:11) but turned to man when faced with a lesser problem, Baasha king of Israel. And as our verse for the weak tells us, Asa also failed to remove the high places from Israel. There are two questions for us to ask ourselves here; i) are we prepared to trust God with all areas of our life, both the big and small? ii) do we want to fully obey our heavenly Father or just obey Him on the things that we don’t find too much of an effort? Are there still “high places” in our life that need to be torn down?
If we fail to let go of these high places then we will never experience the full power of the Holy Spirit working through us. The personal revival we all long for will not truly get under way until our will has been broken to God’s will. If we really want to have intimacy and revival in our own walk with the Lord then any idols we have in our life must go, and not just some of them, all of them. We sang “I Surrender All” this morning, is this true or just partially true? Scripture provides us with the template for revival and it is always preceded by brokenness and repentance. Jacob Prasch puts it like this, “revivals do not begin by building up, revivals begin by tearing down”. Think of Ninevah, before revival there came brokenness and repentance (Jonah 3:4-10).
Josiah provides us with an even more detailed account of how revival is brought about. In fulfilling the prophecy of 1 Kings 13:2, Josiah “took away all the abominations out of all the countries that pertained to the children of Israel, and made all that were present in Israel to serve, even to serve the LORD their God” (2 Chronicles 34:33). However he did not stop there. The primary reason why Judah and Israel had gone astray in the first place is because they had departed from God’s Word. In 2 Kings 22:8 we read that Hilkiah the high priest “found the book of the law in the house of the LORD”. When Shaphan the scribe read the book to Josiah his response was to rent his clothes such was his contrition. When the high places are torn down and their rubble swept away, then and only then is the foundation in place for the Word of God to take effect. If we are going to see revival today, personal or outward, it will follow this model.
The “church” today is tireless in coming up with ways of bringing about revival. Countless books and alleged “movements of the Spirit” are printed and contrived in order to bring about a “harvest for the Lord”. However there is a reason why Toronto, Alpha, Purpose-Driven Life, emerging church and “seeker friendly” movements have failed and will continue to fail, quite simply they are not Scriptural. If God is not in the work then the work is not of God and it is destined for failure. True revival will only come about if it is modelled on Scripture, its seal of authenticity will be brokenness and repentance followed by a return to the Word of God.
Brothers and sisters this model for revival is as much for us as it is for seeing lost souls being brought to the Lord. We will be able to go deeper with our heavenly Father if we surrender our will to His will whilst feeding daily on His Word, this may not be easy but it will be worth it. Underpinning this desire for deeper repentance and fellowship with God must be fervent prayer (James 5:16). Let us not be like Asa but hand the reigns of our life over to the Lord Jesus Christ completely, trusting and obeying Him in all things for His glory.