God spoke through his prophet Jeremiah, to his people. His message was simple: “Return to me.” To the very end, he called them to return and repent. As a good shepherd, he called to his wayward sheep. And as a potter with the clay, he patiently and persistently applied pressure on Judah, in order to make them a vessel of honor. But they refused God’s call, and judgment was rendered through a 70-year Babylonian captivity.
In chapters six and seven of 2 Chronicles, upon the dedication of King Solomon’s temple, the Lord reminded Israel that if because of their sin he brought judgment upon them, or if they had been carried into captivity because of their wickedness, there was still hope. “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
While the primary interpretation of this passage is for the nation of Israel, its application is ripe for today’s church. Israel was to declare God’s glory to the nations. But they were in need of revival themselves. So it is with the church in America. If the church is to influence America, she must first be influenced by the Holy Spirit. A national revival must come. We find the first two keys to national revival in verse 14.
Key #1 – The condition: It is such a little word. God begins with “if.” Revival is not a certainty. It is not an unconditional promise. There is no magical formula for revival. There is only a Biblical formula. Revival must come on God’s terms.
Key #2 – The company: God’s people. Revival will never begin in the White House, but in God’s house. We do well to pray for the lost and our national leaders. But the President of the United States could go on national television and announce he is committing himself to Jesus Christ, goes to church every day, and gives his entire salary to the church. Tom Brady, Kobe Bryant, and every other well-known athlete could share a radical, personal conversion story. None of this brings revival. Revival will only come to America when the church wants it – desperately. Until then, we can long for revival and even pray for revival. But until God’s people are desperate, revival will not come.