As the darkness closes in and Bible prophecy takes clearer shape every day, there are many Christians who continue to yearn and pray for revival. They remind the Lord of His promise to Israel in 2 Chronicles 7:14, a verse we’re all familiar with:
“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
As Christians we appropriate this prayer for ourselves, although the original context was for Israel. Perhaps God in His mercy does indeed extend this grace He speaks of in this verse to us.
However, in quoting this verse, we forget the if-then nature of so many declarations God has made. When God’s people didn’t obey Him and do as He commanded, there were consequences. If they did as He said, blessings resulted; if they didn’t obey, they received His curses.
Look at what God told the Israelites in the next breath in 2 Chronicles 14:19-22:
“But if you turn aside and forsake my statutes and my commandments that I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will pluck you up from my land that I have given you, and this house that I have consecrated for my name, I will cast out of my sight, and I will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples. And at this house, which was exalted, everyone passing by will be astonished and say, ‘Why has the Lord done thus to this land and to this house?’ Then they will say, ‘Because they abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods and worshiped them and served them. Therefore he has brought all this disaster on them.'”
In other words, if Israel worshiped other gods by turning away from Yahweh, the One true God, He would uproot them and cast them out of the land. This, of course, is exactly what occurred.
The question then becomes: If verse 7 applies to us, shouldn’t verses 19-22 also pertain to Christians and/or America today? The promise God made to Israel was for the nation, i.e., for at least a majority of the people. Obviously, the circumstances in America are different from those of Israel. The nation of Israel was a theocracy. America was never intended as that. Thus, another question: If the church is the supplicant to God for His mercy on this nation, which it must be, how many believers must be truly faithful to God for Him to hear and relent from His judgment upon us? Five people? Five hundred? Five thousand? Fifty thousand? Is there a tipping point of believers for God to act to save an entire nation of 330 Million people?
Is revival in this nation even possible when an entire branch of our government has given itself over to the worship and admonition of other gods? In the recent opening of the 117th Session of the House of Representatives, two astounding events happened.
- The House passed an order regarding their Code of Conduct that every Member MUST use inclusive language. No longer can anyone in that august chamber use the terms father, mother, son, daughter, etc. Those in the chamber are required to use gender-neutral language or be censored, or worse. In other words, God’s design for humanity has been thrown into the trash by the House of Representatives.
- Even worse, if that’s possible, when Representative Emmanuel Cleaver, a former pastor with a Master of Divinity degree, opened the Session with a prayer, he made it known exactly where God stands in this so-called representative body. Here is what he said:
“We ask in the name of the monotheistic God, Brahma, and god known by many names by many different faiths. [Are you ready…?] Amen and awoman.”
In one breath, this apostate minister declared that the House of Representatives is at best syncretistic, i.e., they have merged various faiths into whatever they follow, or at worst, they simply revere any god but God Most High. Then there’s his closing of the prayer. What was that?
I wonder how this sits with God in His oversight of this nation, especially in light of a passage like 2 Chronicles 14:19-22 quoted above?
Beyond this, I think there’s another issue at play in our praying for revival, one that I’ve never heard anyone else voice.
In God’s Word, we have His declaration that Tribulation will come upon this earth. It will happen, whether sooner or later. I happen to believe it will be sooner – not all that long after Jesus Christ returns in the clouds and removes His Bride, i.e., true believers in the church – soon! With us gone, the Restrainer – the Holy Spirit – will restrain no more. God’s hammer will descend, even as greater lawlessness and chaos arise.
In the lead-up to the Rapture and the Tribulation, it is necessary for all systems and hardened hearts to be ready when the time arrives. What we’re currently seeing and experiencing with mask mandates, lockdowns, vaccinations necessary to fly or even gather in public, technological developments that astound us every day, the soon to come persecution of Christians in America, etc – these are necessary for when the Man with a Plan comes on the scene. He’ll be able to operate immediately from Day 1 and do what he desires. Each day that goes by between now and the Rapture will get progressively worse.
Now, let’s think about what our praying for revival at this time really does.
What if God does a Nineveh for America, and somehow there’s a four-year or a forty-year reprieve? Good for us. In that case, we’ve dodged the bullet. God would have to slow down the progression of lawlessness. Things might be bad, but they certainly couldn’t be as bad if the Tribulation was right around the corner.
So, our generation wipes the sweat from its collective brow, and the world doesn’t devolve into chaos as quickly as it might. Perhaps rather than being Raptured, we pass on relatively quietly.
All is well, right?
Not exactly. Remember that God will bring the Tribulation.
As a result, what does this mean for our children and grandchildren? With the Tribulation delayed, that means they get to face the worst of the development of all that will go bad as the time for that awful event nears. Revival for us delays the inevitable that will come upon our descendants.
If you think about it that way, our prayer for revival may seem a tad bit selfish, don’t you think? Rather than our having to buckle down and truly seek God by strengthening our faith, we can relax with the reprieve. We can leave that arduous task of seeking God at a deeper level for our kids. Let them deal with it and all the consequences that’ll arise by the delay we prayed for.
Maybe we ought to rethink the revival narrative. Perhaps we should ask God instead to simply strengthen us, to soften our hearts against the bitterness that’s a natural outgrowth of what’s happening in this nation, to enable us to brace ourselves against the tsunami of hate that is coming our way. Maybe we should ask the Lord to keep our hearts from being troubled by this world, to enable us to hold loosely to everything around us, and to help us keep our eyes on Him regardless of our circumstances.
I wonder if simply prayers that lift up the Name of Jesus might glorify Him more than our seeking something that He may have no intention of providing?
Gary W. Ritter is a lay pastor and Bible teacher. He is also a prolific author. His Whirlwind Series comprises three books: Sow the Wind, Reap the Whirlwind, and There Is A Time. These books are contained in the collected volume of the Whirlwind Omnibus. Gary has been given the Christian Redemptive Fiction award for two novels: The Tattooed Cat and Alien Revelation. He has collaborated with Terry James on a soon-to-be-released third book, The Minion Protocols, in James’ Second Coming Chronicles series. Gary has also recently released a four-volume set of Awaken Bible Study Notes that comment verse-by-verse through Scripture from a Biblical prophetic lens. Gary’s intent in all his writings is to bring a strong Christian witness to what people read.
You can reach him at his website: www.GaryRitter.com or his Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/gritter3390. You can also see his video Bible teachings on his Gary Ritter YouTube channel – look for the fish symbol.