Make Ready For Revival
By Richard Owen Roberts
The following is edited from a message given at the Heart-Cry for Revival Conference in April 2013 at The Cove, Asheville, North Carolina U.S.A. Used by permission.
We were asked earlier, “What are the prospects of the Congress calling the nation to a solemn assembly?” We do not really have any hope in the Congress or the Senate. But do you have any hope in yourself? I have been preaching for more than 65 years and have never yet succeeded in bringing a revival to pass. I surely have no hope in myself. I look at the other speakers, whom I respect and honor and admire, but I do not have any hope in them either. I do not have any hope in the church. But I remember well the words of the psalmist, “Turn us again, O God, and cause Thy face to shine and we shall be saved” (Psa. 80:3, KJV). The hope was never in us. It is crystal clear that God can do what we cannot. Oh we believe that, of course, but I doubt that we believe it to the level that we ought.
Let’s go directly to Psalm 80 and look at it with the great hope, “Turn us again, O God, and cause Thy face to shine and we shall be saved.”
The Opening Petition (vv. 1-3)
Now notice how this particular psalm begins: “Oh, give ear, Shepherd of Israel…” (v. 1). When would one ask God to listen? Well, clearly at the time when there is reason to think He is not doing so. Have you faced the reality that we are living at a time when God is by and large not listening? This is surely one of the reasons why revival is so desperately needed. So, “Oh, give ear, Shepherd of Israel….”
The psalm continues, “Thou who dost lead Joseph like a flock.” Do you have the impression the church is being led like a flock? These wild innovations that have appeared over the last several years do not in any way indicate any knowledge of God whatsoever, let alone divine leadership. Because God is not leading us, we have invented ways to lead ourselves that make it look as if He is. We have created lousy substitutes for the reality of a God who is with us, going before us, leading us like a flock.
Notice now these words: “Thou who art enthroned above the cherubim, shine forth!” (v. 1). Now again, when would you ask God to shine forth? Would it not be at the time when He was not doing so?
Consider the very language here about the Lord being enthroned above the cherubim. You remember that in those days when indeed God was in that tabernacle in the wilderness and then in the temple itself, the great high priest was to go into the holy of holies once a year to make sacrifice both for his sins and the sins of the people. It was a dangerous thing to do because in that holy place the presence of God shined so greatly no man could endure it. Therefore, they first put in a smudge pot in order to obscure the presence of God. And before the high priest entered to fulfill his duties, they put a cord around his ankle so that if he offended God and was struck down, they did not have to go in to pull his body out, but could draw his dead body out by the cord. “Thou who art enthroned above the cherubim, shine forth!” – this psalm was written at a time when God was turning a deaf ear to the prayer of His people and withholding His glory from His people’s midst.
The psalm goes on, “Stir up Thy power, and come to save us!” (v. 2). You would have to be literally out of your mind to think that God is doing His best for the American church. Indeed, what it looks like is God is saying to the American church, “Since you are not willing to do things My way, I will let you do things your way and see how you like it.” And we are very clever and immensely resourceful. We have been able to deceive the majority of the people into thinking that God is with us. We keep announcing that He is, even though we do not have any evidence of it, and the people believe us because we are so good at it. But when the church is as foul as the world, when the prayer meeting is all but gone, when true radical transformation is close to nonexistent, we have reason to think God is not stirring up His strength and coming to save. Read More…