Advent – IV

Isaiah 57:15

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

Isaiah 57:15 is a powerful revival Scripture!

     For thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eter-
     nity, whose name is Holy; “I dwell in the high and holy 
     place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, 
     to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the 
     heart of the contrite ones.”

This, and many other Scriptures concerning revival, were read, voiced, prayed, and shared during the revival that occurred on the Outer Hebrides Islands off the coast of Scotland in the early 1950’s.

In the last Gem, a prayer group had gathered, and John, the blacksmith, had just prayed a powerful prayer challenging God, saying, “You promised to pour water on the thirsty and floods on the dry ground and, God, You are not doing it! …God, I now challenge You to fulfill Your covenant engagement! Revival had been ongoing on the Isle of Lewis for over two years, greatly affecting thousands, enlivening them for Christ! But the village of Arnol refused to submit to God’s power…and John was righteously upset! Then it happened (as related by evangelist Duncan Campbell)…

The house shook. A jug on a sideboard fell onto the floor and broke….In Acts chapter 4…they prayed and the place was shaken. We left the house at 20 minutes afer two in the morning. What did I see? The whole community was alive. Men carrying chairs, women carrying stools and asking, “Is there room for us in the churches?” And the Arnol revival broke out…I don’t believe there was a single house in the village that wasn’t shaken by God. I went into another farmhouse – I was thirsty, I was tired, I needed some-thing to drink – and I found nine women in the kitchen crying to God for mercy – nine of them! The power of God was sweeping through!

The drinking house was closed…and it has never been opened since. I was back in Arnol some time ago and an old man pointed at this house with its windows boarded up, and he said, ‘Mr. Campbell, do you see that house over there? That was the drinking house of the past. Do you know that last week at our prayer meeting 14 of the men who drank there were praying men?’ Now people,” says Campbell, “That’s revival! That’s God at work!

God came in such a powerful Presence upon the outer Hebrides Islands that sinners fled from their sins at all hours of day and night, calling on God to save them! On their fishing boats, and in the fields, sinners broke down and cried out for mercy, before hearing a single word from any preacher! Ministers had to hold four church services and evening, such was the hunger for God – at 7 PM, 10 PM, midnight, and 3 AM – every day! Often the church was packed to the doors, with more souls outside praying in the fields than inside the church. God roused sinners from their beds, others just couldn’t sleep, and went to their knees. Farmers tilling the land habitually stopped at noon to join a two-hour prayer meeting. It was at these daily meetings that they got to know those who had found the Savior the night before.

Campbell tells us, “That continued for over three years, until the whole…island was swept by the mighty power of God. I couldn’t tell you [the total of] how many came to the Lord. [But in my own parish] in one village 122 young people…[aged] 17 and over…found…the Savior during the first day of the revival! Today they are growing like flowers in the garden of God, there is not a single backslider among them.

He concludes with these thoughts: “At least 75% of those saved during the revival were born again before they came near a church building, before a word was preached to them. God did the work!…The crying need of the Christian Church today [is] a manifestation of God that moves sinners to cry for mercy before they go near a place of worship!

This is surely the record of an ADVENT – “a coming or arrival,especially as it relates to the arrival of Jesus Christ on the scene! In another Webster’s Dictionary, the definition adds, “the anticipated coming of Christ.It is when the Lord arrives in the Person and power of the Holy Spirit!

There have been many other ‘advents– great movements of God upon His people at times of great need – all around the world and through the course of history! It is a worthwhile undertaking to study the history of revivals.

But know this: All genuine revival is preceded by prayer – a prayerful concern for others who are lost and going to hell, especially for the indifferent and lost among our young people! Yes, the impetus for seeking God may be a calamity, persecution, or a pandemic. But it is more than just the trouble and/or the problems facing us. It must include a holy concern for the souls of people – your soul, my soul, the souls of our beloved family members, friends and neighbors, even strangers! Heaven is real, and so is hell! And eternity is forever!

Let us pray…