“A revival of true godliness among us is the greatest and most urgent of all our needs.”*
The greatest and urgent need indeed has been the need for revival in every period of sacred history. Be it the Exodus or Josiah’s reformation or the return from captivity, be it the cradle of Bethlehem or the cross at Golgotha or Jerusalem’s empty tomb, be it the outpouring at Pentecost or the launching of the apostolic great missionary journeys, be it the sunrise of the Reformation or the flying of the three angels in the midst of heaven; God’s highway to the kingdom is marked by revival and reformation--revival of God’s Word, prayer for God’s work, and love of God’s people.
Consider the prayer of Habakkuk 3:2: “O Lord, revive your work” (NKJV). When Judah was facing its death throes and Babylon was at Judah’s doors fuming vengeance, the prophet turned to revival as the hope of his people. Habakkuk’s prayer for revival demands an urgent plea for God’s people to accomplish three things.
First, let His people be conscious of the truth, holiness, and sovereignty of the One who revealed Himself on Mount Sinai (vv. 3, 4). Without the transcript of His character becoming the governing norm of human conduct, there can be no revival. Wholeness to God’s grace will lead to holiness of life.
Second, let His people acknowledge God’s creative activity. Let them look to the One who “stood and measured the earth” and before whom the perpetual hills bowed (v. 6), and before whom all life seem speechless and helpless (vv. 12–16). Can such a Creator God be denied, minimized, or compromised within our midst, and we dare expect revival?
Third, let His people embrace and proclaim that God is their ultimate salvation and hope. The fig tree may not blossom; the olive may fail; the fig may dry up; the flocks may be cut off (vv. 17, 18). Satanic forces may let loose every foe at their command. But the power of the Word never wanes. The joy in the Lord shall endure forever. He is our strength. He is our hope. In Him, we shall have revival, renewal, and history’s glorious culmination.
Ted N. C. Wilson, PhD, is the president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Silver Spring, Maryland, United States.
* Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, bk. 1 (Washington, DC: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1958), 121