Nehemiah 9:33 – Yet you have been righteous in all that has come upon us, for you have dealt faithfully and we have acted wickedly.
In the book of Nehemiah, we learn that there was what we could call “dead religion” for 141 years, when the people of God were not meeting together to worship Him. While some tried to rebuild the Temple in that time period, they all failed until Nehemiah, who led the people to miraculously rebuild in 52 days.
After the Temple and the walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt, dynamic, massive revival took place that hadn’t been seen in prior generations, with emotional worship, prayer, repenting, a one-week “Bible camp” (the Feast of Booths), and a six-hour sermon.
As we look at the incredible touch of the Holy Spirit on the people that took place in Nehemiah, accelerating Kingdom ministry, it’s encouraging and faith-building to look at a few other revivals throughout history as follows:
- Jonathan Edwards – Edwards, who began preaching at the age of 19, could be considered America’s greatest theologian. One of the chief leaders of the First Great Awakening (1733-75), overseeing revivals at his church in Northampton, MA, he said there were five marks of true revival: 1) It exalts Jesus Christ 2) It attacks the powers of darkness 3) It exalts the Holy Scriptures 4) It lifts up sound doctrine 5) It promotes love to God and man.
- George Whitefield – Whitefield, a minister from England, was also part of the First Great Awakening and preached more than 350 times in one year, covering 5,000 miles up and down the Atlantic Coast of America. He ultimately preached 18,000 sermons to over 10 million people, planted 150 churches, and preached in open air up to 30,000 people without a microphone. It’s estimated 80 percent of America heard him preach and his farewell sermon at Boston Common was heard by 23,000 people, more than Boston’s entire population at the time.
- D.L. Moody – In the mid to late-1800’s, Moody began preaching at the age of 21, starting with boys who had been kicked out of other Sunday School classes. He was denied church membership and failed his oral doctoral exam, but that didn’t stop him from traveling over 1 million miles and reaching 100+ million people in his lifetime, quite the feat in a time without the Internet. At Chicago’s World’s Fair in 1893, he preached to 130,000 people in a single day.
- College Revivals – Timothy Dwight, one of Jonathan Edwards’ grandsons, became the eighth president of Yale College, and was instrumental in the Second Great Awakening (1776-1810), which happened mostly on and around college campuses. It led to the founding of several well-known colleges, seminaries, and mission societies and church attendance soared during this time.
- Jesus Movement – In the 1960’s and 70’s, an evangelical Christian movement started primarily on the West Coast of the U.S. and spread throughout North America, Europe, and Central America. Amidst the time of the Vietnam War, there was gender confusion, a worldly emphasis on sex and drugs, rebellion, economic collapse, and eastern demonism, and this movement counteracted that by dynamically influencing Christian youth, music, and churches.
The incredible news is that the same God they were honoring and praising in Nehemiah’s day is the same God that was being praised in each of these eras in history and by believers all around the world today, including our own churches!
What do you think it would look like if revival came to your family, church, and community? How can you be praying for this very thing?