“And the people feared the Lord…”
— Haggai 1:12b (NIV)
Revival is always preceded by a great repentance (2 Chronicles 7:14). As people, or as the people, respond to God’s eternal voice — for righteousness and justice over the land — they’re blessed in the earthly realms by a blessed obedience for their acts and impetus for further obedience — the means of revival, be it personal or corporate or national. In other words, they’ve been given more power to obey for their obedience of repentance.
The obedience to repent brings about God’s Spiritual power to continue to obey.
The people of Haggai’s time were too busy building their own houses and their own lives to build the Lord’s house. They were inwardly focused and it dismayed the Lord that his own people would be so self-centred.
Haggai prophesies to Zerubbabel (the Governor of Judah) and Joshua (the high priest), admonishing them as representatives of the people — both in terms of secular State and spiritual State. Judah is a State of the Divine — a people of God. Their leaders (Zerubbabel and Joshua) are both addressed. This oracle goes out to all the people. And all the people respond. The nation responds. And something special happens: revival. Something is stirred in their spirits… Zerubbabel is stirred to repentance and action. So, too, Joshua. And “the remnant of the people.”
The book of Haggai teaches us that there’s a blessed empowering in our turning back to God.
The blessing we automatically think of is we’re rightly oriented to life again. That’s only part of it. Being blessed in the returning means not only are we rightly oriented in life again, we’re also empowered to obey.
We cannot obey God unless we have repented, but repentance, in itself, is a kind of first fruit of obedience.
The people of Judah learned that, in fearing God once again, in returning their hearts back to him, his Holy Spirit would empower them to be rightly motivated to work on the rebuilding of the Temple. Their obedience to turn back was blessed by God through an empowering for further obedience.
Obedience is blessed with power to obey.
The more we obey God, the more we can obey him.
To repent is to experience God’s power. To repent is to advocate God’s truth. God’s truth is magnified in us in our repenting, and God’s truth bequeaths power to us.
When we obey God we receive God’s power to do what he wills us to do.
When we repent, God makes us willing and able to do the things he’s planned for us from eternity to do.
Revival depends first on repentance.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.