Today's Devotional Thought
August 15, 2011 by Rachel Piferi
We are currently in the middle of revival services at our church. And I am overwhelmed with how God has moved in these services. I just love revival and feeling the presence of God so strongly.
As I was reflecting this morning on our revival services so far, I was reminded of a devotion that Wendy wrote some time ago about a passage in Ezra that describes a revival that broke out among the Israelites. And we see in this book that the revival began because one man publically expressed his grief over how far Israel had strayed from God.
In chapters 9 and 10, we read of Ezra's deep grief over the behaviors of Israel. After he hears of their sin, Ezra falls to his knees weeping and praying. He publically expressed shame for their sin and displays an earnest desire that the people would also repent and turn from their sinful ways.
And what happens is remarkable: revival emerges in the people. In Ezra 10:1, we read that his public weeping and praying causes a crowd to gather and they also start weeping. And as the crowd weeps together, they decide to renew their faithfulness to God by turning from their sinful practice of marrying foreign women. Following Ezra's sincere prayer, the people repent and ask for guidance on how to renew their relationship with God. And that begins a systematic plan to examine the great sin the people have committed. In verses 12 through 15, we read the description of how the assembly planned to address each case and as it says in these verses, it took some time to go through all of the people who had committed this sin.
As I reflected on this passage, I love the picture of public weeping and sincere prayer among the people. I love picturing the community coming together and holding each other accountable and supporting each other in their commitment to growing in the Lord. You see, the Israelites recognized the change that needed to be made, wholeheartedly accepted it, and then steadily worked towards completing it. It wasn't a mistake that could be fixed easily, but it was one that could be fixed with some work and could be fixed together. Isn't it amazing that we serve a God who lets us do that? That we serve a God who lets us recognize when we need to change and extends us the grace and love to do so. And isn't it amazing that God gives us other people to help us as we grow in our relationships with him?
I love revival. I love coming together with other believers and weeping, worshipping, and committing to grow in our faith together. And, I look forward to the next couple of days of revival services at our church. But more than enjoying this week, I really look forward to the months ahead where we continue to worship, grow, and hold each other accountable in our relationships with the Lord.
I hope you are part of a church where you can grow in the Lord with other committed believers. And if you are not, I urge you to seek such a church out. One where you can weep, worship, and grow with others towards the abundant life that God has for you.