Someone asked me the difference between an awakening and a revival. Here is the response.
In a previous newsletter, I spoke about the formula that God set forth in the Old Testament for the restoration of His people when they found themselves in times where the blessing of God had been removed. First, God would have them return to a place where an altar or something of consequence had been erected after a mighty move of God. An example would be when the Israelites crossed the Jordan River into the promised land on dry ground, God told the elders of each tribe to get a stone and to take the twelve stones and erect an altar unto the LORD. The purpose of the altar would in future times prove to be a powerful reminder of how God was sufficient for the seeming impossibilities of life. When the people returned, there would always be an elder who could remember the details of the story. He would tell the people what God had done in the lives of their predecessors. This would bring forth a repentance of the people whereby they would cry out to the LORD and ask forgiveness of how far they had strayed from His calling and guidance. At that point, God would restore the nation.
The title I’ve chosen for this blog is along the same line. An awakening is an event that comes about because the nation becomes so godless, that even the most undiscerning of people can feel the difference. An awakening is just what it says: it is people waking up. It is somewhat like the story of Gulliver who was sleeping while the Lilliputians put rope after rope across his body to insure that he would be no threat to their lives. But, when he woke up, the bondage proved insufficient for the power that resided in his body. He tore off the bonds and stood up as a force to be reckoned with. Americans have been lulled into a slumber of sorts. Our liberties have been removed so subtly that many who should have discerned have been caught off guard. Like Gulliver, however, the bonds have finally brought us out of our slumber, and now it is time for us to awaken and stand up. Like the Israelites, we need to return to those moments when God has “shown Himself strong on the behalf of those who love Him.”
Then comes repentance. Repentance has always been the story of the great awakenings of history, but repentance was always preceded by darkness. We see darkness as the enemy, and in a sense it is, but if the darkness and the pain results in a turning back to God, then it is our friend. Repentance involves a turning back. It indicates a people or person who has been walking in a direction away from God but the circumstances of life causes them to turn around and run to God for refuge and help in time of trouble. Sadly, we are wired in such a way that few repent in the light. Paul Jahle of Plymouth, Massachusetts said, “It is hard to pass the torch in the light, but easy to pass the torch in the darkness.” Great wisdom is in his words. America has turned from God. It didn’t happen overnight, nor will we turn back overnight, but if a few will begin to cry out to the God of the universe in a true heart of repentance, others will notice and join in, then others, then others, and by His grace, in the course of time, the nation will be crying out as one, “Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on us.”
Then restoration comes. Restoration is an act of God whereby He restores a people back to their place of blessing. Scripture is clear that God is the One who blesses and we are the recipients, but it is also clear that there is an action on our part that is reciprocated with an action on His part. II Chronicles 7:14 has become the motto of Great Awakening IV:
“If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins, and will heal their land.”
Here is the danger: Awakening doesn’t always lead to Repentance, and consequently Restoration doesn’t always result. America was awakened by September 11, 2001, but she didn’t repent. How many times will God rouse us out of our slumber only to be met with refusal to obey is a question I hope we choose not to discover. God is again awakening His people. Let’s respond in His appropriate manner.
In the days to come, we at GREAT AWAKENING IV will draw up an American Contract for Blessing. It will be like the Mayflower Compact, or the compact John Winthrop drew up for the Salem settlement. It will call for those with the heart of revival to put their name on a line to say that they will join with others in a joint effort to see God once again turn back to our nation with a hand of deliverance and blessing.
When it is finished, we will ask you to join those of us who are fasting and praying for the United States of America to be returned to We the People under the headship of God.
By Dan Zimmerle