Break Up Your Fallow Ground
"Sow for yourselves righteousness; Reap in mercy; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the Lord, Till He comes and rains righteousness on you." (Hosea 10:12 NKJV)
Revival. Maybe it conjures up a picture of evening services in a tent with a lot of tambourines. Maybe it's a phrase used on church signs to inform the public that they will be hosting a guest speaker. Or maybe it's more of a foreign concept.
Regardless of the picture the word "revival" brings to mind, it is found in scripture. It has a personal expression and a larger, corporate expression. Let's take a look at revival in scripture.
In Exodus 19, the Lord tells Moses to inform the Israelites that He will be coming to them in the Wilderness of Sinai, but He has a few prerequisites.
"Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes. And let them be ready for the third day. For on the third day the Lord will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all people.'" (Exodus 19:10-11 NKJV)
The passage continues as the Lord instructs that there will be a barrier set around the base of the mountain so that no one (even animals) would touch it and die!
The prerequisites that the Lord laid out before His people were to consecrate themselves and wash their clothes. In other words, the Lord was saying, "Get right. Cleanse yourself of your sins because I'm holy and you're not and I want to dwell with you."
This was a call to every individual from the greatest to the least to search their hearts and repent of their sins. This is a personal revival. It is a call to repentance in your own heart so that the Lord may increase in your heart and life. He wants to continue the work of sanctification and bids us to come and die to ourselves so that we may live in Him.
When a company or body of believers actively seek the Lord in this manner, a natural progression follows. This is a corporate expression of repentance which leads to corporate revival.
Corporate revival is the in-breaking of God's kingdom into the church and over unbelieving regions, not simply individuals. This is what some call a, "divine season"or "open heaven," where the kingdom of God breaks in with power to save, heal bodies and deliver.
It's the hour when the testimony of the Spirit comes to glorify Christ and when the name of Jesus is spoken, believers and unbelievers alike see the demonstrations of His awesome hand.
So how can we begin to prepare our hearts for revival? How can we receive what the prophet Joel prophesied (and Peter echoed in Acts 2:17-21)?
1. Make war on your sin.
When you actively ask the Spirit to highlight your fallow ground and He begins to bring up sin, don't make peace with it. If you stumble, press delete and keep making war on it. The key is to not give up. If you don't quit, you will win. He is faithful and His grace is sufficient.
2. Confess your sins to one another. (James 5:16)
This is not an option. This is God's design to help us break free and grow in love for one another. We were not called to live in rogue Christianity and live unchecked. Get in a healthy community of believers and stay accountable. "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble." (James 4:6 NKJV)
3. Cleanse your speech.
Isaiah was confronted with this when he beheld the Lord in Isaiah 6:5. When his eyes gazed upon the majesty and the beauty of God, his response was that he was a man of unclean lips. Not only was he vividly aware of his own unclean speech, but of his people's unclean lips!
Jesus also speaks of this in Matthew 12:36.
"...for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." (Luke 6:45 ESV)
It's not enough to repent of sins. We must actively seek the Lord in prayer (perhaps coupled with fasting).
One of the easiest definitions of prayer is simply this: asking the Lord to do what He already wants to do. But we must ask! We cannot do His part and He will not do our part.
He is looking for partnership from His people. His eyes search the earth for those who would partner with the burdens of His heart. Those who would stand like watchmen on the wall of intercession. Those who would give Him no rest, day or night. Those who would cry out for His justice to be released in their community, region and nation.
His house will be called a House of Prayer! (Isaiah 56:7)
If we want to see a move of God in our own community, then we must break up the fallow ground in our hearts. We must repent and we must actively seek the Lord together. Revival is not owed to us, but take heart beloved! He longs to see revival far more than we do. Again I will say, His grace is sufficient for us. His power is perfected in our weakness.