The Definition of Revival in the Old Testament -- By: Robert H. Lescelius

Journal: Reformation and Revival
Volume: RAR 11:3 (Summer 2002)
Article: The Definition of Revival in the Old Testament
Author: Robert H. Lescelius

The Definition of Revival in the Old Testament

Robert H. Lescelius

Habakkuk lived in a day of spiritual perplexity. Jealous for Yahweh’s honor, he cried out over the sins of the people (1:1–4), and the Lord’s response was the coming of the Chaldeans to chasten them (1:5ff.). This brought a further problem, for the punishment of Judah would come about through a nation more unrighteous than they (1:12, 13). What about the future of the covenant people? He knew that God would not destroy his people (1:12), yet how could he allow such a calamity to befall them by such wicked instruments? Habakkuk waited upon the Lord for the answer, and it came (2:1–3). The judgment of the oppressors is coming; the faithful must wait. The prophet saw that someday the kingdom of God will come, when “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (2:14, KJV). The proud will eventually be judged (whether Chaldean or whoever), but there is life and a future for the righteous. The object of faith is the sovereign God of the universe. “But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him” (2:20).

From the warnings and promises of chapters one and two, the prophet concludes with prayer and praise (Habakkuk 3). The prayer is a heart-cry for revival: “O Lord, I have heard of your renown, and I stand in awe, O Lord, of your work. In our

own time revive it; in our own time make it known; in wrath remember mercy” (3:2). Hearing the report of God’s ways the prophet fears and calls in earnestness upon the Lord to remember mercy in judgment. “Revive it!”1 This is the theme of the psalm to follow.

The psalm of Habakkuk 3:3–15 is a majestic and sublime poem, a triumphal song, describing Yahweh’s deeds of power in delivering Israel from Egypt and bringing them into the land. In poetic language God is seen as coming down (a theophany, 3:3–7) and overcoming his enemies in battle (3:8–15). The result of such a vision of God is great confidence and joy on t...

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