We Need a Revival
" 13If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people..."
It is a timely reminder to us that the Lord God is in control. Droughts may be a fact of nature, but there is nothing taking place in the earth without God's knowledge and no situation that cannot be affected by the prayers of his people.
As we face a great deal of scaremongering about 2012, the intentions of the powers that are in "control" of our monetary and political systems- this is the time for the people of God to re-double our efforts in prayer to be on the Lord's side before the next cataclysmic and unquestionable move of God.
Verse 13 shows us that the Lord God has often instigated seasons of spiritual drought and spiritual turmoil. In Joel 2:25 the Lord speaks of the locust, cankerworm and caterpillar as "my great army which I sent among you". It is not a mere prevalence of Satan why are world is in constant spiral of moral decline. It is partly due to the state of people who should be praying. While we recognise that the contexts of these verses relate specifically to the Jews we are to understand that the things written 'aforetime' are for our learning (Romans 15:4).
When God shuts heaven he expects the people to whom he has given the key to unlock the heavens. The shape of this key is cut with four edges and can only be turned by people with a specific disposition.
This first edge is humility. It does not say to be humble, but to humble yourself, which could imply fasting. Experience teaches that humility is thrust upon us in a time of fasting. The emptying of the self, the starving of the natural appetites and that final position of acknowledging your absolute need for the Lord. You have reached the place where your heart and flesh cry out for the living God. It is the best starting point that a believer can have.
At this point your opinions pale into insignificance and the will of God becomes paramount. It is easier from this point to be told the truth about yourself from the Lord's perspective. And he will always speak more harshly and more lovingly than any other counsellor. Humility is the disposition which allows us to turn the key.
The second edge to this key is prayer. Everybody can pray- some can do it five times a day. Prayer is good but it is just one step in the right direction. Consider it a transitional step but not a destination.
The third edge is seeking His face. Many have taught and preached that this is about seeking relationship with the Lord. I concur wholeheartedly. A lot can be said in an expression. We really need to be able to look in the face of the Lord, as there are some things you will learn about what pleased Him by looking in His face. Some will say, "show me the verse", we need people who can say "I saw it in his face".
This third edge coming behind prayer is crucial because we often think that the sum of our relationship with God is in prayer. In truth it is in the maintenance of the abiding presence of God in our lives. Christ says in the gospel of John that certain instructions were given to us that His joy may be full and remain within us (John 15:11). This pre-requisite is a much-needed "religion-killer", because religious people can pray. They can pray and then commit suicide- which makes me question whether they have a relationship with the one to whom to they say they pray. Relationship over religion is what the Lord is calling for here.
The fourth and final edge to this key is to turn from our wicked ways. Again, the order of this is crucial, because many would say that repentance should always come first. The truth is that at times, that until we have prayed we do not really know what is wrong with us. Additionally, until we have looked in the face of Jesus Christ, we will disagree on what true holiness is and what in God's sight is wicked.
Would you call the man who buried his one talent "wicked and slothful" (Matthew 25:26)? I doubt it. We are trained in this day to look into his self-esteem issues, his upbringing, and the influences around him. We have to remember that this passage from 2 Chronicles is addressed to "my people", the people of God. We would sooner say that we had weaknesses than that we are wicked. I tell you, it all changes in the face of Jesus Christ. So the previous two steps are crucial for me to go beyond what I think God wants to knowing what he wants.
I believe it is key-turning-time. We need individuals in whom the Lord can start the work of realignment, until we produce the conditions in which revivals are born.