Thursday, March 29, 2007

God responds when his people pray.

The book of Judges describes a repeating cycle where Israel becomes disobedient to God resulting in terrible consequences for their nation. When they realized the consequences of their sin, they cried out to God for salvation. God would raise up a champion who delivers God’s justice to Israel’s oppressors and brought revival to the nation. This cycle is repeated seven times in Judges.

This lesson can be applied to our own spiritual lives. The Bible teaches that “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 KJV)

Can we wear out God’s patience? When Peter asked if we should forgive a person who has wronged us seven times (Peter believed he was being generous), Jesus said that the number was seventy times seven (Matthew 18:22).

This lesson is also seen repeated in history. By the 1500’s the church is being led by corrupt leaders. Worship is dead and the people are superstitious and fearful. Martin Luther and other preachers lead a great revival of Bible teaching. The Bible was put in the hands of the people and the church was reformed.

In England, John Wesley preaches in the streets and starts small groups in response to the Anglican Church’s lack of concern for the soul’s of the poor in England. Revival spreads across England and prevents a bloody revolution like the one in France.

In 18th Century America, it was said that worship waned and immorality flourished. Thomas Jefferson and other influential thinkers believed that rationalism left no room for orthodox Christianity. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall stated, "The church is too far gone ever to be redeemed." In 1794 churches set aside the first Monday of every month to pray for revival. By 1803, the Methodist church grew from 2700 to 12,000 and 10,000 people joined the Baptist Church. The American Bible Society and the American Sunday School Union were organized in the decade to follow.

God has also raised up champions such as John Wycliffe, who translated the Bible into English in the 1300’s, William Wilberforce, who labored to abolish slavery in England, and William Carey, who started the modern missionary movement. He continues to raise champions in our time. There is Martin Luther King, Jr., who led the civil rights movement, and Mother Teresa, who ministered to dying outcasts in India.

Disobedience is the natural tendency of humanity and results in defeat and judgment by God, however, God is patient and faithful His people and responds when we call upon Him in repentance.

“If my people, which 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 sin, and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV)


Xavier said...

Valuable thoughts Jorge. From Xavier Zayas-Bazan. Creator of the Boomorbust: Miami blog.

Jorge Zayasbazan said...

Thanks, are we related?

Xavier said...

We're probably distant cousins.