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Majoring On The Minors - Habakkuk Part 6

"Revive Thy Work"

by David Legge | Copyright © 1999 | All Rights Reserved | www.preachtheword.com

Habakkuk 3:1-2
  1. He Prays In Faith (verse 1)
  2. He Knew God's Fame (verse 2)
  3. He Had Great Fear (verse 2)
  4. He Pleaded For Fire (verse 2)

'Preach The Word'

We expect extraordinary things from God, without extraordinary efforts on our behalf!

As I said, after this evening we'll only have one more study in the book of Habakkuk. We're looking this evening at just two verses from chapter 3, verses 1 and 2, and then - God willing - next week we hope to look at verses 3 to 19, the remainder of the little book, and the remainder of chapter 3. Now let me say, before we read these verses, that this message has weighed very heavily upon my heart - especially today, as I meditated upon it. Let me say that I hope that when I come before you, that each message that I bring has been pulled - as it were - through my soul before I bring to your soul. I can testify this evening that this message was a hard one to pull through.

Verse 1 and 2: "A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth. O Lord, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy".

If you were to turn with me to Isaiah chapter 65 and verse 8 this evening, there is a verse there that displays a spiritual principle that is applicable not only to the New Testament church of God, but to the Old Testament people of God, the children of Israel. In Isaiah 65 and verse 8, part of the verse, we read this: 'As soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children' - as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. I want to say that this is the most fundamental work of God in our world today, where the people of God - the New Testament people of God - travail, and only when they travail, they go through pain and anguish and travail, will they bring forth their children.

Let me ask you a natural question this evening: can ordinary children be born without pain? Of course they can't! The natural world, the natural system is that childbirth brings pain. Can there be birth without travail? The natural world testifies of it that without prevailing, without travail, without persistence, without hard sweat, work and tears - whether it be in the natural world of childbirth, or even in the natural farming world of harvest - without travail there will be no harvest, there will be no fruit, there will be no blessing. Now, the natural world testifies of these things. Yet how is it, as the church of Jesus Christ, as the children of God, we ourselves cannot see that it is the same in the spiritual realm - that nothing is possible with God without travail.

Do we travail when we see a starving child upon the television? Do we travail when a loved one dies, and we watch them as they are lowered into the grave? Do we travail in physical, mental, emotional, pain in our lives and the lives of those we love? We shed tears, we have anguish, we have pain, we have the biblical word 'travail' - yet we can watch as the souls of the damned enter into eternity. While the world around us perish, we do not travail.

He said: 'I don't want your money, I don't want your pride, I don't want your sacrifices or your incense, I want your broken hearts - I want them before me, for to obey is better than sacrifice'

Was it not Jacob in the Old Testament that we remember that it says that he travailed until he prevailed with God? But let me ask us all, and let me ask the church of Jesus Christ at large today, is anyone doing that now? Are there any Jacobs of God now? You remember that his name was changed, he was changed to 'Israel' because he was a prince, he prevailed with men and with God - but is there any man in our world today that prevails not just with men, but with God? We pray, we pray for a few moments daily, we're content to spend a few minutes a day on our knees - and we pride ourselves in the fact that we have given some time to God - and what happens is: we expect extraordinary things from God, without extraordinary efforts on our behalf!

What was it the great saint said? 'Expect great things from God, then attempt great things for God'. Now let me say this: I believe in the providence of God, I believe in the absolute sovereignty of God - and perhaps I would challenge that there's none believes it as strong as I - but let me say that there is a spiritual law, and it is this: that whatsoever a man soweth, he reaps. You can sow for good in your life, or you can sow for bad. You can sow with sin, or you can sow with prayers and tears. But there is a spiritual law - although God is sovereign, although His providence prevails and everything is according to His will in this world - there is a law that if we weep, if we pray, if we shed tears, if we fast, if we supplicate the throne of God in prayer - if we sow in this way, it is inevitable, and God is obliged, that we will reap a harvest. We will reap, the word of God says, in due season if we faint not.

We ended last Monday evening on the subject of revival. We're taking it up again at this passage, and our subject this evening is: 'Revive Thy Work, O God'. You remember last week we went through the minor prophets, some of them, and we looked at how they presented the children of God with their sins before they even brought the message of God, of how they could be redeemed and brought back from their sins. You remember what was called upon them, the Lord says: 'Rend your hearts, and not your garments'. He said: 'I don't want your money, I don't want your pride, I don't want your sacrifices or your incense, I want your broken hearts - I want them before me, for to obey is better than sacrifice'.

Turn with me to the book of Joel - you have Daniel, then you have Hosea, and then you have Joel - and again in this little prophecy you have the same pattern within the word of God. In chapter 1, verse 13 and 14, we have what God expects of his leaders in the Old Testament and, I believe, what He expects of His leaders now, here in this present age. Verse 13 and 14, God says: 'Gird yourselves, and lament', cry, 'ye priests: howl, ye ministers of the altar: come, lie all night in sackcloth, ye ministers of my God: for the meat offering and the drink offering is withholden from the house of your God. Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the Lord your God, and cry unto the Lord'. Chapter 2 and verse 15: 'Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly'.

We read of it in the book of Daniel, if you were to turn to Daniel and chapter 9, we read that God led Daniel to bow upon his face in chapter 9 and verses 3 and 4. We read this, that Daniel testified: 'And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes: And I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments; We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments'. I read the story, today, of the life of a man called John Smith. His biographer wrote these words, and I want you to listen carefully about this man's life, he said: 'I have often seen him come downstairs in the morning, after spending several hours in prayer, with his eyes swollen from weeping. He would soon introduce the subject of his anxiety by saying: 'I am a broken-hearted man. Yes, indeed, I am an unhappy man - not for myself, but on account of others. God has given me such a sight of the value of precious souls that I cannot live if souls are not saved. Oh, give me souls, or else I die!''.

The whole of the Psalm, is a Psalm of praise, a Psalm of assurance toward his God, that he knew what his God was doing in the world - he was sure that God was in control!

I believe that Habakkuk was a man with a spirit like that. We can tell it from these two verses that we've read together this evening, look at them again: 'A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet' - and his prayer is found in verse 2 - 'O Lord, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy'. This is the first thing that I want us to see, this evening, from these two verses. One: he prayed in faith, he prayed in faith. 'A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth' - strange word, what does it mean? Well, it seems from Psalm 7 - which is another 'Shigionoth' Psalm - and remember that this passage we're reading this evening, the whole of chapter 3 is a Psalm in itself. You can see that, because three times within it - in verse 3, verse 9, and verse 13 - you have the word 'Selah' that you find right throughout the book of Psalms. All that means is: a little pause, a musical pause. But also this word 'Shigionoth', it seems to be a musical setting of the Psalm, and you can see that from verse 19 - the second half of it, at the very end where it says: 'To the chief singer on my stringed instruments'. In other words this was a setting, a musical setting, a way that this Psalm that Habakkuk had written, a way that it ought to be played and performed. The Amplified Translation of the Bible translates this word 'Shigionoth', it means: 'set to wild, enthusiastic, and triumphal music'.

This - as we have found in the book of Habakkuk, chapter 1 was the burden of Habakkuk, chapter 2 was the vision of Habakkuk, and chapter 3 is the song of Habakkuk. What kind of a song is it? Just as the Amplified Bible translates it, it's a wild song, it's an enthusiastic song, it's a victorious, a triumphal song - and it may even mean, 'Shigionoth', that it is a song for the wanderers of God. Whatever this little word 'Shigionoth' means, I believe that it means this: confidence. Habakkuk had confidence. This Psalm that we read from verses 1 to 19, the whole of the Psalm, is a Psalm of praise, a Psalm of assurance toward his God, that he knew what his God was doing in the world - he was sure that God was in control!

Think about it for a moment: is that the Habakkuk that we have been familiar with over the past few weeks, is it? Full of questions, asking God: 'God, what are You doing in Your world? Why are You raising the Chaldeans? Why are You picking a more evil people than Your own people to judge them, and to chastise them? Lord, what are You doing?' - questioning His ways and His works. But in this beautiful chapter, we have this rhapsody of faith - for this man, Habakkuk, has seen what God is doing in His world, because God has revealed to him that the just shall live by faith. So Habakkuk turns and he sings a Psalm of faith - that he in the midst of all his sorrow, in the midst of the degradation and impending punishment, that he will trust his God.

What is this? We find it in Philippians chapter 4 - you've no need to turn to it, you know it well - Philippians 4 and verses 6 and 7 where we read: 'Be careful for nothing', don't be anxious about anything, 'but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God'. You know, that's the way God wants us to come to Him. He doesn't want us to come in doubting, He doesn't want us to come as double-minded men and women, blown about. He doesn't want us coming doubting His power, His ability, His sovereignty in the world - but God loves to inhabit the praises of His people. He loves to come into our lives, into our assemblies, into our worlds, into our circumstance, because we praise Him, because we know the potential of the God whom we serve.

It's not simply because prayer changes things - and that's true, prayer does change things - but more importantly than all that: prayer changes people!

No doubt Habakkuk had formulated this Psalm for the people who would go into captivity in Babylon. He had written this Psalm for one reason: to stimulate these people's faith, to bring them to prayer, that when these things that were prophesied in the vision in chapter 2 would come to pass - remember they hadn't come to pass yet - but once they had come upon Judah, that they would have some way to approach their God, that they could pray to their God. For, let's face it, the only answer in any situation in this life is to turn to God in prayer. Do you not notice that Habakkuk's a changed man? He's no longer questioning God, but he's trusting God. It's not simply because prayer changes things - and that's true, prayer does change things - but more importantly than all that: prayer changes people!

In the book of Genesis and chapter 20 and verse 7, we read of the man Abraham. Abraham travelled into a foreign land, and there was there a King Abimelech, and he lied to King Abimelech. He had a beautiful wife, and he says: 'Right, I'll say she's my sister, because if he finds out the she's my wife, he'll kill me to marry her'. What happened was that he told that lie, and God brought a curse on all Abimelech's house and the whole nation. Abimelech turned to God and asked God what He was doing, because he was in ignorance of the sin that he was committing going after Abraham's wife - and you remember that God turned in Genesis 20 and verse 7 and said to him of Abraham: 'He is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee'. Prophets were praying men, prophets were men who worked on their knees. They were even found, at times, to pray for those that they prophesied against. They were men who were stimulated to pray because they knew, in some circumstances, what the future held - therefore they could pray intelligently before God. And primarily, the fact is this, because they were men of God they realised that the proper object of divine ministry is to abase the soul in the presence of God, and to be drawn out in worship, in adoration and in praise to Him!

God's word comes to Habakkuk, and I want you to see what he does. As God's word comes to this man's soul, after his waiting upon God, he prostrates himself before God in an attitude of praying. I want you to see that Habakkuk's prayer is a prayer of faith. Look at chapter 2 and verse 4, we read there the great promise, the great promise of all ages: 'Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith' - that was God's answer to prayer to Habakkuk. He was wanting to know how the children of Judah were going to get through this experience, and you remember that God told him in verses 1 to 4: 'This is the message, this is the vision. Write it down, tell it abroad, that the just shall live by faith' - that was God's promise to Habakkuk. What did he do? He lifted it up. He took it. He took God's word, and we see in chapter 2 and verse 1 that he sat upon the top of the watchtower, and I believe he had that promise, and he was pleading, he was asking in faith the promise that God has given him - and now, in chapter 3 and verse 2, I believe that he's found the answer to his problem.

Why? Look at verse 2, he says in the first part of it: 'O Lord, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid'. Now I say this gently to us all here: I think we underestimate the responsibility that we have as the children of God - why? Because God judges us upon what He tells us to do. In other words, when God reveals something to us, when God gives us a word - just as He gave to Habakkuk 'the just shall live by faith' - God would have judged Habakkuk if he had not lifted that promise up, if he had not claimed it, if he had not supplicated before his God until God brought the realisation of that promise, he would've been judged. And here we have another spiritual law that we find in Proverbs 28 and verse 9, and let this burn into our souls this evening: 'He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be an abomination'.

God is saying to His people this evening, and throughout all eternity, that: 'If you hear My word and you disobey it, you are an abomination'

We think it's the homosexual is the abomination, don't we? Well, they are. We think it's the liar, we think it's the proud look, we think it's those seven sins that are an abomination to God - but God is saying to His people this evening, and throughout all eternity, that: 'If you hear My word and you disobey it, you are an abomination'. Your prayers, and your iniquities, and your sins have separated between you and your God. But Habakkuk listened to God's words, and he pleads in faith, knowing - as we found out last week in chapter 2 and verse 20 - that the God whom he pleads to is the Lord who is in His holy temple, that the whole earth keeps silence before Him. His travail produces a sublime rhapsody of faith, one: because he took his eyes off the surrounding circumstances in his life. Two: because he submitted his circumstances to God in prayer and in faith. Three: because he patiently waited for the word from God upon his request. Four: because when the word was revealed he accepted it, he claimed it - and his perplexity, his anxiety, disappeared. Why? Because he submitted to God. Believer, let me ask you a simple question: have you submitted to God?

Secondly, he knew God's fame. What do I mean by that? Well, if you look at the second verse it says: 'O Lord, I have heard thy speech' - and what that means is, that can be translated: 'I have heard thy fame'. If you look at the margin it may say: 'report'. It's the same meaning as Isaiah chapter 53, where we read there about the report about the Lord's servant, the Lord Jesus Christ - the testimony of Him, His fame, the story about Him. Here we have in verse 2: 'I have heard thy fame' - Habakkuk knew God's fame. He knew the record of God's eternal mighty deeds, and this record - this testimony of who his God is, what God is like, and what his God has done in the past - it fills him with awe and wonder, it fills him with praise because he believes, in faith, that what God did in former days He is able to do today.

That's what Habakkuk believed then, do we believe that now? Do we? Remember in Habakkuk's day he had to get over what seemed to be happening, remember God had said to him in chapter 1 and verse 5: 'Look ye among the heathen, because I am working a work now, even though you can't see it, it's going on behind closed doors - in spiritual senses - I am working now' - and he was remembering that God, his God, the One with whom he would have to do, was the God of power. We'll see next week that he went into that further in the Psalm from verses 3 to 15, if you even look at verse 15 you see there that he says: 'Thou didst walk through the sea with thine horses, through the heap of great waters'. What's he talking about? He's talking about the great exodus from Egypt. He is rejoicing in the fact that, although God has said before the time that the Judeans would go into captivity in Babylon, that the God whom they had was the God who had delivered them in the past from Egypt.

If you turn with me to Psalm 44, you will see there another expression of the God whom they adored. Psalm 44, and in verse 2 we read this: '[Lord] how thou didst drive out the heathen with thy hand, and plantedst them; how thou didst afflict the people, and cast them out', verse 10, 'Thou makest us to turn back from the enemy: and they which hate us spoil for themselves', verse 12, 'Thou sellest thy people for nought, and dost not increase thy wealth by their price', verse 24, 'Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and forgettest our affliction and our oppression?'. These people are looking to the past, saying: 'Look what You did in years gone by, Lord, how You delivered Your people. But we, Thy people, now in this day, in this present age, are afflicted by the enemy, and it seems, Lord, that You're [selling us]!'.

He realised - and the sooner the better we realise it - that on the grounds of merit we have nothing to plead, nothing

Look at verse 1 of Psalm 44: 'We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what work thou didst in their days, in the times of old', verse 9, 'But thou hast cast off, and put us to shame; and goest not forth with our armies'. What are they saying? 'Oh God, our help in ages past - but what about our hope for years to come?'. What was their cry? Was it a cry of despair? Is it the cry that we find in Psalm 89 and verse 50, where we read: 'Remember, Lord, the reproach of thy servants; how I do bear in my bosom the reproach of all the mighty people'? 'The whole world, all the nations, are laughing at Thy children. Lord, where are Thy former loving-kindnesses, which Thou swearest unto David in Thy truth? Lord, what are You doing in Your world? Where is Your former glory? Where is respect and vindication for Thy name?'.

Is that not our cry tonight? Is it not? Sure, we know it all too well, what the Lord can do, what the Lord has done in our land in years gone by, in our nation - how God has moved. We read about 1860 and 59, we read about Coleraine in that town that we all know so well. Three young men decided to preach in the open air - and incidentally, young men, know that there is power in preaching in the open air - they walked into that square, that marketplace in the centre around the town hall, and they stood in amazement as 15,000 people just crowded into that gathering. There was absolute silence and you could hear a pin drop, and every word of the preacher was heard by all. Out of that silence there went a cry of a young man as he fell on his knees in conviction of sin. Then there was a cry from here, and a cry from there, and cries all around of penitent sinners under the Holy Ghost's conviction. The town hall was overwhelmed with souls seeking Christ, and the ministers couldn't deal with it all - there was such a move of God in our land! That's right!

We know about it in Wales, where the Spirit of God fell on a man called Evan Roberts, and he changed a nation for Christ. We know all about it in the Hebrides, where a man was lifted up, and men and women were lifted up, and it says that the souls were falling - even before they got to the churches - in conviction of sin. They were like the heather all around the mountains, falling before the face of God! Oh, we know all about it. We may not have seen it with our eyes, but we know what God can do - and we may cry today like this man Habakkuk, we may cry like the children of Israel, we may cry like the man Gideon: 'Oh, Lord, if the Lord be with us, why then is all this befallen us? And where be all His miracles which our fathers told us of?'. The cry of the world to us this evening may be: 'Where is thy God? Where is He?'!

But thirdly, Habakkuk had great fear. This is how he got his spiritual success. You see, Habakkuk had great fear, and we read that in verse 2: 'O Lord, I have heard thy fame', Thy speech, 'and was afraid: O Lord'. You see, what happened was that the word of God filled this man Habakkuk with fear as he realised something of the depravity of his own heart - and remember, he was a prophet of God! He wasn't one of the ordinary sinners, but his heart was so filled with his iniquity and transgression, and the state of the people at large, that like Isaiah he cried out: 'Woe is me, for I am undone! I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips'. He realised - and the sooner the better we realise it - that on the grounds of merit we have nothing to plead, nothing.

I wonder is there some Christian or unbeliever here, and God has been speaking to you for some time, and you've been hearing but you haven't been fearing!

Do you know what happened? He learned what the boldest of men of old learned - Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Elijah - that when God speaks, you quake. When God speaks, you listen. When you hear, you must fear, you must listen to what God is saying - and I wonder is there some Christian or unbeliever here, and God has been speaking to you for some time, and you've been hearing but you haven't been fearing! We must fear, and I believe that it's not the world that needs to repent, it's the church of Jesus Christ. The church of Jesus Christ needs to come back to their God, judgement must begin in the house of God, they need to begin to hear the word of God, and fear the word of God, once more. It would do us good to take a lesson from the godless Babylonian Emperor, Belshazzar, who it says of him that when he heard the word of God his countenance changed, his thoughts troubled him so that the joints of his loins were loosed and his knees smote against one another.

Habakkuk's success was that he feared the word of God. But fourthly, and finally, not only did he pray in faith, and he knew God's fame, and he had great fear, but he pleaded for fire. If you get nothing else, get this, he said: 'Revive, revive thy work, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy' - what was he asking? 'Lord, revive' - what does that word mean? Well, it simply means to renew, to revive again, to renew, to regenerate, to put life into once more. It's a word that's used in Genesis chapter 7 verse 3 of the fouls of the air that went into the Ark, so that when they were deposited again upon the earth they would reproduce - they would produce life - that's one way the word is used. Then it's used again in Psalm 80 and verse 19, but this time talking about the renewing of life. Then it's used again in Genesis 12 and verse 12, concerning the preserving of life. This means: 'putting life back into dead bones'!

He said: 'Revive thy work'. What is His work? Well, I suspect that the work he was talking about was the work that God had promised him in chapter 1 and verse 5: 'Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you', verse 6, 'For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans' - that is the work that is talked about here. Habakkuk has now turned from despising what God was going to do, and because of the infusion of faith that was injected into his heart from the very Holy Ghost of God, he could now turn and bless the hand that had smitten him! He was now thanking God for a work that he had once despised.

What else can His work possibly be? John Calvin, the great reformer, said that it's probably the condition of His people. Isn't that right? That is God's work, His people - isn't it, really? That is where God works, among His people - and you remember that we have gone in week after week about the condition of the Judeans, how sinful they were! Habakkuk is asking God to revive His name, His reputation, among His people. He's asking Him to do a few things - first of all: he's asking Him to do something for His own cause. In Psalm 138 and verse 7 and 8 we read this: 'Revive, even though we walk in the midst of trouble'. Habakkuk is crying: 'Lord, even though Thy people are into the very depths of hell - metaphorically speaking - in their iniquity and their sin and in their blasphemy, even in the midst of their trouble: revive them! Do something for Thy name'.

Do you know something? God answered his prayer, and in the book of Ezra and chapter 9 and verse 8 we read this - Ezra chapter 9 and verse 8, we read that once the children (and remember that God did bring them into captivity, God didn't stop that because it was in His will), but what God did do was in verse 8 of chapter 9 of Ezra: 'And now for a little space grace hath been showed from the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage'. God revived a small remnant of them. God revived them - and you can even see it in the fiery furnaces of Babylon, the Hebrew children, remember they were in the furnace - in the midst of the trouble God didn't deliver them from Babylon itself, but in the midst of it He revived, He kept a people for himself, He kept His name clean amongst the remnant.

Men of courage, men of no fear! Why is there no revival? Because there are no Spirit filled lives!

He said in verse 2: 'in the midst of the years' - what does that mean? 'In the midst of the years', well it could mean from the promise that God was going to deal with His people to the actual finishing of the implementation of that judgement - that's what it could mean. That in the middle of it, as we read in Ezra chapter 9, that there would be a small amount of people that would remain faithful to God. John Calvin thought that it meant between Abraham and Christ - because, if you think of it he's right, because if the Jewish nation had been wiped out here because of their sin, if God had judged them, we would not have seen Christ, and the seed would have been cut - Christ's line would have been dead and we would have no Saviour. That's why he pleaded: 'Revive thy work in the midst of the years' - from Abraham to Christ. But do you know what I believe it means more than anything? Habakkuk was saying this: 'God, grant us a gracious revival before ever Thy ultimate purpose for history is worked out in its final fulfilment. Lord, revive us before You come'!

Do you know what I believe? I believe that that's a warrant for me, and it's a warrant for you, to turn to our God - and we cannot halt, we cannot slow down the return of the Lord Jesus Christ in one sense. God's calendar is final, and as we look around at an evil world, and we look at the disasters and the sin and the iniquity that is ripening, and the cup of iniquity that is almost full for this world to drink - God is ready, He's ready to wrap it up like a tablecloth. But I believe here we have a warrant to ask Him: 'Lord, just before You do it, revive us. Revive us once more!'.

'Make known' - that's the next thing he asks - 'Make Thyself known', that's what it means. 'In the midst of the years make known' - 'Whatever', this is what he's saying, 'Whatever happens to the nation of Israel and Judah, let not Israel's God be forgotten!'. Whatever happens to the church of Jesus Christ today, oh, please God, let Thy name be vindicated. Let the name of Jehovah, the holy, holy, holy One, never be trodden in the dust! And, as he asks at the end of this verse: 'In wrath remember mercy'. You see, all we can plead - not just as an unsaved sinner, but as a reconciled, regenerate child of God - all we can still plead in the midst of our sin is the mercy of God. As these children were taken into captivity, and the city of Jerusalem was sacked and wrecked, and the halls were demolished, and the temple was pulled down, and there was starvation, and there was hunger, and the bodies littered the streets - and it says that the mothers took their very child and boiled them in a pot to eat them, because of the situation. Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, in the midst of it all was crying out to God, yet he could still say: 'It is because of the Lord's mercy that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not'.

There's no revival because there's no holiness. Christians are laughed at now because they won't go to certain places, because they won't watch certain films, because they won't hear the name of the Lord Jesus Christ's blasphemed from their television set or wherever. They are seen as eccentric and strange or peculiar, because they seek to live holy lives

That's why we're not wiped out, because in wrath - and I believe that God is angry at His church - in wrath He remembers His mercy. Do you know what my prayer is? I hope your prayer is this, the Psalmist of Psalm 85 verses 4 and 6: 'Turn us, O God of our salvation, and cause thine anger toward us to cease. Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?'. I finish by saying this: why is there no revival? Why? There is no revival because there is no prevailing prayer. Paul said: 'We wrestle not...' - and we wrestle not! There is no revival because there is no fear of God, but there is fear of men. You remember the apostle who stood and declared before his enemies that there is no other name under heaven given amongst men, there was no fear in that man. Elijah stood before the prophets of Baal and mocked them and laughed at them. Gideon knocked down the high places, the idolatrous statues; he knocked them down for God! Men of courage, men of no fear! Why is there no revival? Because there are no Spirit filled lives!

'Be ye filled with the Holy Ghost' - are you? There's no revival because there's no holiness. Christians are laughed at now because they won't go to certain places, because they won't watch certain films, because they won't hear the name of the Lord Jesus Christ's blasphemed from their television set or wherever. They are seen as eccentric and strange or peculiar, because they seek to live holy lives. Why is there no revival? Because we have cheapened the Gospel to the nightclub! Why is there no revival? Because we take the glory - 'It's my church, my reputation, my books, my achievements, my learning' - it's 'me', 'mine', and not 'Thine'. As someone has said: 'Were we to walk, and were we to be half as hot as we think we are, and a tenth as powerful as we say we are, our Christians would be baptized in blood, not just water and fire'.

Why doesn't Christ vomit us up? Why doesn't He? Do you know something? I don't know why - but, oh that God would lift us out of our rut, and out of our rot, and that He would judge us again and bring a mighty revival! That great evangelist, Gypsy Smith, was asked on one occasion: 'How do you get a revival in your life, in your personal life?'. He stood there, and he said this: 'Stand where you are, man, and take a piece of chalk and draw a circle right around you', and he said, 'stay there on your knees until God revives your soul'. Are you ready for that? I believe that there is a call upon every man and woman in this age, and it's the call of the voice of none other than our Lord Jesus Christ. Do you know what He says? This is not for the unbeliever now, this was spoken to a church in the book of the Revelation. Believers: 'Behold', Christ says, 'I stand at the door and knock, if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, I will sup with him and he with me'. Do you know what that is? Personal revival in your life, and in mine.

Why is there no revival? Because we have cheapened the Gospel to the nightclub! Why is there no revival? Because we take the glory!

Unite with me tonight, unite with Habakkuk, and say this: 'Lord, revive Thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known. In wrath, O Lord, in our sin, remember Thy mercy'.

Let us pray: Pass me not, O gentle Saviour, hear our humble cry. While on others Thou art blessing, do not pass us by. Lord, come and revive the hearts of Thy people we pray. Revive us again, and let the glory as Thou didst promise in time of old, that the glory of the latter house may be greater than the former. Lord, come and do exceeding abundantly more than we could ever ask or even think. Lord, come, come to our hearts, come into our lives, put Thy holy finger on the things that we need to be done with. Revive us Lord, Amen.

Don't miss the final part of 'Majoring On The Minors - Habakkuk': "When God Works"

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Transcribed by:
Andrew Watkins,
Preach The Word.
February 2001
www.preachtheword.com

This sermon was delivered at The Iron Hall Assembly in Belfast, Northern Ireland, by Pastor David Legge. It was transcribed from the sixth tape in his Habakkuk series, titled "Revive Thy Work" - Transcribed by Andrew Watkins, Preach The Word.

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