Where does true revival begin? Does it begin in Washington D.C.? Does it begin in the United Nations? Does it begin in our schools and community centers? Let’s go back in time and see where revival began in the nation of Judah under a good king named Hezekiah. Understanding the revival in Judah will help us modern Christians once again discover the spring from which true revival flows.
When Hezekiah came to the throne of Judah, three years had passed since the captivity of the northern kingdom of Israel. Hezekiah likely learned a valuable lesson from the very sad fate of the northern kingdom. The northern kingdom of Israel had turned their back on God and turned to the worship of false gods. God judged their idolatry by sending the Assyrian armies to overtake and set siege to the city of Samaria. Oftentimes God uses the consequences that others are facing as a result of their sin in order to get our attention back on true God-directed worship. Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he began to reign and the Bible states that “he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord” (v. 2). Hezekiah saw that the nation of Judah was heading in the same direction as the northern kingdom and called for spiritual reform in the nation. Hezekiah recognized the sin of the people in that they had forsaken and turned their faces away from God. The temple of God had become unkept, disregarded, and filthy. Hezekiah stood before the priests and Levites and called them to “sanctify now yourselves, and sanctify the house of the LORD God…and carry forth the filthiness out of the holy place” (v. 5). Once the temple was cleansed (v. 15-19), sacrifice to God and true worship of God was able to be restored in the temple. Notice the order. In order for worship to be acceptable to God, the dwellingplace of God among His people had to be rid of the filthiness of sin.
Today, we understand that, on this side of the Cross, God does not dwell in temples made by human hands. Rather, God dwells in His people. “…know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost…” (1 Corinthians 6:19). Jesus promised in John 14 that when He ascended back to the Father, He would send “another Comforter…even the Spirit of truth.” (v. 16-17a). This Comforter is the Holy Ghost (v. 26) which resides in every true believer in Christ.
When God dwelt among His people in the OT, God would not accept worship from a filthy temple. In the same way, God expects each of us (the temples of God) to “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1).
So where does true revival begin? It begins with a personal purging of our “temple” of things which are displeasing to God and defiling to our flesh.