Revival – How Does It Start?

Revival – How Does It Start?

By now, news of the Asbury Revival has spread throughout the country, even appearing on Fox News and the Washington Post. Many college campuses and churches have experienced revival in their own way since the spark was ignited in Central Kentucky almost three weeks ago. While most evangelical churches would agree that God’s hand is moving in hearts in Kentucky, many are asking, “What actually caused the revival in the first place? Was it prayer, confession, the Scriptures, or some other methodology?”

We may be surprised to find a very similar movement of God in Jerusalem around 450 BC. Jerusalem’s crumbling walls seemed to be representative of the spiritual state of its inhabitants. Because of the seventy-year captivity in Babylon, many Israelite children and adults had grown up with no temple, no altar, and no Torah. All they had were stories from grandparents and elders about what it used to be like when God’s mighty hand was on Israel and about how the idolatry, pride, and materialism of Israel caused a great departure from truth.

Then, after God provided for the reconstruction of Jerusalem’s walls (Nehemiah), an Israelite priest living in Persia, named Ezra, felt a burning desire in his heart to teach God’s people the Scriptures. He made the five-month journey back to Jerusalem, and upon a set day, all the people gathered on a main street in the city as Ezra stood up and began to simply read the Torah aloud from morning until noon. Then, revival broke out. It started with a simple reading of the Scriptures, then to smaller groups of Levites expounding on the Law of Moses, then to re-observance of the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles, and finally to a twenty-four-day continual gathering filled with confession of sins, prayer, worship, and a recommitment to God as a nation.

So, when does revival start? When did it start in Asbury, and when did it start in Nehemiah 9-10? Though there are countless ways to say it, the following statement seems to reflect both instances: Revival started when God met with His people, and His people listened.

The student in Asbury listened to God’s conviction about particular sins, Ezra listened to God’s prompting to go to Jerusalem to read the Torah, and the Israelites listened to God as His Word pierced their souls on the street in Jerusalem. We have many God-moments in our lives in which we know that His Spirit is drawing us. When the next moment comes in your life, will you listen?