Revival: The Whole Camp

Table of Contents

The Whole Camp

As we said at the start, revival is for the remnant of the remnant. The remnant is tested and only an “escaped remnant” stands before the Lord. Be afraid, because few, very few indeed, survive a revival. Revival is the removal of dross, not the gaining of new members. The Israelites stand in the midst of “reviving,” yet Ezra trembles that it could all be lost if the people do not repent. Ezra was not selfish or self-centered about revival—he had the love of God in him. He knew that if the whole camp did not repent, then each individual’s revival was at stake. Today everyone would walk away too satisfied with themselves to worry about a few folks who will not repent. How little love is in the church today. No one wants to confront sin, but each person remains selfishly satisfied if they feel secure in the Lord.

  • For we are slaves; yet in our bondage, our God has not forsaken us, but has extended lovingkindness to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us reviving to raise up the house of our God, to restore its ruins, and to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem. And now, our God, what shall we say after this? For we have forsaken Thy commandments, which Thou hast commanded by Thy servants the prophets, saying, “The land which you are entering to possess is an unclean land with the uncleanness of the peoples of the lands, with their abominations which have filled it from end to end and with their impurity. So now do not give your daughters to their sons nor take their daughters to your sons, and never seek their peace or their prosperity, that you may be strong and eat the good things of the land and leave it as an inheritance to your sons forever.” And after all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and our great guilt, since Thou our God hast requited us less than our iniquities deserve, and hast given us an escaped remnant as this, shall we again break Thy commandments and intermarry with the peoples who commit these abominations? Wouldst Thou not be angry with us to the point of destruction, until there is no remnant nor any who escape? O Lord God of Isreal, Thou art rightous, for we have been left an escaped remnant, as it is this day; behold, we are before Thee in our guilt, for no one can stand before Thee because of this. (Ezra 9:9–15 NASB)

Do you see this? After years of building, sacrificing, repenting, worshipping, and waiting upon God, they conclude, “Behold, we are before Thee in our guilt, for no one can stand before Thee ­because of this.”
Didn’t God answer their fasting and prayer? Did not God give them victory to this point? Maybe they were just being too hard on themselves. Would we not, in our foolishness, or in our jealousy of their revival, comfort them and tell them to claim the blood of Jesus? Would we not point out their sin in our self-righteousness? ­Instead of repenting, wouldn’t we seek to knock the other person down to size? In this way, so many people pervert righteousness while in captivity. They want everyone to do poorly in the Lord if they cannot be blessed. Like Cain, they are downcast because of their brother’s righteousness, until, of course, they can cause them to stumble. If a fellow wanderer in the desert is blessed in the Lord, it galls them to no end, and they must do something about it. And until they make them stumble, they are not happy in the Lord.

However, would not Ezra and his fellow worshippers quote to us the following passages?

  • Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord ­Almighty. (2 Corinthians 6:17–18)

  • Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. (2 Corinthians 7:1)

So few in the church today can speak of “perfecting holiness” by cleaning up their “spirit” and “body.” Today the church, however, constantly says, “All God cares about is the heart.” How blessed the Israelites were that they did not have this attitude and ­realized that the heart reflects in how a man dresses and behaves. For you see, all the little brokenness and little sins God had shown over the years had prepared them for this day. Similarly, Jesus ­rebuked Peter for three years to prepare him for his denial at the end of those years. For over three years Jesus’ rebukes to Peter were mild preparations for getting to the cross. At that point Peter finally despaired of self. In other words, because the people repented of the small things over the years which God showed them, He could deal with all of self. In the same way since Abraham learned to surrender and trust God daily, he could one day be faithful enough to sacrifice his own son. Samson, who learned literally to die to sin, slew more when he died to self than when he was alive.

  • Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived. (Judges 16:30)

You too must learn this literally—that you will kill more for the Lord when you die to self than when you are alive. Until that time, like Samson, your passions, fleshly desires, stubbornness, lies, and half-truths will continue to cause you to be taken captive. Consider the quiet time in jail and discipline that Samson endured before this revival took place. Pray that you will never need revival and prepare yourself if you do for what God must work to reconcile you. Samson had to have his eyes gouged out and be bound in chains to learn his lessons. What will it take for you to no longer halfway weep over your sin?

Pray that you will be as Jesus described: “He who is faithful with little, will be faithful with much.” Those willing to daily repent of the small things will be ready to sacrifice self on the day God calls for the end of revival. After all, he who repents of small things, will never again need revival. Blessed is the church with leaders that can direct the people in this. But as long as you consider short times of weeping as crucifixion, even the most Godly leaders will profit you nothing.

Day of Birth

  • Does the following sound like the crowning achievement called “revival”? Yet, it is God’s revival.
    Now while Ezra was praying and making confession, weeping and prostrating himself before the house of God, a very large assembly, men, women, and children, gathered to him from Israel; for the people wept bitterly. (Ezra 10:1 NASB)

Again, hadn’t they wept many times before? Of course they had, but their hearts needed to fill up with the cross of Christ. Sadly, the church often accepts individuals after small tokens of conviction. Counting the cost just does not happen often in the church today —the cost that says we must give up all. Certainly, calling the crowd of visitors who come to your church “vipers” is totally unheard of today.

The people of Israel came to this place where they either had to decide to give up all or lose all. Either the baby would be born alive or stillborn. Either they would give that one final push for delivery or kill the baby in the womb. Either the Israelites would have the strength to finish the revival or the revival would ­become an everlasting disgrace. How many churches and individuals reach the end of revival only to find out they haven’t the strength to finish it? They return to their old comfortable religious ways. They get right to the end, having thought all along that this revival is “great,” but only gave 99.9% to the Lord. Because of this, they didn’t have the strength to deliver the New Life.

  • They told him, “This is what Hezekiah says: This day is a day of distress and rebuke and disgrace, as when children come to the point of birth and there is no strength to deliver them.” (Isaiah 37:3)

Notice below that they sent away their own children and wives in order to have the Lord! They had come to a day of decision. Each person had to ask themselves, “Is fellowship with God more valuable than fellowship with my wife, children, or with the world?” Put in New Testament terms, they would have to live as “though they are not married,” not look for a wife, and cleanse themselves from the world. What they needed to do was clear, for they had been unified in God’s Word and Spirit. No longer were any debates necessary as to what they should repent of. We waste much time in the church today because men can’t even recognize sin, let alone know how to repent of it.

  • And Shecaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, answered and said to Ezra, “We have been unfaithful to our God, and have married foreign women from the peoples of the land; yet now there is hope for Israel in spite of this. So now let us make a covenant with our God to put away all the wives and their children, according to the counsel of my lord and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law.” (Ezra 10:2–3 NASB)

If revival comes from God, then let it be “done according to the law,” or according to the Word of the Lord. Let your church demonstrate so much obedience that others will call it legalistic. If there is any hope left in spite of your church’s sins, let each person seek the counsel of the godly and of those who tremble at the Word. If you are just one individual in the midst of revival, then seek out those who know what it is to be crucified with Christ and ask for counsel. Beg for it, go out of your way for it, and if they call you a “dog,” all the better. Don’t find someone you consider to be your equal in the Lord or someone you feel comfortable getting advice from. Seek out those more mature in the Lord and demand counsel. Keep away from anyone who puts obstacles in your way either by their life, doctrine, or words.

Out in the Open

No one can mistake it. Boldness and openness mark this type of obedience. If you have to tell someone you are repenting or being revived, then you are not really repenting! Don’t ever say you are repenting because everyone will see that in you if it is true. Like Zaccheus, let us not repent quietly, hidden away somewhere. Let us arise and proclaim our repentance by correcting our wrongs four times over. Do you want reconciliation, revival, and salvation from the Lord? Then this is the only way.

  • And Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham.” (Luke 19:8–9 NASB)

Let us “stop” everything and claim the day of revival, repenting fully of what God shows us. Let everyone see you “stop” everything, especially ministry work, and tell the Lord how you plan to specifically repent. Make a list of your sins, with Scriptures on how to repent, and then set out to obey­—the Holy Spirit will meet you there. Let all see your shame, your sin, and your repentance. This is where salvation is found.

For this is God’s way of revival. He blesses those who show courage in their repentance. The Israelites repented with so much zeal that they sealed it with an oath. Since they resolved to repent, it would be done, and nothing would stop them. In fact, Ezra did not enjoy any fellowship—the bread and the water—with the Lord until repentance took place. Let no good thing of the Lord that you desire keep you from repenting first. Let nothing keep you from making sure others repent. Do not be selfish and content in the Lord if others do not repent.

  • “Arise! For this matter is your responsibility, but we will be with you; be courageous and act.” Then Ezra rose and made the leading priests, the Levites, and all Israel, take an oath that they would do according to this proposal; so they took the oath. Then Ezra rose from before the house of God and went into the chamber of Jehohanan the son of Eliashib. Although he went there, he did not eat bread, nor drink water, for he was mourning over the unfaithfulness of the exiles. (Ezra 10:4–6 NASB)

Encourage your leaders to “Arise!” and deal with sin in each home and family. Invite your pastor into your house and plead with him to point out anything sinful. You read that right, encourage him to arise, act and be courageous. How many love pastors who mind their own business! You see, before this time, at the start of God’s warnings of captivity, they had refused those whom He sent. In the Scripture above, they pleaded with Ezra to go and confront people with God, but in Isaiah’s day they said…

  • They say to the seers, “See no more visions!” and to the prophets, “Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions. Leave this way, get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!” (Isaiah 30:10–11)

Ezra and the leaders did arise—so much so that they arose with an oath. A revival that does not come this way is not of God and will not end in reconciliation with Him. As the passage below declares, anyone who doesn’t accept this revival will forfeit all he owns in the Lord and be excluded from the church.

  • And they made a proclamation throughout Judah and Jerusalem to all the exiles, that they should assemble at Jerusalem, and that whoever would not come within three days, according to the counsel of the leaders and the elders, all his possessions should be forfeited and he himself excluded from the assembly of the exiles. (Ezra 10:7–8 NASB)

Of course, the passage below would say “three days.” Jesus was raised on the third day, and all of Scripture points to Him, who He is, and how He deals with us.

  • So all the men of Judah and Benjamin assembled at Jerusalem within the three days. It was the ninth month on the twentieth of the month, and all the people sat in the open square before the house of God, trembling because of this matter and the heavy rain. (Ezra 10:9 NASB)

Of course, revival was out in the open, in the Light where everyone could see sin being dealt with. These folks were “walking in the Light” long before the command was written with ink. Of course, they were all at church not doing as they pleased on Sunday. No attendance problem here. Of course, only men led in this revival, since women did not lead in the church. Of course, the rain sent from God that washed away their sins symbolized their water baptism that a long time ago “saved them.” God could wash away their sins because they willingly “trembled” over what they had done and read each line of Scripture with a holy fear. They were now ready to obey Scripture all the way. Indeed, they wanted, with joy, to give all in order to obey God and to hear His voice once again. Fellowship with God now meant more than anything. The one thing God had waited for, the one thing that would bring full reconciliation and the normal Christian life, the Israelites were now willing to do.

These people were not foolish virgins who only had enough oil to get them by for a few short hours. In the parable, five of the virgins, though they kept themselves pure, did not overflow with the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. These virgins, more virtuous than those churches around them,2 were still sadly wanting in the Lord. They were even so noble as to realize they needed to go and buy some more oil. They even set out with great speed and action to buy some oil—they looked like they repented. They knew they needed ­revival, but they had waited too long to allow revival to do its work. Their hearts would never be right. The only reason they desired more oil sprang from a selfish motive—they only wanted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

These virgins wanted more of the Lord and His righteousness, but it was too late. They thought they had enough oil to get them by and didn’t need a thing. They even made it through most of the dark night, and though they felt in their hearts something wasn’t right, they considered conviction by the Spirit to be enough. They even ran off and bought more oil because of their need to be closer to Jesus. Let us learn the lesson that being convicted of sin and having some oil is never enough to save one’s soul. They had overestimated their standing in the Lord—the first sign of the need for revival.

  • But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Later the others also came. “Sir! Sir!” they said. “Open the door for us!” But he replied, “I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.” Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. (Matthew 25:10–13)

  1. Revival: The Whisper Revival
  2. Revival: The Cross
  3. Revival: Receiving a Revival
  4. Revival: A Shameful Thing
  5. Revival: Revival begins
  6. Revival: In the Midst of Revival
  7. Revival: The Revival Cry
  8. Revival: Wanting to Help: The Opposition
  9. Revival: Revival Resumed
  10. Revival: The Acid Test
  11. Revival: The Whole Camp
  12. Revival: Words of Comfort
  13. Revival: The One Thing
  14. Revival: Discipleship: To Begin

Revival: Everything Said

Revival: Endnotes

Disclaimer

The Consider Podcast attempts to express opinions through God’s holiness. Nothing concerning justice or injustice should be taken as legal advice or a call to action. There is no political agenda. There is no individual moral life advice. Indeed, each person is solely responsible before God and man for their actions or inactions. The Consider Podcast is narrowly focused on one thing, and only one thing – the need for all to surrender to a life of repentance according to the whole gospel.

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Examining today’s wisdom, folly and madness with the whole gospel.
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