Understanding this book, the Book of Nehemiah, is a real KEY to Obedience and Revival, both personal and congregational. Here is a picture that we can see, how GOD orchestrated this revival and how I believe HE can give us revival today.
19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, CHOKE the word, and it becometh unfruitful.
(These, according to the Word of God, are the reasons why we REFUSE to REPENT and OBEY the Word of God).
The Lord has brought my attention to the Book of Nehemiah. Starting in chapter 8, we find there had been a famine in the land. Not a famine of physical food but of hearing the Word of the Lord. The children of Israel gathered themselves together before Ezra the scribe (being LED BY THE LORD) and asked him to bring the Book of the Law of Moses. As Ezra read, the people WERE ATTENTIVE.
1 And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded to Israel.
2 And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month.
3 And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of ALL THE PEOPLE WERE ATTENTIVE unto the book of the law.
4 And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose; and beside him stood Mattithiah, and Shema, and Anaiah, and Urijah, and Hilkiah, and Maaseiah, on his right hand; and on his left hand, Pedaiah, and Mishael, and Malchiah, and Hashum, and Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam.
5 Nehemiah And Ezra OPENED THE BOOK in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up:
HUMBLED THEMSELVES AND WORSHIPPED!
6 And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they BOWED THEIR HEADS, and WORSHIPED the LORD WITH THEIR FACES TO THE GROUND.
BELIEVING WHAT THEY WERE HEARING!
7 Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, CAUSED THE PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND THE LAW: and the people STOOD in their place.
8 So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, AND CAUSED THEM TO UNDERSTAND THE READING.
9 And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the LORD your God;mourn not, nor weep. For all the people WEPT, when they HEARD the WORDS of the law.
10 Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the JOY OF THE LORD is your STRENGTH.
OBEDIENCE BRINGS JOY AND GLADNESS!
15 And that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities and in Jerusalem, saying, Go forth unto the mount and fetch olive branches and pine branches and myrtle branches and palm branches and branches of thick trees to make booths, as it is written.
16 So the people went forth and brought them and made themselves booths, every one upon the roof of his house and in their courts and in the courts of the house of God and in the street of the water gate and in the street of the gate of Ephraim.
17 And all the congregation of them that were COME AGAIN OUT of the captivity (INSTITUTIONAL CHURCH), made booths and sat under the booths: for since the days of Jeshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so. AND THERE WAS VERY GREAT GLADNESS.
We see above that as the people responded to God's Word by coming OUT of captivity and true REPENTANCE (verse 9) and OBEDIENCE (verse 15,16,17), God gave them great GLADNESS (verse 17).
Today is LITTLE DIFFERENT from the days that Ezra lived in. We find ourselves in the SAME SITUATION. Come OUT of the Institutional Church as the Lord is leading YOU!
11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a FAMINE in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of HEARING THE WORDS OF THE LORD:
12 And they shall WANDER from sea to sea, and from the NORTH even to the EAST, they shall run to and fro to seek the WORD of the LORD, and SHALL NOT find it.
13 IN THAT DAY shall the fair virgins and young men FAINT for THIRST.
Are you FAINTING? Are you THIRSTY? What are we to do when we read God's Word and find that we are in DISOBEDIENCE to it? Shall we CONTINUE in DISOBEDIENCE, hoping that God will look favorably on us anyway? Is this what the people did when Ezra read God's Word to them?
Chapter 9 begins:
HUMBLED THEMSELVES AND FASTED!
1 Now in the twenty and fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, and with sackclothes, and earth upon them.
2 And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers, and stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers.
HEARING, BELIEVING, WORSHIPPING!
3 And they stood up in their place, and read in the book of the law of the LORD their God one fourth part of the day; and another fourth part they confessed, and worshipped the LORD their God.
COMMITMENT TO OBEDIENCE!
38 And because of all this we make a sure covenant and write it; and our princes, Levites and priests seal it.
Chapter 10 we find:
28 And the rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the porters, the singers, the Nethinims, and all they that had separated themselves from the people of the lands unto the law of God, their wives, their sons, and their daughters, every one having knowledge, and having understanding;
29 They clave to their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse, and into an oath, to walk in God's law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the LORD our Lord, and his judgments and his statutes;
30 And that we would not give our daughters unto the people of the land, nor take their daughters for our sons:
What we find through the end of Nehemiah, chapter 13 is God's peope HEARING GOD'S WORD AND COMING BACK INTO OBEDIENCE TO IT.
They HEAR the Word of God, they REPENT of their DISOBEDIENCE to God's Word, they begin to OBEY God's Word and GLADNESS AND JOY come upon them. THIS IS REVIVAL!
As we read Nehemiah through to the end of chapter 13, we find there were some PROBLEMS, their were some ENEMIES, there were some SETBACKS, but in Nehemiah 13:30 we read:
30 Thus CLEANSED I them (by the READING OF GOD'S WORD) from all strangers (Traditions they had been TAUGHT!) and appointed the wards of the priests and the Levites, every one in his business.
We find ourselves in similar circumstances today. The church that the Holy Spirit commissioned and empowered 2000 years ago, is NOT in OBEDIENCE ACCORDING TO THE WORD OF GOD.
What are we to do? WE MUST DO as the people did in the Book Of Nehemiah. WE MUST line ourselves back up TO THE WORD OF GOD. The NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH as the Lord established it!
Read this carefully as it describes OUR DAY:
26 That he might SACTIFY and CLEANSE it with the WASHING OF WATER BY THE WORD,
27 That he might present it to himself a GLORIOUS church, not having SPOT, or WRINKLE, OR ANY SUCH THING; but that it should be HOLY and WITHOUT BLEMISH.
Do you want REVIVAL as we wait for the Rapture? I am beginning to see the PATTERN here that God's Word HAS FOR US in these last days.
There's so much that God wants to do with us! Will we turn back to His Word in OBEDIENCE? There will NEVER be REVIVAL without OBEDIENCE. DO YOU SEE THAT YET? There is a REMNANT that will LISTEN.
10 Because thou hast kept the WORD of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.