REVIVAL – WHAT is IT??
By Leonard Ravenhill
Revival…..another definition would be to recover, repair or restore.
Hosea 10:12 says: “Sow to yourself in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground; for it is time to seek the Lord till He comes and reigns righteousness upon you.” What is fallow ground? Fallow ground is ground that has been fruitful, and then it has been plowed over, and no seed has been sown in it, and therefore it has become unproductive.
Notice, there is a human emphasis here — it says that we are to break up — you break up your fallow ground.
Now take another aspect of it here in Psalm 85:6 “Would Thou not revive us again: that Thy people may rejoice in Thee.” So, there is an absence of joy, of vitality — there is an absence of ecstasy. The very word “revive” presupposes life. You can only revive what has already had vitality — life that has become sick, weak, or apathetic.
I think the nearest analogy I can give you is a recent case of a man who apparently drowned. He had been under the water for an incredible amount of time. Then somebody pulled him out and worked and worked on him, and eventually, life came again. This is actually what it means to revive, It means to revitalize. It means to restore lost power. It means to recover lost energy.
In the Acts of the Apostles 3:19, we read, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” Whatever else we say about revival we have to recognize this, that revival is an act of mercy in the sovereignty of God.
It may cost millions of dollars, as it often does, to have one of our huge, modern, so-called revivals. You have to pay vast sums of money for time on TV, for example — perhaps a million dollars a night. That’s incredible, that’s unthinkable to me in the context of Biblical revival, or even historical revival.
Why doesn’t revival need to be advertised? For the simple reason, that fire is the most self-advertising thing that there is, whether it is a physical fire or a revival fire. It draws people like a magnet.
Sometimes revival is totally taken over by sorrow. Sometimes revival is totally taken over by joy, ecstasy ’till you don’t know whether you are in the flesh or whether you’ve gone out of the earth. Sometimes revival is taken over by stillness.
There are times when you go to a prayer meeting and the power of God is there. There is stillness and you feel it is creative. You feel, “Now something is building up around here, somebody is going to come out shortly with a heart bursting… with some agonizing prayer…” Revival cannot be rationalized. Again, one of the offensive things about revival is you can’t put your finger on the spot, usually, as to how or why or where it began. It is supremely an act of God.