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OT Revival List


There is considerable difference of opinion concerning which Old Testament events should be described as revivals. Horatius Bonar enumerates fourteen, Ernest Baker, twelve; Wilbur Smith, eight and Earle E. Cairns, twelve.

This is an abridged list:

1. Gen. 35:1-15:  The story of Jacob's return to Bethel with his household is cited by Wilbur Smith as his first choice of a Biblical revival. Again this is possible, but exhibits questionable exegesis!

2. Ex. 4:29-31:  This is Baker's first choice, which he sees as Israel's leader's spiritual response to the promise of deliverance.

3. Judges 3:7-11:  The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD; they forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asherahs. The anger of the LORD burned against Israel so that he sold them into the hands of Cushan-rishathaim king of Aram Naharaim, to whom the Israelites were subject for eight years.  But when they cried out to the LORD, he raised up for them a deliverer, Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother, who saved them. The Spirit of the LORD came upon him, so that he became Israel's judge and went to war. The LORD gave Cushan-rishathaim king of Aram into the hands of Othniel, who overpowered him. So the land had peace for forty years, until Othniel son of Kenaz died.

4. 1 Sam. 7:1-13:  Baker, Bonar and Cairns refer to the revival that occurred under the ministry of Samuel. During the days of Eli the Priest, Israel had backslidden from God and incurred tragic losses at the hands of the Philistines. For twenty years they adopted 'foreign gods' in a desperate attempt to acquire supernatural help, to no avail. Samuel arrived and led them to repentance by purging the land of foreign gods, and turning to the Lord. 

5. 1 Kings 16:30-33:  All are agreed that the divided northern Kingdom experienced authentic revival through the ministry of Elisha on Mt. Carmel. Cairn's remarks: 'Spiritual decline came again to the northern kingdom in the days of Ahab and Jezebel with consequent idolatry.

6. 1 Kings 18:21-39: Revival came to the people after Elijah humiliated Baal and his priests. Elijah challenged the people not to halt between serving God or Baal, but to serve God only.' The people responded appropriately in 1 Kings 18:39 'When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, "The LORD - he is God! The LORD - he is God!" The more spiritually attuned southern kingdom experienced a succession of revivals during their history, which are presented by most revival historians as models of true revival.

7 & 8. Jonah:  Baker finds two revivals in the book of Jonah - one in the boat and one in Nineveh. Jonah's disobedience brought disaster to him and his companions. They cried to the Lord, sacrificed to Him and paid their vows.  In Nineveh, Jonah proclaimed the word of the Lord and the whole city turned to the Lord!  This is a notable evangelistic revival which stands alone in the Old Testament.  James Hoffpauir preached this in a series entitled "Running from God" and "Running towards God."

9. 2 Chron. 15:1-15:  The revival under Asa. Interestingly this revival did not follow a period of religious decline, or national oppression. It came 'after a period of increase and prosperity and after a great national deliverance.' (Baker). This revival continued on into the reign of Jehoshaphat, who was blessed by God in his leadership of God's people. (2 Chron. 17:9, 10, 12).

10. 2 Kings 22:1-20:  The revival under the reign of Josiah is one of the great stories in the Bible. One of the great values of this story is to show that revival is possible in the waning days of God's blessings on a country or time. Israel has already been taken into captivity. The proclamation of God's judgment has already been made on Judah (see 2 Kings 21:11-15).   That is, God has already determined to bring full judgment on Judah. Yet, even at this time, a man rises up to bring true faith back to the land. Though the revival of Josiah's day does not turn God's anger fully away from Judah, it does put off judgment during Josiah's lifetime

11. 2 Chron. 29-31:  The revival under Hezekiah is one of the most sudden of those recorded in Scripture. 2 Chron 29:36 'Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced at what God had brought about for his people, because it was done so quickly.'  He began a work of restoration at the very inception of his reign and within a couple of months the whole land was swept with a wave of spiritual enthusiasm.  Consecration, a recommitment to the Covenant, purification of the Temple, a restoration of worship with sacrifices and singing were marks of this revival.  Three prophets were Hezekiah's contemporaries: Isaiah, Micah and Hosea but though they are not mentioned in connection with the revival, they were certainly there - 2 Chron 29:25 'He stationed the Levites in the temple of the LORD with cymbals, harps and lyres in the way prescribed by David and Gad the king's seer and Nathan the prophet; this was commanded by the LORD through his prophets.'  This revival prepared Judah and Hezekiah to stand against Sennacherib of Assyria, whom God humbled before them (2 Chron. 32:21; Isa. 37:33-38). Hezekiah's experience suggests that revival can prepare people to face a crisis as well as prepare them for service.