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OT Studies on Revival


1.  God Touches Jacob Again (Gen. 35:1-15)

This new touch from God occurred to Jacob following a very sad episode in his life, as described in the previous chapter.

Jacob had been a deceiver and liar himself in his younger days. He continued to be very self-centered later in life and was often unwise in the way he treated family members.  A number of his sons were guilty of doing even worse things than Jacob had done.

God kept His covenant with Abraham, and met Jacob at several important stages of his experience. The first was at Bethel, where Jacob saw the ladder to heaven (Chap. 28.). The second was just before he met his brother Esau (chap. 32.). This chapter describes the third occasion.

Each time, although in different ways, the initiative is clearly taken by God. In this way we can recognize examples of His graciousness to a very unworthy man. This reminds us of our own unworthiness before God, and of the grace that God exercises in His dealings with us.

2.  Samuel Sees Revival in Israel (1 Sam. 7:1-13)

The early history of Israel, after the time of Moses and Joshua, saw long periods when the people turned away from God. At times they worshipped other gods, but on many other occasions, they mixed idolatrous religion with the worship of Yahweh.

During the times of the Judges there were many political and military crises, which God used to cause the people to seek Him for help.

In response, He raised up judges to deliver the people. This was more successful on some occasions than on others.

The Scriptures show us Samuel as a man of prayer, like his mother. Ps. 99: 6 - 9 portrays him as one of the Old Testament giants in the life of prayer. Even so, there was trouble later in his life because his sons did not follow in his footsteps. Eli had the same problem, but, he allowed his sons to commit sin in the tabernacle, which brought the worship of God into disrepute, and God punished him for it. This same painful problem experienced by Samuel and Eli has befallen many Christian parents today.

3.  Revival in the Times of King Asa (2 Chron. 15:1-15)

After the time of King Solomon the nation of Israel was split in two. The southern kingdom of Judah, with its capital in Jerusalem, remained loyal to the house of David, and some of the kings tried to follow David's religious line, as well.

Asa was the third king after Solomon. Chapter 14 tells us how he destroyed the centres of idolatry, some of which had been set up by Solomon in his later years to please his foreign wives. Asa also made laws to pressure people into obeying God's laws.

He fortified some of the country towns. The Lord blessed his efforts, guided him, gave him security,

with long periods of peace and prosperity. God also gave him a dramatic victory in the face of overwhelming invasion.

4.  Revival on Mount Carmel with Elijah (1 Kings 18:20-39)

The period of three and a half years of drought was a very testing period for Israel for those Israelites who were faithful to Jehovah, and for Elijah the prophet.

It tested Israel because Baal worship was a fertility cult which was supposed to provide the means to manipulate the weather and the harvest.

The faithful Israelites were persecuted, because they were identified with Elijah, and especially as a result of Ahab's efforts to find Elijah.

Elijah was tested because he had to rely upon God to supply every need, including food, water and protection. His ability to recognize the leading of God is amazing, especially when we remember how many mistakes people make today in trying to hear what God is saying to them. The tension and emotional impact of all these events is seen in the reaction when Elijah ran away from Jezebel (chapter 19).

The climax, however, was reached on Mount Carmel where the strangest series of events took place.

5.  Revival during the Reign of King Jehoshaphat of Judah. (2 Chron. 20:1-12.)

Jehoshaphat was king of Judah following Asa's reign, and he was king of Judah at the same time that Ahab was king of Israel. So he was contemporary with Elijah and Elisha, although these two prophets belonged to Israel, and not to Judah.

These two chapters from Second Chronicles reveal one of the great periods in the history of the southern kingdom, based in Jerusalem.

This story emphasizes the need for justice, which was a point at which many problems arose continually through the Old Testament story.

Seeking guidance from God and emphasizing the praise of God are also very important parts of this story.