1. (1-2) A plea for revival.
A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet, on Shigionoth. O Lord, I have heard your speech and was afraid; O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years! In the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy.
a. A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet: The first two chapters of Habakkuk give us the prophet’s “question and answer” time with God. Now that God has answered Habakkuk, the prophet brings a prayer to close the book.
b. O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years: Habakkuk simply prays for revival. He knows how God once worked and how His people once responded, and Habakkuk wants to see that again.
i. The prayer of Habakkuk shows us that revival is a work of God, not the achievement of man. There is something man can and must do for revival – simply cry out to God and plead for His reviving work.
ii. Notice the prayer: revive Your work. Often, my prayer is really “revive my work,” but I must have a heart and mind for God’s work, far bigger than my portion of it. “Shake off all the bitterness of everything that has to do with self, or with party, and now pray, ‘Lord, revive thy work, and if thy work happen to be more in one branch of the church than in another, Lord, give that the most reviving. Give us all the blessing, but do let thine own purposes be accomplished, and thine own glory come of it, and we shall be well content, though we should be forgotten and unknown.’” (Spurgeon)
iii. At the same time, this must be a personal prayer: “Lord, revive me.” We too often blame the church for sin, corruption, laziness, prayerlessness, lack of spiritual power, or whatever – and we forget that we are the church. Pray for personal revival and diligently search yourself:
· Check your conduct – does your walk glorify the Lord as it should? How about your private conduct, which only the Lord sees?
· Check your conversation – is your speech profane or impure? Do you talk about Jesus with others?
· Check your communion – are you living a growing, abiding life with Jesus?
c. In the midst of the years make it known: Habakkuk longs for God to do a work that is evident to everyone as a work of God. He prays that revival would be known at a definite time and place (in the midst of the years), not just as an idea in someone’s head.
d. In wrath remember mercy: Habakkuk prays knowing well that they don’t deserve revival, so he prays for mercy. The idea is, “Lord, I know that we deserve your wrath, but in the midst of your wrath remember mercy and send revival among us.”
i. “Sorrowfully, not wishing to be an accuser of the brethren, it does seem to me that considering the responsibilities which were laid upon us, and the means which God has given us, the church generally, (there are blessed exceptions!) has done so little for Christ that if ‘Ichabod’ were written right across its brow, and it were banished from God’s house, it would have its deserts. We cannot therefore appeal to merit, it must be mercy.” (Spurgeon)
ii. “O God, have mercy upon thy poor church, and visit her, and revive her. She has but a little strength; she has desired to keep thy word; oh, refresh her; restore to her thy power, and give her yet to be great in this land.” (Spurgeon)
© 2001 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission
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