Are We Really Ready for Revival?
by Iverna Tompkins
As transcribed by Jane Vaughn
We have been reading from Exodus, chapters 19 and 20. This portion of Scripture describes the awesome encounter with God the Israelites faced at Mt. Sinai. Iverna then posed the question: What does it take to get us ready for Revival? and she has been discussing a number of things we need to "Remember" as we consider the soon-coming Revival. Point number 6 was: God will come for those who are ready, so let's be ready! Iverna continues...jv. ed.
“Then it came to pass on the third day in the morning there were – thunderings – and lightnings – and the thick cloud on the mountain – and the sound of the trumpet was very loud – (some of you wouldn’t stay for that! :-)) – so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God.” (Ex.19:16,17).
I assure you – that would preach for an hour. It’s not sufficient just to feel enough of God to make you tremble. You know, the “woo-woos” – “Ohhhhhhh! Wooohhh! Ohhhhhhh!” I grew up in that atmosphere – and I know all about it. It’s just not enough!
So – Moses went and got the people that were just in the camp – trembling. He told them, “You need to come out and meet the real thing. I want you to come out and meet God!” Oh, Church! Yes, we have seen the counterfeit. Now let’s put a period on that and look up for the real!
When God says He’s coming – “I will visit you! I am coming! I’m bringing Revival!” – we all get excited. But I wonder if we could handle what He does – when He comes? Think about this scripture. I mean, this is strange, Church. These are strange happenings – earthquakes and thunder and lightning and dense clouds – and the loud sounds of a trumpet! That’s pretty strange!
How would we handle that in a church service? What if someone jumped up and did something – strange? And it was God!? We’d lose half of you. :-)
But you see, some of the people actually came out to meet God (vs.17). And when they did, they saw the top of Mt. Sinai completely engulfed in smoke – “because the Lord descended on it in fire” (vs.18). Fire!
Remember Acts 2:3: Fire! “as cloven tongues – of fire!” When God came (in the Book of Acts), the first thing He came in was fire! When the Holy Spirit was released to the Church, the first thing that came was not tongues. It was FIRE! The fire set upon their heads! It was fire!
Let me tell you, the fire of God is coming back to the Church. That doesn’t mean – listen to me now – it doesn’t mean just enthusiasm. We can get people going and enthused and so on, and then proudly report: “Oh, I’ll tell you, they were fired up!” No, they weren’t. They were “enthused up.” :-) Music can do that. Clapping can do that. Stomping can do it. A “good” preacher can do it.
But when the fire of God, the real fire of God comes through His Word, or comes through a word, or comes by His Spirit, I want you to know the first thing it does is burn up anything burnable! Wood – hay – stubble – Poof!! ::Poof!!:: When the fire of God hits – all your good works go: Poof! And they’re gone!
The fire of God ignites! It ignites a dead man – ignites an inept woman. It allows wisdom to come to the top. It causes us to speak beyond our natural understanding. It makes a difference in lives – just because we touched them. That’s the Fire of God!
“Well, how do you know He’s coming in fire?” Because He is fire! “Our God is a consuming fire!” (Heb.12:29). And He’s going to come and consume all the dross. But then, He’s going to consume you.
Now, imagine it! It isn’t just the wood, hay and stubble of my life – my own works and ambitions and plans and dreams and all – that have to burn and fall at my feet as ashes. But the fire has to come to purify the gold He’s looking for inside us. Oh, hallelujah! Because He wants the gold so pure that when He looks down into it, His face is reflected – in me! And in you! (cf.Mal.3).
Moses is ready. When the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder – Moses spoke and God answered him by the voice (Ex.19:19). The people, however, are not ready. It’s one thing to be wishful – longing for an experience of His Presence, His touch. But it’s entirely another thing to be ready.
Listen to this again – we read it together earlier: (Ex.20:18). “All the people witnessed – they saw it – the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, the mountain smoking;” – they all saw all of this going on – all of the people witnessed the Presence . . . and they trembled - -- and “stood afar off.”
I have never seen a move of God where that wasn’t true – and I’ve seen a few in my lifetime. There are always those people who enter right in – just like a Moses: “Ohhhhh, take me, Lord. Whatever! Your presence is so awesome! I want to see Your face.”
But there’s another group that moves to the periphery thinking: “I’m gonna check this out. I’m not sure this is God.” Or maybe it’s: “This is not what I bargained for – I wanted His sweet, gentle presence.” You can almost hear them singing it: “Peace – peace, wonderful peace….”
And I’ve also watched a core of people try to stop the move of God.
But when God comes – listen – when God comes, God comes His way. Sometimes it is “peace-peace” with gentle tears and silence and quiescence. And when it happens that way, it’s such a mighty move of God you wouldn’t even sneeze if you had to. I’ve been in those kinds of services. At other times, it’s the thunderings and the lightning of God. And it’s still the awesome presence of God!
What I’m trying to explain to you is that if you’re really ready for God, you don’t care which way He comes! You will recognize it as God when it happens!
Moses said to the people, “Don’t fear – don’t be afraid – for God has come to test you” (vs.20). Test you? What’s the test? Is it endurance? Or tolerance? Then you can hear the people say – almost with a distinct reticence – “Okay, Lord, if this is You, I’ll watch and do it.”
Oh, no. Moses makes it very clear. “God has come to test you that His fear may be before you – so that you may not sin.” (Ex.20:20, bold added).
That’s not double talk. “Don’t fear” – and “God’s testing you so that you can – fear.” These are two different things altogether! Being afraid of the move of God will keep you outside of it. Having the “fear of the Lord” would prevent your leaving when He comes!
In the book, Two Minds, by Os Guinness – I like what he said about the fear of the Lord. “The fear of God in the believer draws him nearer; in the unbeliever drives him back. In the believer, it makes him search himself; in the unbeliever, he accuses God before he can be accused. In the believer, it makes him trust; in the unbeliever, it makes him frightened and suspicious. Right fear comes from faith; false fear comes from doubt. Some fear to lose Him and others fear to find Him.”
We sing a song that says, “…and tremble at His Voice; and tremble at His Voice.” May this be the prayer of our hearts: “Oh, God, bring that back to the Church. Restore to us a right fear – an awe-filled reverence – whereby we stand amazed by Your Presence.
Our pastor not only has a wonderful teaching ministry-gift, but such a clear, precise Word of the Lord prophetically. And yet I watch us take that so for granted. There’s not much trembling at His Voice here. I’ve seen him call out people from the assembly by the direction of the Lord saying, “You’re from here – your name is… – and you’ve got this and that….”
Church! We ought to be trembling! “Oh, my God! That You would stoop to speak to us in such a way!” What an awesome God we serve! It’s not “business as usual” here.
I’d like to take some of you with me to other places where I minister. Some are truly Deadsville! :-) When I’d bring you back, then you’d appreciate more what we have here. And what we have here now is nothing compared to what we’re about to have! I can see it!