There is much talk of revival these days, with varying opinions of what it should look like. The first evidence of true revival is a great desire to hear and obey the Word of God. In Nehemiah’s day, the people expressed to Ezra, a priest and scribe, their desire to have the book of the law of Moses read to them. “And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people … and when he opened it, all the people stood up” (Nehemiah 8:5).
The cry of their hearts was, “Bring us the true Word of the Lord!” Ezra stood on a raised, wooden pulpit and read God’s Word for six hours while the multitude stood at attention and listened. Today many Christians get bored in church and want to hear short sermons. On the other hand, there are those who are famished for the Word and long to hear sermons inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Another evidence of revival is true repentance. The people in Nehemiah’s day first rejoiced and praised the Lord at the reading of the Word. Then they bowed low and worshiped: “And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. Then all the people answered, ‘Amen, Amen!’ while lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground” (8:6). The people, trembling at God’s Word, took it to heart and repented.
When revival comes, there is an incredible spirit of joy and celebration. “And all the people went their way to eat and drink … and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them” (8:12). Wherever the love of God’s Word has been restored and repentance has resulted, there will always come forth a wave of true joy and celebration.
The final evidence of revival is absolute separation from the world. “And those of Israelite lineage separated themselves from all foreigners” (9:2). Wherever there is biblical restoration, there will be an ever-growing awareness of the Lord’s call to separate from all that is worldly and sensuous.
God is raising up a remnant made up of those who want revival that conforms believers to the image of Jesus Christ. What an exciting time to be alive in the Body of Christ!