The Sudden, Surprising Sovereignty of God in True Revival

2 Chronicles 29:36; 30:1
       And Hezekiah rejoiced, and all the people, that God had prepared the people: for thing was done suddenly. And Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, to keep the Passover unto the Lord God of Israel.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): A great revival took place in the days of Hezekiah. There had been a time of fearful declension in the reigns of the preceding kings, but in the days of Hezekiah God graciously gave a blessed revival. Things had gotten into such an awful state that they had not even kept the Passover for several centuries!

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): Revivals are God’s way of keeping His work alive. You get that even in the Old Testament. You get the children of Israel falling into sin, forgetting God, and becoming indolent and slack, and then God would suddenly deal with a prophet or a king, and there’d be a revival. You have it in the time of Josiah, you have it in the time of Hezekiah, and there are other instances of it. These are revivals. God manifesting Himself. And so I say it has proved to be throughout the long history of the Christian church. There have been times when Christianity almost had come to an end, and certain people were quite confident that the end had come, and it’s then that God comes in revival, and the moribund church is raised to a new period of reactivity.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): The thing was done suddenly, which showed there was much of God in it. Church businesses usually go on but slowly. The Spirit makes quick work.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Suddenly. Suddenly! Yes, and often unexpectedly…as you look at the subsequent history of the church, you can add to “suddenly” the word unexpectedly. And I thank God for this, because it is to me the greatest consolation in this arid period through which we are living. You never know when the Spirit is going to visit us and revive His Work.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): If ever God’s church has declined for a little while, unexpectedly there has been yielded a season of refreshing from the presence of the Lord.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: The history of the church has been a history of ups and downs―ups and downs throughout these long running centuries. Indeed there is a sense in which it can be said almost that the history of the church is the history of revivals, and of the waning of revival and the coming back of revival―and as you take a bird’s eye view of church history, isn’t this what you see? You see that great beginning in the Book of Acts, and then you find it gradually pass, and then you come to the dark middle ages, all that period of torpor, and lethargy, and of lifelessness, and then the brilliant, blazing Protestant reformation, which was a revival, a return to the Book of Acts, a restoration of this ancient power.

JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): The Church of Christ was very low at the time of the Reformation. But then it was suddenly revived, and broke forth like the sun from behind a dark cloud; and the light of the Gospel was diffused far and wide, almost as at the beginning, in the apostles’ days.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: And then that seemed to pass, and you get the Puritan era, which was again a great revival, and then the revival of the eighteenth century, and then the revival of the nineteenth century…Oh, I do commend to you the reading of the history of revivals.

J. H. M. d’AUBIGNÉ (1794-1872): A reformation is not arbitrarily made, as charters and revolutions are in some countries. A real reformation, prepared during many ages, is the work of the Spirit of God. Before the appointed hour, the greatest geniuses, and even the most faithful of God’s servants, cannot produce it; but when the reforming time is come, when it is God’s pleasure to renovate the affairs of the world, the divine life must clear a passage.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Revival is always His work…In some countries the word “revival” has now come to mean the holding of an evangelistic campaign. This is not revival! In a sense I cannot think of anything that is further removed from revival than just that—a man-made, man-organized series of meetings.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Christian men should never speak of “getting up a revival.” Where are you going to get it up from?

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: This is something which is most glorious. Man not only cannot start a revival, he cannot stop it either. Nor can he keep it going when it has stopped. Men have tried to do all these things but they have never succeeded. The sovereignty of God appears in the timing. Yes, and also the sovereignty of God appears in the place where revival starts…Believe me, my friends, when the next revival comes, it will come as a surprise to everybody, and especially to those who have been trying to organize it.

C. H. SPURGEON: We know not what God has in store. He is great at surprises: His best wine last amazes us all. When the devil is most secure upon his throne, then God springs a mine, and blows his empire into atoms.

J. H. M. d’AUBIGNÉ: It is often at the very moment when the storm is set at its height, when the thunder seems to have struck down the truth, and when the darkness of night covers it, that a sudden gleam shines forth, and announces a great deliverance.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: If I have any understanding of the times at all, and the Biblical teaching concerning the nature of the church and the work of the Holy Spirit, I do not hesitate to assert this―that the only hope of the church lies in revival. I see no hope whatsoever in any other movement, or organization, or any other kind of effort. The one supreme need of the church is revival.

MARY WINSLOW (1774-1854): We need an especial outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

C. H. SPURGEON: Oh, that the Lord would sent us times of true revival once again!


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