O LORD, I have heard your speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive your work in the middle of the years…
I. THE STATE CALLING FOR A REVIVAL. A revival is a return to life and vigour from a state of languor and decay. The Church of Christ needs revival. It is not in a lively state as to deep and practical godliness. There are comparatively few flourishing Churches. There is much disunion. There is a low standard of devotedness to Christ. This state of things calls for a revival in the Church generally. As individuals is our condition satisfactory? Is there not a state of worldliness, lukewarmness, and formality? The apostle speaks of many in his day as having "the form of godliness, but denying the power thereof." This surely is a state calling for a revival.
II. THE NATURE OF THE REVIVAL OF GOD'S WORK. What is God's work in the heart of man? It is very different from man's work. It is marked by a new birth. It is marked by Christian graces. It is marked by walking in all good works. It is the work of grace in the heart of man. What is the revival of this work?
1. An increase of zeal on the part of God's people.
2. An awakening among careless sinners.
III. THE ONLY SOURCE FROM WHICH IT CAN FLOW. "O Lord, revive Thy work." The Holy Spirit is the great source of the revival of the work of grace in the heart of man. If you desire revivals, the means must be diligently used — reading God's Word, prayer in secret, social prayer, public worship, self-examination; but if you stop at the means you deceive yourselves; this is the proper posture for the Christian, "My soul, wait thou only upon God, for my expectation is from Him."
IV. THE TIME IN WHICH IT SHOULD BE SOUGHT. "In the midst of the years." Before the day of sickness comes. Before the day of old age comes. Before the judgments of God come on the world. Before the Saviour appears Before the final sentence is pronounced. Seek a revival, while the day of grace continues; while God's ministers invite you. While opportunity is afforded. Then —
1. Search into the state of your own hearts.
2. Seek revival from God by prayer in private. Devote yourselves afresh unto God.
(E. Bickersteth, A. M.)
Parallel VersesKJV: O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.