Revival From Sin, Psalm 85
We all know that there are some really twisted things online. There are some crazy things happening in people’s marriages. I scanned through columns in magazines, podcasts, bloggers, and radio personalities that do the “relationship advice” thing. These people are like those sappy Dear Delilah type shows. And I found numerous columns about a crazy marriage situation.
Women described a situation in which their husband wanted to save their marriage, but keep his mistress!
Most of the comments on those articles center on the mentality of a man who exhibits such calloused, obtuse thinking. A person who thinks like that is completely self-centered and exhibits that they really don’t care about the affect of their actions on their spouse. This person’s only concern is keeping what he likes of his marriage and his mistress.
As Jerry Springer of a situation as that sounds, there are instances in the Bible in which God describes the audacity of his people to live in sin in much the same way. He sees His people as callous, adulterous, two-timing lovers.
There are several instances of this in Scripture, but there is an extensive example of this in the first 6 chapters of Jeremiah. God brings charges against His unfaithful bride Israel. In Jeremiah 3 we see their gall to approach God with affectionate language, still seek the benefit of his blessing, but refuse to turn away from their adulterous sin and idolatry.
God confronts them and describes their obtuse thinking like this
Jeremiah 3:5 (ESV)
Behold, you have spoken, but you have done all the evil that you could.”
That is a perfect way to describe someone so out of touch with reality that they say the right words but do all the wrong things.
Like the spouses I read online, God REFUSES to share His people with sin. All that remains is a reckoning . God is going to remove His favor and judge His people.
Surprisingly, this remains a tension throughout the Bible. Over and over again we see the obtuse thinking of God’s people who want to continue to enjoy the benefits of God’s blessings AS WELL AS the passing pleasures of sin.
Ephesians 5:3–10 ESV
But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.
The message of the Bible is clear. God’s people are called to repent of sin. We have no grounds to justify a continuing practice of sin.
We shouldn’t be self-righteous to think that we don’t sin, but we should be deeply disturbed that we do.
We cannot live in sin and ask God to favor us with His blessings and think that he will somehow oblige us. What we can expect is the removal of God’s favor and the consequence of God’s wrath.
Hebrews 10:23–31 ESV
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
That passage wasn’t written to the lost. It is written to people who have turned to Christ for salvation, but now they are turning back to sin.
The alternative to God’s judgment is an awakening of God’s people.
We need to sober up when it comes to sin. Our hard hearts need to be broken. This sort of awakening from such callousness in sin, repentance, the avoidance of judgment and the restoration of our loving relationship with God is called revival.
And we find such a soul, one keenly aware that he cannot continue in sin and enjoy the blessings of God, in Psalm 85. There he prays for God to revive them from sin.
As he does we should be moved to pray as He does because in his prayer he teaches us how to approach God for revival when we have persisted in sin.