on a significant biblical revival

The Jewish nation cycled back and forth from apostasy and revival several times in its long history. One of the most significant revivals is that under King Hezekiah.

A couple of years ago, I led our church through a chronological study of the Bible. In the study, I was so busy preparing study guides and sermons that I think I missed some of the really significant insights my study was supposed to uncover! This year, we are reading the Bible through on the same chronological schedule. For me, it is the first time reading the schedule devotionally rather than academically.

I was singularly impressed this time with Hezekiah. It is noteworthy that the Lord led the writers of Scripture to record Hezekiah’s revival in three different books of the Bible, 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, and Isaiah. The repetition heightens the significance. The Lord wants us to learn something here.

The ‘Hezekiahan’ revival involved a deep purging of idolatry led by the king, then faced a traumatic challenge to faith by the Assyrian invasion of Judah by Sennacherib. Hezekiah’s prayer, spreading the blasphemous letter of Sennacherib before the Lord, is an example to us of what real revival faith and Spirit-filled praying is all about.

In particular, the book of Isaiah plays a prominent role in the revival. If you consider the chapters prior to the record of Hezekiah’s stand against Sennacherib (36-39), you will find Isaiah’s oracles against the nations and against the people of God. I presume most of this preaching occurred in Ahaz’ reign. Ahaz is Hezekiah’s father and was a wicked apostate king. It is remarkable that Hezekiah became the man that he was, given the father that he had. Following the record of Hezekiah’s life, Isaiah’s message becomes much more uplifting and hopeful. There are still some oracles of denunciation, but there are also all the Servant songs and other passages of hope and revival. They look well beyond Hezekiah’s day to the final, glorious, permanent revival that is to come when the King reigns. [I think the contrast between Isaiah’s ministry under Ahaz and under Hezekiah explain the differences between the first and second parts of the book far better than the unbelieving theories of intellectuals who propose “Isaiah” and “Deutero-Isaiah”.]

The Bible doesn’t tell us how Hezekiah was influenced to be faithful to the Lord. I suspect that Hezekiah was converted to faith by the ministry of Isaiah. Isaiah certainly figures prominently in the life of Hezekiah as a trusted spiritual advisor.

The record of this revival gives encouragement to me. Faithful preaching of a negative word like Isa 1-35 can bear fruit that deserves the postive word like Isa 40-66.

Isaiah 54:1 Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the LORD.

Regards,
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Comments

  1. jphansen says:

    Encouraging post, Don. May it stir many to pray for such a revival today.

    I love how God gives the answer to Hezekiah’s desperate prayer:

    “She has despised you and mocked you,
    The virgin daughter of Zion;
    She has shaken her head behind you,
    The daughter of Jerusalem!
    Whom have you reproached and blasphemed?
    And against whom have you raised your voice,
    And haughtily lifted up your eyes?
    Against the Holy One of Israel!”

    (37:22-23, NASB).

  2. Don Johnson says:

    Hi Joe,

    The Bible is full of riches. It is a great joy to discover them anew as we work our way through again and again.

    Another thought I had reading through Isaiah this time was that the Barren Woman chapter follows hard on the heals of the suffering Servant of chapter 53. I don’t know that I had thought of that connection before, just in that way.

    Good to hear from you and blessings to the folks at Carol Baptist this Christmas season.

    Regards,
    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  3. Andy Efting says:

    Don,

    The 2nd SS series I ever did at Grace was on Isaiah 1-12, probably six years ago now. I am about ready to pick up Isaiah again with chapters 13-35. I’m looking forward to it.

  4. Don Johnson says:

    Andy, here is my chronological order surrounding those chapters:

    Isa 12, 2 Chr 27, Hos 1
    Hos 2-3, 2 Ki 16
    2 Chr 28, Hos 4-5
    Hos 6-8
    Hos 9-11
    Hos 12-14
    Micah 1-7
    2 Ki 17, Isa 13-14
    Isa 15-17
    Isa 18-20
    Isa 21-23
    Isa 24-26
    Isa 27-29
    Isa 30-35, 2 Chr 29-30
    2 Chr 31, 2 Ki 18, Ps 80
    Ps 44, 2 Ki 19, 2 Chr 32
    Isa 36-37, Ps 73
    Ps 92-93, 46
    Ps 75-76, 2 Ki 20
    Isa 38-40

    I hope you find that helpful. I am going to publish my whole chronological reading schedule on our church website eventually. I am working through a few ‘bugs’ as I read it this time.

    Regards,
    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3