The Herald Weekly Vol XVI : 7

Wilt Thou Not Revive Us Again?

Psalm 85 mentions how the Psalmist remembers God’s works of wonders for the nation of Israel. For many years, the Israelites had many reasons to rejoice in the Lord. Some of these are listed in verses 1-3.

a) God showed favour on their land
b) God brought them back from being slaves to the enemies
c) God covered all their sins
d) God turned away His fierce anger from them

Then in vs 5, 6 the Psalmist asks God “ Wilt thou be angry with us forever? Wilt thou draw out thine anger to all generations? Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?”

Why does the Psalmist ask God these questions?

On reflection, we all would know the answer. After a few generations, the people of Israel must have forgotten about God. And it is not just the Israelites who have forgotten. The people in today’s church grow tired after many years. We may have become overwhelmed with the affairs of the world. We oftentimes become obsessed with the pursuits of earthly wealth and pleasure. We begin to follow our own dreams and desires, and often wander away from church. We cite many frivolous reasons to stay away from church, and then we forget about God altogether in our busy lives. That is the reason why the shepherds of the flock, the pastors, the Session members, the full-time workers, the preachers and teachers are often reminding the believers to be revived in the Lord.

In case you have not noticed, this year’s theme for Herald is REVIVE, REFRESH, RENEW.

What does it mean to be revived? It is to “make fresh and strong again; to bring back to a good condition.” Christian revival refers to a spiritual awakening from a state of dormancy or stagnation in the life of a believer. It is the resurfacing of a love for God and a passion for His Word. It involves starting anew, making a new beginning of a life in obedience to God.

There have been many examples of revival in the world: in the 1700s, Jonathan Edwards and George Whitfield was used of God to bring a great revival in the USA. In the early 1900s, God moved many hearts in Korea after the Korean War. After 1950s, there was great revival in China, and millions in that country turned to Jesus Christ, and many more continue to come to salvation in Christ even now.

During the times of revival, there was preaching with authority from God’s Word, a conviction of personal guilt and breaking away from rituals and ceremonies. But revival comes only through the Holy Spirit’s initiation. Stephen Olford says: “Revival is the sovereign act of God in which He restores His own backsliding people to repentance, faith and obedience.” The outcome of revival is a greater impact in society as Christians seriously live their lives in true devotion to Jesus Christ.

In the 1930s, God raised Dr John Sung to reach many Chinese with the gospel in the East Asian region. A Chinese by ethnicity, God used Sung mightily to fire up the Christians during his time. He was so passionate about the gospel that he threw away his academic accolades in his trip to China, and resolved to live only for Christ. As an evangelist, he preached in different provinces in China, calling many to repentance for their sin. He preached in Shanghai, Foochow, Amoy, Hong Kong. When the Japanese invasion of China spread its tentacles, Dr John Sung fled to Indo-China, then to Thailand, and later to Singapore. Wherever he went, God used John Sung to revive the believers.

Will God send another one as John Sung to revive us? Does God need to do that when we all have our own Bibles? Can we pray that God will do a revival work in Herald? Can He start the revival in each of our lives?

Can we all pray this prayer: May God start the revival with me.

What does the Bible have to say about Dogs

The Dog is frequently mentioned in the Bible. This four-legged creature was used by the Hebrew as a watch for their houses (Isa 56:10), and for guarding their flocks (Job 30:1). Reference is also made to troops of semi-wild dogs that wandered about devouring dead bodies and the offal of the streets (1 Kgs 14:11; 16:4; 21:19,23; Ps 59:6,14). The dog was seen as an unclean animal, thus “dead dog”, “dog’s head” were used as terms of reproach or humiliation (1 Sam 24:14). Paul refers to false apostles as “dogs” (Phil 3:2). Those who are shut out of the kingdom of heaven are also referred to as such (Rev 22:15). Persecutors of the believers were called “dogs” too (Ps 22:16). The habits of dogs mentioned in the Bible are not so pleasant: licking blood (1 Kgs 21:19; 1 Kgs 22:38); licking sores (Lk 16:21); a creature who sometimes returns to its own vomit (Pro 26:11; 2 Pet 2:22). It is a creature that laps water (Judges 7:5), and referred to as dumb and sleeping (Is 56:10-11). They are mentioned in epithets of contempt (1 Sam 17:43; 24:14; Matt 15:26)… all these much to the unhappiness of the dog lovers.

The Year of the Dog

The Lunar Calendar Year is ushered in by the Dog. The world has its own interpretations of 2018 being the year of the Earth Dog, symbolising a loyal, kind and honest character. Those born under this zodiac sign are said to always offer support and advice to others as they value friendships above all else and often become involved in the personal lives of others. This can sometimes be taken as being nosy about the private lives of others. Nevertheless, the Dog is supposedly sincere, trustworthy and reliable with a strong sense of duty.

One does not need to be born in the Year of the Dog to have traits of trustworthiness or loyalty. As followers of Christ, we follow the teachings of the Bible as the guide for our lives. Matthew 5:48 says, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” It says that we are to be sincere and upright in our love towards all men because our Heavenly Father is perfect in all His ways. Jesus taught His disciples to be trustworthy too. “He that is faithful (can be trusted) in that which is least is faithful also in much; and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.” The Apostle Paul reiterated this quality by saying, “Moreover, it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful (trustworthy).” (1 Cor 4:2). When Christ returns, He will say to all those who are faithful to Him: “Well done, good and faithful (trustworthy) servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of the Lord.” (Matt 25:23)

Let us then be like our Heavenly Father – be faithful and trustworthy in all our endeavours, whether big or small. Let us be found faithful to our God until Christ comes to bring us home to glory.

Pastor Bob Phee

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