Thought for the Week - 28th JanuaryPastor Gareth Watkins
Jeremiah 2: 9-13
Therefore, I will bring my case against you,” says the Lord.
“I will even bring charges against your children’s children in the years to come.
“Go west and look in the land of Cyprus;
go east and search through the land of Kedar.
Has anyone ever heard of anything as strange as this?
Has any nation ever traded its gods for new ones,
even though they are not gods at all?
Yet my people have exchanged their glorious God for worthless idols!
The heavens are shocked at such a thing
and shrink back in horror and dismay,” says the Lord.
“For my people have done two evil things:
They have abandoned me – the fountain of living water.
And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns
that can hold no water at all!
There is a need for revival. All these thousands of years ago, Jeremiah was describing a condition that still describes God’s church in the UK today. People have abandoned the living water.
Jesus said “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them” (John 7: 38). There is a connection between the streams of living water that God is providing in the Old Testament, and the streams of living water that God through faith in Christ has provided in the New Testament.
People have abandoned God, who is the fountain of the living water. Instead of the water coming out like a stream in life, people have no ability to have water from the living stream. Instead, they have made cracked cisterns, which are unable to hold any water at all.
In this passage, God is breaking his heart for the lack of His people. They have traded their God for new ones and have exchanged their glorious God for worthless idols. God in that day was saying to His people that they’ve exchanged their God for two evils – they’ve abandoned Him and they’ve dug for themselves cracked cisterns that contain no water.
In those days, righteousness wasn’t a priority. Godly living wasn’t a priority, but godless living was. Selfless living wasn’t a priority, but selfish living was. For me, this describes people and the mindset of people today. They have no concern for God and no concerned for righteousness. Instead, they’re concerned only for themselves and their own desires. Is it any wonder then, that we have a sick society.
There are broken lives all around, and broken homes. There are barren souls and dryness. We find idols everywhere, with ornaments of buddha in homes and workplaces. The verses above are a sad reflection of society then, as they are a sad reflection of today in 2018. What can be done about it? Nothing can be done, bar from people turning to God. Society can’t help society, and people can’t help themselves.
In 2018, we need an action of God. The only hope we have is for God to break out of heaven and break into people’s lives, en masse. The Church itself is so lost. That is revival – when God breaks out of heaven and touches a society en masse.
Churches are here because of God’s supernatural movement. There’s a Church in just about every street in Skewen. All around South Wales – in Neath, Maesteg, Nantyffyllon etc. – you see churches everywhere, because in our history there was revival. Yet, the Church at large has lost sight of the need for revival. Many don’t even know of revival.
In our area, read of Rees Howells, Evan Roberts, George Jeffreys, Seth Joshua, Christmas Evans, the Stevens brothers – men who held massive revival meetings! Other men like William Williams, who were part of the revival movement who captured the spirit of God in their hymns. This is our local history and we must read these things. It shows that society can be broken into by God. We might think it’s an impossible task today, but God can break in.
The days described in Jeremiah, man is still in the same condition today as he was then. The word of God that was spoken to Jeremiah about the state of society back then, reveals a barrenness in the soul of the grandchildren. The only thing that can affect that is when God breaks out of heaven and breaks into people’s lives, and bring forth a revival. We need God to move, otherwise there is no answer.
One of the greatest revivalists, Charles Finney, saw tens of thousands saved. He also experienced the backlash from other churches. He said of revival: “when there is a want of brotherly love and Christian confidence among professors of religion, then a revival is needed”. He also said that revival is needed: “when there are dissensions, and jealousies, and evil speakings” amongst the churches, “when there is a worldly spirit in the church”, “when the church finds its members falling into gross and scandalous sins”, “when there is a spirit of controversy in the church or in the land” and “when the wicked triumph over the church”.
This describes the Church at large in the UK today! Scandalous sins, the spirit of controversy, a worldly spirit, no love and wicked people triumphing over the Church. Nothing has changed in the heart of men. Better health and well-being hasn’t helped people. More prosperity hasn’t helped people. Technology hasn’t helped people. The only thing that can help people is this restoration of this fountain of living water, and for people to make cisterns that can hold the spirit of God. It’s only these things that can bring people back to a place where they can be restored. But mankind without God is lost.
Finney goes on to say that revival is the only thing that can wipe out the reproach that covers the Church. There’s a judgement against the Church and a stain that covers the church. Only a revival can remove it.
Revival suggests something is dead. Is the Church at large dead? Yes. Churches are closing down around us. Some people are moving away from God. Revival is the only thing that can bring life back to the people of God.
We need to find something that changes the heart of the Church. Not religious, but God pouring out his spirit, so it’ll change the hearts of the Church. Something that will spill into the hearts of backsliders and out into society. We need God to move.
We read in 2 Chronicles 7:14:
This is a taste of what needs to go on in our part of the world. Without a movement of God, there will be tremendous changes coming. We can see revival – God moving in peoples lives, forgiving sins, healing our people and the land.
On the Captain’s board at Crynant Rugby pitch there is a sign from the revival that says “No rugby. No captain. Spiritual revival”. The effect of a revival touches all parts of society. Because people somewhere had been praying. God had broken out of heaven and broke into the hearts of men. It went across the area until 150,000-200,000 people had been saved.
It starts with people humbling themselves, praying before and seeking God. God then comes and heals the land.
People cannot do as they like. If they do, they get what they get. They get broken cisterns that hold no water. God showed Jeremiah these things thousands of years ago.
In Proverbs 28: 13 we read:
If people turn to God to ask forgiveness, God will give mercy. Many people today don’t even see sin, as long as they can do what they want and be satisfied in what they do. But God tells us that their sins will not prosper them. We see it all around us.
Pray that people would confess and turn from their sins. God is a merciful God. Pray, humble ourselves before God. Are we revived, are we in a place to lead revival, is the life of God flowing through us?
If God would break out of heaven into people’s lives, our lands will be restored!