More than 500,000 hits have been registered on an amazing scene posted on YouTube: The wreck of a FedEx truck slammed by a commuter train at a crossing in Utah. The truck driver escapes injury when the train smashes the two trailers behind him (watch it for yourself later).
We can only imagine the scene that followed when FedEx workers comb the tracks and surrounding ground to recover the packages in that truck. Assuredly, FedEx carefully lists every box on every trailer so as to trace them and satisfy its insurance carrier to cover the loss, which must have been great.
America is facing a train wreck of its own, in a spiritual sense. Our beloved nation is heading toward disaster, and it’s going to be difficult to put together all the lives shattered by the crash. I believe the only answer is revival, a spiritual reawakening empowered by the Holy Spirit.
In my first installment, we cited the ministry of Zechariah, God’s man for the hour in reviving the Israelites to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem.
Once again, here’s the big idea: the foundation of revival rests on personal repentance.
Let’s pick up the story in the first chapter, verse three: Tell the people, ‘This is what the LORD of Armies says: Return to me, declares the Lord of Armies, and I will return to you, says the LORD of Armies.’ (God’s Word Translation)
It Means Changing Our Hearts
Though primarily a book of consolation, Zechariah calls here for repentance. He wants to make sure there is no false security on part of Israel. We cannot even begin to think God will bless his chosen people regardless of their spiritual condition. Is this not an ongoing desire of God? Is this not a constant condition for blessing?
The Hebrew word for “return” is a perfect representation of repentance. It has the idea of both turning from that which is evil and turning to that which is good and following it with full abandon.
Repentance means a change in the heart. It’s far more than an emotional response of regret for our sins. It is a commitment to a faith and way of life that involves turning from a previous way. This frequently is preceded by an agonizing conviction of sin. To repent is to make a decision that changes the total direction of one’s life.
The Kekchi Indians of Guatemala describe repentance as “it pains my heart.” The Baouli people of West Africa are more precise: “It hurts so much, I want to quit it.”
Genuine repentance is absolutely necessary if there is to be spiritual revival in the church of Jesus Christ. Believers must make a volitional choice to abandon everything and anything in our lives that is displeasing to God, whether it’s lust or envy or jealousy, pride or gossip or indifference to the ways of God. What choice to you need to make?
We’ll pick up from here in Part 3, coming soon.