Will you not revive us again: that your people may rejoice in you?
1. What is the kind of spiritual awakening that is required in the days in which we are living? "A new realization of God." Now, understand what realization is. There may be belief and no realization. Devils believe and tremble. I may believe in God and be as foul as Satan. I realize God, and He will be the Power that dominates me in all my thought and in every department of my being. You go to Switzerland and one object is in your thought, Mont Blanc, which dominates the valleys. When we realize that God will dominate our thoughts and our actions, we shall realize that He besets us behind and before, and that if we take the wings of the morning and go to the uttermost parts of the sea He is there. I would realize God; I would try to help you to realize Him. Now, the great difficulty of this subject comes from the fact that with the progress of science, as science has brought us knowledge, and knowledge is reality, we are brought to an understanding of the fact that He is great, passing all our comprehension, and we begin to understand that no man by searching can by any possibility find Him out. I can only tell you some things which will be when we realize God, when He is near to us and we appreciate that He is near to us as we are to one another. When that is true all places will be holy. All times are sacred when God is realized. And in the next place, all duties are sacred. Why do we say that one man in a large place is doing a great work for God, while one in a small place is doing a work of insignificance? Because we do not appreciate that everything done for Him is great, and that those who are most faithful are those who are most worthy of praise.
2. And then, in the next place, when we realize God, all men are sacred. In the humblest, in the barefooted beggar boy, in the man who sweeps the streets, in the one who is outcast and forgotten, there is something of the Divine. We doff our hats when those who rule us ride by, but in the man who sweeps the walk for you there is something of the King of the Universe. Ah, do we think of these things? That is the kind of revival that is needed. How may this revival be promoted? Well, in the first place, those who bear the Christian name ought surely to be those who lead in it; and if they lead in it, certain things must be realized. They must learn to practise the presence of God; and, moreover, they must learn also to lay upon it every weight and every sin. We cannot prevent a thought knocking at the door of our mind and looking in, but we can prevent that thought coming in and staying there. And then, associate much with Jesus Christ; He is the One who brings God to us; He is the One who reveals Him in a way in which we can understand Him. Spend time with Him, think about Him, feed upon Him, live with Him. Next, this thought: What will result when we do realize God, when this revival has come to us? What will be the results? Will you pardon me if I return my question with a question, and ask you what kind of life do you think you would live if God was just as real to you as His sun in the heavens? If you were sure every day, every hour, every minute, that the holy eyes of the loving God were on you, what kind of life do you think you would lead? Now, once more, consider if there are any signs of the coming of such an awakening.
3. I find signs of it in the amazing earnestness which characterizes the young men and the young women in our institutions of learning, so far as I know, the world around. There were never so many who were pledging themselves to the missionary service in the whole history of the world as are pledging themselves to-day. I find signs of this spiritual awakening also in the spirit of expectancy. We all feel — sensitive spirits in the pews and in the pulpits everywhere feel — as if we were on the verge of some wondrous revelation of spiritual reality.
(A. H. Bradford, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?