READ: Nehemiah 9-10
THINK: What is revival? Many Christians talk about it-but are they prepared for it? Revival is more than exciting services or extraordinary experiences. Revival implies "waking up" or "bringing back to life." By definition, we should hope the church isn't always in a condition of needing to be revived. Still, there are times when we need awakening and refreshment to impact the world as we should. You see, revival is not just what happens to you, but what happens through you. True revival transforms lives, which in turn affects churches and communities. This passage describes one of the greatest revivals in Old Testament times, illustrating several foundational elements of spiritual awakening, including renewed emphasis on God's Word (8:1-8), prayer and praise (8:5-6; 9:3ff), confession of sin and genuine repentance (ch. 9), rejection of sinful beliefs and behaviors (9:1-3) and renewed devotion to God's plans.
RESPOND: What do the Israelites' actions in chapter 9 reveal about the people's devotion to God? (See 9:1 note.) Why is repentance-turning from our own ways to God's way-a vital first step to spiritual revival? What specific attitudes and actions demonstrated the people's renewed devotion to God? (See 9:2 note.) Why are prayer, humility, repentance, dependence on God, devotion to His Word, and separation from ungodly things all vital for spiritual renewal? What is the focus of the worshipful prayer in chapter 9? (See 9:6-37 note.) How does focusing on God's character, goodness and plans for us honor Him and inspire His people? What are some things God's Spirit does for us? (See 9:20 and 9:30 notes.) What were the central aspects of the Israelites' oath to God (10:29), and why are these things vital to spiritual revival? (See 10:29 note.) Why is giving and contributing to ministry an essential part of a healthy relationship with God? How can you ensure that you do "not to neglect the house of our God" (10:39)?
PRAY: Repent of any attitudes, behaviors, possessions or relationships that could hinder your relationship with Jesus. Thank the Holy Spirit for His instruction and discipline. Pray for spiritual awakening in your school and community.
ACT: Consider any way in which you are not fully obeying what God has shown you in His Word. Make a bold and deliberate effort to put God's Word into practice in these specific areas. As a means of sparking spiritual renewal in your own life, make the attitude, behavior and possession changes you just prayed about.
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