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Why Revival Tarries
It's been said that with the nature and extent of the sin of God's people today, God would have to apologize to the cities He destroyed if He did not deal with us.

"For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water" (Jeremiah 2:13 NKJV).

God has created a deep burden on my heart and mind for some time concerning His perspective about the day in which we live. What does He say about it? How does He look on things? For the last ten months I've been asking God some things, observing, watching the Holy Spirit bring things to my remembrance, learning as He teaches me, and bringing it all to a point of reference that is very painful.

If what we're doing has not brought revival, there has to be another whole approach …

I have been watching, and participating myself, with a great deal of interest with millions who say they are praying for revival. We have been told by various sincere people that if millions beseech the throne of God, He is bound to bring revival. I've seen many ministries arise and enlist people to pray for revival. And yet revival tarries. What grieves me greatly is that I hardly ever hear religious leaders ask the question, "Why does revival tarry?"

At times it almost seems we have become like the prophets of Baal. We cry louder, we cut ourselves; and we feel that the more earnest we are, the more likely God is to hear our cry. We need some very significantly placed leaders to be willing to stand in the presence of God and ask Him, "With all this praying, why is revival tarrying? Why is revival being delayed?"

Please know: God is not bound to do anything. If what we're doing has not brought revival, there has to be another whole approach, and that is, I think, that we need to spend time in the presence of God to ask Him, Why.

Jesus cried to the people of His day with the broken heart of the Father, "If you had known, even you, in this your day the things that make for your peace. But now … " the enemy is corning upon you.

The enemy was upon them. If that's what the Lord Jesus heard the Father say, and if others heard God say that all through the Scriptures, we should ask, "Is anyone standing in the presence of God today to hear if God is saying that about North America today?" Have we instead approached God thinking, That will never be said of us?" Yet, many have said that with the nature and extent of the sin of God's people in North America today, God would have to apologize to many cities He has destroyed if He did not deal with us. And so I ask the question, "Why does revival tarry?"

I've even heard some people who, when they pray, almost accuse God. They say something like this: "0 God, You made promises and You've not kept Your promises." Then they quote some Scriptures to God and say, "God, You said that if I did this … You'd do this … and You haven't done it." When I've heard someone pray that way, I have wanted to fall on my face and say, "God, forgive this dear brother He doesn't know what He's saying. You never do anything out of character; You never do anything out of timing; You never do anything without a reason. … "

We could go through hundreds of Scriptures—ones that I am going through myself—but the one I want to read is from Jeremiah 2, and I think you'll catch the heart of God in it. In recent years I've heard many speakers say, "If there is something in Scripture that does not seem to be right to you, please understand that the problem is never with God." You need to settle that before you start searching. Find a passage that speaks from the heart of God and then to ask the question, "0 God, is there anything in this passage that speaks to me? Is there anything that Your Spirit is translating into my setting, our nation, the people of God, the covenant people of God in our own day?"

We live in dark and desperate times not because the times have become darker, but because those who are supposed to be a Light in the darkness are not shining and dispelling the darkness. Let us read from Jeremiah 2:1-13 and see how the Light among God's people becomes darkened:

"Moreover the Word of the Lord came to me, saying (v.2) God and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus says the Lord: I [earnestly] remember the kindness and devotion of your youth, your love after your betrothal [in Egypt] and marriage[at Sinai] when you followed Me in the wilderness, in a land not sown. (v.3) Israel was holiness [something set apart from ordinary purposes, dedicated] to the Lord, the firstfruits of His harvest [of which no stranger was allowed to partake]; all who ate of it [injuring Israel] offended and became guilty; evil came upon them, says the Lord.
"(v.4) Hear the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel. (5) Thus says the Lord: What unrighteousness did your fathers find in Me that they went far from Me and [habitually] went after emptiness, falseness, and futility and themselves became fruitless and worthless? (v. 6) Nor did they say, Where is the Lord, Who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, Who led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and pits, through a land of drought and of the shadow of death and deep darkness, through a land that no man passes through and where no man dwells?
"(v. 7) And I brought you into a plentiful land to enjoy its fruits and good things. But when you entered, you defiled My land and made My heritage an abomination [detestable and loathsome]. (v. 8) [Even] the priests did not say, Where is the Lord? And those who handle the law [given by God to Moses] knew Me not. The rulers and secular shepherds also transgressed against Me, and the prophets prophesied by [the authority and in the name of] Baal and followed after things that do not profit.
"(v. 9) Therefore I will still contend with you [by inflicting further judgments on you], says the Lord, and with your children's children will I contend. (v. 10) For cross over to the coasts of Cyprus [to the west] and see, send also to Kedar [to the east] and carefully consider: and see whether there has been such a thing as this: (v. 11) Has a nation [ever] changed its gods, even though they are not gods? But My people have changed their Glory {God} for that which does not profit.
(v. 12) Be astonished and appalled, O heavens, at this: be shocked and shrivel up with horror, says the Lord [at the behaviour of the people]. (v. 13) For My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the Fountain of living waters, and they have hewn for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns which cannot hold water."

I believe God is saying these same words to us today: "My people have changed their Glory [God] for that which does not profit." Our hearts have shifted and we fail to make the connection. It is as though the God of the universe is pleading, pleading with us:

Turn around! You're going in the wrong direction. I, your God, am over here. Don't just pray for revival. Humble yourselves before me, pray, and seek me with all your heart. Remember your first love and return to me! Be willing to make adjustments according to my commands. Become a highway of holiness through your repentance so that I may bring spiritual awakening to a lost world. The revival and spiritual awakening you desire for the land tarries because you, My people, can't see that it you yourselves that must repent. Only when you respond in repentance and obedience will I have a highway over which I can go to heal the land.

I implore you to repent, strive for holiness and spend time with God. Listen for Him to speak to you concerning the condition of your country. You will hear Him speak from His perspective, and you will understand His heart. That is the only way to revival.

Henry Blackaby is co-author of Experiencing God and a volume on God's pattern for revival titled Fresh Encounter. His most recent work isHoliness. He is a popular conference speaker with a deep longing for biblical revival. His website is:

Originally published in Herald of His Coming, and reprinted in Revival News, Fall 2004.




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