August 20

2 Chronicles 29:29-31 (NIV) 29When the offerings were finished, the king and everyone present with him knelt down and worshiped. 30King Hezekiah and his officials ordered the Levites to praise the LORD with the words of David and of Asaph the seer. So they sang praises with gladness and bowed their heads and worshiped. 31Then Hezekiah said, "You have now dedicated yourselves to the LORD. Come and bring sacrifices and thank offerings to the temple of the LORD." So the assembly brought sacrifices and thank offerings, and all whose hearts were willing brought burnt offerings.

Revival! Hezekiah was the next king, and he began to reign at the age of 25. The very first thing he did was to order the repair and cleansing of the Temple. He saw clearly that all the devastation that the nation had been through was because they had turned from Jehovah to the gods of their neighbors. As soon as the priests had consecrated themselves, they began removing the defiled things from the Temple. In only 16 days, the work was completed. They rejoiced because the work was done so quickly.

As the priests began the sacrifices, the musicians and singers began to make music. The people all bowed in worship. When the priest had completed the initial offerings, the king and all the people went to their knees. Then the Levites sang the psalms with gladness and bowed their heads in worship. There is a natural progression from songs of gladness and praise to worship and adoration for all that God is. Through worship, the people had dedicated themselves to God. Once dedicated to God, they could freely bring their offerings. They brought so many offerings that the Levites had to help the priests offer them.

This revival took place in the same pattern that many revivals have since taken place. One man saw the desperate need and began to make a change. The leaders followed his example of dedication and commitment, and the place of worship was cleaned up of all that defiled it. Now that things are in order, the people follow and enter into worship, dedicating their lives to God. Finally, there is an abundance of gratitude and thanks for all that God is, so much so that there is hardly the capacity to contain or keep up with all that God is doing in and through the people.

Prayer: Revive us again, O Lord, and let it begin in me!

August 20

Romans 13:1-3 (NIV) 1Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.

The Bible encourages us to be good citizens of the country in which we live. The reason given is that God has placed those people in authority. Understanding that God is sovereign over all the affairs of men gives us the incentive to see rulers as God's appointees. To rebel against them is to rebel against something God has established. Should you incite insurrection, the authorities will exercise judgment upon you. If you don't want to live in fear of that, be a good citizen and you will be commended.

Jesus told Pilate that His kingdom was not of this world. When we get involved in attacking the government under which we live, we are involved in the temporal instead of the eternal. We have a much bigger battle to fight. Our focus should be on living as useful soldiers for the kingdom of light.

You might think that Paul could write this because Rome was a relatively good power. Remember that Paul was tried and put to death by Rome. He never changed his teaching, even in the face of persecution. He knew the Emperor demanded to be worshipped. He would never break the law of God to obey the laws of man. He is not asking us to do that. He is merely saying that we should recognize that God has given authority to keep order and peace to those who rule in our government. A good Christian will be a good citizen. Even when the Christian could not burn incense to the Emperor, he was not disloyal or planning to rebel against him. Eventually Rome understood this. Don't get involved in the wrong battles. Political activism can serve a good cause. Spiritual activism can serve an eternal cause.

Remember: Keep your focus on what is eternal and trust God to deal with your government.