Psalm 85:6 says, “Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?” Here scripture teaches us several important things about revival:
1) The MEANING of revival:
The Hebrew word translated “revive” here means “bring to life” again. Earlier the Psalm speaks of the restoration of God’s people: “restore us, O God of our salvation”. The people had languished and had suffered the discipline of God for their sin (:2-3) and now they were asking God to restore them, and give them new life. The people involved here are “Your people”, which indicates that the revival spoken of here is for the people of God. Thus the “revival” that Psalm 85 is speaking of is not primarily an evangelistic awakening, although that is a wonderful thing. Revival is something which happens to God’s people, when they are restored and given new life.
2) The MEANS of revival:
He says, “Will not YOU YOURSELF revive us again.” He is asking GOD to revive His people. This tells us that revival is something that only God can do. We can’t programme it, or schedule it, or bring it about merely by our own efforts and manipulations. Human effort may mimic revival in a faint way, just as the Egyptian sorcerers imitated God’s miracle of the staff turning into a snake. Such attempts may produce certain visible, short-term effects. But it will not have the same lasting, life-giving fruit as God-given revival. Genuine revival only comes from the hand of God.
3) The END of revival:
The end of revival is that God’s people are restored to the purity of worship and service of God Himself: “that Your people may rejoice in You.” Real revival results in God’s people rejoicing in Him – the One in whom they were designed to find their joy! (Psalm 16:11, etc.) This is why we must be careful to seek GOD HIMSELF – not “revival.” The idea of “revival” itself can become an idol: wanting certain “signs” or “manifestations” or “results” or “feelings” to be manifested — when rather it is GOD Himself who should be our greatest desire. When God’s people rejoice in HIM, and find their pleasure and joy in HIM, THAT is revival!
May God grant us Biblical revival in our generation! May He give us hearts like the Psalmist in Psalm 85 to understand what revival really is, and to ask Him fervently for it!