Words of Hope

Good News. No Boundaries

Backsliding

One of the saddest moments I have had was to stand before the church served by the great revivalist Jonathan Edwards and read the sign: “Closed for the Summer.” Revivals do not last. Ezra had led a great spiritual renewal with the approval of the governor Nehemiah. Then Nehemiah traveled back to the king of Persia, and upon his return he discovered that the practices of the people stood in stark contrast to the promises they had made a short time ago when they had entered into covenant to be faithful to God.

Someone had provided for Tobiah, a foreigner who had opposed Nehemiah every step of the way, a room in the very court of the temple. This was not only a personal insult; more seriously, it was contrary to the commandments of God. The Levites who were to care for the temple had not been paid, forcing them to return to their fields to provide for their families. Commerce was flourishing on the Sabbath. Intermarriage with unbelievers was again practiced. Nehemiah had to undo all of this evil.

Revival is necessary, but it is not one short campaign which will provide everything needed in the life of the church. Sinful human nature still dwells in the hearts of God’s people, so that there is a natural tendency to backslide. Renewal in the church must take place over and over again.