by Dan Nelson, pastor
FBC, Camarillo, Calif.
There are certain landmarks in a town or nation. We have certain landmarks in our town: There is the Camarillo house and other places. In my home town there was a scratching post where you could scratch your back and make a wish in front of one of our only restaurants in town. It’s called Bailey’s scratching post and Tennessee Ernie Ford scratched his back on once while he was traveling through town. They put it on the front page of the paper. In Washington D. C. we have the Washington monument, Lincoln memorial, Capitol building and White House. All are representative of people or our form of government.
We have written documents like our Constitution and Declaration of Independence. We have landmark legislation like the Emancipation Proclamation.
When we come to this aspect of repentance, we see a landmark in Israel’s history given to them while they were still unified. It came at one of the greatest highpoints of their history during the dedication of Solomon’s temple.
The landmark scripture is a tremendous declaration God gives in which He promises to bless or take away His blessing from them depending on the conditions he sets forth in the this declaration. We see these essentials that God says are non-negotiable in His promising to bless Israel. It would determine if they would depend on Him or stray from Him. These essentials are:
(1) The Qualifying Group- He says, “If my people which are called by my name…” God does not look to the ungodly for the blessing or cursing of His people. Israel had nations around them intent on their destruction. They would continue to plague Israel long after Solomon was gone.
If there is revival and moral reformation in this country it will not depend on Washington, Congress, political victories as much as God’s people getting on their knees before Him and begging God for revival in this church, your home and this land and working toward that end. We are quick to assess blame for the condition we are in as a country and even a church. When in reality it is not the type of government, the laws passed, the changes inflicted upon us that will determine our destiny. It will be how serious God’s people get with Him and how broken before Him they will become.
We want to blame everyone for why I’m not growing as a Christian; why my kids are not developing deep-seated convictions and moral values. We want to blame the church for not doing more, the school for not teaching right, the crowd they run around with for dragging us down and influencing our children wrongly.
If you would listen to the way we think wrongly for a moment, you would think God was mighty puny over there in a corner somewhere with His hands tied by our attitudes and resignation that it’s only going to get worse and never going to get any better. If we give into this lie of the devil we are actually saying that God is not big enough to handle the forces of the evil one, the schemes of sinful hearts and the lies that lead to destruction. When Isa. 54:7 says, “no weapon formed against us will prosper.” We can overcome the forces of the evil one (Rev. 12:11) and if God is for us who can be against us (Rom. 8:31).
Will you stop being scared? We have a lack of holy boldness which is very evident in most churches. God didn’t give that to you (II Tim. 1:7). We as believers are connected to the creator of the universe. We just need to appropriate that power by humbling ourselves before Him and repenting.
Don’t blame people. God is bigger than people, things and circumstances. Don’t blame the culture. It is temporary when God is eternal (I John 2:15-17). There is one responsibility we have and that is to get before God and let His power be evident in our lives. If we decline, if we lose spiritual victories, if don’t sense God’s presence it is not’s God’s fault, it is not the world’s fault. It is the fact that God’s people have not taken responsibility for what He is capable of doing as we trust Him to do it. Don’t give up on people coming to Christ or sharing the gospel with them. Don’t give up on our church being a lighthouse. Discouragement and defeat are the devil’s biggest tools. “If my people”, is a qualifying factor.” Stop pointing your finger at everyone else.
Perhaps, you’ve heard of the woman who walked into the psychiatrist’s office with two fried eggs tied on the top of her head and a strip of bacon over each ear and said, “Doc, I’ve come to talk to you about my brother; he’s got a problem.”
James Smith said, “We are living in a world that is beset by multitudes of complex, deep problems. Not everyone is quite sure who has the problem and who is actually responsible for it. We are aware, however, that everyone is interested and willing to blame somebody else for the constant crisis condition that grips our country and permeates our world.”
We cannot stop unbelievers from sinning, only God can. In the days of Carrie Nation, she conceived that the saloons were at the very heart of all of all of the problems of society, and she took her hatchet in hand to go about attempting to rectify the wrongs by breaking the liquor bottles. And so it is, even today, there are those who feel if we could just get some new laws enacted that everything would be all settled. What we need to realize, however, is that we, the people of God, are the people of purpose. We are the determiners of destiny. God has addressed not the heathen that surrounded Israel, but the condition and promise begins “if my people, called by My name.” We who have experienced the moving God’s spirit in convicting us of our sins and have allowed the Holy Spirit to work to our heart in regeneration and transformation of our lives, we are the people of God; we are the determiners of destiny.
The future of our nation is not going to be determined in the White House, but in the church houses throughout America. Oswald Smith a number of years ago said,
“A revival begins with the people of God. I do not say that it ends with the people of God, for sooner or later, if it is a genuine revival, it will result in the salvation of souls. But a revival in reality begins with the people of God.”
(2) The Conditions for God’s Blessings
1-We are to Humble Ourselves: Come before God as a sinner needing forgiveness and restoration not as a prideful person parading our self-righteousness. Humility is our responsibility. We don’t want to ask God to humble us. The way God worked in Israel’s history was to see if they would humble themselves. If they went into immorality and idol worship then He had no choice but to humble them. It may have been pestilence, it may have been disease. It may have been defeat in battle and eventually 70 years of captivity. The lesson is: “If we will not humble ourselves before God, He will humble us.”
We need to humble our selves because we are too proud. We don’t rely on God. We don’t pray to Him the way we should. We are not running a self-improvement society. I don’t need what I can do. I need what God is capable of doing. That is the vein of gold God wants us to find.
The establishment of a King in Israel was in a way an affront to God thinking their future could be rescued by one man and what he could do by military strategy. It worked only for a little while and then it had its problems. The White House is not going to be the place where revival comes to America. It’s going to be the church house or it won’t happen. We are so deluded we have Christians floating around thinking they don’t need to be active in the local church.
2-We are to Pray: I believe God wants us to constantly come before Him with our burdens and desires never giving up in our prayers to Him. Prayer needs to be constant and at the forefront of everything we do. This response of God to His people was in response to a prayer of Solomon. You don’t see Israel, Judah doing anything without prayer. You don’t see the Lord Jesus doing anything without prayer. Yet, we think we can coast by without praying. We want God to bless what we are doing instead of asking God what He wants us to do.
John Miller said, “Honest prayer unmasks your real need and puts you in the presence of a rich Christ who wants to meet you as you really are –“wretched and miserable , poor, and blind and naked”( Rev. 3:17)
3-Seek His Face: We are to seek his face not God’s hand. It is not what we can get from God that should be a priority. Peter Lord said, “We are far more interested in God’s hand than we His face.” We are interested in what He can do for us, or what he can give us, but the important thing is to seek His face, to seek an unbroken relationship with His very countenance, to be able to look into the face of God and as the songwriter has said, “Nothing between my soul and my Savior.” 
Notice He distinguishes between the face and hand. No one looked upon on Almighty God and lived. Israel was only allowed to experience some of His glory and in the temple which stunned the priests so they could not minister. Moses was allowed to see God’s backside whatever that is.
The expression the face means we see with our spiritual eyes all of who God is. That means we are naturally humbled the way Isaiah was in the temple when we encountered all of who God is. God in essence puts us in our place and we exalt Him and acknowledge where He is already as Creator and Sustainer of the Universe.
When we see God in His face we see His power. We see His purpose. We adjust our lives to His will. We don’t see what we can get or what we can ask God to endorse.
Suddenly when we see God’s all encompassing power things are entirely different. When the Assyrians saw it they were fearful and left the Jerusalem siege they ran from it. When the Philistines experienced it they gave the place God met with His people (the ark) back to Israel after He had wreaked havoc in the land. Egypt wanted Israel to leave and get out of here after God devastated their land and gods. Belshazzer’s knees knocked together after the message of doom was carried out that night in Babylon.
The face of God emboldens us though. Daniel saw God giving him a good night’s sleep with the lions. David didn’t see the 9ft. giant of Goliath, he remembered the way the Lord delivered Him and took a slingshot and got the giant out of Israel’s way. Joshua refused to look at the impenetrable walls of Jericho but led the people to shout signifying the battle was the Lords. Elijah looked to heaven & beseeched God to ignite the sacrifice not seeing the hundreds of Baal’s false prophets who were powerless before the true God. That is what it means to see God’s face.
4-Turn from our Wicked Ways: You say I’m glad you got to the heathen. They are the ones who need to get right with God for our culture to be saved. Again, he is talking about God’s people turning from their wicked ways. You say, “Me wicked, I’m on God’s side”. But Jeremiah said, “Our hearts we are desperately wicked” (Jer. 17:19) Heb. 3:13 says “beware there be in us and evil heart of unbelief.” The sin that will dam a soul to hell is unbelief John 3:18, Rev. 21:8. But God’s people can be pessimistic, fearful, unbelieving and act like we are lost instead of saved. How much could God do if we start behaving like Christians?
Repentance is turning from our sin to the true and living God for power and salvation if we have never accepted Christ.
Vance Havner said, “The devil does not mind our joining church if we behave like most of those already inside. But when a real, wide-awake Christian breezes along, the devil begins to plot his downfall.“
We need to see how crushing our load of sin can be on us and forsake it. We cannot go on till it is forgiven through our coming to God in repentance. This is where repentance comes into the picture. Everything leads to repentance so God can change us. God’s people needed to be changed so He can use us to change others.
(3) God’s Promise to our meeting his Conditions
When we have met these conditions for Revival God will fulfill these golden promises:
1- He will hear from Heaven: God opens up the windows of heaven and we have an audience with the King when we come to Him in this way. This type of prayer is prevailing prayer.
Louis Drummond said in his book The Awakening that must Happen, “Revival is always born in prevailing prayer. This is the one basic, unalterable, central principle of awakenings. Prayer opens the door to the fullness of time.”
2-He will forgive their sin: To be forgiven by the Creator the Universe ought to be the greatest desire of anyone (Isa. 55:7). God never does a half-way job. He will abundantly pardon. He doesn’t leave you dangling. He doesn’t leave you sitting on the fence.
John Miller says, “Take care not to rob someone of “godly grief” over sin, for if you rob them of the grief, you also rob them of joy the consequence of hearty repentance.”
3-He will heal their land: The land would be afflicted by drought, pestilence and hardship. Yet, healing of people and the land they lived in would be accomplished if the people would come to God in this way. We need healing in our land today. We need to go through this process for it to begin to take place.
Vance Havner said, “The infidel who stood at a burning church and explained his presence there by saying, “I never saw this church on fire before,” would be found multiplied by thousands if spiritually our assemblies caught on fire from above. Even fundamentalists do not escape here, for all too often they have the facts but don’t the Flame. God is not revealed so much in correct theology; heads may be right hearts may be wrong.” 
These conditions worked throughout all of Israel and Judah’s history. They will work for us if we will put them into practice.
 All Scriptural quotations or citations are taken from the King James Version of the Bible unless otherwise indicated.
 Mark Adams, http://www.redlandbaptist.org/sermon/the-message-of-contagious-christianity/
 James Smith, Message: “When Revival Comes”, Awakening Conference Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, Mill Valley, CA, Sept. 18, 1980, Conference notebook, 1.
 Ibid, 5
 Oswald Smith, http://www.revival-library.org/catalogues/miscellanies/theology/smith_o.html
 John Miller, Repentance and the 20th Century Man (Christian Literature Crusade: Fort Washington, PA 1980), 118.
Vance Havner, The Road to Revival, (Revell: Old Tappan, N.J., 1975), 31.
 Louis Drummond, The Awakening that must Happen Broadman Press (1978)
 Miller, 53