I read an interesting account of events in the book of Nehemiah that I believe holds a lesson or two we can apply to our current day and age.
In the year 444 B.C., Nehemiah, who had served in King Artaxerxes’ court as a cupbearer, lead a group of Jews back to Jerusalem after 70 years of exile in Babylon. He along with the scribe and priest Ezra sought to rebuild the city walls in addition to solidifying the political and spiritual foundations of the people.
When word of their efforts first reached the regional governors Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem, they were greatly disturbed. They began mocking Nehemiah, saying, “What is this thing you are doing? Are you rebelling against the king?” (Nehemiah 2:19 NASB). Of course, Nehemiah knew God would give them success, so the rebuilding continued as planned.
As their progress continued at a fevered pace, the governors’ rage grew more intense. The three men devised numerous schemes in attempt to dissuade the Jews from obeying God’s plans. These included trying to lure Nehemiah into a trap to harm him (Nehemiah 6:2), making false claims against him (verse 5), using false prophets (verses 7-13), and influencing the the nobles of Judah (verses 17-19). Time and time again, they tried to intimidate Nehemiah from completing the city walls. Time and time again, Nehemiah refused to back down, even to the point of working harder to complete the walls in record time.
So, what’s the point of me telling you all this? Well, as I was reading this passage, I began to draw some similarities to modern times. Here in Huntington, WV, the Jewel City Revival is well underway in its mission to take back the city from the principalities that have a death grip on the people. Decades of poverty, drug and alcohol addiction have reduced this once-great city to its current state.
For the past three weeks, revival has exploded throughout the area, particularly the high schools and, most recently, Marshall University campus. Addiction recovery programs invited any members who were willing to a special service at Christ Temple Church (my amazing home church) where more than 70 were baptized in water, leaving behind their old lives in exchange for a new identity in Christ Jesus.
To say the spiritual enemy in this region is disturbed would be an understatement.
Imagine if you will you’re face-to-face with a huge bear (I promise there’s a point here). How do you fight an enemy that is clearly stronger than you? Well, you appear intimidating and make a lot of noise in hopes it runs away in fear. I like to think this is what Satan does when we threaten his operations. That’s why this revival, and any more like it, will draw very loud opposition.
Understand one thing: our enemy knows all too well what would happen if the bride of Christ took a stand together instead of fighting amongst ourselves. So, much like Nehemiah, we will have to stand against threats of the enemy trying to discourage and dissuade us from obeying God’s plans. Already, we are seeing false claims and an uproar of voices raising up against what God is doing here.
What God has birthed here will continue throughout Huntington and beyond, until the spiritual wickedness has been dismantled and scattered. God is raising up a generation right here that will not be swayed or intimidated. We cannot let up, no matter the opposition. Keep in prayer, keep in God’s Word, and pray for rain. God is sending His rains to flood this tri-state in Holy Spirit revival. There will be deliverance, healing, chains will shatter, and lives completely changed. Dormant churches will be awakened, corrupt vessels purified, and oil will pour. What God has begun, He will complete. I for one will not be okay with just living my life ignoring what’s going on. I pray that God will give me Nehemiah’s boldness to remain steadfast, until the Jewel City Revival expands into the Mountain State Revival and beyond.