So it was, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, “It is the king of Israel!” Therefore they surrounded him to attack; but Jehoshaphat cried out, and the Lord helped him, and God diverted them from him. (2 Chronicles 18:31)
When a friend of mine was a teenager, he fell out of a boat into water that was over his head, but he could not swim. He thrashed and struggled. Despite all his efforts, he went under. At that moment, nothing was important to him except oxygen. He desperately needed air. Money didn’t matter, neither did fame or his appearance or his relationships with others. When he managed to break the surface, he gasped, filling his lungs with air.
Have you ever been that desperate for God? Many people cry out but not necessarily to God. They cry out to family and friends, counterfeit or false gods, to the government, and even to angels. Their motivation is self.
The children of Israel cried out in Exodus 2, but the Bible does not say they cried out to God. Exodus 14 is the first mention that they cried out to God. To cry out to God is an act of desperation. Crying out to God is also an act of faith in the God who can and will deliver.
Crying out to God in desperation positions us to embrace God in revival.
Six times the phrase “the children of Israel cried unto the Lord” occurs in the book of Judges. These six occurrences represent five seasons of defeat and bondage. The Israelites all too quickly forgot Moses’ warnings in Deuteronomy 8 and 30, which tell us if they forget the Lord, He will turn them over to the enemy, and they will be tormented.
They forgot the warning of Leviticus 26:27–28: “If you don’t obey Me, but walk contrary to Me, then I will also walk contrary to you in fury, and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins.” There is a cost to forsaking and disobeying God. Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord. What does that mean?
Basically, they held an attitude contrary to God’s will and became involved in activities against His Word. They took up the world’s gods, and in doing so, refused the one true God. For Israel, things would go well for a while and they would enjoy the blessing of God. Soon, however, they would grow comfortable, and then they would begin to mimic their pagan neighbors. As they forsook God, He allowed them to experience difficulties and become captive to those nations and people that did not know or serve God.
After years of this bondage and oppression, the children of Israel repented, crying out to God. He heard them and sent them a deliverer. The judges came on the scene to proclaim God’s message of restoration. We see this cycle repeated about every forty years over an estimated two-hundred-year period. The desperate cry of God’s children moved God. That same cry today when we stray and return in repentance still moves God. Desperation moves us to cry out to the only One who can save and deliver us—God.
Gracious Father, You alone are worthy of my highest praise and admiration. Only You can bring the revival that Your people seek. May I continually long for Your Presence…more than the false gods of others who don’t chase after Your heart. May I never grow so comfortable that I forget Your power and might. You are my Deliverer and I will serve You forever.
–Adapted from Praying with Fire: Seeking His Presence through the Revival Passages of Scripture by Mark Partin. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
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Praise the God who cares even for the birds (Mt. 6:25-34). Give thanks that you can depend upon him completely to meet every need. Confess anything in your life which is rooted in pride and self-reliance. Commit yourself to not worrying about your life or about tomorrow. Ask the Father to help you to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness . . .” (6:33).
Ask that unsaved persons around you will realize the folly of building their lives on foundations of sand. Pray that they will build on the rock, Jesus Christ.
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