As I mentioned in part one of this new series, I was introduced to “revival” early in my Christian life. One of my primary mentors who helped me believe in the existence of God, the credibility of the Bible, and the reality of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, worked with a revival ministry.

I attended many “revival” meetings as I helped develop radio programs for the ministry during the 1970s. I heard a lot of sermons and personal testimonies of people whose lives were impacted by God’s Word. I became interested in knowing more about the history of revivals and started looking through the Bible for evidences of real revival in the hearts and minds of people.

Biblical Revivals and Awakenings

I found many movements of God in the Bible that seemed to fit the idea of His giving new life to His people. We looked at two of them in the first part of this series (Seth and Noah).

What we find in Scripture is God continually warning, judging, and forgiving people. He started with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and continues to this day. However, there are some specific events in the Bible that we might consider as God “reviving” His people.

Job’s Revival

The Book of Job introduces us to people who lived in the years following the Flood. Some scholars place him as living in the latter part of the third millennium, others in the early part of the second millennium. We know that Job was a righteous man who came under spiritual attack by Satan. We learn a great deal about God, how He rules from Heaven, and how that rule impacts those who live on Earth.

As we follow the many twists and turns in the Book of Job, we see God’s wrath aroused against Job’s friends. God directed them to go Job and “offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you” (Job 42:8). They did as God commanded. “And the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before” (Job 42:10).

As we’ve seen before, and as we will continue to see in Scripture, revival (new life) follows the proclamation of God’s Word and obedience to it. God restores according to His will.

Job is not mentioned in Scripture as being part of the lineage that led to Jesus Christ. What we do have are these words written about Job by James, the half-brother of Jesus – “You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful” (James 5:11). What we learn from the Book of Job is that God is very compassionate and merciful.

Abram’s Revival

Abram is listed in the direct lineage of Jesus Christ in both Matthew 1 and Luke 3. Abram lived after the Flood and was a pagan worshipping idols in Ur of the Chaldeans (Genesis 11; Joshua 24). God called Abram to get out of his country – “From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing” (Genesis 12:1-2). God was about do a new thing on Earth that would bring revival, new life, to millions of people.

The revival God would accomplish in Abram’s life would impact his family for generations and it would bear much fruit to the glory of God. We see how God led, protected, and restored Abram’s (Abraham’s) family through his son, Isaac, his grandson, Jacob, and his many great-grandsons.

One of the great stories of revival is how God protected and promoted Joseph in Egypt, and how God used Joseph to bring revival to Jacob and his other sons. Jacob’s prophecy concerning a particular descendent of his son Judah is a reminder that God uses revival to accomplish His will and Eternal plan:

Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise; Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; Your father’s children shall bow down before you. Judah is a lion’s whelp; From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He bows down, he lies down as a lion; And as a lion, who shall rouse him? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people. Binding his donkey to the vine, And his donkey’s colt to the choice vine,
He washed his garments in wine, And his clothes in the blood of grapes. His eyes are darker than wine, And his teeth whiter than milk. Genesis 49:8-12

We are reminded in Revelation 5 that Jesus Christ is “the Lion of the tribe of Judah.” Judah was the great-grandson of Abraham, an idol worshipper living in Ur. God determined that His Eternal Son, Jesus Christ, would enter the world as a descendant of Abraham through Judah. We find that lineage listed in Matthew 1 and Luke 3.

God has a plan and His plan will prevail against all odds. Revival, to live again, is the work of the Almighty God.

Joseph’s Revival

Joseph was one of Jacob’s youngest sons. His brothers were jealous of Joseph and sold him into slavery rather than kill him (Genesis 37). However, they told Jacob that a wild beast had killed Joseph. Jacob mourned deeply for his son. Joseph was sold to an Egyptian officer of the Pharoah.

God made Joseph successful and the Egyptian officer made him overseer of his house. However, the officer’s wife found Joseph attractive and attempted to sexually seduce Joseph. Joseph refused, but the wife lied to her husband and told him that Joseph had tried to seduce her. The officer arrested Joseph and threw him into prison, but God showed Joseph mercy and “gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison” (Genesis 39:21). The Lord made everything Joseph did while in prison prosper.

God gave Joseph the ability to interpret dreams. Joseph did that for two of the prisoners, which eventually led Joseph to interpret one of the dreams of the Pharaoh. The dream was about a famine that God was going to bring upon the land. There would be seven good years of “great plenty,” followed by seven years of “famine” (Genesis 41). Joseph then told Pharaoh to “select a discerning and wise man, and set him over the land of Egypt.” That man would guide the process of collecting one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt in the seven plentiful years as a reserve for the seven years of famine – “that the land may not perish during the famine.” Pharaoh responded by making Joseph his second-in-command.

“Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Inasmuch as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you. You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you.’ And Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.’ Genesis 41:39-41

Notice that Joseph declared the Word of God and God responded with blessings and protection for Joseph and the people of Egypt. God’s larger plan was the protection of His people and the continuance of the lineage of the Seed.

When Jacob saw that there was grain in Egypt, Jacob said to his sons, ‘Why do you look at one another?’ And he said, ‘Indeed I have heard that there is grain in Egypt; go down to that place and buy for us there, that we may live and not die.’ Genesis 42:1-2

Jacob eventually learned that his son Joseph had not died and was in fact Pharaoh’s second-in-command (“governor over all the land of Egypt” Genesis 45:26). Jacob moved from Canaan to Egypt with all his family. God saved His people from starvation and caused them to flourish in Egypt. God’s servant Joseph proclaimed the word of the Lord and God “revived” His people. God saved all of Jacob’s family from dying during the famine, and also saved thousands of others in Egypt and surrounding nations.


Next Time

Things did not go well for Jacob’s family in Egypt, but God had a plan to save them from destruction and revive them to serve His great Purpose. We’ll see how He did that in the next part of our new series, Revival – To Live Again.

© Faith and Self Defense, 2023

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.