“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy…” (Zechariah 12:10, ESV)
Some people say, “God helps those who help themselves.” But I have found that God helps those who cannot help themselves…and who really know it. As long as we think we have it mastered, as long as we think we can make it on our own, God will let us try. It isn’t until we’ve exhausted our own resources, and failed to see results, that genuine spiritual transformation can happen. That is when we reach the point of desperation.
According to the above prophecy, at some point in the future God will pour out His Spirit upon the nation of Israel. It will be the Spirit of grace and pleas for mercy. It will happen at a time of national desperation after the coming world leader (the Antichrist) sets up his image in the rebuilt temple and demands to be worshiped as God (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; Revelation 13:14-15). As the faithful will literally run for their lives out of Jerusalem, they will be crying out to God with pleas for mercy. God will respond with the Second Coming of Jesus Christ (Zechariah 14:3-4).
What does this mean for us? I believe that the same desperation is necessary for any revival. Why don’t we experience widespread spiritual transformation today? We are simply not desperate enough. When was the last time we pled to God for His mercy for ourselves, our family or our friends as though our very lives depended on it? When did we last cry out for revival with a desperation that would not be denied–as Jacob wrestling all night with the Angel of the LORD? I am ashamed to admit that this desperation is often lacking from my own life.
Is our American affluence an asset or a liability? We generally assume that it is an asset. That is why we work hard to gain more. But there is a danger that we can become too affluent to be desperate, too prosperous to be poor in spirit, too comfortable to have conviction. Consequently, we do not see the kingdom of God come with power (Mark 9:1). I believe that we have a desperation deficit. We need God’s grace to awaken us so that we desperately plea for mercy for ourselves, our loved ones, and our nation. This is the need of the hour. This is the root of revival.
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