The book of Nehemiah not only recounts one man’s mission to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem, but it’s also about the revival of the workers who aided in this monumental task. In chapter 9:2-3 we read that, “2 And the Israelites separated themselves from all foreigners and stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers. 3 And they stood up in their place and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a quarter of the day; for another quarter of it they made confession and worshiped the Lord their God.”
Notice that the great catalyst for their revival was when Nehemiah’s people got serious about God’s Word. This may seem obvious, but worship of God goes hand-in-hand with the Word of God, because it’s impossible to worship a God you don’t know anything about. I mention this is because we are living in the most biblically illiterate time period this nation has ever seen.
In 2016 Albert Mohler of Southern Seminary, published an article called, “The Scandal of Biblical Illiteracy,” in which he presented the findings of Barna and Gallup nationwide surveys on Biblical literacy among Christians, listen to some of these results—they are astounding:
Fewer than half of all church-attending adults could name the four gospels. Many Church-goers could not identify more than two or three of the disciples. 60% surveyed could not name even five of the 10 Commandments. 82% affirmed that, “God helps those who help themselves,” is a Bible verse. 50% thought that Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife. A considerable number of respondents to one poll indicated that the Sermon on the Mount was preached by Billy Graham. They also found that a majority of church-goers don’t even bother bringing their Bible because their pastor only mentions it a few times during the sermon.[i]
Pastors today are often judged more on their ability to make a congregation laugh than on the biblical content of their preaching. There is nothing wrong with joy in the house of God, but I wasn’t called to be a stand-up comedian, but to be a ploughman of God’s Word. The more that we substitute the Word of God with other things in the worship the weaker we become.
In July 2010 an astronomer at the University of Sheffield discovered the brightest star known to mankind. The star, currently named R136a1, is 22,000 light years away, has a mass roughly 265 greater than our sun and the brightness of this star is some 10 million times brighter than the light of our sun! Not even a welder’s helmet would help you face the light from this giant! What made the discovery possible was an incredibly powerful telescope that could bring the distant star into focus. The star had always been there, we just recently had the technology to peer across the universe that vast distance and see her.[ii]
Just like those massively powerful telescopes, the Word of God brings into focus the God of the Word. The Bible is the lens through which we see God’s infinite greatness, glory and goodness. God has always been there—but the Bible magnifies our understanding of God to see what we’ve never seen before and to make Him up close and personal. You can tell revival has come when the people of God have a hunger for the word of God. -DM
[i] Albert Mohler, “The Scandal of Biblical Illiteracy: It’s Our Problem,” 20 January 2016
[ii] Johnathan Amos, “Astronomers Detect Monster Star,” BBC News, 21 July 2010