I decided to write this article because I have some concerns about revival.  Now before I go farther, please let me state that I am not opposed to revival.  In fact, I am praying that this country would have a revival.  When I say that, I mean a REAL revival, not just worldly sorrow over the consequences of sin.
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My thoughts about revival have changed somewhat since preaching through the Old Testament books of Exodus, Numbers, Joshua, and then Judges.  As the children of Israel were led out of the promised land, they needed to learn much about God.  God had revealed Himself to them in supernatural ways, but they still did not have the proper relationship with Him.
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Even after the plagues in Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, the manna from heaven, and the water from the rock, they still did not believe God enough to enter the promised land and were cursed to wander the wilderness for 40 years.  That brings us to the book of Numbers.  To a large extent, it is a book about a backslidden people in need of revival.
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Then we get to the book of Joshua.  The unbelievers who would not enter the promised land have passed away and the book of Joshua is characterized by an obedient people who are serving the Lord.
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Next is the book of Judges.  There is a major contrast between Judges and Joshua.  Whereas Joshua was characterized by “we will serve the Lord“, Judges is characterized by the backsliding of Israel as, “every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” 
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As I preached through the book of Judges I was also struck by another depiction- revival.  Essentially the book is a repeating cycle of backsliding and revival.  Things would get really bad, God would chasten, and then there would be a revival, but what stuck out was that the revivals did not last.
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I believe much of the reason that the revivals did not last is because of the depravity of man, but I think there is another important reason.  During the time of Judges, the backslidden people turned to God when they wanted something from Him.  During the time of Joshua they were actually walking close to Him. 
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Revivalism is generally directed at a backslidden people and calls for them to make huge changes.  I would rather see people consistently walking with God so that those HUGE changes are not needed.  For example in the book of Judges, Gideon did a good thing and tore down an idol on his father’s property, but wouldn’t it have been better if that idol had never been built? 
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One of the characteristics of  revival is big changes instead of consistent incremental growth.  As pastors we need to be training our people about who God is and what it means to walk with Him so that the incremental growth is occurring so that we do not have to call on a Gideon to tear down the idol. 
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I do not want to live in the book of Judges, even with all it’s revivals.  I’d rather live in the book of Joshua, and consistently walk with God in a way where sin is regularly recognized and corrected rather than waiting for the backsliding to get so bad that a major revival is needed.