The first few verses of Psalm 85 clearly set forth the conditions for the restoration of Israel, God’s people. Revival only comes when the Lord forgives the iniquity of His people and covers all their sin. When God withdraws His wrath and hot anger towards His people, revival would come. After such declaration, the authors of the psalm turn around and ask God to restore them, believing that God would not prolong His anger and then He would revive them once again so that His people might rejoice in Him. His steadfast love and salvation are what His people can count on in times of trouble.
In the time of Ezra, he was seeking for the revival of Israel as he had begun to restore the house of the Lord for the atonement of sin so as to bring in the presence of God to Jerusalem. One thing stood in the way: the intermarriage between the Israelites and their foreign wives. The problem was so severe as many of the leaders were those who had fallen into such sin. Revival would never come if the people were unfaithful to God and failed to repent. On behalf of his people, Ezra tore his garment, fell on his knees, spread out his hands and prayed to the Lord for forgiveness. Then he called a solemn assembly, demanding the repentance of his people and made a covenant with the Lord once again. Sin must be dealt with quickly with resolution. There was no compromise.
The situation of the church of Corinth was similar in the sense that sexual immorality was involved. Paul did not want this to go unnoticed, he wrote specifically to demand removal of that sinning brother from the church. He used his power and authority in pronouncing judgment on the sinner, delivering his body to Satan for destruction so that his spirit might be saved in the day of the Lord.
Paul realized the power of sin in the corporate life of the church. It is just like a little leaven that leavens the whole lump of dough. He urged the Corinthian believers to get rid of this particular sin so that the lump might be renewed. That is the reason why Jesus went to the cross as our Passover Lamb. Whenever we celebrate Christ’s death on the cross, we are reminded that we must be holy, like eating of the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
Further, the apostle admonished believers not to associate with sexually immoral people within the church. We have to purge the evil persons in our midst. We are not to exercise our love towards such persons but to draw the line with them. The church is to judge such people so as to remain pure. Are you pure and faithful before the Lord? You could be the reason why revival has not come to your church. Purify your life now and ask God for His forgiveness.
Ps 85:1-7 Ezra 8:21-9:15 1 Cor 5:1-13 Prov 21:1-2