Oh That You Would Rend The Heavens!
by Michael Edds
The great prophet Isaiah cried out to God, "Oh, that You would rend the heavens and that you would come down and that the mountains would shake at Your presence."
This has been the passionate plea of a holy remnant of believers though out the generations who have been desperate for Heaven-sent revival. They have cried out for the restoration of the Presence of God in their lives and in the church.
No doubt, it was the cry of Martin Luther, leader of the Great Reformation, who wept over the corruption, apostasy and spiritual impotency of the church of his day.
It surely was the cry of John Wesley, the fountain head of the great Methodist revival of the 1770's, who was sickened by the same church scene.
It had to have been the cry of Charles Finney as he surveyed the divisions and fighting among the churches in New York prior to the great revivals there.
In 1948, it certainly was the cry of blind and aged Peggy Smith and her invalid sister ( the two great intercessors for the great revival in the Hebrides Islands off the west coast of Scotland) as they lamented over the churches, which were devoid of the power of God and vacated by the youth.
It must have been the cry of young Evan Roberts, the leader of the 1905 Welsh Revival, as he hungered for a mighty visitation of God that would free his nation from the slavery of religion and from sin.
"Oh, that you would rend the Heavens and come down" has always been the cry of the true Church, that living organism...the Body of Christ. That cry is rising in crescendo throughout the world again.
Oh, what a dark hour in which we live! While visiting the web sites of many evangelical, "spirit-filled" churches, we see the church of today seeking relevancy in the world, to "reach" people. Their methodology has been to offer people quite a religious shopping mall of offerings. Home groups and classes are offered in an array of interests such as "Improving You Sex Life, Learn to Play Basketball, Mastering French, Photography Made Easy, Praise and Exercise, Motorcycles are Fun and How to Invest and Make Money." These web sites offer Christian cantatas, musicals, and dramatic presentations. The web sites listed world-renown televangelists, celebrities and famous musical groups making special appearances at their churches. Many dinners, fellowship banquets, and fund raising gatherings garnered much of their web site space.
However, there are some things strangely missing on these beautiful web sites. Where are the listings for the home groups whose focus is prevailing prayer, where are the announcements for "fasting" banquets where Christians gather, weep, fast and pray for an awakening in our day? Where is the schedule for speakers like Father Nash (the prayer engine behind Finney's great revivals and who died on his knees in intercession for revival)? Where are the special services listed for the anointed musicians like Charles Wesley, Amanda Berry Smith and Ira Shankey would could bring the celestial presence of Heaven down to earth? Where is a recap of the "sermon of the week" entitled, "Oh, that You would rend the heavens and that you would come down and that the mountains would shake at Your presence? Where is even a mention of the hunger for revival in our day?
All of these are sadly missing. The church is too busy being relevant in its patchwork quilt offerings of programs. Have we forgotten that when HE rends the Heavens and comes down and revival sweeps into homes and lives that ALL needs are met? Have we forgotten that only He can radically change lives, families, communities and nations? Have we forgotten, as a church, our real purpose here on earth is to manifest the life, the power and the presence of the Living God? Have we forgotten that the key to the healing of our land is through humbling ourselves in prayer, seeking His face, and turning from our glitzy, PR laden, wicked ways? Did I say wicked? Yes, I did! We have sprinkled humanism all throughout our efforts to reach and influence the world. Humanism is nothing more than man trying to do God's job. It is the elevation of the influence of man and his efforts. Anything unlike God's way IS wicked!
Church history and revival history point the way to hope. God has always had a remnant, a holy seed of believers who will settle for nothing less than the manifestation of God Himself. Rejected by the apostate church of their day, they have refused to accept its cheap, deadly religious offerings. "Oh, that You would rend the heavens and that you would come down and that the mountains would shake at Your presence!" Throughout the generations of man, this cry has ascended before the throne of God. Prior to every Great Awakening, this desperate plea begged for an audience with the King of Kings. It was this cry that moved the heart of God Himself. It was this passionate prayer that caused the Heavens to burst forth and righteousness to rain down upon the earth. It is this cry whose volume is rising louder and louder each day. It is the cry that will reopen the historic, old wells of revival, that will cause the fallen mantles of ministry to be picked up and placed upon men and women of God, and will cause a bursting forth of the new fountains, a new move of the Holy Spirit. It is the cry of THE CHURCH, THE BRIDE OF CHRIST, who longs for her Lord. It is this unrelenting prayer that is bringing Him down one more time in one last mercy call to a church and a world who have forgotten Him.