Christian Book Excerpt – Revival of the Hearts

This Christian book excerpt of Revival of the Hearts, provides the first section of chapter 1, as well as the last section of chapter 1.

The title of the book is Revival of the Hearts – this is a term my friend and I would share with each other, years ago, whenever we would talk about 2 Chronicles 7:14 and zeal for the Lord.

Many people when speaking of 2 Chronicles 7:14, talk about revival. This was topic of many Christians’ discussions during 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic. During the pandemic, I personally was also thinking about 2 Chronicles 7:14 and breaking down the meaning in some blog posts (Whom Do We Serve?; God’s Desire; See the Invisible). But then I began wondering about why some revivals are short lived. Why didn’t they last? As I was talking to God about it, He opened my eyes in the book of Nahum. It’s a hidden gem that holds some very clear words about what happens when people turn away from the Lord.

What’s crazy is that when God sent His prophets to call people to repentance throughout the Bible, there was always hope attached to the message; but not with Nahum. The book of Nahum will make any heart tremble in the fear of the Lord.

The first chapter does not discuss 2 Chronicles 7:14 (though the rest of the book discusses it). This chapter sets the stage for discussing revival and 2 Chronicles 7:14.

Revival of the Hearts 2 Chronicles 7:14
Revival of the Hearts available on Amazon

Revival of the Hearts Book Excerpt

by Alysa VanderWeerd

Short-Lived Revivals (Chapter 1, First section)

Why are revivals short-lived?

The book of Nahum gives us an insight. A message given to Nahum in a vision concerning Nineveh, 100 years after they experienced a revival at Jonah’s message, “Forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed!” – Jonah 3:4. They experienced revival upon repentance around 760 BC, but the revival was short-lived; and around 663 BC their evil ways were so severe, God sent another prophet. Nahum.

To Nineveh, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies said, “I am your enemy!” – Nahum 2:13, 3:5.

Truly, “Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; though they join forces, none will go unpunished” – Proverbs 16:5 NKJV.

Straight truth – a prophet confronts the people in regards to God’s divine standard of holiness.

Nahum confronted Nineveh with a prophecy so intense, the last line leaving one with a chilling question from God, “Where can anyone be found who has not suffered from your continual cruelty?” – Nahum 3:19 NLT.

Nineveh’s cruelty was not a one-time deal. Their actions were not an accident – they were intentional. They were a direct affront to God’s holiness and His established command on how to treat His people – Exodus 20:1-17. Their evil hearts relayed a hardness towards God’s voice, with habitual sins uncovering their lack of knowledge and understanding of who God is – 1 John 3:6. Their ungodly violent behavior was a repeat of the days prior to Jonah and had both spiritual and physical consequences. Spiritual death as an enemy of God, separated from Him – Nahum 3:5, 19; and physical death, a ruined city with no child born to carry on their name – Nahum 1:14, 3:7. Their cruelty destroyed them – Proverbs 11:17b.

Wicked behavior is nothing new since the Fall of mankind. Romans 1:18 tells us that wicked people suppress the truth with their wickedness – the truth means very little to them – and God shows His anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who hold this attitude and behavior.

God had showed mercy to Nineveh around 760 BC and stopped His coming judgment upon their repentance, but years later they refused to show mercy to others; revealing the reality of the truth found in Proverbs 21:10 NLT, that says, “Evil people desire evil; their neighbors get no mercy from them.” Nineveh’s love for evil overcame their love for God. It makes one question, when they repented at Jonah’s call of coming judgment – did repentance take root in the heart of the nation? Or like the parable of the sower – Matthew 13:1-7, 18-22 – was the word received but the Ninevites did not understand the message entirely, so though the seed was planted in the mind, the evil one came and snatched it away before it dropped to the heart. Or was the word received and change was not lasting because the word of God – the message of the Kingdom of Heaven – did not take root in their heart and fell on a stony path; and so they only endured for a while, but when persecution or tribulation arose they stepped away. Or possibly the word of God feel among thorns and they received the word for the moment, but the cares of the world crowded it out, and they went back to their habitual way of living that involved them persecuting their enemies.

The Bible does not state why Nineveh returned to their habitual sin after experiencing a revival of hearts; but we do know that leaving one’s first love takes place, as Jesus declares in Revelation 2:5. The Ninevites actions reveal they left their first love; they refused to acknowledge God’s Sovereignty – they did not fear God, refusing to repent – and they were not seeking Him to order their steps. Their lack of fearing God cut short their life – Proverbs 10:27. Their actions of continuous cruelty illuminated their sinful nature, controlling their mind; and God declares the end of a person controlled by their sinful nature is death – Romans 8:5-6. People’s sinful nature is always hostile to God. One’s sinful nature will never obey God’s laws, thus, those who are dominated by their sinful nature can never please Him – Romans 8:7-8.

God’s Word declares – sin is to be repented of, not repeated – Matthew 3:8. God is a jealous God, and He will not share the power of His glory. Sin desires the power of God’s glory – the power of eminence.

The Ninevites failed to realize, or did not care, that deception does not end in godly affection. “The evil are misled by sin” – Proverbs 13:6b NLT. People who justify their sin will never please God; only the blood of the Lamb perfectly justifies the sins of those who recognize their need for Him and His forgiveness. It is in God’s mercy and truth that atonement is provided for iniquity; people depart from evil because they walk in the fear of the LORD – Proverbs 16:16. But Nineveh never sought God for forgiveness. They were slaves to their sin – bound by corruption – overtaken by the power of sin; refusing to submit to the power of God. They were faithless – Nahum 3:4. And without faith it is impossible to please God – Hebrews 11:6. Their end – they determined.

They had no intention of turning from their evil ways and God knew. Their revival in Jonah’s time revealed they knew God, for a moment; but 100 years later, the Ninevites with their knowledge of God, refused to worship God or give Him thanks. They refused a relationship with God. In Jeremiah 17:9-10 NLT, God states, “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.”

God says, “If you plan to do evil, you will be lost; if you plan to do good, you will receive unfailing love and faithfulness” – Proverbs 14:22 NLT.

The actions of the heart that rebels against God, seek to hurt God and inflict pain and suffering on God’s people. 1 Samuel 15:23a states, “Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness is as bad as worshipping idols.” God gives us the command to love Him with our heart, soul, and mind and love our neighbors as ourselves for a reason – Matthew 22:37-39. His command encourages righteous living – as if God were saying, “Be right with Me; for I am God.”

Nahum’s prophecy seemed unlikely because Nineveh appeared powerful and invincible; but their strength was not in God, it was in themselves. Their strength was no match for God’s everlasting strength. His omnipotence. God’s Word is to be respected. Though natural perception may lean one toward doubt, as reality challenges faith; supernatural discernment sees with the eyes of faith the fruition of God’s promises in reality. And God clearly states, “when the wicked die, their hopes die with them, for they rely on their own feeble strength” – Proverbs 11:7 NLT. Whatever confidence the wicked have is lost in their weak self-efficacy; as the ways of the LORD destroy the wicked and they are removed from the land – Proverbs 10:29-30.

God’s Sovereign reign is eternal; His ways are eternal – His power is not limited and is ruled by His holiness. God’s power is perfect in His meekness – His strength is under control at all times. His perfect living character is defined by love, and love controls His power; thus, God is gentle, yet firm from beginning to end – Romans 11:22.

Psalm 33:17 NLT says, “Don’t count on your warhorse to give you victory – for all it’s strength, it cannot save you.” What saves a person? What saves a nation? Repentance. A heart, soul, and mind right before God, walking in His ways. For He alone brings the victory.

At the end of the book of Nahum, God tells Nineveh, “All who hear of your destruction will clap their hands for joy” – Nahum 3:19b NLT. With the wicked leaders removed, the godly knew they would flourish – Proverbs 28:28. On the other hand, with the wicked leaders in authority sin increases; but God promises the godly will see the wicked’s downfall – Proverbs 29:16. Here in the book of Nahum, we see the fruition of God’s promise.

Nineveh had hardened their heart to the voice of the LORD; they had refused His warnings. By the time Nahum shared the prophecy, the words of the LORD clearly relayed God’s final judgment taking place on the city. Though they had a revival 100 years prior in Jonah’s time, they had removed themselves from God, and He did not recognize them as those who believed in Him. In Nahum, the Bible says God is close to those who trust in Him, but He will flood His enemies to their end and darkness will pursue them – Nahum 1:7-8. God viewed Nineveh as His enemy. He had given them opportunities to repent, but they instead listened to a wicked counselor who plotted evil against Him; so He asks, “Who is this wicked counselor?” – Nahum 1:11. Somebody encouraged the people to scheme against the LORD and that was to the peril of the city – Nahum 1:9. God said, “I will show the world how vile you are” – Nahum 3:6. Their lack of fear of God led to God saying at the close of Nahum’s prophecy, “There is no healing for your wound; your injury is fatal” – Nahum 3:19a. They had already hardened their heart to His voice – they had already made their decision. They did not choose life; and their very decision kept them from experiencing God’s forgiveness and complete healing in heaven.

Christian Book Excerpt

Remaining in God’s Love (Chapter 1, Last section)

Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of the church, He sets the structure of the house. He is the Word made flesh; our faith is built upon Him. He sets the foundation of truth so that we can grow strong in Him, living a life that is pleasing to God. The apostles and prophets, inspired by the Holy Spirit, penned the words of Scripture to provide us with the ability to learn about Jesus – Ephesians 2:19-22. Their obedience to God provided us with the Bible; so that we would be able to walk according to God’s ways.

But many Christians are not reading God’s word. The cares of this world overtake them and they forget God, or grow apathetic when they do not encounter God. But that’s why He says, “Seek Me.” God invites an encounter. We have the opportunity to encounter Him individually, when we read His word, and corporately at church; as well as being out in His creation. Ultimately, knowledge of God’s word – seeking Him first – helps us understand what we encounter or see. Unlike Adam and Eve in the Garden, we seek God first for the information we need; honoring His supremacy in our life.

Nineveh forgot God’s supremacy, thus, experienced a short-lived revival; they did not remain in His love and instead went down a path of their own choosing. They chose to disobey God’s commands, not walking in the fear of Him; though they had at one time repented and turned to Him. Something or someone initially drew them away. The Bible says a little leaven leavens the whole lump – a little sin infiltrates and badly affects many – Galatians 5:9.

People are different in their desires, ability, and mental drive. Some people, by the grace of God, can remain unaffected by other’s desire to influence them in the wrong direction. But most people are influenced quite easily. Leaven is subtle and it does not take a lot. It’s the time to analyze who is influencing you and question whether it is growing you closer to God or drawing you away from Him.

Do you desire to be around Christians even more, or do you want to be far from the church?

We are called to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling – Philippians 2:12. It is our own responsibility. Teaching guides; we read God’s word and decide the direction we are going to go. Can people tell by the way that we live that we are Christian? Are there results of our salvation? Do we obey God with reverence? Are we consistent Christians?

God in His love has given us a free-will to love Him. Truly, the adventure of a Christian is found in loving God and loving people. It’s not just living in body, it’s living out our faith in body and spirit.

People will experience short-lived revivals when they refuse to remain in God’s love – John 15:9-10. It is a mind and heart desiring their own will over obeying God’s clear commands. Nevertheless, lasting zeal is only found in one who abides in God’s love. It’s the mind and heart that responds to God’s unconditional love by purposefully living a life seeking to obey Him, out of one’s love for Him.

He is their best friend.