In a Cincinnati Enquirer article titled A nonstop revival breaks out at Kentucky college. Now, it's viral on TikTok; it reads, "A religious service at a Christian college in Kentucky has captured the attention of social media users across the globe.
During a scheduled chapel service at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky, on Feb. 8, a religious revival broke out. Over a week later, the service is still going strong, with folks traveling from as far as Singapore to join.
Videos of students participating in the nonstop prayer and worship service have made their way to social media, sparking international attention. As of Feb. 16, posts with the #AsburyRevival hashtag have generated 34.5 million views on TikTok.
NBC reports that students and faculty from 22 schools in Hawaii, Massachusetts, Illinois, Minnesota, Tennessee, Indiana, and other states have made the trek to Asbury to join in on the religious experience. Travelers from Singapore and Canada are also expected to arrive soon."
When I think of revival, I often think of Haggai. The book of Haggai is a minor prophet book. This does not mean the book is insignificant, i.e., less important; it simply means it is short. We do not know much about the prophet Haggai. We do not know who his father is; we know him as "the prophet" as he is named in both his own book and in the book of Ezra.
The time is around 520 B.C., and a remnant of Israelites who returned from captivity live in and around Jerusalem. We can presume (according to Haggai chapter one) that Israel's spiritual priorities were not in the right place. They had become complacent and apathetic in their lives. The Temple was ransacked many years prior; thus, they had no temple for worship; they only had rubble and remnants of a destroyed temple. They were fine worshiping in the wreckage. They were apathetic as their priorities for themselves and not God. Amid the destruction, they began rebuilding their homes and focusing on their livelihood. This was not necessarily wrong, but it seemed they had their priorities in the wrong place. They were not being rebellious, just complacent.
The "remnant" (the 50,000 Israelites who had returned) to whom Haggai is speaking is the group initially devoted to the Lord. These Israelites were allowed to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple and begin restoring Jerusalem to its former glory. When they returned, they zealously started the rebuilding process and worked night and day joyfully. We do not want to paint this remnant as a bad bunch of apples. Yes, their priorities were a bit mixed up. In reality, they needed to build homes, have a livelihood, schools, shops, trade, etc. They were necessary and valid pursuits. However, the rebuilding of the Temple brought them to Jerusalem, and now they were neglecting it.
(Read Haggai 1:1 – 5)
Vs. 3 – 5: Haggai speaks for the Lord first by rebuking the remnant; he says, "Is it time for you yourselves to live in your paneled houses while this house (the Temple) lies in ruins?" God is speaking to the people, and He rebukes them because they let their complacency replace their zeal. They once had the passion and desire to see the Temple restored to its future glory, but now their passion has become complacency. The LORD tells the Israelites to "think carefully about your ways." This was God's way of letting them know why they are facing what they were facing. God says, "You are frustrated because you are not in line with my will."
(Read Haggai 1:6 – 9)
Vs. 6: The frustration – You plant and reap little. You eat and are never satisfied. You drink you remain thirsty. You clothe yourself but remain cold. You work hard and make no money. We can all relate to the Israelites here. Maybe you feel this way today. You do a lot, but you see little to no return.
Vs. 7 – 8: The LORD tells them to, once again, "consider their ways" and then tells them what they should do. He says get your priorities straight and resume the work I called you to do. Get the lumber and resume building. He lets them know that when they do this, they will please God and enjoy the benefits of the land.
Vs. 9: God tells them the reason for their frustration. The people never found satisfaction because they did not align with His will. It was God who caused the frustration. He was the one who ruined the harvest. He was the one who caused the dissatisfaction. Why? "Because my house still lies in ruins while each of you is busy with his own house."
He says, "You were so consumed with you that you forgot Me." Their failure was that they failed to put God first. Instead, they were more concerned about self-preservation and less about doing what God had called them.
(Read 1:12 – 13)
Vs. 12 – 13: These are vital verses… They obeyed the LORD. In the initial rebuke, the LORD reveals His disappointment with the remnant, and they could have responded in one of two ways.
They could have wallowed and sulked in their guilt and done nothing. For example, they could have said, "We let the LORD down, and now He is mad at us. There is nothing we can do."
Or they could have realized their misgivings and fixed them. Fortunately, this is what they did. They received the rebuke, repented, and did what the LORD told them.
(Read Haggai 1:14 – 15)
Vs. 14 – 15: "The LORD roused (the Hebrew word is ʿuwr /oor, which means "wake up") the spirit." This was a revival. The LORD roused or woke up the people to do the work. Notice… The LORD roused… This is key. If you want to see a movement of God, it must be initiated by God. Once the LORD rouses or wakes up (ʿuwr) people, the work of revival can begin. In this, we see the mercy and grace of God. He could have easily said, "I am done with these selfish, complacent, and lazy people! I am going to destroy these people and start over!" Fortunately, God does not do this. Instead, He rouses the people, who were renewed in Him to do the work.
So, how does this tie into revival? What does this all mean for us today? We are not the remnant of Jerusalem and have not received the mandate to go and forsake our livelihood, homes, schools, and businesses to rebuild a Temple. Henry Blackaby wrote in his book EXPERIENCING GOD, "Watch to see where God is working and join Him in his work." God is at work in this world, in this church, and in your life. It is essential for us to observe and to find out what the LORD is doing and get on board with Him. We are to do as the LORD says, through the prophet Haggai… consider this.
What are we to consider? Let me give you a few things to consider regarding your relationship with God. First, do you feel a little apathetic in your faith? Are you in a place of spiritual dullness, complacency, or even rebellion? Then think to consider these…
So, in conclusion, let us think about these things. But let us not stop just thinking. Instead, may we be proactive in identifying our complacency, frustration, efforts, convictions, and passion for God and allow Him to arouse our spirits so we may be about His work and establish His Kingdom here on earth.
Jeff has been in ministry for well over two decades. He currently serves as Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Southside Campus in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). Both are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
Preview or purchase Jeff's Books