For close to 20 years, the Revive Nations ministry led by Rev Shyju Matthew and his wife has reached out and touched countless nations for the Lord. Placing a foundation that revival must start with a birth in the believer’s heart, and that it cannot exist without Jesus taking central role, the ministry now actively span across the globe, from France to Canada to Italy to Asia. Recently, the ministry was here in Malaysia and one of the meetings was held in DUMC Kuala Lumpur.
One of the central pillars of Revive Nations is its conviction that the churches’ role in hosting God is a vital one. Before a message was shared by Rev Shyju, the congregation was led into worship and declaration of God’s goodness. ‘Before we can have revival, God must be present and His children must be receptive,’ Rev Shyju said as he encouraged the congregation to continue on in worship.
Rev Shyju’s message was based on the well-known passage in 1 Samuel 17. This is the iconic passage in which David confronted and defeated Goliath and we are all familiar with it. But beyond what we see on the surface, there are often hidden treasures in Scripture. As we dig deeper into Scriptures, they speak personally to us with a new and special revelation.
‘I pray that the message that is shared here tonight will come from God and will speak personally to every heart that is here,’ Pr Shyju prayed as he began sharing. As we look into the passage, we see the circumstances of the challenge posed by Goliath.
Goliath and the Philistines occupied one hill and the Israelites were occupying another hill and there was a valley between them (1 Samuel 17:3). This was normal battle array for vantage point was crucial. The Philistines and the Israelites were however at a stalemate, for no one from the Israelite camp was ready to face Goliath’s challenge.
Into this midst the only man who answered the challenge was David. And what did he do? He went into the valley to search for smooth stones (1 Samuel 17:40). Here was a young man who had never seen military battle and he did a really odd thing. Furthermore, he went into the valley in what seem to be a strategic mistake. He did not use the usual methods.
Many times this is what happens in our battles with our spiritual enemies. The ways of God is different from the world’s and we need to discern the promptings of His Spirit. ‘The victory never starts on the mountain. Often, it first starts in the valley experience and the victory comes later.
‘Before the victory, very often God will teach us to grow spiritually and to cultivate our faith in Him. This is something that not many of us like, for the valley is lonely. We see the enemies looking down threateningly at us and we see the people we are hoping for support from leaving us to go down into the valley alone. What do we do when we are in such circumstances?’
We learn to be a worshipper, Pr Shyju encouraged. There will be times when God will let us descend into the valley for whichever reason. When God lets us descend into the valley, do we still trust that He is with us watching our backs? For true worshippers, this is a time of the testing of the heart and faith.
In difficult times, we learn to worship Christ in humility. When we worship Christ, we worship Him simply for who He is. Just like the wise men that came to worship Jesus when He was still a baby, we worship Jesus not to show off to others, but because He is worthy.
A true worshipper knows that God is a good, good God. They still have trust in God as the Perfect Father. They know that God is still with them and that He will take them through the valley to their victory. When we remember God as the Perfect Father, the enemy has no hold on us.
Be encouraged and give thanks to God by declaring His goodness. If you have a job, give thanks to Christ for His blessing and love Him anyway. If you have good health, thank Him for this blessing and for His covering. If you and your loved ones are safe, thank God for His protection.
It is when the worshipper is able to say to God, ‘Your will be done. I trust that you will deliver me. Help me to grow through this trial and give me the serenity to place my faith in You”, that is when God’s favour will fall. This is as with our forerunner David.
In the confrontation with Goliath, David was following the direction of God. The stones from the stream he collected seem a strategic mistake but it led the Israelites to victory. As Christians, we too have such a stream and it is known as the stream of the Holy Spirit.
‘We cannot be victorious without the Holy Spirit,’ Pr Shyju conveyed. ‘This will often require getting out of our comfort zone, beyond the capacity of our logic.’
For as Jesus has said, the Spirit comes and goes like the wind. The Spirit has His ways and we need to discern and respect His working. He brings new facets and new things and new fruit beyond our understanding, and our breakthrough depends on how close we can get to the Holy Spirit.
Seek the original Helper, counseled Pr Shyju. ‘Without the Holy Spirit, there is no church. All of God’s work was done with the Holy Spirit. Jesus Himself went into the wilderness for 40 days, and each of us must find our own streams. “A broken and contrite spirit He will not despise.”’
‘In the valley of the suffering, God is closest to us. As we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, God is still with us, and we will not fear. Just as God was with Daniel in the furnace, and just as He was with Jacob and Joseph.’ Throughout the meeting, numerous healings and restoration took place.
NOTE: All pictures are credited to Revive Nations. For more information visit their website at revivenations.org
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