Times of Refreshing
What an attractive and inviting phrase that is! It comes from
sermon recorded in Acts 3, where he refers in verse 19 of that chapter
the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord’.
The theme of ‘spiritual refreshment’
is a familiar
one in Scripture. To
give just two examples: there is the divine promise through Isaiah,
‘For I will
pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry
And there is the gracious invitation of the Lord Jesus Christ in
‘If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink’
could be added to many times.
If we have anything about us at all as the
people, this matter
should strike a strong chord. Why? Surely because we are in constant
this very refreshment that is spoken of – and not merely spoken
actually offered and promised to us. We need refreshment times. We need
spiritual refreshing. And we need it ‘from the presence of the
not something we work up from below. It must always be something which
sends down from above.
We need these refreshings in
personal Christian lives. We know only too well that we are subject
influences which bring the opposite of refreshment. Satan drags us
world clogs us up. The flesh hinders us at every turn. All our
virtues and graces (faith, love, hope, holiness, and so on) are prone
declension. To say that sometimes we feel like ‘dry sticks’
We need these refreshings in our
congregational lives. Does our worship of God (the chief thing that
been created for) always exhibit the holy fervency which it should?
mutual devotion to Christ and to one another do so? Does our service to
our commitment to the gospel, our witness to the truth?
And we need these refreshings in
our national life. With the moorings abandoned, the landmarks
true gospel largely forgotten and the law of God despised – what
refreshment can bring us back? Unless in his wrath God remembers mercy,
hope can our nation (or any nation) possibly have?
this matter is vitally related both to our repentance and to God’s
supply of his Holy Spirit.
Spiritual refreshment (with its close relatives
revival and reformation) does not just dangle in the air or appear out
nowhere. We must seek God for it – urgently. There must be about
something of the earnestness of Jacob, when he addressed God with the
words, ‘I will not let thee go, except thou bless me’