TAI: When you work on an album, you often have a random collection of ideas on a bunch of different topics. All of our music has a common thread of faith, but there is still some room for a lot of different ideas. Every now and then, a song emerges from the batch that seems to do a good job of summarizing the collection. That's what happened with “Come Together”, and “Cry Out to Jesus”, and it definitely happened with “Revelation”. After doing this for 16+ years, we have songs of praise, and songs of questions. “Revelation” is kind of both. You'd think that as you got older, you'd have more figured out. However, if we're really honest, we'll admit that the more we really "dig in" to our faith, the more mystery and questions we discover. “Revelation” is a song that celebrates the mystery. It celebrates our continual reliance on the God who shines a lamp unto our feet, not a flood light to our entire future.
God wants us coming back for more.
MAC: Ultimately this is the title song of the record so it’s really important.
QUESTION: Is it a brave title? Because many people will think they know what the word revelation means or what it’s associated with.
MAC: Exactly. Some people will assume it’s about the last book of the Bible, or that Third Day has a huge revelation they are about to share with everyone. If there is a revelation, then actually it’s about us realizing even after all these years that we still have to daily come before God for guidance and revelation. So many people can relate to this in their lives, when we all come to these crossroads and not know which way to go, whether to turn left or right or stay where we are or turn around and go back where we came from. In those times we need God’s guidance and His wisdom, we need his strength to show us what to do.
Hearing from the Lord.
We’ve already established that God answers those that call out to Him, and we’ve seen the example of Jonah who initially chose to be disobedient to what he heard the Lord saying to him. Yet for many of us, the problem is more that we are uncertain as to whether God is revealing something to us or not! As long as we hear from the Lord, we say to ourselves, we’ll act upon His direction and His revelation to us. We get stuck in a particular problem and desperately hope God will shout loudly to us or at least send a big finger from Heaven pointing out the way we should go! We echo the words of David in Psalm 25 when he cries:
"Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long" (Psalm 25:4-5, NIV)
Then we wait for a revelation from the Lord, but more often end up feeling like King Saul when he didn’t know if he should pursue the Philistines in battle or not:
So Saul asked God, “Shall I go down after the Philistines? Will you give them into Israel’s hand?” But God did not answer him that day" (1 Sam. 14:37, NIV)
All of us must have had plenty of days when it felt like God did not answer. Yet perhaps that says more about us, and our attitudes, rather than about any lack of desire from or ability of God to reveal wisdom to us.
ISAIAH HAS A REVELATION OF (AND FROM) THE LORD GOD
Read about this personal encounter and the call of Isaiah in chapter 6.
Isaiah had commenced his ministry as a prophet about 750 years before the birth of Jesus, and he was prophesying in the time of King Uzziah. The King’s reign had brought prosperity to the land but corruption and misuse of authority were widespread too. Isaiah was almost on his own spreading a message of judgment yet reassurance from the Lord.
At the time of this encounter, Isaiah was despondent because not only did his initial vision from the Lord carry a very tough message to deliver but also Isaiah’s friend King Uzziah had recently died from leprosy. Isaiah entered this incredible encounter with the Lord as a despondent and depressed person. He was broken and discouraged. He had spent most of chapter 5 shouting out to everyone "Woe is you"—more easily translated today as "Doom to you" or "Destruction is certain..."
In verse 5 of chapter 6 it was no longer everyone else that was doomed—it’s Isaiah himself! He was certain of his own doom and destruction, especially because he had become painfully aware of his own shortcomings and failings. Because of his unclean lips he felt unworthy and inadequate in front of the Holy and Perfect God.
Isaiah’s problem was a mouth that tended to blurt out profanity—what is the thing that you know makes you feel unworthy and inadequate before a Holy God? What do you think disqualifies you from hearing God speak to you or encountering you in a place of revelation? In this place of encounter, the Holy Fire touches Isaiah on the very place that he feels disqualifies him, and then we read of a simple revelation from the Lord and an immediate response from Isaiah:
"Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?' And I said, 'Here am I. Send me!'" (Isaiah 6:8, NIV).
God calls to Isaiah, and after a difficult period of despondency and discouragement, Isaiah moves to a new level of availability and response to the call of God on his life. He carries on delivering a tough message to the people but now he is certain that the presence and power of God is with him. Many of us would rather remain in that place of revelation and encounter, the worship experience and the blessing, but the call of Isaiah reminds us that any revelation from God is really to strengthen and equip is to be the people He has called us to be and to propel us into the places He has called us to go. The miracle of this story is that a man with unclean lips becomes a messenger of the Lord!
SIMEON WAITS FOR A REVELATION TO BE FULFILLED
Isaiah was told many prophetic words about the coming Messiah, but in Luke chapter 2 we discover a man called Simeon who had been told by the Holy Spirit that he would not die until he had seen the Christ. Luke tells us that Simeon was righteous and devout, and had been waiting for the revelation to be fulfilled. We don’t know how long he had been waiting, but you can imagine that perhaps his righteousness and devotion to God has been tested over a number of years whilst he patiently and expectantly waited to experience the words of the Holy Spirit come to pass.
Remember, too, that this was of course before Pentecost, so Simeon was a rare example of someone living with an experience of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps you have heard from God, had a revelation about your own destiny, your own future, but you are living right now in the time before that revelation has been fulfilled.
Take encouragement from Simeon. He was living for a long time with an unfulfilled revelation, but because he had a heart that was alive to God, he clung faithfully to the promise and eventually he saw the hope of Jesus Christ a full 30 years before the rest of the nation of Israel did. Simeon’s prayer of thanksgiving to God when he took the baby Jesus into his arms was thus:
“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel” (Luke 2:29-32, NIV)
How do we get revelation?
Sometimes we are looking for the big revelation from the Lord- a sign in the sky or a big, booming voice, without realising He is always speaking to us. The God who spoke to Moses and to many others in the Bible still speaks today:
Here’s a simple guide to help you:
- God the Father’s fullest revelation to us is through Jesus the Son, so you need to be in relationship with Jesus. There’s a more detailed explanation about this in the devotions for the song "Born Again," but for now remember that reading the Gospels will help you meet with Jesus and hear from God. (Matthew 11:27)
- The Holy Spirit lives in you if you are a believer, and He will prompt you and guide you if you are sensitive to His leading. (Ezekiel 36:26-27)
- The feeling you have deep inside, what some think is a "gut instinct" is more often than not the prompting of the Holy Spirit. (John 16:33)
- Your own selfishness and sinfulness may get in the way of hearing from God, so you need to regularly ask forgiveness for anything that might separate you from God. (Isaiah 59:2)
- God speaks through Jesus, the Bible and the Holy Spirit, but you need to put time aside to pray and listen. (Psalm 46:10)
- God may also guide you through the words of other Christians—in sermons, CD’s, podcasts, books, or conversations. (Hebrews 13:7 and 17)
- God may also speak to you through circumstances, world events, and in and through creation around you. (Psalm 24)
- God will often reveal his steps for you by opening or shutting doors and opportunities in your life. (Proverbs 19:21, Romans 8:28)
Old School Third Day—Listen to "I Can Feel It" from Wherever You Are.
Written by Pastor Nigel James
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