The first evidence of revival is a great desire to hear and obey the Word of the Lord.
“And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded to Israel. And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month. And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law. . . . And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people . . . and when he opened it, all the people stood up” (Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5).
The cry of their hearts was, “Bring us the true Word of the Lord!” Ezra stood on a raised, wooden pulpit and read God’s Word for six hours while the multitude stood at attention, learning that the cause of their suffering was their own stubbornness and rebellion. The surest evidence of revival in a soul or a church or a city is a hunger for God’s Word.
Backslidden Christians don’t want to hear the Word—it bores them! What they want is excitement. Backslidden preachers don’t preach much of God’s Word; instead, they give short sermonettes. They don’t preach the Law because that produces conviction and shakes up the church! It makes compromisers squirm!
Where the Holy Spirit is at work, the people in the pew are clamoring for the Word. I get hundreds of letters from famished saints crying, “We are so hungry. We don’t hear the true Word. We get the dead letter with no anointing!” Where God is at work there are Bibles everywhere. There’s an excitement about preaching and teaching with a true reverence for the Word.
How sad it is that in many Charismatic churches, preaching is merely endured. They just want music, entertainment, and special singers on center stage! When the Holy Ghost comes, the Word will be hailed. The cry of the people will be, “Lord, I want it all: the good, the bad, the commandments, the promises, the whole counsel of God!”