"REVIVE US AGAIN"
"Wilt Thou not revive us again: that Thy people may rejoice in Thee?" (Ps. 85.6)
INTRO.: A song that both asks God to revive His people and joyfully praises Him for His blessings is "Revive Us Again" (#37 in Hymns for Worship Revised, and #17 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written by William Paton Mackay, who was born at Montrose, Scotland, on May 13, 1839. Educated at the University of Edinburgh, he was engaged in practicing medicine for a number of years. In addition to being a physician, he also enjoyed writing hymns. Producing this one, beginning, "We praise Thee, O God," in 1863, he revised to its present form it four years later.
In 1868, Mackay, feeling a call to the ministry, abandoned his medical practice and became a minister with the Prospect St. Presbyterian Church in Hull, Scotland. Seventeen of his hymns were published in W. Reid’s 1872 Praise Book. Three years later, this one was also published under the heading, "O Lord, revive Thy work," in the 1875 Gospel Hymns and Sacred Songs compiled by Philip P. Bliss and Ira D. Sankey.
The tune (Thine the Glory) had been composed by an English-born musician who migrated to Philadelphia, PA, John Jenkins Husband (1760-1825). It first appeared early in the nineteenth century, around 1815 to 1820, and seems to have been used with some other song, perhaps a secular ballad. In Bliss and Sankey’s 1858 book, it was originally used with "Rejoice and Be Glad" by Horatius Bonar. Mackay’s text was given as an alternate, but in later editions Bonar’s hymn was discarded and Mackay’s words became inseparably wedded to this music. Mackay died from an accident at Portree, Soctland, on Aug. 22, 1885.
Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, the song appeared in the 1921 Great Songs of the Church (No. 1) and the 1937 Great Songs of the Church No. 2 both edited by E. L. Jorgenson; the 1935 Christian Hymns (No. 1), the 1948 Christian Hymns No. 2, and the 1966 Christian Hymns No. 3 all edited by L. O. Sanderson; the 1963 Abiding Hymns edited by Robert C. Welch; and the 1963 Christian Hymnal edited by J. Nelson Slater. Today it may be found in the 1971 Songs of the Church, the 1990 Songs of the Church 21st C. Ed., and the 1994 Songs of Faith and Praise all edited by Alton H. Howard; the 1978/1982 Church Gospel Songs and Hymns edited by V. E. Howard; the 1986 Great Songs Revised edited by Forrest M. McCann; and the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand; in addition to Hymns for Worship, Sacred Selections, and the 2007 Sacred Songs of the Church edited by William D. Jeffcoat.
This song, sung by millions, praises God and concludes with a request for spiritual revival.
I. Stanza 1 praises God for the Son of His love
"We praise Thee, O God, For the Son of Thy love,
For Jesus who died, And is now gone above."
A. Jesus is the only begotten Son of God whom He gave to save mankind: Jn. 3.16
B. Jesus died for our sins so that we might have redemption: Rom. 5.8
C. He is now gone above to reign at God’s right hand and wait the time for His second coming: Acts 1.9-11
II. Stanza 2 praises God for His Spirit of Light
"We praise Thee, O God, For Thy Spirit of light,
Who has shown us our Savior, And scattered our night."
A. The Spirit of light is the Holy Spirit whom the Father sent in Jesus’s name: Jn. 14.26
B. The Spirit has shown us our Savior because He testified of Christ in the written word: Jn. 15.26
C. The Spirit has also scattered our night because He revealed to the apostles all the light of God’s truth: Jn. 16.13
III. Stanza 3 praises God for the Lamb that was slain
"All glory and praise To the Lamb that was slain,
Who has borne all our sins And has cleansed every stain."
A. Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world: Jn. 1.29
B. It was prophesied that He would come to bear our sins: Isa. 53.4-5
C. Therefore, He has cleansed every stain because His blood was the purchase price of our redemption: 1 Pet. 1.18-21
IV. Stanza 4 praises God for His great grace
"All glory and praise To the God of all grace,
Who has bought us, and sought us, And guided our ways."
A. Our God is a God of all grace: 1 Pet. 5.10
B. All of God’s spiritual blessings–the sending of His Son, the revelation of His word, and the offer of salvation–are ther results of
His wonderful grace: Rom. 3.24-26, Eph. 2.8-10
C. He continues to guide His people by the word of His grace: Acts 20.32
V. Stanza 5 asks God for spiritual revival in our lives
"Revive us again, Fill each heart with Thy love;
May each soul be rekindled With fire from above."
A. Some have objected to the idea of asking God to "revive us again," because they think that necessarily implies that we have fallen away from God, are spiritually dead, and need to be brought back to life. However, the fact is that all of us have undoubtedly experienced periods of discouragement or other such problems from which we need to be revived or renewed in our service to God: Hab. 3.2
B. Every Christian needs to have the inward man revived or renewed every day: 2 Cor. 4.16
C. The fire from above which will accomplish this is the word of God in our hearts: Jer. 20.9
CONCL.: The chorus repeats this combination of praising God and asking for revival.
"Hallelujah! Thine the glory! Hallelujah! Amen!
Hallelujah! Thine the glory! Revive us again!
As we sing songs like this, we certainly need to be expressing our worship and devotion to God with thankfulness for all His blessings, even as we ask Him to "Revive Us Again."