How will God restore Scotland's prophetic heritage? What will it look like? How will we know? What signs should we look for?
At the end of the book of Judges the moral decline of Israel was hideous and heartbreaking. A nation that had been given the Ten Commandments through Moses was now in catastrophic decline. They had entered the promised land but instead of maintaining their distinctive calling and way of worship, they had compromised and sold out to the god of self. The book of Judges ends with 21:25 and sums up the pitiful state of godlessness.
In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
The worship of self and the independent spirit that asserts my opinion, my will, my way is the very antithesis of humble worship of Yahweh. This is where we find ourselves in modern day Scotland. The altars of God have been desecrated, dismantled and torn down. In recent years the dismantling process has accelerated.
Back to 1 Samuel. Into this bleak and miserable landscape came a praying and desperate woman called Hannah. It was Charles Spurgeon who said - “Whenever GOD determines to do a great work, He first sets His people to pray.” This is the story of every revival in the history of the people of God. It seems like such a weak and feeble instrument - men and women and children kneeling and pleading with God for mercy. How desperate and laughable this seems to the world. But the slender thread of faith if attached to a great and mighty God can be the means by which divine power and purpose are released on the earth.
This was what happened through Hannah. She was provoked and mocked by her rival, Peninnah, year after year. This is a picture of the church in our nation. Mocked, ridiculed, laughed at, seemingly impotent -
In bitterness of soul, Hannah wept much and prayed to the Lord
Out of the depths of heartfelt prayer a miracle was born. His name was Samuel. As promised by Hannah, Samuel was dedicated unto the Lord and the beginnings of his prophetic calling are found in 1 Samuel 3.
Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD in the presence of Eli. And the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision. At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his own place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was.
The boy Samuel appears at a moment when the spiritual life of the nation is at a low ebb. The word of the Lord was rare in those days, the eyesight of Eli had began to grow dim. It was almost dark as the boy Samuel was lying down to sleep in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was, a symbol of God’s covenant and presence. The lamp of God had not yet gone out. And the lights have not yet been switched off in spiritual Scotland.
Samuel had been dedicated to God from birth and his prophetic gifting was about to be lit within him in such a way that the course of the nation would be dramatically changed. And here is the key to the restoration of Scotland’s prophetic heritage. Full and total dedication to the Lord and a willingness to pray,
Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.
Now is the time for total dedication unto the Lord. Now is the time for your heart and your ears to be surrendered to the Holy Spirit. Now is the time for heartfelt prayers of desperation to rise to the Lord. God specialises in turning round the darkest of situations SO THAT he gets the glory.
May the Spirit’s prophetic voice thunder across Scotland again without fear or compromise. I don’t expect that will be particularly popular. A voice of one crying in the wilderness has not signed up to win opinion polls. It is raw, it is free, it is undivided, courageous and fearless. The gospel is not for tickling ears. It’s for saving souls through the power of a crucified Saviour.
The appearance of the boy Samuel did not bring to an end the judgement of God upon Israel. Although the hand of God was upon Samuel, his time for public ministry had not yet come and the old guard of Eli and his two sons were still in place. It is possible that the seeds of future revival and restoration are already within the hearts of God's people, but at the same time, signs of judgement are all around us. The sons of Eli died in battle, Eli fell and broke his neck, and the ark of God was stolen, taken captive by the Philistines who laughed and danced around the spoils of war. Our lowest point may be yet to come because judgement begins with the household of God. Perhaps King Charles III will be the last monarch to be sworn in with the Church of Scotland being in the privileged position as Scotland's national church. Within 20-30 years it may cease to exist in its current form. I don't want to be a prophet of doom but I fear that most Church of Scotland congregations are ill equipped to communicate the gospel to this coming generation - and changing too slowly to survive.
When the ark of God was taken captive....It was at this point that ICHABOD was writ large above the nation because without the ark, the glory had departed. This was a greater and more awful moment for Israel. Some would say that the glory has already departed, and I think that is probably true for spiritual Scotland. Once called the land of the Book, it most certainly is not the land of the book now. Woke ideology permeates our schools, education system, police, politics and public life. Progressive and liberal churches are happy to get in line with this secular and atheistic agenda. Where will it all end? A new beginning arises out of the merciful heart of God. So we pray that day will be soon.
Lord hear our prayer! Have mercy on Scotland again!
Richard H H Johnston
Revive Us Again Ministries