Free Bible Study Magazine
Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, (Act 3:19)
Notice it is not “a time” but “times” – again and again we receive times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord. The word refreshing denotes a recovering of breath, a reviving or revival. Our text clearly shows that we need the breath of God:
This is the meaning in context. To breath life into. Ezekiel was given a vision of a valley of dry bones. The millions who lay there were not only dead – their very bones were dry. Yet as Ezekiel gazed at the scene before him he heard the voice of the Lord say “prophesy … come o breath, breathe upon these slain that they may live”. They rose and came to life, a mighty army.
For those outside Jesus Christ, the gospel reveals the truth that they are dead in trespasses and sins. Nothing less than a new life is needed to bring them into a relationship with God. Which is why Jesus said to one puzzled seeker, “You must be born again”. Jesus explained that this was the work of the Holy Spirit, to bring new birth to whoever believed in Him. In the garden of Eden man became a living soul as God breathed the breath of life into him. But man sinned and sin brought death and separation from God.
Without Christ you an I have no spiritual life, we must receive Christ into our hearts in order to receive life. After his resurrection, Jesus breathed on the disciples saying “receive the Holy Spirit” or literally, receive the in-working of the Holy Spirit, and they were born again. The same is true for you and me. We must let the living Christ breathe his new nature into our hearts. “And you hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins.” “Repent and be converted..times of refreshing.” New life begins when we submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and receive him as our Saviour.
Jesus said “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled.” The scripture clearly teaches that God refreshes the thirsty. “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk Without money and without price. (Isa 55:1)
David knew what it was to thirst for God. O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water. (Ps 63:1)
David had experienced the thirst of being on the run in the desert. On one occasion, recorded in 2 Samuel 23, David longed for some water from the well at Bethlehem to quench his great thirst, and three of his mighty men went to get it at risk of their lives. The Lord Jesus Christ hung on the cross to open a fountain that would quench man’s spiritual thirst and satisfy his spiritual hunger eternally. And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. (John 6:35)
The river of the water of life is pictured in revelation as proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb, a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Having ascended to heaven, Christ received the Holy Spirit whom he know pours out abundantly on those who seek and obey him. (see also Tit 3:5-6)
“If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (Joh 7:37-39)
For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, And floods on the dry ground; I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, And My blessing on your offspring; (Isa 44:3)
What a shower to refresh the weary, thirsty land! God says:
The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; (Isa 35:1) For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, And streams in the desert. The parched ground shall become a pool, And the thirsty land springs of water (Isa 35:6-7).
Here is a picture of how God the Holy Spirit brings fruitfulness and life from what was once barrenness and death. The thirst of the desert itself is quenched and so can He satisfy the longing and thirsting of our hearts for what is real and eternal. The simple fact is that if you want more of God, He is ready to give it you. There is never a lack of supply, but too often there is lack of demand. Just how much do we hunger and thirst after God? Those who are anorexic do not lack food – there may be plenty of food. It is their lack of desire for food that causes the dangerous loss of weight, and the lack of spiritual desire will cause a dangerous deterioration in our spiritual lives. We need times of refreshing, to renew our desire in God.
After the burning of Ziklag, David captured an Egyptian man who was a servant to the Amelekite raiders (see 1 Samuel 30). The man had fainted and was near to death, but they revived him with water and some softened food, that he might swallow. There are times in our Christian walk and experience when we become faint. They battle has been hot, the way has been difficult. In fact the Egyptian man I mentioned had become faint because of sickness, and his master had abandoned him, but our master never abandons us. He said I will never leave you nor forsake you. We may find it difficult at times to praise God or even maintain a positive outlook. That’s human nature, when we are fainting, we only see the worse of things. How blessed are the times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord. Again and again we have been too faint to continue, but Christ has revived and strengthened us within.
Paul had such an experience which he recounts in 2 Corinthians 1:
For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us, (2 Cor 1:8-10)
When King David was overcome with fatigue and about to be overcome by the enemy, he called out for help, and to his aid came Abishai, to smite the enemy and give him time to recover. The name Abishai means “gift of the father” and it is the father’s gift who delivers and revives us in the battle too.
Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. (Act 2:33)
Then also when Jonathan fought the Philistines and became faint, he found wild honey oozing from a tree. Putting some to his lips he said, “Look now, how my countenance has brightened because I tasted a little of this honey.” (1 Sam 14:29-30)
Honey in the Bible is a picture of the word of God, for example, How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth! (Ps 119:103) . If we need the reviving which causes us to run in the ways God with renewed strength and zeal, then we need the food of the word and the help and fulness of the Holy Spirit.
We all need refreshing daily. This is especially true as we get older. The truth is we are all getting older every day. When a garment is old, it needs refreshing, and this is no less true for you and me. Derek has been reading a book “Toward Sunrise” daily readings meant for those who are approaching the latter end of their lives – note it is not “toward sunset” but sunrise. And the word of God is full of precious promises for those who are growing old in years.
Ps 92:14 They shall still bear fruit in old age; They shall be fresh and flourishing,
To be fresh means literally to be green and fertile. An old tree cannot produce fruit once its wood has become dead and dry. It needs the invigorating sap to fill it with life before it can produce fruit. And here is a promise specially for the older believer that he or she will be invigorated in time of old age, revived and renewed by God the Holy Spirit. Paul said:
Even though our outward man is perishing, the inward man is being renewed day by day. (2 Cor 4:16)
God said, “I will be like the dew to Israel;” (Hos 14:5) It is the dew that refreshes the grass in the dry eastern climate and speaks of the precious dew of the Holy Spirit that continually, gently, almost unfelt by us renews and refreshes even in old age.
Do you recall the verse “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” It is a well known quote from Joshua 24. But did you realize that Joshua made this statement at the age of 110, just a short time before he died. He had said to the elders in the previous chapter “this day I am going the way of all the earth.” Yet in ch24 he says this, till the very end, I will serve the Lord, and he was enabled to do so by the renewing power of the Holy spirit.
A simple reading of the NT will reveal that the majority of it was written by old men. Think for example of such references as to “John the elder”, “Peter the elder” and “Paul the aged”. These men of God could remain fruitful in old age because they experienced “Times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord.”
Naomi knew times of refreshing in her old age. Obed was not biologically her grandson, but was counted so because of her relationship to Ruth, his mother. When he was born it was said to her, And may he be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has borne him.” (Ruth 4:15) The word restorer means, to start again, and Obed brought a newness into bereaved Naomi’s life, “a nourisher” who would feed and provide, that is provide for in you old age.
In the context, Peter makes clear that these times of refreshing will culminate with the coming again of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will restore all things. The quickenings we receive now are just a foretaste of future glory. We are quickened now, but we shall be quickened then in a greater way.
When Christ comes, he “will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” (Php 3:21)
Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed– in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (1 Cor 15:51-52)
What a time of refreshing when we see him as he is and are changed perfectly into his likeness. This will be the restoration of all things.
Creation will be restored. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (Rom 8:19-21) Even creation waits with longing for the day when, as the sons of God are manifested, the curse will be removed and creation released from its bondage. We cannot imagine how glorious it will be when creation itself is restored to its former glory.
Relation will be restored. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. (1 Thess 4:14)
Our relation with our loved ones who have died will be gloriously fully restored, for God will bring them with come with Jesus when he comes. “Those who sleep in Jesus will God bring with him”. Sleep of course in the Bible is a reference to death. It is not the soul that sleeps, but the body that rests in the earth. But a day is coming when that body will be awakened and reunited with the spirit at Christ’s coming, and then will come the day of reunion. There is going to be a meeting in the air. What a shouting there will be -when each other’s face we’ll see – we’ll be there, praise the lord we’ll all be there!
As the hymn writer says:
Friends shall be there I have loved long ago, Joy like a river around me will flow; Yet, just a smile from my Saviour, I know, Will through the ages be glory for me. (C H Gabriel)
Jurisdiction will be restored. At his coming, Christ will reign as Lord of Lords and King of Kings. Jesus shall reign wherer the sun, doth its succesive journeys run. At that time we will sing of him, “You have taken your great power and have begun to reign”. Over all the earth for 1,000 years, the lion will lie down with the lamb and eat straw like the ox. It will be a wonderful time, a season of perpetual refreshing and restoration. Then through the ages of eternity in a new heaven and earth he will reign and we will reign with him. Jesus is the highest name not only in this age but in the age to come.
So in the present need or the future life, what we need are times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord. Lord, let them fall on me, as the dew of Israel, let the showers of blessing fall