2 Chronicles 7:14-7:14
The Touch of the Master
Just like the word trinity, you won’t find
the word revival in the Bible. Yet in both cases we know what they mean, and the Bible describes them over and over again.
A revival is a great awakening of people to the very presence of God. Throughout history God has done this very thing over
and over again, in all different parts of the world.
In 1949 in the Hebrides, revival hit. At the time devotion to
God had been replaced with devotion to whisky. The churches were nearly empty and many were about to close. But at at time
like this there were people willing to intercede. Two elderly ladies in eighties had been praying for some years. Then a small
group of men had gathered in a barn. They prayed for six hours a day, three days a week for several months, determined to
keep seeking God until He sent revival.
In one meeting they read the following verse.
2 Chronicles 7:14
my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways;
then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
They cried out to God for cleansing
from personal sin and that night they faced the glory of God. The two elderly ladies were told that same night by God, that
he would send his reviving Spirit within two weeks, and that He would use a man by the name of Duncan Campbell. The promise
came true, and these small Scottish Islands experienced one of the most powerful outpourings of Gods Spirit in history. In
one village, within two days, every young person had been converted. Eye witness accounts describe people suddenly coming
under the conviction of there sin, even while they were out working on their boats, or down the mines. Conversions were numbered
not by a one time decisions but by their commitment to prayer meetings.
What God did in the Hebrides, God can do in
this town, and this area. He can cause the same sort of reaction in our work places and in the schools. The need for such
a touch of the master is probably even greater now than it was in the Hebrides in 1949. With an experience of the very presence
of God comes great blessing, but also great warning. I want to look this morning at how we can seek and prepare ourselves
for such a touch of the master.
To understand how we can do this, I want to look at what happened at the time when
people met with God in the most tangible way possible. This is when people met with God in the flesh, our Lord, Jesus Christ.
When Jesus walked the earth, as with every revival, everybody is affected, and yet often only a few fully receive all that
God has for them. I want to look at how we can make sure that we do not miss out. Those who encountered Gods power in the
time of Jesus were those who, recognised the need for a touch of God, were willing to fight for Gods blessing, and then received
the touch of God however it came.
Recognising the need for the touch of God.
Jesus walked the earth for
33 years and for the last three years of His life his ministry was at full flow. Everybody on Earth at that time, who lived
within the travelling distance of Galilee or Jerusalem, had the opportunity to walk with God in the flesh. They had the opportunity
to physically encounter and be touched by God. This one man was performing more miracles in three years as had happened in
the whole history of the earth up to this point. What a great honour it would have been to live in these times.
of the great mysteries of the new testament gospels is not how many people were miraculously touched by the hand of God at
this time. Instead it is how many people missed out. God the Son was walking on the Earth, waiting and willing to touch the
lives of men, and yet so many missed out on what God had got for them.
Everybody had a need for that touch. The Jewish
people were under foreign rule and were following a system of trying to please God themselves, only to find themselves constantly
failing. The gentiles were following there own gods with no real hope of anything other than an empty meaningless life. Everybody
had a need of God and so why did only a relative few receive the touch of the master? Who was it who actually received the
touch of God.
We find that those who received the touch of God were those who recognised their needs and failings,
and were willing to expose those needs to God.
At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases,
sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind.
It is those people who are willing to expose their
need for healing that were healed as we see from this scripture. It is those that were willing to expose there sin to Jesus
that were forgiven, such as in the case of the prostitute who wiped Jesus’ feet with her hair. It is those who were
willing to expose their weaknesses or lack of faith to Jesus that were given the strength to overcome, such as in the case
of the disciples.
Jesus walked along the roads between Jerusalem and Galilee. Those who got healed were those who sat
along the dusty roads. It was the beggars who had their dire state exposed to all around. It was those who came out to find
Him. Those who got a touch from God were those who were in desperate need of Him and weren’t afraid if others could
While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he
saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean."
reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" And immediately the leprosy left him.
that same man had been so ashamed of his condition that he had stayed in, or had covered himself up trying to hide it, then
he would never have been healed. By exposing his condition this man would become a public outcast, yet he fell at Jesus’
feet, exposed his state, and begged God to do something. He publicly admitted his need for a touch from the Lord, and that
need was then met.
If these were the people who received Gods touch, who missed out? The Gospels make it clear that
it was those who hid there conditions from God. They trusted in other things instead. Some trusted in riches, like the rich
man in Matthew 19:16-24, others in their own righteousness, such as the religious leaders of the day. Either way pride prevented
them from seeing or exposing their need for a touch from God. In John 9: 41 Jesus said to the Pharisees ’If you were
blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.’
It is because
the religious leaders claimed they could see. They claimed that they were all right. Jesus said ’it is not the healthy
who need a doctor, but the sick.’ If they had only admitted that they were sick they could have been treated by the
greatest doctor of all.
The state that the people found themselves in 2000 years ago in Israel, isn’t dissimilar
to this town and this nation. People had tried to do things in their own strength and had found themselves in a mess. Both
the Jew and the Gentile had found themselves in the need of a touch from the lord. In this nation it is not just the world
that needs a touch from God, the church also needs to rediscover the power of God. As the church we are in desperate need
for a move of Gods Spirit. The nation is growing further away from God and is suffering the consequences, but if we are honest,
so is the church.
I believe that God is ready to move again in power. I have had a quickening in my spirit for several
month now. However I must warn that many will miss out on the move of God. One of the main reasons for this is that people
will refuse to expose their need. We like to think that we are spiritual, when really there is a great hole. If we want god
to move again in our lives, in our churches, and in this town, then we need to confess to him that we are sick lame and sinful,
and that we are hopeless without His touch.
Willing to fight for Gods Blessing.
The second reason that
some encountered the power of God while others didn’t, is that some had the desire for Gods blessing enough to struggle
for it. Many people would have recognised that they had a need for a touch from God. However, often it was only those who
would be willing to struggle against the odds in order to receive that blessing, who were touched. Matthew 20:29-34 gives
an account of two blind men.
As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed
30:Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, "Lord,
Son of David, have mercy on us!"
31:The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder,
"Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!"
32:Jesus stopped and called them. "What do you want me to do for you?" he asked.
33:"Lord," they answered, "we want our sight."
34:Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately
they received their sight and followed him.
In this chapter we see two men with needs and whose needs were obvious.
They would have heard that Jesus was coming. They would have heard the disturbance of the large crowd and so cried out, ’Lord
Son of David, have mercy on us.’ They crowd rebuked them. The people in the crowd were probably thinking, ’stop
being so irreverent’, ’that’s no way to act’, or ’be quiet you’re embarrassing’.
desire of these two men to receive a touch of God was an embarrassment to those around. It put them to shame. ’Who were
these two people anyway? They must have been sinners as they were blind. How dare they cause a commotion?’ The two men
were probably being pushed away by the crowd. It would have been easy for the men to have become discouraged. They could have
thought to themselves, ’Well we tried, maybe it just wasn’t meant to be.’
Instead the men simply
start to shout even louder. They cry out with more determination and desperation. They weren’t going to let Jesus pass
them by. No amount of discouragement from a crowd was going to stop them. They cried out again, ’Lord, Son of David,
have mercy on us.’
They caused Jesus to stop and take notice. Jesus could probably see that these men were blind
and yet he still asked them, ’What do you want me to do for you?’ Jesus wanted to know their greatest need and
these two men were only to willing to answer. ’We want our sight.’
These two men aren’t alone in
having to fight to receive a touch from God, many others did too. The woman who had been subject to bleeding for 12 years
in Matthew 9:20. She had been having a constant period for this time and so according to Jewish Law she was ceremonially unclean.
We see her like the the bind man in a desperate state. She knew the world couldn’t help her as she had tried all of
the doctors. She pushes through the crowd just enough to touch the edge of Jesus’ clothing and is healed.
God is passing by, if you don’t want to miss out you have to be desperate enough to fight in order to receive a touch
from him. When is the last time that you struggled with God in prayer? When is the last time you prayed in tears over the
needs of this town, crying out to God, for Him to do something? When is the last time that you fought with God for an experience
of him during the worship? If we start to do these things, people who appear to be following God will probably want to discourage
The crowd appeared to be following Jesus, yet it was the blind men who encountered His power. If you struggle
for God you will become an embarrassment to, and but to shame, those who want to follow God their way. Those who are comfortable
in their Christianity, and don’t want a commotion causing.
If we want to stop God in His tracks and receive a
blessing then we need to be willing to cry out to him louder and louder. We need to be willing to break out from our apathy,
realise our desperate state, and not give him any rest until he meets with us in power. Jesus passed many by, but only a few
received His power. God can move mightily through a place, but only those who are willing to truly seek Him will see their
Receiving the touch.
There were those who fought for Jesus’ blessing and there
were those who had others fight on their behalf. Jesus did perform many miracles. John records that so much could be written
about what Jesus said and did, but all the books in the world couldn’t contain his wonders. So how did Jesus actually
touch the people and what were the reactions when he did?
Whenever Jesus, taught, performed a miracle, or forgave somebody,
we find that reactions to it are as varied as his methods. The nation was expecting the messiah to come, but Jesus would often
cause offence and confusion because he didn’t come in the way that the people were expecting. There were three main
types of reactions to the wonders that Jesus performed.
First there was the religious folk. Jesus caused great offence
to those who thought that they had religion sorted. The religious leaders of the day had got God how they wanted Him. They
followed their laws and traditions and felt righteous. They thought they knew God. When Jesus came he upset their value system.
They had put their laws above a relationship with God, and so when Jesus came, He caused great offence. He healed on the Sabbath,
He liaised with sinners, and He exposed their emptiness, hypocrisy and sin. This wasn’t how God was supposed to move.
He was supposed to come their way, as a warrior to set them free. They were moved to great anger and tried to kill this move
Then there was the general crowd. They observed and listened but many left when they found Jesus’ teaching
too hard to bear. After feeding the five thousand Jesus found that his following had gone from five thousand plus, to just
twelve, in just two days. They wanted to be fed by God. They wanted to hear good teaching and to see miracles, but they weren’t
willing to let it change their lives. They didn’t want to leave their comfort zones and so just wandered away.
third reaction was from those who truly recognised their need. Jesus often moved in their lives in the most offensive ways
possible. On many occasions when healing blind men we find that Jesus often did by spitting in their faces.
He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spat on the man’s eyes and put his
hands on him, Jesus asked, "Do you see anything?"
If anybody had a right to be offended by Jesus’ methods, then
these people certainly did. They had asked God for help and simply got spat at. To spit in somebody’s face in any country
is an offensive gesture. The move of God is often offensive and comes in ways that we don’t expect. Were these men offended?
The answer is no. Those who are most desperate for God don’t care how He moves, they just want to feel his touch.
Wigglesworth was a man who had a great healing ministry and was used greatly by God. He would often cause offence by some
of the ways he used. On one occasion he punched somebody in the stomach as he prayed for them to be healed from stomach cancer.
Many people were shocked and offended, but the one who got healed from the cancer certainly wasn’t. They couldn’t
care less who God used or how He did it, they just knew they need a touch from Him
When Jesus touched these sort of
people, the reaction wasn’t to take offence, but to draw closer to God. Despite Jesus telling many of those he touched
not to tell anybody, they couldn’t help but spread the news about Him. When God moves powerfully in your life, He could
do it in a way that is offensive to you. He could use people we don’t like, and He could move us into areas that we
don’t want to be in the natural. When God does that we realise just how much we want to know Him. Are we really desperate
for Him, or are we comfortable with our own level of religion?
I truly believe that God is going
to move once again in this area. I believe that God is ready to answer the cries of those who have been calling for Him to
do something in our lives, with the church, and with the nation. Many would say that God won’t move when the church
is lukewarm. However God answers the prayers of the faithful few. After all Israel was in a lukewarm state in Jesus’
day. God is ready to meet and transform lives, but be warned, we also need to be ready.
We need to be in a state where
we are desperate for God to do something with our lives. We need to be willing to stop Jesus as He moves through our are and
fight for that blessing. We need to be willing to accept that blessing however it comes. In the Hebrides revival many felt
the tangible presence of God. Have you become complacent in you Christianity. If so it is time recognise the state that our
area is in. This town and nation is in a desperate state. Drug abuse is taking the lives of many. Adultery is rife. Pornography
is available to children at the click of a button. Sexual practices offensive to God, are accepted are approved of by the
world. Each day many people find themselves heading for hell.
The worse thing is, that while all this is going on,
the church has become impotent and has stood aside, allowing it to happen. God is waiting to fulfil the promise given in Chronicles.
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn
from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
ready, willing, and waiting for the masters touch?