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When God Stepped Down From Heaven
by Owen Murphy
Table of Contents
THE CHALLENGE OF THE HEBRIDES
The wonderful visitation of God to the Hebrides is not only one of the most stirring events of our generation, but also represents a great spiritual CHALLENGE today. Its scenes of Divine Power reveal the tremendous potential of a genuine sovereign moving of the Spirit of God in our churches and communities; while the pattern of events which led up to the visitation, amplified by the declarations of the Word of God, makes it very evident that what has taken place in the Hebrides can be experienced here in AMERICA! The Covenant Promise of 2 Chron. 7:14, is just as applicable to America, as to any other part of the earth.
The challenge of the Hebrides is twofold:
(1) THE CHALLENGE TO EVERY MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL
Gathered with the seven men in the barn was their MINISTER, a symbol of every minister who is prepared to join with his people in seeking the Face of God for real revival. Standing in the shadows behind the revival was another minister, the Rev. Duncan Campbell, God's chosen servant. He stands as a challenge to every minister of the Gospel in this day of God's visitation!
Burdened because of the spiritual indifference of the ungodly; grieved at the decline of spiritual life in the churches; and feeling utterly helpless in the face of such a challenge, he knelt in his study crying unto God. Suddenly, but quietly, the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and before him appeared a vision of a dying world plunging into an abyss of eternal darkness, and multitudes of men and women speeding on to Christless graves. Then came the great realization that was to transform his ministry-God was not only God, but a COVENANT-KEEPING GOD WHO HAD MADE COVENANT PROMISES TO HIS PEOPLE! Like a flash of light he suddenly saw that there was a great realm of potentiality, power, and blessing within his own grasp through the "covenant" promises of God! He could enter into a covenant with God!
If he was prepared to pay the price he could have more of the moving of the Spirit of God in his ministry than he had ever known before. From that moment, through complete surrender to the Lord, and constant waiting before God, he entered into a ministry that was to cause men and women to feel the impact of the Presence of God. Fearlessly preaching the judgments of God against sin, and emphasizing the faithfulness of a Covenant-keeping God, hundreds, stricken by the most tormenting conviction of sin, turned to God.
Such is the ministry that is needed today. A ministry that is so empowered by the Spirit, and loaded with conviction, that multitudes will turn to Christ.
Cold, formalistic preaching never raised the dead! Only a demonstration of Divine Power will do that, such as took place in the days of Whitfield when it was a common sight for sinners to "cry out, as in the agony of death." History records that under his anointed preaching, so great was the convicting of sin that some were "struck pale as death" and fell prostrate to the ground; others. sinking into the arms of their friends, lifted up their eyes to heaven, crying for mercy!
During the great Scottish Revival in 1850, when James Turner, the fiery Methodist preacher, went down to Pontrochie to preach, so great was the conviction of sin, that many businesses had to close down in order that the people might get right with God! Large numbers of drunkards were changed by the Power of God. Meetings lasted from 14 to 18 hours. Sinners, hearing their lost condition, swooned away, but came round praising God for acceptance.
Amongst the giants of old-time American evangelism, was John Wesley Redfield, a man sent from God, whose ministry was filled with Holy Ghost power and conviction. Born in New Hampshire in 1810, in his early years, while kneeling under a large tree in the heart of a forest, he accepted Christ as his Savior. In subsequent years, as a preacher of the gospel, so tremendous was the moving of God in his ministry that multitudes found Christ. On one occasion, after weeping before God, he heard God speak to him.
"You may prepare for the greatest display of God's power that you have ever witnessed in this church!"
That night, before he had finished his sermon, people flocked to the altars crying for mercy. On another occasion, the church was suddenly filled with an awful sense of the Presence of God. Then, like a thunderclap, the Power of God broke upon the meeting and hundreds, panic-stricken with fear, crowded the altars begging God to have mercy upon them! Great manifestations of power took place everywhere. Persons would flee from their homes to avoid yielding to Christ, and afterwards be found lying helpless by the roadside until, found by the police, they were taken to the station house and placed on the floor where they were watched until they "came to."
In the great revivals of Yale and New Haven, so great was the conviction of sin that in some meetings the whole congregation, numbering hundreds of people, were stricken by the power of God.
The greatest problem that besets the nation today is not Communism, Modernism, or Liberalism, but DEAD FUNDAMENTALISM! We need another heaven-sent visitation of God, accompanied by the sin-convicting Power of God, as in days of old, that will revitalize both pulpit and pew, and cause multitudes of sinners to turn to Christ. This is the revival God is waiting to send to America! This is the ministry that the great God of revival is waiting to impart to those who will seek the Face of God in fasting and prayer until God has met them in a new experience of power, and then go forth fearlessly preaching the whole counsel of God-including the JUDGMENTS OF GOD!
The very prospect of such a visitation of God will, in itself, create problems in the minds of many servants of God, who for years have been content with a mediocre ministry based merely upon Theology, devoid of the SUPERNATURAL. Ministers who have been so "afraid OF SENSATION that they have gone into STAGNATION" (and this applies to many of us in varying degrees) will have to revise many of their ideas if they would have the Power of God. This mighty moving of God emphasizes most clearly that where there is the manifestation Of DIVINE POWER, there will be sensation-but that "SENSATI0N is not FANATICISM!"
None of us can too strongly condemn fanaticism, especially in the many phases which we see it today, but, at the same time, neither can we afford to confuse that same "extremism" with the SENSATIONALISM that is the direct result of a genuine moving of the Spirit of God! Wipe out the so-called "sensation scenes" and events of the past revivals of 1857 and 1904 and you HAVE NO REVIVAL! Fear of "sensation" has been the fetter that has bound the Hands of God for generations, in both ministry and church. And the great moving of God in the Hebrides is a challenge to us all to face the issue honestly and fearlessly, and see exactly what God has to say concerning it. From an honest study of the Word of God, irrespective of men's traditions or theories, these facts are very evident:
(1) ALL-SENSATIONALISM IS NOT NECESSARILY "FANATICISM"
There is a DIVINE sensationalism that emanates from the supernatural operation of GOD! God Himself is sensational because He is supernatural. When He spoke, and creation came Into being, was It not sensational! Even the "Morning Stars sang together" in worship and wonder at the mighty act of creation. Every miracle of God, in both Old and New Testament days, were sensational In the eyes of men. When the waters of the Red Sea parted before the Rod of Moses; the sun stood still in the days of Joshua; the fire fell from heaven in the days of Elijah-were these acts not "sensational?"
When Jesus healed the sick, and raised the dead; when Peter and John brought healing to the lame man outside the Temple; when the Spirit of God was poured out upon Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost causing thousands to be converted-did these acts not cause sensation? Certainly they did. Yet these acts were NOT "fanaticism." They were the acts of a MIRACLE GOD WORKING manifesting His Divine power that the eyes of the people might be turned to Himself. The Word of God and manifestations of God through history, emphasize the fact that where there is a genuine "moving of God," there will be "sensation." This fact must be cleared in our minds before real revival can come. The "extremist" acts of men are "fanaticism" but the acts of God are "sensational."
(2) "FEAR" OF DIVINE SENSATIONALISM, or UNBELIEF IN THE SUPERNATURAL, CAN HINDER REVIVAL, AND THE OPERATIONS OF GOD!
Mankind today is still only probing the "fringe" of the tremendous potentialities of the realm of faith. Nevertheless, one startling and tremendous fact is obvious-that God can only work where there is faith: and where there IS UNBELIEF He stands helpless!
The cry of the Old Testament was: "YE HAVE LIMITED THE HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL..." And its echo from the New Testament: "BECAUSE OF UNBELIEF HE COULD DO NO MIGHTY WORK," confirms this fact.
Shall we be guilty of the same act of unbelief through our "fear" of God working in an unorthodox way? We thrill at the very reading of the mighty acts of God in the days of Moses, Joshua, Elijah, Jesus, and the Apostles; but what would have happened if THEY had doubted God? Nothing! If "fear" of the sensational had gripped their hearts, there would never have been the parting of the waters of the Red Sea, the crumbling walls of Jericho, the fire falling from heaven upon Carmel, and the mighty miracles of Jesus and His Apostles, for they would never have dared to obey the commands of God that made it possible for these amazing scenes to take place. That lesson is just as clear today. If we really desire a genuine "moving of God" in our day, and community, we must shed our self-imposed "fears" and, humbling ourselves before God, be prepared for Him to operate according to His own prerogative. There is no "fanaticism" in a real moving of God, but there will be SENSATION-multitudes will marvel at the majesty and works of our God!
Are we, then, prepared to receive such a ministry of Divine Power? If so, the price Of "POWER with GOD" has never changed. See that man of God upon his face before God in his study. See that life utterly dedicated to God and His work. Listen to the travail of his soul as he cries unto God, even until the early hours of the morning. See the floor wet with tears-there is the price in life, and conviction in ministry! Then, see those towns swept by the Power of God; see those lives and homes transformed by the Grace of God.-THERE IS THE REWARD of those who will pay the price. Such is the tremendous challenge of revival, to every minister.
(3) THE CHALLENGE TO THE CHURCHES
We NEED revival! The church, like a mammoth organization, has everything BUT the mighty moving of God. As someone has said: "We have equipment but not enduement; commotion but not creation; action but not unction; rattle but not revival." Spirituality is buried in activity! If, then, we really desire revival we will have to get down to business with God. Like the men in the barn, we must be prepared to accept the burden for revival as our own personal responsibility, and solemnly covenant with God upon the basis of His Covenant Promise. (2 Chron. 7:14). The binding conditions of that agreement demands first of all, a "humbling of ourselves" that we may have "clean hands and pure hearts" and be able to "stand in His Holy Hill."
This will demand a confession of every sin, a turning away from all wickedness, a forsaking of every doubtful habit, an utter surrender to Christ. Revival must be the dominating desire of life. For many, it will mean the giving up of "Iidlos" that have been cherished for years. For others it may mean a visit to the "tents" as in the days of Achan to unearth some of the things hidden there. It may be a "wedge of gold" or a "Babylonian garment," or some of the "spoils of battle" have got to go before the blessings of the Lord can come.
One thing is very certain, to whatever the Finger of God points in condemnation, that thing must GOI Eight men travailing before God for five lonely months, was NOT ENOUGH TO BRING REVIVAL. If a covenant-keeping God must answer and fulfill His promise, then man must completely fulfill the conditions laid down. He must humble himself and turn from his wicked ways. There had not only to be the "CHALLENGE" of "clean hands and pure hearts" but also the EXPERIENCE, and this could only come by personal confession Of ALL SIN and complete unreserved surrender to Christ.
Then must come not only PRAYER, but PREVAILING Prayer. Prevailing prayer begins in "travail," continues in "travail," until the ANSWER has come. Churches that have no weeping, no confessing, no prayer or fasting, do not have visitations from on high. In the days of the Prophet Ezekiel's vision, did God not say to the man with the inkhorn by his side:
"Go through the midst of the city, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof." (Ezek. 8:4).
What God is seeking for today, as in Bible days, is not a people with an outward sign of respectability and church attendance, nor even scholastic preachers whose names are known nationwide, but those whose hearts are burdened and broken, and whose eyes are red with weeping before Him, because of the sins and abominations of the cities. Weeping In the pulpit, and weeping in the pew is the Divine price for visitations from on high.
Today, America stands at the crossroads of destiny, faced with an unavoidable choice: the mark of the man with the inkhorn, or the mark of the beast! It must be REVIVAL, through a people upon their faces before God, or ANTI-CHRIST. Unless there are tears in the pulpit, and tears in the pews, there will be tears In the streets and homes; for already this great nation staggers beneath its gigantic burdens of spiritual declension, moral deterioration, material corruption, and thousands of demoralized lives and homes. Added to this is the ever-growing threat of a nation over-run by heathen COMMUNISM, and plunged into indescribable chaos resulting in race riots, civil war, and millions slain through invasion of godless hordes.
In view of these tremendous facts, what is the verdict of the "man with the inkhorn" as he passes our way? Is the "mark" upon OUR foreheads? The price is heavy, but, as President Eisenhower declared: "A soldier's pack may be heavy, but it is lighter than a prisoner's chains!" Far better pay the price of REVIVAL, than wear the shackles of a godless regime.
Abraham stood before the Lord and Interceded for godless Sodom-until even Divine Grace was exhausted; ELIJAH stood before God for backslidden Israel until fire fell from heaven, the altars of Baal were broken down, and the nation had returned to God. And down through the centuries men have dared to stand before God in holy desperation for the sins of their generation, until God has moved out of His Holy Temple in nation-shaking revival.
We treasure the memories of the great characters of bygone days, who have caused multitudes to turn to Christ, and whose God-anointed exploits are recorded in history. We think of such men as Wesley, Whitfield, Finney, and Roberts. We reverence their memories, build memorials, sing their praises-do anything but imitate them! Each of these men could have pointed to a hallowed place by their bedside that was often wet with tears of intercession. These men prayed oftentimes in such travail of soul that they lay exhausted in a pool of tears. David Brainerd prayed in such agony of soul that his body became abnormal.
John Knox, whose prayer shook Scotland, was so desperate in prayer that to see him upon his knees was a sight that inspired awe. George Fox so gripped God in travailing prayer that men were often afraid to look upon his face as he came out of his prayer chamber. The half-hearted prayer meetings of today are a mockery in comparison to the depth of spiritual travail of the men who, in days gone by, caused nations to be swept by the Power of God. The price for heaven-sent revival has never changed. Before the floods of Holy Ghost conviction could sweep across the Isles of the Hebrides strong men must be broken before God and, upon their faces before God, must travail In agony of prayer through the long hours of the night for months.
To do this, in spite of the demands of home and work, these men had to MAKE TIME FOR WAITING BEFORE GOD! Outpourings from on high must be preceded by a willingness to make time to wait upon God. This is perhaps the greatest problem besetting us today. We have all the modem luxuries of life to make work easier and yet we cannot make time to pray! What a tragic paradox. Dr. Wilbur Smith very aptly stated the matter when he said: "I NEVER GET TIME TO PRAY-I'VE ALWAYS GOT TO MAKE IT!"
The floodtides of revival are waiting to be released upon the face of the earth-God's Covenant Promise is a guarantee of this. But before the sluice gates can be opened, we must MAKE TIME to wait before God, and in that waiting before Him there must be travailing and prevailing prayer. Irrespective of the godless world outside; irrespective of the many who are indifferent and the very few who will stand with us-like the prayer-men of the Hebrides, emptied of self-we must throw every bit of our energy into desperate travailing intercession, until God HEARS FROM HEAVEN, and America is swept by the burning cleansing flame of Holy Ghost revival.
Are we prepared to face this challenge? Dare we honestly enter into covenant with God? If we do, then herein are the COVENANT CONDITIONS laid down by God as the PRICE we will have to pay.
Conditions of Rivival Covenant