Today Derek points out the basic need of Israel: that the Holy Spirit will give them a revelation of who Jesus is, and that we are just like them. Without the work of the Holy Spirit to give to us the grace, supplication, and revelation we need, we are like a dry, dusty desert in need of rain to bring life to the seeds that are buried there.
Now, I want to go back to Israel. I never had any clear idea of what I was going to talk about, but… See I’m not Jewish. In fact, I was like most Gentiles, I had a couple of good Jewish friends at school and at the university. But basically I always had a sort of unspoken inner reservation. If they suffer so much there must be something wrong with them. I would never had become a Nazi, I would never have been an open anti-Semite. But there was in my heart, as in the hearts of many of you, an unspoken reservation about the Jewish people. There’s something about them that you don’t altogether like. Do you know what you don’t like? The fact that God chose them.
I baptized a dear friend of mine in the Sea of Galilee many years ago. When he came up out of the water he asked me a question, he said, “Why did God choose the Jews?” I said why did God choose you? He never had any more questions after that.
If you don’t believe in the choice of the Jews, you’ve undermined your whole salvation. Our salvation depends on the choice of God just as much as the destiny of the Jewish people.
So, going back to Zechariah chapter 12:10, this is the step before the climax. The climax is the return of Messiah. This may be simultaneous, it’s not easy to know exactly how it’s to be interpreted. God says:
“I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of grace and supplication. Then they will look on me, whom they have pierced, and will mourn for him as one mourns for an his only son, and grieve for him as one grieves for a firstborn.”
That’s one of the most amazing statements in the Bible because it is the Lord who is speaking. He says they will look on me whom they have pierced. It’s perhaps the clearest single identification of Jesus as the pierced Messiah.
But, no one can know who Jesus is except by revelation. The revelation comes from the Holy Spirit. And until the Holy Spirit reveals, the Jewish people will remain amazingly blind.
I’ve spoken to many Jews, and I was talking to Don, guides who’ve been with Christian tours. They’ve heard the truth, they’ve seen people prayed for, they’ve seen people healed, and their attitude is I would love to believe it but I can’t. That’s a judgment of God but it’s about to be revoked. It’s interesting being amongst the Jewish people today because to use a rather unspiritual phrase, God is sneaking up on their blind side. They don’t know what’s happening but the Holy Spirit is beginning to deal with them. All sorts of things are happening that you can’t explain. There is a change coming.
Now, let’s get back to where we were, Zechariah 12:10. You see, I want to apply this to Britain because I believe the principle is the same. If you are going to pray the kind of prayer that really means something, you’re going to have to have the supernatural enabling of the Holy Spirit. God said:
“I will pout out upon them the spirit of grace...”
And you remember what I said about grace? It’s the supernatural intervention of God beyond your natural ability. Then He said:
“...the spirit of supplication.”
When a person makes supplication or is a suppliant, what is he asking for in one word? Mercy, that’s right. So God says, “I’ll pour out upon them a spirit, the Holy Spirit, that will enable them to pray on a level they could not pray by their own understanding. I will enable them to call out for mercy which they never could do without the help of my Holy Spirit.” A spirit of grace and of supplication.
And then comes with it the revelation of Jesus:
“...they will look on me whom they have pierced...”
I just want to say to you we need the spirit of grace and of supplication if Britain is to survive, brothers and sisters. We are at a point of national crisis and there’s only one source of help, it’s the God whom we’ve ignored and neglected and slighted. But He’s still there. I believe that God loves Britain, and that He has certain special reasons why He loves Britain.
You see, if you look back over the last four hundred years, basically the nation that has honored the Bible the most and done the most to bring the gospel to other nations is Britain. Now, in this last century, the 20th century, I think America has maybe moved into the top place. But I don’t believe God is unrighteous to forget what has been done in Britain. But, we’re going to have to call out for His mercy. We’re not going to be able to do it with our intellect, it’s not going to be just a decision of my will, “I’ll get up every morning at 7:00 o’clock and pray.” That’s a wonderful decision, don’t let me discourage you. But, it’s going to take more than that.
I want to give you a little picture, it’s very vivid to me. I’ve been told in South Africa there’s a place called Namaqualand which is unusual because for many years no rain falls and the whole land is dry and arid and there’s no real vegetation. I can never tell this without tears coming to my eyes because it’s so vivid to me. But, about once every six years rain falls on Namaqualand and it becomes the most glorious pageant of many colored flowers. Do you know why? They were all there below the surface but it took the rain to make them germinate. I think Britain today is like Namaqualand. It’s very dry, very barren and very arid, but underneath the surface there are seeds of gospel truth which have been sown in this nation for four hundred years. If God were really to pour out His Holy Spirit we would be amazed at what would come up, the beauty that would be seen in this land. That’s my belief. I want to share it with you.
What part do we have to play in the outpouring of the rain of the Holy Spirit? Because, it’s the rain of the Spirit that will bring the seeds to life. I just want to close by reading from Joel chapter 2. Joel really is the prophet of the latter day outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Joel opens with a picture of desolation, everything is desolate. There’s no life, no food, no crops, no animals. And then in the middle of chapter 2, verse 12, God says to His people:
“Now therefore, says the Lord, turn to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping and with mourning. So rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness, and He relents from doing harm. Who knows? If He will turn and relent and leave a blessing behind Him—”
Who knows? We don’t know but it’s worth trying.
And then at the end of that chapter in verse 28 and following God says:
“And it shall come to pass afterward...”
In the New Testament it says “in the latter days,” both are correct. But let’s consider the significance of afterward for a moment. After what? After God’s people have done what He told them to do. Turn to Him with all their heart, with fasting, weeping and mourning. Then God says after you do that it shall come to pass that:
“I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. Also on my servants, my men servants and my maid servants, I will pour out my spirit in those days. I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved...”
You see this very clearly leads right up to the end of the age, the great and terrible day of the Lord. Why is it that whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved in that situation. Because the Holy Spirit has been poured out. And when the Holy Spirit is poured out it’s easy to be saved.