The Touch of the Master's Hand

Bible Book: Daniel  10 : 10-19
Subject: Touch, God's; Jesus, Fellowship with; Power, Peace
Series: Living Right When Life Seems Wrong
Introduction

We come now to part 9 in our series of messages from Daniel entitled, “Living Right When Life Seems Wrong.” Certainly, life must have seemed wrong to Daniel, for Daniel's nation had turned her back on God and the people had been overrun by a foreign power, resulting in Daniel and many other citizens being taken captive into Babylon. Daniel would live out his life in that foreign land under several evil leaders and three national administrations. Yet, Daniel lived right in these very wrong timesand we need to follow his example today, for surely you know that we are living in dark days. In our day, that which is wrong is called right and that which is right is called wrong as people live for pleasure, profit and for personal goals. Daniel did not despair in such times, but continued to trust in and obey the Lord. The songwriter penned,

“Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”

In the midst of the dark days in which Daniel lived, he had a most unusual experience on one occasion. He was in a time of prayer and fasting while living in Babylon when the touch of heaven came upon his life. So, I want to speak to you today on the subject, “The Touch Of The Master’s Hand.”

There is something wonderful about the touch of the human hand. Friends shake hands. Sweethearts hold hands. The preacher tells the bride and groom to join hands at the altar of marriage. There is some indeterminate healing in the touch of a mother’s hand on a sick child. There is reassuring peace in the touch of a father’s hand on his child after a bad dream during the night. Yes, there is something wonderful about the human touch.

A young man who owned a cattle farm was very much in love with a young lady. She was over to visit his farm and they were looking at the cattle. The young rancher pointed out that a bull and a cow were rubbing noses. The rancher said to his sweetheart, “Look at that bull rubbing noses with that cow, I sure would like to do that.” She said, “Go ahead if you want to, its your cow!” I don't think the young rancher was making his point about the value of the human touch!

Child psychologist Tiffany Field has done research that proves the importance of touch. Premature babies who were massaged 15 minutes three times a day gained weight 47 times faster than preemies who received excellent care but were hardly ever touched. The ones who grew faster weren't eating more, they just processed the nourishment more efficiently. Not only that but the babies who were touched, were judged to be more alert and aware of their surroundings. At eight months old they scored better on mental and motor tests than the non-touch infants did. Touch has a healing effect on people of any age. It can actually relieve pain in children who have been burned severely. Touching has been proven to improve the immune systems of AIDS victims. Even office workers proved more productive after a 15-minute massage. [U.S. News & World Report, Jan 13, 1997. Page 55.]

There are times when just a friendly hand upon your shoulder can lift your spirits out of the doldrums.

“When a man ain't got a cent
And is feelin' kinda blue,
And the clouds hang low and heavy
And won't let the sunshine through,
It is a great thing, O my brother,
For a fella just to lay
His hand upon your shoulder
In a friendly sorta way.”

If the human touch is so important, think of how much more important the divine touch is to the human heart. I am speaking about the touch of God upon human life at its deepest places. There are those who have felt the touch of the Lord in a very specific, literal sense. Jesus came into the world to touch and have contact with those around Him. His touch was the touch of God, The Touch Of The Master’s Hand. The Bible tells us that parents brought their children to Jesus and he touched them and blessed them. The sick were brought to Him and He touched them and made them well.

There were also people in the Old Testament who experienced the actual touch of the Lord or one of His messengers. Daniel was one of those people. Here in Daniel 10 we read of Daniel experiencing The Touch Of The Master’s Hand. It is upon this subject and thought that I want us to direct our attention today. Note with me Daniel 10:10-19:

Suddenly, a hand touched me, which made me tremble on my knees and on the palms of my hands. 11 And he said to me, “O Daniel, man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you.” While he was speaking this word to me, I stood trembling. 12 Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. 13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia. 14 Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come. 15 When he had spoken such words to me, I turned my face toward the ground and became speechless. 16 And suddenly, one having the likeness of the sons[c] of men touched my lips; then I opened my mouth and spoke, saying to him who stood before me, “My lord, because of the vision my sorrows have overwhelmed me, and I have retained no strength. 17 For how can this servant of my lord talk with you, my lord? As for me, no strength remains in me now, nor is any breath left in me.” 18 Then again, the one having the likeness of a man touched me and strengthened me. 19 And he said, “O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!” So when he spoke to me I was strengthened, and said, “Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.”

Wow! What an amazing passage of scripture. There is more here, but I want to stop and look at the touch of the Lord upon Daniel and to understand that God's seek to touch us today. His touch may be different, it may be more internal than external, but He is a personal God who desires to touch our lives with His direction and strength.

So. let's look at the first thing we learn from this incident in the life of Daniel...

I. The Personal Attention of the Lord

That the Lord touches us means that He is near enough to be intimate with us. Look at Isaiah 40:11 where the Scripture states,

“He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.”

Yes, he is close enough to gather His lambs in His arms. That is personal attention.

In the New Testament we see this practice of personal attention in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ. Look, for example, at Matthew 8:3. Jesus is approached by a man with lepros, a disease that was greatly feared and highly contagious. Those who had it were required to declare it aloud and stay away from those without it. But Jesus does the unthinkable - He touches the man with leprosy. Matthew 8:3 reads,

“Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ Immediately he was cured of his leprosy.”

What love and personal attention our Lord showed for that poor man. He has the same love for each of you here today and he pays the same attention to all who trust Him. You need to be aware that the Lord desires to be close to you. The Scripture clearly states that God will draw nigh to you if you will draw nigh to Him (James 4:8).

In the Scripture before us, we see Daniel seeking the Lord. He is dedicated to prayer and seeking the Lord’s face, and this is seen in the fact that he takes time to meet with God. Some of us have very little contact from the Lord because we take so little time to draw near to the Lord.

II. The Permanent Alteration by the Lord

In Genesis, the Hebrew word for touch, 'naga', is used to speak of the experience that Jacob had with the Lord when his thigh was so touched by the Lord so that he never walked the same again. The Lord touched his thigh, and he was never the same (Genesis 32:24-25). We sing,

“He touched me, He touched me,
And O, the joy that floods my soul.
Something happened and now I know,
He touched me and made me whole!”

We might call Jacob’s experience a salvation experience. The Lord comes to us and touches us in the depth of our being and we speak of this in different ways. Sometimes we say that the Lord spoke to us, or that He called to us, or that He touched us - the point is the same - He came to change us from the inside out. Salvation begins with the touch and voice of God in our lives. Two expressions are used in Scripture to explain this.

First, the Bible says, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God”. God has to speak to us to tell us of our lost condition, to tell us of His loving grace, to call us to salvation.

Secondly, Jesus said that no one could come to Him for salvation unless the Father draws Him. That drawing or tugging upon our hearts is God’s way of touching us and pulling us to Him. He reaches down to us and if we respond He lifts us out of our sin and into His salvation. His touch has a transforming, altering effect upon our lives forever! What a mighty touch it is.

III. The Preeminent Authority of the Lord

Also, the touch of the Master’s Hand is an expression of preeminent authority. The idea of God’s hand speaks of His authority.

Tom Boyd tells about a woman who was a member of a church he pastored in Tennessee. She was flamboyant and eccentric but Boyd was impressed with her intense commitment to the faith. She did not have a pietistic bone in her body, but her devotion was nonetheless clear and articulate. "One evening at a dinner party in her home, [she and Boyd] were animatedly discussing some theological idea. In the midst of the give and take her teenage daughter, probably frustrated with all of the high-blown discussion of religion, asked, 'Mother, why do you talk about religion all the time? Why are you so religious?' This query brought a loud hush to the dining table. Her mother paused dramatically, pushed her chair back from the table, stood and responded, 'Every morning before you are awake, I rise and walk into the living room. I lift my arms and ask, "Who's in charge here?" The answer always comes back: "Not you!" That's why I am religious. Because I am not in charge!' "Religious life begins with the realization that we are not in charge, and from there we can proceed to align ourselves to the One who is in charge." [Lectionary Homiletics, Jun 1993. Page 33.]

His hand speaks of His authority. This is important to understand, for His hand may be for us and it may be against us.

IV. The Powerful Assistance of the Lord

His hand speaks of His blessing. Often the Bible speaks of the hand of the Lord being upon His servant as an indicator of God’s blessing on that person. Desperately we need that touch of God upon us today that we may have His power and might assisting us in our time of service and need.

In the Battle of Salamanca the Duke of Wellington commanded one of his generals to advance with his troops and occupy a gap he had observed in the enemy lines. The officer heard the orders, rode up to Wellington on his horse and said, "My lord, I will do as you say, but first let me feel the grasp of your conquering right hand!" It is said, that after feeling the hearty grip of Wellington's hand, he hurried off into the fierce conflict to obey the orders he had been given.

You and I can carry out God's orders if we have His touch upon our lives. His hand assists us in the conflict. He hand comforts us in our hardships. His hand corrects us when we fail. His hand caresses us when we are in tears.  His hand is mighty in battle, but tender when a soul is troubled!

V. The Profound Awesomeness of the Lord

Daniel’s knees buckled in the presence of the Lord. He was overwhelmed with the presence of the Lord. This says something about us. How long has it been since you were melted in His presence? When Isaiah was in the presence of the Lord, he cried out and confessed his sin and the sin of his entire nation. Where is our sense of sin today? Personally? Nationally? Ecclesiastically?

The presence of the Lord will not be known to us unless we are willing to change. Those unwilling to allow the Lord to touch and change them will not know His great presence and power. Look at 2 Corinthians 3:17-18, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” When we behold His glory, He changes us into His image. If we aren’t being changed, it is because we are too unwilling for Him to work His will in us and He withdraws His visible presence and victorious touch.

The touch of Christ is awesome. He is able to do mighty things in us and among us when we seek Him and are willing to yield to His guiding hand. Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:16-20 that we could and should know the present greatness of Christ in our lives. We do not have to live in the events of the Bible, but we do live in the presence of the One who can do the same things today that He did then. He touched Daniel - He can touch you! He is the same yesterday, today and forever!

Conclusion

It is true that we cannot feel the hand of Jesus in the same way that His disciples felt it as He literally reached out and touched them, but we can know His power, love, peace, strength and abiding grace in our everyday lives. He said that He would send His Spirit to be with us - which is His very presence! He touches us today from inside out rather than the outside in.

Every duty, every crisis, and every trial requires a fresh touch from God. The children of Israel came out of Egypt and God supplied them with Manna from on high. They could not store up Manna from one day to the next. If they tried to keep it or save it for another day, it rotted and the odor was horrible. So it is today with us. If we do not have a fresh touch from God upon our lives, we will discover that our work for Him, and our walk with Him, will be offensive to us. The joy of the Lord will depart from us. The power of God in the work will desert us. The ability to do the work of God will not be present with us. We need a fresh touch from God for each day, for each trial, for each task. This requires dying to self and submitting to Him fully in our daily lives.

A touch from the Lord in our day means to have a fresh communication with God each day. Getting close to the Lord is our responsibility. We have all of God’s presence of the Lord that we desire. If you are not experiencing Him personally, it is not His fault! He said that those who seek Him will find Him. We must seek Him daily in our lives. If we do not seek Him, life will push Him aside. When we do know His presence and His touch in our lives, we have power, courage, freedom and peace. When He is really close, we hate sin and loves sinners in the same way Jesus did!

You see, there is a touch from the Lord that is not physical but spiritual. The Lord’s hand is used in a figurative way to speak of His presence and movement upon and in our lives. For example, in 1 Kings 18:46 we read that the hand of the Lord was on Elijah. The word hand in that passage speaks of power. Elijah had God's power in order that he might accomplish God's purposes. We can't live for Him; we have to allow Him to live through us! It is not a matter of me doing more; it is a matter of me allowing Him to do more in and through me.

Be assured of this, the hand of the Lord may be for or against a person, a group or a nation. We see in 1 Samuel 7:13 that the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines. His hand may rest upon a group of people. In Acts 11:21 we read that the Hand of the Lord was with the early Christians and many people believed. The Lord can also place His hand upon a local church. How we need that today in our churches. We need His hand upon our individual hearts, upon our ministries, upon our churches and upon our nation!

In Revelation 1:17 we read about John as He saw the Lord. He was overcome and fell like a dead man. But notice what happened, “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.’” Strength came when the Lord touched John. The same thing happened to Daniel in our text today. This can happen to us today.

We need a people today who are truly seeking the Lord. In your distress, in your need, in your ministry, in your service, in your sin, in your marriage, in your parenting, in your church-life, in your heart, will you seek the Lord for a fresh touch? Now is the appointed time, today is the day!