TO CHEW ON: "And it shall come to pass afterward
That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your old men shall dream dreams
Your young men shall see visions
And also on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days." Joel 2:28-29
"And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing, mighty wind and it filled the whole house where they were sitting," writes Luke in Acts 2."Then there appeared to them divided tongues as of fire and one sat upon each of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance" Acts 2:2-4.
Confusion, amazement, perplexity, marvelling, cynicism. These were some of the reactions of the onlooking crowd when they saw that first general outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. Peter, though, knew exactly what was happening. He explained: "This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel." And then he quoted the prophecy in our focus verse today (Acts 2:17-21).
Joel's prophecy takes an abrupt positive turn in Joel 2:18. After repentance "THEN..." God pities, returns the land to productivity, changes the nation's reputation, "restores the years that the locust has eaten" and promises to "afterward" pour out His spirit in a lavish way.
In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit came on only certain individuals to enable them to do the job God had for them to do. But Joel speaks of a new time when God says, "I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh..."
My Bible's footnotes on Joel point us to some of the significances of this event:
"Pour out" signifies great abundance, like deluges of rain on a parched land.
"All flesh" means every human category: gender, age, class. "Whatever Spirit-anointed ministry is available to sons is equally available to daughters" - Jerry Cook, notes on Joel, New Spirit Filled Life Bible, p. 1166.
"Menservants and maidservants" are slaves. "This was absolutely unprecedented. In the Old Testament there is not even one instance of a slave functioning as a prophet" New Spirit Filled Life Bible, p. 1166.
This lavish Holy Spirit outpouring wasn't a one-time Pentecost event. Peter tells his listeners, "For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call" Acts 2:39.
"I will restore to you the years that the locust has eaten," prophesies Joel. "I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh...whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved..." What welcome words to the beleaguered Hebrews in Joel's time.
And they still have relevance to us today. Whether our locust years are a time of actual physical desolation or prodigal wandering, God can restore those stolen years and then make every day fresh and abundant with the Holy Spirit's presence.
PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to live in the extravagance of Your Spirit's fullness. Amen.
MORE: "Holy Visitation" by Charlie Hall, sung by Rita Springer
Charlie Hall has put the words of Joel 2 to music in the powerful song "Holy Visitation." Sung here by Rita Springer, it invokes the Spirit's coming... "Pour it out, pour it out, pour it out / Over Your sons and Your daughters..."
Do your 8-12-year-olds have daily devotions? Point them to Bible Drive-Thru.