Like the other Hebrew prophets we have studied in the last few days, Joel prophesied blessing ahead for Israel if the nation would repent and turn to God. He promised that after their punishment, God would repay them for the years “the locusts had eaten” (Joel 2:25). Israel would flourish again under God’s protection. We saw a little of how this worked out yesterday in the study. But Joel goes on to describe an even more powerful time of revival that would lie still further ahead. This revival would impact the whole world. He calls it “the Day of the Lord.”
SCRIPTURE: JOEL 2:28-32
And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.
Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke.
The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.
And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved;
for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the Lord has said,
even among the survivors whom the Lord calls.
It is easy for us to identify the day that Joel was speaking about. Not because we are particularly brilliant biblical scholars, but because the apostle Peter, preaching on the Day of Pentecost, quoted this exact Scripture (Acts 2:17-21) to describe what was happening. Joel here was predicting the pouring out of God’s Spirit on believers and the impact it would have.
A strong emphasis of Joel’s prophecy is that everyone will be included in this revival. God’s Spirit would be for all peoples. God’s Spirit was often at work in the Old Testament, but not in or through ordinary people. It was the spiritual leaders who were empowered by the Spirit. In this revival it would be different. The Spirit would be poured out on everyone. It’s “all people.” It’s “men and women.” It’s “old and young”. It’s even the slaves (“servants”). Everyone can hear God’s voice through his Spirit within. Everyone can speak God’s words.
And there will be signs and wonders. Joel pictures them in figurative terms – fire, smoke, black sun, red moon. At Pentecost, Peter applied these pictures to the miracle of his bushie friends full of the Spirit speaking the gospel in tongues (in perfect Ethiopian and Egyptian, etc.). Joel’s signs of this Day are meant to show that things will occur that will defy nature. God, in his power, will override his natural laws and do powerful miracles that will be seen by everyone.
In this Scripture we see some of the marks of community revival. God’s Spirit fills the lives of believers and they are empowered. Ordinary people become miracle workers. Regular Christians hear God and speak boldly on his behalf. Revival is not something for the spiritual elite. It is not for the particularly holy. It is for us all. Everyone. And many are saved as they call on God. The power and love of God are seen through the lives of common people and the wonders God does through them. And many are drawn to the freedom and deliverance of Jesus.
This is getting exciting Lord. Thanks that you have given me your Spirit to live in me and empower me. Fill me with your Spirit. May I hear your voice. May I speak your truth with boldness. Fill me with dreams of what you can do. Please work in your power through me.
PRAYER FOR REVIVAL
Lord you worked to bring revival to the early church and you have revived your church many times since. Please do it again. Fill us with your Spirit. Take ordinary Christians and turn them into powerful witnesses. Work through signs and wonders to help unbelievers see that you are sovereign God and that you care for them. May many call on you and be saved.