Samuel Chadwick (1860-1932) from northern England wrote, “The world will never believe in a religion in which there is no power.” We must be very careful that what we preach does not merely appease the rational mind, the social concerns, or attempts to be morally OK. If there is no awakening, no conviction of the Holy Spirit, our converts will simply join a powerless organization.
The prophet Joel was given a very unusual message, but it was appropriate for the place and times God placed him in. We often associate Joel with the Lord’s prophecy “that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh” (2:26). But before this prophecy, He declares the real condition of the people; “Awake, you drunkards, and weep, and wail…Lament like a virgin wearing sackcloth…Be ashamed, O tillers of the soil; wail, O vinedressers…Put on sackcloth and lament, O priests…Consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly. Gather the elders…and cry out to the Lord” (1:5, 8, 11, 13-14).
How critical was this period in Israel’s history? “Blow a trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming; it is near” (2:1). This alarm is repeated in 2:15-16. In the face of these extreme warning, God gives the promise “that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh” (2:26). This promise is of God acting on His own to ignite a transformation of the heart “so you shall know that I am the Lord your God… and a fountain shall come forth from the house of the Lord” (3:17-18).
I doubt that I or anyone else understands how critical our day is. Yet, I am convinced that I need an awakening from the Lord, a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit on my life. Every day the burden of this gets heavier. What God will do and when He will do it, I do not know, but it is very urgent! Will you join me in asking the Holy Spirit to prepare our hearts for His powerful awakening?
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