Posts Tagged Joel 2: 28

Living Water

John 7: 37 – 39

Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

This verse is enlightening, and I believe it brings a certain amount of joy as well. It celebrates both Jesus and the Holy Spirit. What word jumps out at you from the passage? I am intrigued by the word “cried.”

As I read the gospels I perceive Jesus as very cool under fire. When put on the spot, he once simply knelt down and began to doodle in the dirt. This is not the person I think of “crying out.” It is no great leap to conjecture that this message was of keen importance to Jesus. Can you picture this scene? Apparently, everyone was seated because Jesus stood. They were feasting. Who was there? How many people do you reckon were gathered? In the midst of the feast Jesus stood up and cried out with a loud voice. Wow! That must have been a sight. One can certainly suppose that the message was vital for Jesus to interrupt the feast and to make such a spectacle of himself.

Interestingly enough, the message was not about salvation. It wasn’t even about sin. Why didn’t he jump up and say, “Come all you sinners. I will save your soul from eternity in hell.” That is what most of us would expect but only because we don’t know Jesus well enough. Jesus took care of the sin problem. He conquered hell. His real message is displayed in this cry. “Come to me all you who are thirsty. I will satisfy your thirst.”

How did Jesus plan to satisfy the deep and enduring thirsty within us? He already knew about the Father’s plan to send the Holy Spirit into the earth. God made the promise back in Joel 2: 28. Then John the Baptist revealed that Jesus would baptize us in the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3: 11). Now, here, in the early chapters of John we discover that those who believe in Jesus were to receive the Spirit. Right before Jesus’ exit from planet earth he gathered his followers and advised them. He was passing the torch to all who would follow him. He told them not to leave Jerusalem “but to wait for what the Father had promised . . . for John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit,” (Acts 1: 4 – 5). Then Jesus was taken up in a cloud of glory. He was glorified in the earth and in heaven as his disciples watched.

So, Jesus’ essential message was come, receive the filling of the Holy Spirit so that you will never again thirst. The living water of the Holy Spirit is a river flowing in the spirit of those who ask and receive. The invitation was simple, “Come,” Jesus said. Anyone who is thirsty is invited to the well. As Jesus said to the Samaritan woman at the well, he says also to you, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water,” (John 4: 10). Receive the living water. Be filled and satisfied.

Wax Seals

Ephesians 1: 13

In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation – having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the holy Spirit of promise.

I know that was a lot of text to take in so we will focus on parts of it. The first thing I want you to see is the companion word to the Holy Spirit. Paul calls him the Spirit of promise. If you look up all the references to the Holy Spirit in the Bible you will find that he is often linked with the word promise and this is not the only place he is called the Spirit of promise.

Way back in the Old testament times, God promised the Holy Spirit (see Joel 2: 28). He wasn’t the only one to promise us the gift of the Holy Spirit. In John 16: 7 Jesus said that it was to our advantage that he leave because in leaving he could and would send to us the Holy Spirit. So, the Holy Spirit has been promised you by both the Father and the Son. Now, some people say that receiving the Holy Spirit is automatic. Maybe, but I have noticed that the gifts of the Father are not usually automatic. We have to reach out and receive them. Receiving anything from the Father is an intentional act.

Regardless of your position on that argument the end is the same. If you have any doubt as to whether you have received the promise of the Holy Spirit, all you have to do is ask the Father and reach out, by faith, or in faith, and receive. God is not withholding the Spirit from you. In the same message to the disciples Jesus said, “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it “(John 14: 14). So the promise is for you and receiving the promises of God are as easy and reaching out to Jesus, believing he will give what you ask.

I also want you to see from this passage that you are “sealed” in someone. Who is that someone? It is Jesus. You are sealed in Jesus and the Holy Spirit is the sealant. Often, when I hear about seals I think of the old timey wax seals people used for letters and documents. Imagine, if you will, an envelope. On the back of the envelope there is a seal of red wax and in the center is the insignia of the one who sealed the envelope. The envelope is Jesus. The seal bears the initials “HS” and the content of the envelope, well, that is you. You are sealed in Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. Nothing can break that seal. That is powerful imagery to me. We are completely enveloped in the loving, protective embrace of Jesus with the Holy Spirit making an impenetrable barrier from the world outside.

Paul’s writing can be convoluted and sometimes a bit difficult. Afterall, he was trained as a lawyer. However, I also believe he chose his words selectively, but not only that. He wrote under the unction of the Holy Spirit so when he wrote that we were sealed in Jesus by the Holy Spirit of promise, I think he used those specific words in order to reveal important elements of our life IN Christ. Sometimes you have to meditate on Paul’s writings for the meanings to become apparent but it is so worth it.

New Covenant

Hebrews 8: 10

“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their minds, and I will write them on their hearts. and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

First things first, recognize that because of Jesus, you are now the house of Israel, so God is talking about you. There are many other passages, in both the Old and the New Testament, which speak to this new contract. In fact, one can see God’s plan unfold through the whole Bible. I could easily spend an entire week on just this aspect of God’s master plan but I will restrain myself. Just know that He has been putting the pieces in place for thousands of years.

The key here, as I see it, is that God is moving into our hearts. We are stepping into a relationship with God. I really like how this same thought is articulated in the book of Revelations, “Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children (Revelation 21: 7). God’s plan from the beginning and now was to raise a family. It ultimate goal is to have us in intimate, close relationship with Him. In the Old Testament, God was with the Israelites. He led them through the desert in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. He had an improvement plan on the drawing board though. In Joel 2: 28 He said, “I will pour out my Spirit upon all of you!” This was the foretelling of the New Covenant and the new way people would walk with God. No more is God in the cloud. With this pouring out, He has come to live in us. “Don’t you know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” (1 Corinthians 3: 16).

God’s word is alive in us. He has come to earth and made a home in our hearts and spirits. No longer do we need to look outward to clouds or to an ark to behold our God. God has come to make His abode with us. We are the new Ark of the Covenant. Jesus has made all of this possible and we should seek God in our hearts and get to know Him as an intimate. He is our God and we are His people but as He has said, we are His children. The New Covenant is the indwelling presence of Almighty God and the intertwining of His spirit and yours. Get wrapped up in Him today.

Seek and Find

Ezekiel 39: 29

“And I will not hide My face from them any longer, for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,” declares the Lord.

Wow! You have God’s promise that He will show you His face. Isn’t that what He says? As you think on this verse, don’t get hung up on the language “the house of Israel” because we have seen in Joel 2: 28 that God said he was going to pour out His Spirit on all mankind. Besides, if you want to know the whole truth, you have been adopted into the family of Abraham so this definitely applies to you.

I really love how God had this all planned and how He was anticipating the pouring out of His Spirit. I can almost sense His eager anticipation. The sending of the Holy Spirit really was a huge deal. I often think that the modern church does not understand what a major event this really was. I have said it before – I believe we are living in the age of the Holy Spirit. The Old Testament was mostly about Yahweh, God the Father. It looked forward to the coming of the Messiah and foretold that happy event. The New Testament is mostly about Jesus and the effect of His coming. Jesus foretells of the coming of another. He is looking forward and telling us of the new age to come. In fact he said, “It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper shall not come to you but if I go, I will send Him to you (John 16: 7). I can well imagine myself disagreeing with Jesus if he told me it was to my advantage that he go away. None the less, Jesus understood these things and knew the huge effect sending the Holy Spirit into the world would and could have.

This, then, is the age of the Holy Spirit. There is so little we know about him, so much we can learn. We don’t teach, preach or talk about him nearly as much as we should and there is such huge revelation just awaiting those who will seek it. God said He wouldn’t have to hide His face from us anymore because of the poured out Spirit. How huge is that? It is bigger than I can teach because I certainly have not grasped the enormity of God’s statement and the truths behind it.

I want to encourage you to seek the Spirit of God. He is the third person of the trinity so he is God. You can pray to him, you should talk to him. Invite him to fill your home and your body. Invite him to permeate your workplace. Let’s all invite him to be with us and to teach us. There is a great awakening, a mammoth revelation just waiting for us. Seek and find.

The Promise

Numbers 11: 16 – 17

The Lord therefore said to Moses, “Gather for Me seventy men from the elders of Israel, who you know to be the elders of the people and their officers and bring them to the tent of meeting, and let them take their stand there with you. Then I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take of the Spirit who is upon you , and will put Him upon them.

This “Spirit” spoken of is the Holy Spirit of God. God reveals to us in this passage that His spirit was “on” Moses. That is a powerful revelation for anyone who has ears to hear. 

Moses did gather the seventy elders and God did put His Holy Spirit on them too so that they could help shoulder the burden of caring for the Israelites. When God put His Spirit on them, the Bible tells us that they began to prophesy (v. 25). That is the power of the Holy Spirit.

This is the same spirit which was spoken of in Acts 2. God promised in Joel 2: 28 that He would pour out His Spirit on all mankind. This outpouring was a monumental occurrence, the fulfillment of a long awaited promise. In fact, if you study all the verses which speak about the Holy Spirit you will see numerous references to the promise of his coming. Then in Acts 2 we get to witness the outpouring of the Spirit. 

In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit came “upon” people as was the case with Moses and the seventy elders. This resting of the Holy Spirit upon people gave them tremendous ability and power. Jesus told the disciples that when he left he was going to send the Holy Spirit (John 16: 7). He also told them that the Holy Spirit was coming to live IN them (John 14: 17). 

This is a new dispensation, if you will. We are talking about the same Holy Spirit which brooded over the waters in Genesis 1: 2. However, a new thing was happening. Jesus was sending the Holy Spirit into the world to stay. Not only that, but importantly, the Holy Spirit was sent to us individually rather than collectively. That is an important distinction. The Holy Spirit was with the nation of Israel as they sojourned to Canaan but He did not live “in” them. Jesus has now sent the Holy Spirit to each of us, to live in us and to be our constant companion. He said the Holy Spirit would be to each of us a go along, a teacher, a guide and a helper (John 16: 7, 13, John 14: 26).

Certainly there is an aspect of our own responsibility. We must each receive the Holy Spirit personally. He is not going to set up house within you without your permission. However, when you invite Him in, the power, authority and ability that was with Moses comes and takes up abode IN you. You become the vessel, the carrier of the power of God. This power and authority does not just rest on you and then remove Himself, He is with you and in you all the time. That is a much better arrangement than the Old Testament saints had.

I invite you to meditate on today’s verse and ponder the role of the Holy Spirit in today’s world but most importantly, in your own life. I pray that the Spirit who was upon Moses will come rest in you and with you today.

Extraordinary Spirit

Daniel 6: 3

Then this Daniel began distinguishing himself among the commissioners and satraps because he possessed an extraordinary sprit, and the king planned to appoint him over the entire kingdom.

Doesn’t this sound a bit familiar? I am reminded of the story of Joseph. Both Daniel and Joseph rose from slavery in a foreign country to become leaders in those foreign lands. It is one thing to become great among your own people in your own land but it truly is something extraordinary to rise to the very top level of influence in a country not your own. How much more impressive is it that these men were taken from their country against their will and yet rose to the very pinnacle of success. What made them so special? What made this possible? This verse answers that question. They were possessed of an extraordinary spirit.

God promised humanity that He would pour out His Spirit on all mankind (Joel 2: 28). But that pouring out did not occur until after Daniel’s and Joseph’s life. In fact, the promised out pouring came after Jesus arose from the dead (See Acts 2). We are blessed to be living in the Age of the Holy Spirit. That causes me to consider these men’s lives and great success in a different light. The scripture says that Daniel succeeded because he was possessed of an extraordinary spirit. What then could be said of those who live today? God has now chosen us as the Holy Temple rather than a building in Jerusalem. He has come and made His abode with us, at least for those who love him and keep his word (John 14: 23). So, truly, we are possessed of an extraordinary spirit. Yes? Jesus, speaking of the Holy Spirit said, “… that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you” (John 14: 17). We have the most excellent Spirit living within us and this Holy Spirit, this Spirit of Truth is the power of God. He is the creative force of the Father which was brooding over the nothingness and at a word from God created the earth and every plant and animal in it (Genesis 1). There is therefore now nothing which is impossible for us. If Daniel and Joseph could rule foreign nations, rise to the very top of management of a whole nation, each of which was the most affluent and prosperous of their time, when they did not have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, then what can we do? What can we not do? This is huge!  

We have to learn how to allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives. You can communicate with Him and I believe you should. He is God, you know. I have discovered that He will speak back to you. He will answer you. He will lead you and guide you. This should be “Mission 2015” to get to know the Holy Spirit personally. There are enormous revelations awaiting us. Let us come to know this extraordinary spirit which lives within us. Let us develop communion and a relationship with Him. Become Daniel in your town.