Joel prophesies the inauguration of the age of the church – a time when all people everywhere can call on the name of the Lord, be saved from their sins, and become participants in the Kingdom of God. Through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the church becomes the body of Christ in the world. The redemptive purposes of God are therefore extended and made available through every Spirit-filled believer.
This is a time in which we now live.
Ours is the wonderful privilege of not only experiencing salvation ourselves, but also of being those who bring the Goods News to all who will listen. What Joel was seeing in the ravaging of Judah is what we are seeing today as the church is being ravaged by the world. But we, the church have a prophetic voice, to bring God’s viewpoint into clear focus, calling for a time of repentance, a calling to a sacred assembly and to consecrate a fast.
We read in (Joel 2:15-16) “Blow the trumpet in Zion, consecrate a fast, call a sacred assembly; 16 Gather the people, Sanctify the congregation, Assemble the elders, Gather the children and nursing babes; Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, And the bride from her dressing room.”
This is a time of prayer and fasting where we should earnestly seek the face of the Lord anddeclare the message of hope and redemption before the final and terrible Day of the Lord. The message of Joel is concise and clear; if we think the plague is bad, wait until we see the final days of judgment of the Lord. This is not a doomsday prediction, rather an announcement of the day of God’s grace being poured out.
During times of crisis, the Holy Spirit stirs our hearts to gather to pray as in a solemn assembly for a special time of fasting. When a devastating plague of locusts brought drought and famine to Israel, the prophet Joel called the people to a solemn assembly: “Declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly. Summon the elders and all who live in the land to the house of the LORD your God, and cry out to the LORD” (Joel 1:14 cf 2:15).
The Scriptures in Joel speak by using agronomic symbolism, depicting God’s glorious purpose for humanity (Matthew 13).
What I perceive God saying is, this is a time of stretching, a time of growing and maturing of His people — His people, who are called by His name, that are hungry and thirsty for more of His presence. As we plant the seed of His Word the Holy Spirit will water the seeds, and God will give the increase. (See 1 Cor. 3:6-8). We, the people of God, are like farmers moving through a season of growth and this process requires rain to grow. This rain is from the Holy Spirit and as the rain is poured out this culminates into a harvest of prepared souls.
In this process of crop growth there are a number of specific stages and seasons in the producing of a fruitful and final harvest. The preparing of the soil, the planting, and the development of the seed for the early rains, the maturating period, and finally the ripening period brought on by the last rains of the season, called “the latter rain.” In the Bible the “latter rain” is a symbol of the final outpouring of the Holy Spirit, by which the corporate church will experience a maturing and fruitfulness for the harvest (Joel 2:23-29).
Rain is symbolic of the motivation for the blessing from the Lord and the vehicle, by which, the nutrients in the soil are drawn up through the root system. In the realm of Spirit, the Holy Spirit is this activity of the outpouring of rain. The Holy Spirit will come to us as the strength and power; the Greek word for ‘power’ here is ‘dunamis’ refers to: “strength, power, or ability.”
Our Deliverance (2:18-3:21)
God is faithful to His promises (2:25-27), and in the context of this call to personal and national repentance the prophet lifts his spiritual sight and sees with his prophetic lens another day and a greater promise for God’s people. Again, Joel sees beyond the local repentance and revival of the nation to a future day when the nation will receive supernatural blessings (2:28-3:5). Joel declares in the days still to come that the Holy Spirit will be poured out “on all flesh,” and not just a few individuals for specific assignments. Joel declares that God will pour out His Spirit in an abundant measure, an overflowing supply. It is an ever-renewed outpouring on this generation.
What can we expect from a solemn assembly?
“A time and purpose for calling Christ’s people to return to God, in repentance and with humility in our service, towards a renewed commitment to Christ and the Great Commission.”
3 July 2021