If there is one thing that’s different between the Old and New Testament times, it is the work of the Holy Spirit. Back in the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit would come upon a person occasionally to do a certain work. More times than not, it was only a temporary thing. And as quickly as he could come, he could leave just as quickly. You see this in the cases of Samson (Judges 14:1, 16:20) and Saul (I Samuel 11:6, 16:14) for example. After David had sinned with Bathsheba, he pleaded with God, “Do not…take your Holy Spirit from me.” (Psalm 51:11)
But here in Joel, God makes a promise. The day would come when the Holy Spirit would come not only on certain people, but rather that he would pour out his Spirit out on all of his people. That both men and women, young and old would be filled with his Spirit. And that this would be a sign of the last days. Believe it or not, we’ve been in the last days for the last 2000 years.
Why does God fill us with his Spirit? To do his work. What is his work? To preach the gospel before the day of judgment comes. Time and again, the prophets warn of the day of the Lord. Actually, there are many “days of the Lord.” Any time God moves in judgment, it can be referred to as the day of the Lord. But all of this will ultimately culminate in the great and dreadful day of the Lord (31). A day when all mankind will be brought before the throne of God and judged. And only those who have called on the name of the Lord will be saved (32).
As we all know, part of this prophesy was fulfilled in the book of Acts chapter 2 when the Holy Spirit came upon the believers at Pentecost, and Peter quotes this passage in Joel to explain what was happening to all the people wondering what was going on.
But one thing that Jesus made clear was that the reason he was sending his Holy Spirit was that they should receive power. Power to do what? Power to be his witnesses, and to take the gospel into all the world. (Acts 1:8)
God hasn’t given his Spirit to us in order for us to brag about the spiritual gifts we have. He hasn’t given us his Spirit for us to look down upon each other for what gifts we have or don’t have. He has given us his Spirit that we might take his gospel to a dying world before the day of judgment comes. Because when that day comes, their fate is already sealed.
God has given you his Spirit that you might make a difference in this world. The question is, are you? Or are we focused on ourselves and what we can get from God instead?
May our lives be filled with his Spirit, touching the lives of the people around us that they may come to know him before the day of judgment comes.