Day 17

The Pouring Out of God’s Spirit

from the reading plan

Isaiah 32:14-18, Isaiah 44:3-4, Ezekiel 39:29, Joel 2:28-32, Acts 2:1-47

In high school, a late summer in the Piedmont of North Carolina meant the convergence of two opposite realities for me: a humid heat that seemingly made every fiber of the universe stick to my sweaty skin, and the torture of three-a-day football practices. The pre-season physical conditioning was enough to double a man over, but the heat that came with it made the practices unbearable. That is, until about three o’clock in the afternoon. Mysteriously (at least in my experience), each afternoon brought a rumbling thunder from the west, accompanied by the coolest, most refreshing downpour of rain that ended up curtailing the humidity, heat, and weariness of our lengthy practices. With the first echo of thunder, you’d see a group of thirty or so football players in full gear run out into the middle of the field to be embraced by the drenching water that would soon fall.

I imagine the writers of the scriptures envisioned the sending of the Holy Spirit similarly. The land was dry (Isaiah 44:3); the people were parched and barren. But something more powerful than even they could have imagined ultimately occurs when the Spirit of God is sent among His people. Refreshment comes and blessing abounds. Justice, righteousness, security, and peace flourish. A powerful refreshment of Spirit-given life is bestowed upon the entire world.

When we consider our lives today and the nature of the world around us, we long for the refreshment of the Spirit of God upon us. The good life that we desire is not some pipe dream that elusively sits outside of our grasp. Nor is it a purchased and earned experience that is the result of our abundant faith, our good intentions, or even our best deeds.

No, the refreshment and life-giving sending of the Holy Spirit is the grace of God turning His face upon us (Ezekiel 39:29). The sending of the Holy Spirit to indwell every follower of Jesus is God’s turning His face of love toward His people. God brings His refreshment, blessing, and peace upon us through the Holy Spirit.
You might wonder how and when you can get the refreshment of the Holy Spirit. When might this “downpour” come upon our lives? Scripture tells us that following the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, the promises of God were fulfilled in the sending of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). What the prophets had envisioned and longed for—the refreshment of God that waters dry and weary hearts—occurred that day as Peter preached Jesus as Lord.

You haven’t missed out on the refreshing downpour of the Spirit of God in your life. Joel’s prophecy is for “all humanity,” and as Peter proclaimed in Acts 2, “The promise is for you and for your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:39). Like my football buddies standing in the middle of the rain, today we can enjoy the pouring out of the Spirit of God upon us by faith in Jesus Christ.

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