Joel talks about the future restoration of a repentant people. In Joel 2:28, There will come a day, God says, when “I will pour out my spirit on all people.” The “pouring out” is a fascinating concept. Samuel anointed David as the King of Israel by “pouring” oil over his head. At that moment, David is filled with God’s spirit for the task of leadership. At that same time, the Spirit leaves Saul. Without the Spirit, Saul becomes despondent and depressed and has fits of rage and irrational behavior. David, the one with the Spirit, comes to play music to soothe his ravaged psyche. It’s almost as if there is not enough of the Spirit to go around. But Joel tells us that one day, there will be enough for everyone. The passage goes on to say, “I will pour out my Spirit on all people.  Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.” As an old man, I can verify that we dream dreams, as Joel says. I’ve never had as many dreams as I have in the past year or so. They have not all been good, so I believe that Joel means something different than the kind of dreams I have.

Peter explains that the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost is the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy. All Christians, upon coming to faith in Jesus, receive the Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit is now freely given to all believers. There is enough for us all. Paul tells Titus that God “saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior.” (Titus 3:5-6) Lang suggests, “The significance of Joel’s prophecy is that in the Old Testament, the Spirit empowered only a select few people—prophets, military deliverers, and kings. The early Christians saw the Spirit empowering all who put their faith in Christ, fulfilling Joel’s prophecy.”[1]

It is the refreshing rain that the crops need to produce fruit. Isaiah puts it this way, “For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.”  With the pouring out of God’s Spirit, the ground is refreshed, and it produces fruit. With Christ as our Savior, God pours out his Spirit on us also. The refreshment of the Spirit brings forth fruit in our lives. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.

[1] Lang, J. Stephen. 1999. 1,001 Things You Always Wanted to Know about the Holy Spirit. Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.