God’s Plan Unfolds | Charles Auld (The Seven)
The Day of the Lord
28 “And afterward,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your old men will dream dreams,
your young men will see visions.
29 Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
30 I will show wonders in the heavens
and on the earth,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
31 The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
32 And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved;
for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem
there will be deliverance,
as the Lord has said,
even among the survivors
whom the Lord calls.
God’s unfolding plan
Joel 2:28-32 (from Acts 2:14-21)
When Peter spoke to the crowd, telling them about Jesus, he was not launching a new religion. His speech makes clear that Jesus’ life, death and resurrection and the outpouring of the Spirit were a direct continuation of the story of Israel: God’s chosen people.
From the start, God’s intention has been to restore the relationship of love with humankind. The free will God gave us, the only way we could truly love, meant we were able to choose to turn our back on that relationship and go our own way, which is just what we did. But God never gave up on us, and we can see his plan unfold through the books of the Bible, from Genesis chapter 3 when God calls out to Adam, ‘Where are you?’ right through to Revelation chapter 21: ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them.’
So Peter quotes at length from the prophet Joel, who hundreds of years before had predicted the outpouring of the Spirit in the context of God’s people returning to him in true repentance. God promised to restore his people, if they had a genuine change of heart. Peter reminds the crowd of their history and appeals to them to repent, be baptised, know themselves to be forgiven, and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
When we respond to that appeal ourselves, we become part of God’s unfolding plan which will bring about God’s kingdom and a whole newly created heaven and earth. To understand this, we need to read the Bible carefully, from start to finish. The ‘Bible in One Year’ can be a helpful way to do this. And we can also pray big-picture prayers for God’s plan to be fulfilled.