I will pour water on the thirsty land and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring and my blessing on your descendants, so that they will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams. This one will say, “I am the Lord’s”; another will call himself by the name of Jacob. Still another will write on his hand “The Lord’s” and will be called by the name Israel (Isaiah 44:1–5).
What does God have in mind here? Listen: “I will pour water on the thirsty land and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my spirit on your offspring and my blessing on your descendants.”
There you have it. When everything has turned parched and arid so that nothing more can be hoped for and all life seems to have perished, when all things languish and faint away, then heaven will drop refreshing rain and water will come—first in drops and then more and more, until it pours down onto the parched ground.
What is this? God wants to send something down from above? “I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring and my blessing on your descendants.” It is the Spirit of God who is to come down. Israel did not yet have the Spirit but it is promised to come upon Israel’s offspring, his descendants. In other words, “Be patient! You will not experience it, but your descendants will, and then you, too, will benefit from it.”
You see, that is what I, too, am hoping for; it is what all of us must trust in. There is no other way to quench our thirst, to revive what is parched and arid than through God pouring out his Spirit. To be sure, there are many in this day and age who no longer want to believe that. Why? Because it is something out of the ordinary, not fitting into the usual pattern of this world. Yet, like a flood the Spirit will come upon the offspring, the descendants of Israel, hence also on the Christian descendants, on us. Let us confidently expect that.
Indeed, a small part of it was already fulfilled in the time of the apostles. Sadly, since then the endowment with the Spirit has receded into the background, so that it no longer is as it once was. But I ask, does that mean it should not be given afresh? Indeed, if it was then given on a limited scale, must it not now be fulfilled on a large one?
In that first outpouring of the Spirit we had proof that God keeps his word. But now we need a new outpouring. We are dehydrated people; the thirst is almost killing us, and it is terrible how many people go to rack and ruin both inwardly and outwardly. And since we need the Spirit again, God will also give it again. We have the promise: Fear not, Jacob! Your God knows what is needed. He only has to send the great divine gift, the Holy Spirit, who comes from God and gives us a new, divine nature. Then everything will be different.
There will be an immeasurably great change everywhere as soon as God sends forth his Spirit and when new life springs up among people of childlike faith. “This person will say, ‘I am the Lord’s’; another will call himself by the name of Jacob. Still another will write on his hand ‘The Lord’s’ and will be called by the name Israel.” Thus, everywhere children of Israel—children of God—will arise, springing up like grass out of the ground, until a great Israel emerges from the people of the earth. The human race will be so renewed that we cannot but marvel how quickly and extensively the Spirit takes effect among the people.
From all sides they will come running and say, “I, too, want to be the Lord’s. I, too, want to belong to Jacob’s people and be called by the name ‘Israel.’” Nobody will want to be left behind and be excluded from the blessings that flow from God to his people. Oh, what a wonderful time it will be when the people who are now caught up in all kinds of follies and wrongs will be filled with the one thought of how they can find their way into the realm of divine mercies and blessings and be called by the name “Israel” and “Jacob.”
Oh, might it begin soon! And can’t it be possible in our poor, arid time? Oh, may we implore God to let the new time break in, to wait no longer but come make us alive and revive all that seems doomed to death. Let us take heart! May this promise give us fresh courage to wait, in confidence and joy, for the great hour to come! Praised be his name! Amen.