“I will give water to the thirsty land and make streams flow on the dry ground. I will pour out my spirit on your children and my blessing on your descendants”.
Isa 44:3 GNB
It is always difficult to discern what the remedy is in a complex situation. A panel of experts discussing the problem of unemployment would each come up with a different solution. One would say, “Better education”. Another would suggest, “The government must stimulate the economy”. Another would offer, “You have to start with small business”.
No doubt the Israelites in Babylon thought of a number of needs that they thought would solve their problem. Many would say, “Get us back to Jerusalem”. Others were saying, “Let’s settle here and make the best of it”. Probably others were all for starting a rebellion. Isaiah knew better. What they all needed was God. Their problem had begun by disobeying him and therefore cutting themselves off from him. Now they needed to repent and know God’s mercy and grace. But looking to the future, they would get nowhere unless God came into them. So he foresaw, in hope, God pouring his spirit into the people just as he would pour rain onto a dry land. And they were thirsty for God above all things. With his spirit within they would become holy. They would be filled with hope. They would be possessed by courage. They would become creative and pro-active.
Today the Christian community again needs an outpouring of the Holy Spirit as it knew in the evangelical revival of the eighteenth century and the charismatic renewal in the late twentieth century. It doesn’t need better systems or more bureaucrats. Just more of God!
Lord, pour out your spirit on your church and make it live.