In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.
If we think we can contain God we are wrong. “The wind blows wherever it pleases” (John 3:8), and God acts according to His own will and His own nature and in His own time.
There is a point – a very good point – to adhering to what God has said He will do and what He has revealed in His word. We go too far if we add to His word or to take away from His word and place our own thoughts in the void. We must know the times in which we live and how His words apply in this day and age. The Christian community has been safeguarded by this basic belief in the uniqueness of the Bible, that no words from the mouths or pens of people since the end of New Testament period is on the same level of inspiration.
There is also a danger, however, of trying to put God in a box and tell Him what He will do and what He won’t do, when He has been silent about the matter in His word – even more so when He has spoken of what He will do in hearts and minds, such as the passage above, even if it remains enshrouded in some mystery. The verse plainly declares that we should expect some incredible experiences from God in people’s lives – sons and daughters, young men, and old men represent the various strata of society. They will speak what they could not say on their own, and they will know what they could not know by themselves alone. God works in the hearts and minds, and through the mouths and pens (and keyboards) of people to touch, transform, and use.
There should be a sense of awe about such things, both personally amazed that in His grace God has stooped down into our lives to do such things in us and through us, and the sense of awe should be extended to one another as well. Among the godly people of the Old Testament there was the sense that God could speak through any son or daughter of Israel, so they were able to esteem one another beyond the bounds of normal society. And so should it be among Christians, that we recognize that God may use any Christian, from any strata of society, from any age whether young or old, from either gender, to know and share His message.
We should never doubt the greatness of the work of God in the lives of any of His children. A mere child, a son or a daughter, comes to church and sits quietly on a pew during worship, or attends a Vacation Bible School or a church camp, and we may dismiss them because they are so young. But God’s Spirit will be at His work in such young lives, placing His dreams and visions for the future in their minds – the significance of which we can hardly begin to describe ourselves! Imagine! The power of Almighty God poured into the heart of a mere child!
We may see an old man or an old woman, limping along with the best years of their lives seemingly far behind them, their minds’ keen edges a bit worn down due to age, but we should never discount the power of the Spirit of God, of what He may do in their lives. Though the mind may be darkened a bit, the spirit is still alive and in fact even more so as they look forward to their translation from earth to heaven. Just because someone seems insignificant to others does not mean he is insignificant to God – not to our God who “raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap” (Psalm 113:7).
And neither should we discount a single day, nor imagine that God cannot do something incredible in our hearts and lives on the most otherwise mundane day of the year. At anytime God may break in upon us to move us spiritually, to touch us deeply, to heal the hurt we have carried for so long, to lift the burden of worry, to give hope for the future, to let us know deeply within our hearts that we shall never be separated from His love.
There will always be some who come along in each generation who try and deceive us, who say they speak for God when they only speak for themselves, who claim they have visions and dreams from heaven when in reality they just came from Sam in Sacramento, or Joe Bob in Tuscaloosa. Jesus warned us of a multitude of false christs and false prophets that will arise through the centuries (Matt. 24:24).
But the words of the prophet proclaim that during this age and until Christ returns the people of God live with this great mystery and power of the Spirit active in our hearts and minds. He still blows like the wind across our hearts!
What will God say to you today in your heart of hearts? What is He saying to you right now? And how will God use your words, shared in humility, peace, and love, to touch another person? Only He knows.