God’s Call To Repentance
By Oswald J. Smith
Men have forgotten God. Sin flourishes on every side. The pulpit fails to grip. Nothing less than an outpouring of the Holy Spirit can meet the situation.
How may we secure such an outpouring of the Spirit? By prayer! True – and the first thing we must do is we must deal with sin. Unless sin is put away we can pray until doomsday, and revival will never come.
"Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear" (Isa. 59:2).
Let us look at Joel. It is a call to repentance. God wants to pour His blessings upon His people, but sin has withheld the blessing.
"Saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth Him of the evil. Who knoweth if He will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind Him?" (Joel 2:12-14).
Sin must be confessed and put away. "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me" (Psa. 66:18). Let God search your heart and reveal the hindrance. I do not know what your sin is. You know and God knows. It may be you will have to forsake some cherished idol. It may be you will have to make restitution. Perhaps you are withholding your tithes from the Lord...It all lies between you and God. You may as well stop your praying and rise from your knees until you have dealt with it.
Let the Priests of the Lord Weep
Now notice Joel 2:15-17. After sin has been confessed and forsaken the prophet calls for a prayer meeting. "Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children... Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare Thy people, O Lord, and give not Thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?"
Christian, are you praying? Do you plead with God for your city? Are you beseeching Him night and day for an outpouring of His Spirit? Now is the hour to pray! If God stirs up hearts to pray for revival, it is a sure sign that He wants to send one. "There shall be showers of blessing" (Ezek. 34:26). His promises never fail.
Now notice Joel 2:18: "THEN!" After they had forsaken their sin and cried unto God in prayer, "Then will the Lord be jealous for His land, and pity His people." The answer is not long in coming once the conditions have been met. "And it shall come to pass afterwards, that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out My Spirit" (vv. 28-29).
God is waiting for us. Are we going to keep Him waiting?