“The field is wasted, the land mourneth; for the corn is wasted: Thew new wine is dried up, the oil languisheth. Be ye ashamed, O ye husbandmen; howl, O ye vine dressers, for the wheat and for the barley; because the harvest of the field is perished. The vine is dried up, the fig tree languisheth; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree, even all the trees of the field, are withered: because joy is withered away from the sons of men.”
Joel is a very interesting book, when we read his prophecy we immediately get the understanding that Joel is very connected with our generation. After all it was Joel who prophesied the last days church when he looked into the future with spiritual eyes and said, “and it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh.” Joel is seeing with perfect clarity the end time generational church. Joel begins his prophecy in a very intriguing way. he paints the picture of a generation in which the field, or the people of the world, is looking for hope, searching for peace and longing for a change; yet when they come into “our” fields they find no corn, no wine, and no oil.
Now what strikes me at first glance is the condition of the tress that reside in the vineyard. All the trees of this field are withered, unproductive and fruitless, because the Bible tells us that joy had withered from the hearts of the sons of men. This assures me that the fruitlessness of our generation is not the result of poor teaching or poor leadership; although admittedly that may be a small factor. The fruitlessness of our time is the direct result of a joyless generation. It is to be understood that fruit and joy always walk hand in hand. There is no possible way to exhibit the fruit of the spirit without possessing first the joy of the Lord. Because without joy, the fruit cannot survive.
Unfortunately today our world has become a vacuum of self indulgent and self entitled people; people who spend all of their energy and all of their resources seeking some form or fashion of joy. They dedicate their lives, their money, their energy and all their hopes in finding that golden ticket to joy and happiness. The result? A world of unbridled searching for pleasure and self-fulfillment; and anything goes in this pursuit of happiness. As made evident by the various avenues of self expression in our world people truly have no idea what makes them happy. So through their searching for that joy and happiness we see a trail of heartache and devastation. Pain and poor choices have now left a trail of broken dreams and disappointment, and without question if you were to dig through the wreckage in search of what went wrong, you would come to the understanding that all of your efforts and all of your searching were in vain…
You see joy, that is true joy, cannot come from material possessions; true joy can’t be found in relationships or people; true joy can’t be found in the right career or business move; in fact, joy can’t be purchased at all: joy can only be found in one place as the Psalmist so eloquently puts it…
Psalm 16:11 “…In thy presence is the fullness of joy!”
Truth can be kind of shocking can’t it? Especially once we realize that everything we’ve been pursuing doesn’t possess that magical formula we hoped to find, or the key to a life overflowing with joy. I understand our careers are vital to happiness, our family is to be valued, time spent with our spouses and our children are to be treasured; but we cannot afford to mistakenly think that these things which can be taken from us tomorrow are the foundation of our joy. And sadly, the driving force in most lives today are these temporary “moments” of happiness that simply will not endure beyond the moment. What we need flowing in our lives is not happiness, what I’m talking about isn’t some emotion that can be altered by the events of your day; I’m talking about a joy that can sustain in the face of destruction and will allow you to face any challenge, conquer any foe and defeat any enemy! A joy, I believe, if ever allowed to flow in our lives and in our churches that will produce a “true apostolic revival”!
Psalm 30:5 “weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning”
How often have we quoted this passage when surrounded by the difficulties of life, as some far out attempt to comfort our fears and uncertainties?
But look at Psalm 126:5, “They that sow in tears, shall reap in joy”
Could it be that what the Psalmist spoke of in Psalm 30:5 means more than just holding on through the difficulties of night? Could it be that the avenue for joy might be found through weeping and through tears? Not tears for the bad things in life, but tears of sorrow, a Godly sorrow, that is rooted from a deep, burning desire to be changed! I am of the opinion, that if we ever spent the night paving a trail of tears; not because of how bad we have it, not because of bad things happening, but simply because we desired to be like him: I believe this passionate pursuit for change will give birth to a joy that is unspeakable and full of glory!
If we truly want to experience genuine joy, then we must be willing to pick up that old cross, deny ourselves, learn to live not after our wants, but after His will; and patterning our lives after the one who first said “not my will, but thine be done”! And on the other side of this conversion is a joy that will produce a true apostolic revival in our homes and in our churches….
Continue on part 2…