Joel 1:13: Put on sackcloth and lament, O priests; wail, O ministers of the altar. Go in, pass the night in sackcloth, O ministers of my God! Because grain offering and drink offering are withheld from the house of your God.
The grain is the raw material for making bread, what you get fed with which is a symbol used in the bible for the word of God (Matthew 4:4, 16:12), while drink (made from grapevine) is a symbol for the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18, Acts 2:12-17).
In bible-speak, the Word and the Spirit, walk/work together.
Jesus Christ says, “The words that I speak to you are Spirit and life (John 6:63)”. When they tell you read your bible and pray everyday, it is because in prayer you fellowship with the Spirit of the Word (the Word is Jesus) (1Corinthians 12:8) and in scriptures through reading or studying, you fellowship with the Word of the Spirit.
The scriptures, we know, are breathed out by God (2Timothy 3:16, 2Peter 1:20-21), emphasising the integral relationship between the word and the spirit. At creation, God’s word and Spirit where involved. The word provides the design; the Spirit provides the action to bring about what is designed (Genesis 1:1-3).
Even at the creation of man, God said Man should be created, that was the Word, the decision of the Godhead providing the parameters, defining the man that would be created. The man was to be in the image of God, have dominion over the other creatures. And when God breathed into the dust form of man, introducing the force of the Spirit after the Word has gone forth earlier about the creation of man. The Spirit was infused into man making the word spoken earlier possible (Genesis 1:26-28, 2:7).
The Word goes forth before the Spirit, giving him a frame of reference. This is similar to the way the legislature, of a country, gives the “word” by making the law that gives the executive the legality, the frame of reference, the guide, for its action.
Therefore, there can be no Word-impact, without the Spirit’s impact; and without the Word, the Spirit does not have a basis to work. The greatest move of God is the move of the Word and the Spirit. With just the word, we’ll dry up and with just the Spirit, we’ll burn up.
In the plan of salvation, God the Son, Jesus who is the word was manifested first to man and died to provide the legal basis for salvation of man, while the Holy Spirit brings about the reality in the life of the people.
When Jesus was to leave, he said he would send the Holy Spirit. To do what? It is to remind his disciples of the words of Jesus (John 14:23-26), in an eternal testimony of the unity of the Word and the Spirit.
After Jesus left the scene, the word of God was in focus but the Holy Spirit is what brings it alive in you. When you read the bible do not just read to fulfil an obligation but to be impacted by the Spirit of the word. That is the key to lasting transformation and spiritual elevation.
And in prayer, the bible says, we should take up the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17-18), further highlighting the interaction, interrelationship, of the Spirit and the Word.
That was why nothing can be more disastrous than the House of God (symbolic of the people of God [1Corinthians 3:16]) lacking grain and wine. Therefore the call went out for an all-night effort at seeking God, showing how dire the situation was.
A time also came in Shiloh where it was written that the word of God was scarce and visions too (1Samuel 3:1), in a classic example of the House of God lacking in the word and the spirit, visions is a manifestation of the Spirit under either word of knowledge, word of wisdom or prophecy (1Corinthians 12:7-11).
Eli the priest couldn’t care less, but Joel wanted the ministers in his time to take a difference stance (even if the wine and grain were only symbolic of the word and spirit). And the bible says the things that happened in the Old Testament are “ensamples” for us under the new covenant (1Corinthians 10:11). The old covenant had the shadow (grain and wine) but under the New Testament there is the substance (Word and Spirit).
It doesn’t matter where you are around the world or how you are in the Word and the Spirit, you could use a higher level. Therefore I call you today as Joel called on the ministers in his time to seek God for a greater manifestation of the Word and the Spirit.
The manifestation of the Word means what Jesus is saying now, while the manifestation of the spirit is what the Spirit is doing now.
In the House of God, that in the pulpits, people exchange human opinions for the genuine Word of God is a testament to the laziness of the presbytery to seek the Lord for the manifestation of the word. Enough of bragging about your long years in the Seminary, your grasp of history and your social savvy, are you saying what Jesus is saying?
Jesus said, “I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18) (he does it with the word as the block and the Spirit as the mortar): we are being formed (given character and form) by the word and cemented (held together and made functional) by the Spirit.
As the Word, He wants to manifest, speak through you. However, he won’t speak if you don’t value him and that value can be expressed in an all-night of spiritual effort and prayer comes in handy.
The sackcloth is a symbol of repentance (a change of perspective and thinking), humility and focus. All these are the characteristics of an all-night prayer where you sacrifice your sleep, on the altar of seeking God, for the manifestation of the Word and the Spirit, signifying you valuation of them.
Jesus himself warned against throwing pearls before swine (Matthew 7:6). God values his word and the manifestation of his Spirit, and to experience them and have them manifest in the church, you must show the appropriate valuation too by going all out or as Joel recommended, all-night in seeking for them.
WordFromGod: You should see as I see, to speak as I speak.
- Where does the Holy Bible say it is the Word of God (paulmarcelrene.wordpress.com)