Derek Prince - Are You Spiritually Asleep or Awake?
This is an excerpt from: The Two Harvests
Let’s go on to Jeremiah 5:23–24. Jeremiah is rebuking the people of his day in Israel. Because they were not aware of what God was doing; they were wrapped up in themselves. In their own carnal concerns. And, they were blind and deaf to what God was saying and doing. This is what Jeremiah says: In chapter 5 verse 23 and following 'This people - That's Israel, in the town of Jeremiah- has a defiant and rebellious heart. They have revolted and departed from God.' Now, what’s the evidence? The next verse. 'They do not say in their heart, "Let us now fear the LORD our God, who gives rain, both the former and the latter in its season. He reserves for us the appointed weeks of the harvest".’
Notice the rain is given for the sake of what? The harvest, that’s right. What was the mistake that Israel made? They didn’t realize that they were totally dependent on God for the rain, and that the rain was given for the sake of the harvest. They missed God’s purpose. And it says there God reserves the appointed weeks of the harvest. That became a startling revelation to me some years ago. Actually, I had walked into a restaurant a little earlier. Selected a table that I wanted to sit at. But when I went over to sit at the table, there was a little sign on the table that showed me I couldn’t sit there. Guess what it was. 'Reserved'.
And when I read this passage, I thought, that’s it! God has put a little sign over just a few short weeks in which the harvest has to be gathered in. He’s reserved it. He said to Satan: 'You can’t have those weeks. I’ve set them apart for the harvest.' Not months but weeks. Those of you who are farmers or who work on the land and have crops (not so much livestock) you will realize and agree with me. What’s the critical season of the year? What’s the busiest season of the year? What’s the season where everybody has to be out? The harvest, that’s right. And in Proverbs 10:5, I'm going to read it, it comes better that way. Proverbs 10:5: He who gathers in summer is a wise son, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame. Because, at the season when everybody is needed to be alert and active, there he is sleeping. And he causes his father shame. His father’s ashamed of him.
Do you think there are sons in the church that are causing their Father shame? Because, in the harvest hour they’re sleeping? Sleeping on a church pew, sitting there listening to the sermons, singing the hymns. And totally unaware of the harvest that has to be reaped. Could it be that one or two of you are in that category? Remember what I said about the selfishness? Here’s another aspect of it. Just wrapped up in your own spiritual good. Excited about your spiritual gifts. Able to talk spiritual language, but asleep when the harvest needs to be reaped. And then we go on to Joel 2. And we see in this prophecy of Joel the spiritual counterpart of the natural harvest. We can’t deal with the whole theme of Joel. But Joel really has three major sections corresponding to the three chapters.
Section one, desolation. Section two, restoration. Section three, judgment. And here in chapter 2 we come to the restoration. And the agent of restoration is the rain, which is a picture of the Holy Spirit. Joel says in chapter 2, verse 23: Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God, for He has given you the former rain faithfully [it fell on the early church] and He will cause the rain to come down for you, the former rain and the latter rain in the first month. [Passover month, March or April] And notice the purpose of the rain. The threshing floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil. What are the three main crops? The wheat, the wine and the oil. What brings them forth? The latter rain. What is the spiritual counterpart of the latter rain? We go on to Joel 2:28: And it shall come to pass afterward. And those of you that were here yesterday, we dealt with what it was after.
And you remember, it was after God’s people had got together and fasted, prayed and called upon Him. And it shall come to pass afterward that God says: 'I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh.' It’s interesting Peter quoted that verse on the Day of Pentecost, And said: 'This is that which is spoken by the prophet Joel.' But he didn’t say afterward. He said in the latter days. But in that passage in Acts 2, if you study it carefully, God says Peter quotes God as saying: 'I will pour out of My Spirit', some of My Spirit. But here it says, 'I will pour out My Spirit. I’ll empty the bucket, I’ll pour it all out.' And He says: 'on all flesh'.
As a good Pentecostal, when I first encountered the Charismatic movement in the 1960s, I was shocked. I said to myself: Anglicans, Presbyterians, Baptists, They don’t have any right to the Holy Spirit. That’s for us Pentecostals. But God gently reminded me that Anglicans and Baptists and Presbyterians and Plymouth Brethren all have 'flesh'. And He said: I’m going to pour it out on all flesh. And He proceeded to do it. He didn’t consult me. He didn’t ask my opinion. He just did it. But I want to point out to you there’s a lot of flesh that hasn’t yet had the outpouring. Ruth was talking to you earlier about the Moslem world. Nearly one billion Moslems on earth. Not quite one billion. And basically, there’s just been a few drops, that’s all.
You know, statistics in the world today are interesting. Chinese are just over one billion people. In other words, one in every five persons on earth is Chinese. Did you know that? You can’t talk about reaching the nations if you’re not reaching the Chinese. And a slightly smaller proportion on earth today is Moslems. What are we doing about them? Don’t they have flesh? They’re going to be visited. Because God said it. 'I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh.' And then He talks about the supernatural manifestations leading up to the climax of the last days: blood and fire and vapor of smoke in the great and terrible Day of the Lord.