Who does God value?

Hi friends,

Everywhere I look, society tells us who is important: the beautiful, the rich, the popular, and the successful.

Today, during my time in the liturgical readings, Joel 2:28-29 struck me profoundly:

After this I will pour out my Spirit on all humanity; then your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your old men will have dreams, and your young men will see visions. I will even pour out my Spirit on the male and female slaves in those days.

When the Creator of all things considers who He values, who does He have in mind?

The male and female slaves!

God values those who hold the lowest social status. He declares, “Yes, I will pour out my Spirit on them.”

This radically differs from the ‘standard’ religious expectation. IVP’s Old Testament Bible Background commentary notes, “In Mesopotamia, the king was seen as being endowed with the melammu of the gods (the visible representation of the glory of deity).”

In ancient times, kings were often seen as the closest to the gods. But when the true God reveals whom He will pour His Spirit on, it’s not the kings but the insignificant nobodies. That’s who matters to God!

Leslie Allen, in his esteemed commentary, explains:

Joel himself is a living example of sensitivity to the divine will for the moral and spiritual life of the community. The prophetic privilege of standing, as it were, among Yahweh’s council and hearing his word at first hand (Jer. 23:18) would be the personal experience of every member of the religious community.

Joel envisions a day when the privilege of serving as God’s prophet—something once reserved for a select few—will be extended to everyone devoted to God.

This prophecy is fulfilled at Pentecost, as described by Luke in Acts 2.

When God pours His Spirit on someone, He places immense value on them, allowing them to be with Him and represent Him to others.

How does Joel 2 reshape your understanding of who matters to God?

What does it mean for you to be one of God’s prophets today?


Thanks for sharing this rich observation! I have read this verse multiple times before but missed the part about slaves! This act of God that was prophesied in Joel 2 and inaugurated in Acts 2 makes the Bible ring of truth. As opposed to certain philosophies like reincarnation that can promote class distinction by attributing our social status to our spiritual condition, this act of God in the Bible of pouring the Holy Spirit even on slaves, essentially disbands any idea of biblical support for class distinctions . While it is true that Bible may have been misused to promote slavery in history, this verse makes it clear that unjust slavery is opposed to God’s heart. I am reminded of the story Jesus shared in Luke 16: 19-30 of the rich man and poor Lazarus. Luke 16:25 is a particularly sobering warning against our temptation to form our identity around social status, when in eternity it counts for nothing!


This reminds me of the episode outlined in Numbers 11:16-30, when Moses is leading the people through the wilderness, and he has a group of 70 elders who receive the Spirit and begin to prophesy. Two appointed elders who didn’t make it to the gathering are still in the main camp, but nevertheless start prophesying through the Spirit where they are. Some of Moses’ men, including Joshua, complain to Moses that they’re operating their prophetic function outside the appointed area, away from the official leaders, in front of the ordinary people.

Moses replied (in what I always imagine to be a fairly exasperated voice),

If only all the LORD’s people were prophets and the LORD would place his Spirit on them!

Joel 2:28-29 seems to be looking back at Moses’ wish and prophesying its fulfilment, along with other prophecies by Ezekiel (Ezekiel 36:26-27), and Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31:33).

Through the Spirit being poured out at Pentecost, this desire has been fulfilled. As the TGC article When Moses’ wish came true states,

the presence of the Spirit in each Christian has become so vital that Paul could say, “Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him” Rom. 8:9

Here we see every believer is valued, every believer is called to speak to and hear from God. He will pour out the Spirit in everyone who accepts Christ.

1 Like