Here, Paul is quoting Joel 2:32… showing the readers that there is no difference between Jew or Gentile…God is the same to all people groups. In Acts 2:21, on the Day of Pentecost, Peter also quoted Joel 2:32 to the bewildered crowd that had gathered after hearing their native languages coming from the apostles . Both Paul and Peter stressed that anyone could summons God’s help…any race, any gender, any person. And when that person called on the name of the Lord…they would be heard by God and delivered. For there is no one that is beyond God’s reach…no one that can’t say, “I need Your help God!” and God won’t rescue.
Humans are funny…we get caught in something, and we’re sorry…not sorry for what we did…but rather sorry we got caught. We make a big emotional show…but there’s no humility or remorsefulness involved in our actions. Psalm 51:17 reminds us of what God really wants from us…not a showy display of emotions that look good to those who are watching, but lack the brokenness of spirit that comes from a truly regretful heart. Rather, God desires from us authenticity, humility, and taking responsibility for our actions.
For many, life has been hard. Years have been lost to bad choices, addictions, and the consequences caused by other people’s decisions. We can’t but feel that our life has been robbed of time. But the Lord is telling us in this Scripture that He will completely fulfill those lost years…allowing us to reclaim the happiness and contentment…the peace and security that we thought we’d never have again. For He is the God of redemption – accomplishing the impossible, and bringing to pass the unimaginable in our lives.
While the ultimate fulfillment of this prophesy will take place at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ – it doesn’t mean none of these things shouldn’t be happening now. This scripture also demonstrates that God uses all of His people…not just the young, not just the highly educated, not just the inspired and enthusiastic, to forward His Kingdom here on earth. We are all called to be salt and light…to speak God’s message, in His name and under the influence of the Holy Spirit, to those the Lord brings across our path. That means you could very well be the Difference-Maker in someone’s life today.
In Biblical times a very public expression of grief or repentance was to tear your robe. But the Lord doesn’t desire showy theatrics if our hearts aren’t in it. He would rather have a sincere inward commitment than a dramatic outward production anytime.