The prophet Isaiah describes what happens when the Holy Spirit falls upon a people. Isaiah prophesies, “The spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest” (Isaiah 32:15).
Isaiah is saying, “When the Holy Ghost comes, what was once a barren wilderness becomes a harvest field. A dead patch of ground suddenly overflows with fruit. And this is no temporary harvest. The field of fruit will grow into a forest. And you’ll be able to take cuttings from this forest year after year, and build on your fruitfulness continually.”
Isaiah adds, “Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field” (32:16). According to the prophet, the Holy Ghost also brings with him a message of judgment against sin. And that message produces righteousness in the people.
Isaiah isn’t speaking of a one-time outpouring of the Spirit, what some people think of as “revival.” Isaiah is describing something that lasts. Studies by Christian sociologists show that most present-day revivals last for an average of five years, and leave in their wake much confusion and dissension. I know of some churches where so-called revivals took place, but now, within just a few years, there is no trace of the Spirit left. Those churches are dead, dry, empty. Houses that once held 1,000 are now cavernous tombs, with only fifty people in attendance.
Isaiah continues: “The work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places” (Isaiah 32:17-18).
Peace comes because righteousness is at work. The Holy Spirit is busy sweeping out all unrest, disturbances and condemnation. What follows is peace of mind, peace in the home, and peace in God’s house. And when God’s people have the peace of Christ, they aren’t easily moved from it: “When it shall hail, coming down on the forest; and the city shall be low in a low place. Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters, that send forth thither the feet of the ox and the ass” (32:19-20).
Isaiah’s prophecy about the Holy Spirit was directed to