The presence of God’s Holy Spirit is evident even in OT times. In Psalm 51, David cries out to God for mercy. He had lusted after another man’s wife, Bathsheba. He had arranged the death of her husband Uriah when he sent him into battle with the Ammonites.
David had known the comfort, wisdom and peace that had been his because of the presence of God’s Holy Spirit.
When God rescued David out of the hand of Saul he sang, “You widen a place beneath me for my steps, and my ankles do not give way.” ( Psalm 18:36 )
Because David knew that God protected him even as he slept, he sang, “I will both lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, LORD, make me live in safety.” ( Psalm 4:8 )
And David sang of the path that God had revealed to him, of His presence which was an abundant joy, and the eternal pleasures that were in His hand. ( Psalm 16:11 )
Then, when David wrote the 23rd Psalm, he sang, “Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD as long as I live.”
Now, because of this grievous sin, the murder of Uriah, he fears that he will not only be removed from God’s presence but that God will take His Holy Spirit from him.
Generally, we think of God’s Holy Spirit only in reference to the New Testament. But God’s Holy Spirit has been at work since the very beginning.
In Genesis 1:2, He “hovered over the face of the waters”, in Joshua 1:5, God, by His Spirit promises to “never leave him or forsake him.” In 1 Samuel 16:13, the Holy Spirit of God rushed upon David. In Psalm 139:7, David said, “Where shall I go from Your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from Your presence?”
For David to have been so aware of the presence of God’s Holy Spirit was nothing new. And he would not be the last in the OT to know the reality of the presence of God’s Holy Spirit.
So why are Christians today so quick to limit His influence? We think of the Holy Spirit when we read in Acts about the day of Pentecost when all of those in the upper room heard a sound from heaven like that of a mighty rushing wind, saw what appeared to be tongues of fire and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, the most holy Third Person of God.
But nearly 860 years before the day of Pentecost, Joel the prophet delivered this prophesy saying,“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. I will display wonders in the heavens and on the earth: blood, fire, and columns of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the great and awe-inspiring Day of the LORD comes. Then everyone who calls on the name of Yahweh will be saved.”
Sadly, when those Scriptures are read, nearly all of it except the last sentence is ignored, and in some instances discredited by those who say that all of that was for another time. But if that is true, where is the line drawn? At the end of which sentence did God intend to end one era and begin another?
In the New Testament, whether the reference is Holy “Spirit”
both words are from the same Greek word, ‘pneuma
‘, which means the “very breath and the spiritual nature of Christ, higher than the highest angels and equal to God, the divine nature of Christ.”
And the Hebrew word of Spirit as Joel used in his prophesy, though it is different, it is translated into Greek in the Septuagint
to mean the same thing, the Spirit of God, “the breath and mind of the third person of the triune God, the Holy Spirit.”
In John 14, Jesus called the Holy Spirit the Comforter (KJ). But the Greek word used there ‘parakletos’ means more than just one who is called to give comfort. The disciples were certainly going to need comforting. But the word also means, Counselor, as in a counsel for defense; an intercessor, or one who pleads anothers cause; an assistant who gives aid; an enabler, leader, guide, one who gives strength. Think of any blessing that God can bestow on a believer and that comes through His Holy Spirit. So when we read His Word that tells us that “He will never leave us or forsake us” (Hebrews 13 & Deut. 31:6)do we think of Christ in His earthly body? Certainly not, we know that it is His Spirit that will never leave us.
It is certain that the four gospels are the incontestable truth that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God, but some will add to that, saying, that the Book of the Acts of the Apostles is the fulfillment of the promises of the descent of the Holy Spirit. But we know that the Holy Spirit has always been here. In fact, His presence and His influence is evident in Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Amos, Obadiah and Jonah. In fact, God’s Spirit is evident in all of the books of the prophets.
In about 30 AD, Luke, one of the later disciples, and a frequent companion to the Apostle Paul, wrote in Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
And in John 20, after His crucifixion, when Jesus appeared to the disciples as they were gathered behind locked doors, He said to them, “Peace to you.“ He showed them His hands and His side to assure them, and He said, “Peace to you. As the Father has sent Me, I also send you. And after saying that He “breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit .”
If we are to consider only part of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives, which part will it be? And which part do we delete? Do we ignore His work in making His Word mighty to the pulling down of strongholds? ( 2 Corinthians 10:4 ) In the gospel of Mark, ch. 16, vs. 18, he wrote that Jesus said that we would “lay hands on the sick and they would get well“, do we insist that He was only speaking to a special few? If we take our bold markers and black out those verses, what then do we do with what Jesus said in Mark 16:15 & 16? He said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.“ Do we ignore that too? You can’t dissect the Scriptures and cut out parts that don’t fit a particular denominational doctrine.
When the Apostle Paul wrote his second letter to Timothy
, his “beloved child in the faith”, he said, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
The inspiration for God’s Word comes only from His Holy Spirit and the Apostle Paul included all of the Word of God in that verse. He did not include any possible exceptions or loopholes for the deletion of some of his words later.
If we are to be complete and equipped for every good work, if we are to be empowered to go into all the parts of the world and preach a crucified and risen Christ, if we are to no longer be weak headed and weak hearted, then we must have all of what God’s Holy Spirit has for us.
Before Christ’s crucifixion, resurrection and ascension, His ministry was limited to those who were near Him. In John 16, Jesus said to His disciples, ” Nevertheless, I am telling you the truth. It is for your benefit that I go away, because if I don’t go away the Counselor will not come to you. If I go, I will send Him to you .”
It was imperative that His disciples be weaned from His presence. They relied on Him too much. His desire, the desire of The Father was that they begin to take His Gospel to all parts of the world.
Christ’s physical presence drew men’s eyes, but His Spirit draws men’s hearts. God’s plan was for an ever growing church. One generation departs for heaven but an ever greater and stronger one emerges. Filled with His Holy Spirit and ready to carry out His interests in the earth.
Help us move into a deeper understanding of Who Your Holy Spirit is and how He can give us what we need to do Your work on this earth. Guide us away from the shallow intellectual understanding of Your Holy Spirit to a place where we can walk in the fullness of what You prepared for us when You ascended into heaven. We stand ready and willing to know You in a way we have never experienced before. We know the days grow dark. But You said that we are the light because Your light is within us. You said that we are the salt of the earth. Strengthen us for the days that are coming. We need the Holy Spirit’s power so that the image of the risen Christ will be seen in us. In Jesus Name, Amen.