Holy Spirit in Human History (5)

…’and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— Exodus 31v3

This verse is about Bezalel -the son of Uri- who has been given wisdom, ability and expertise in all sorts of crafts. Nowadays, we might consider him more like a skilled person but the belief that his ability was God-given relates directly to the idea of a God who equips via spiritual means – something we would all do well to remember and give thanks for when people compliment us on our mental, physical and emotional abilities!


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Holy Spirit in Human History (4)

‘But when they told him everything Joseph had said to them, and when he saw the carts Joseph had sent to carry him back, the spirit of their father Jacob revived.’ Genesis 45v37

Now, while I don’t want to rock the boat, it seems to me that the use of  ‘spirit’ in these verses from Genesis is neither ‘animistic’ or ‘dynamistic’ in origin but rather everyday language we might use to describe feelings. For example, Bob was rather down in spirit after his rugby team lost in the finals last week. Yes, I’m down but this relates to my emotional state which revives after a good night’s sleep and time to forget a lacklustre performance. Understanding the spiritual dynamics and how they operate within us will help us to know ourselves better in the same way Jacob revived when he realised it was true that Joseph was alive – an emotional transformation!


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Holy Spirit in Human History (3)

‘So Pharaoh asked them, “Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God?’ Genesis 31v48

Pharoah has a problem. He has two dreams and both need interpreting. Cue Joseph who – acting under the direction of God’s Holy Spirit – explains to Phaorah the meaning of his dreams. Namely, that there will be seven years of feast in Egypt when crops will be abundent then seven years of famine when there will be no food at all. Astounded, Pharoah responds as any one would when hearing such an interpretation to a troubling dream: “Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God?”


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Holy Spirit in History (2)

‘Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.’ (Genesis 1v2)

Although most times in the Old Testament, the word ‘Spirit’ is used to refer to God’s invisible power resting on a person in order that they might achieve the task in hand. In this instance  the term references the third member of the Trinity so that we have:
  • Father,
  • Word (aka Logos)
  • and Spirit

who combine together to create earth and universe. Unbelievably, the same Holy Spirit that was part of that creative process billions of years ago now lives within you and me – wow!


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Holy Spirit in History (1)

Today, we begin a new series on the works of the Holy Spirit in human history and how the Divine has operated in our world over the centuries.

The first way that God operates relates to the Old Testament where the Holy Spirit came upon an individual to temporarily equip and compel them to fulfil a God-given task (or tasks).

The second way God operates  – most commonly seen in the New Testament – is where the Holy Spirit comes upon the person to permanently fill them with His Presence like a fluid”[11] remaining within them throughout their lives unless curtailed by decisions that thwart His activity within them.

So, to be clear…

…when David implores God: ‘Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me,’ his understanding is that the Holy Spirit is resting upon him and not a permanent indwelling. After all, David fears God’s Spirit will be taken away.

Converesely, in Luke 14v26 where it is recorded that ‘the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and…remind you of everything I have said,’ this is understood as a permanent infilling because the Spirit is thereafter continually active in the person in as much as He is allowed.

Got it? Then we’re ready to explore the Old Testament and the works of God’s Holy Spirit…

 


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Fruit of the Spirit – self control

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.’ (Galatians 5v16-23) Continue reading Fruit of the Spirit – self control


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Fruit of the Spirit – gentleness

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.’ (Galatians 5v16-23) Continue reading Fruit of the Spirit – gentleness


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Fruit of the Spirit – faithfulness

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.’ (Galatians 5v16-23)For many Christians, the call to faithfulness is obvious. The trouble is that while God’s Holy Spirit lives within each believer, our ability to make good decisions depends on the way we choose to orientate our freewill – either towards God or away from Him. That’s why Paul writes:

‘Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.’

Faithfulness to God requires that just like real fruit, spiritual fruit is cultivated through the discipline and desire to nurture it to its full potential. A process that means setting aside our own agenda and taking up God’s plan as we allow this to permeate our daily lives. Yes, there will be times when we take a wrong turn and follow a different drum but the call of God is always to faithfulness.


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Fruit of the Spirit – goodness

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.’ (Galatians 5v16-23)For some reason, the term ‘goodness’ always reminds me of Jesus’ response to the man who addresses him as ‘good teacher.'”Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.” (Mark 10v18)

I love this exchange between Jesus and the man. Was Jesus hoping the penny would drop and the man would realise Jesus was God? The man doesn’t ask how people might one day be considered good. Likewise,  Jesus doesn’t explain the process by which God’s Holy Spirit will enter into believers but he does state that no-one can be considered good by any goodness of their own but only as the goodness of God resides within them.


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Fruit of the Spirit – kindness

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.’ (Galatians 5v16-23) Continue reading Fruit of the Spirit – kindness


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