Bible Society of South Africa

Who is the Spirit of God? – 30 September 2020

By Ben Fourie

Bible text(s)

2Suddenly there was a noise from the sky which sounded like a strong wind blowing, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3Then they saw what looked like tongues of fire which spread out and touched each person there. 4They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in other languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak.

Acts 2:2-4GNBOpen in Bible reader

The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost was accompanied by wind and fire, and speaking in other languages – really dramatic occurrences happened there at the birth of the church. The Spirit was not only present at the birth of the church, he was also present at the birth of the universe. In Genesis 1:1-2, we read about Ruach Elohim – the Spirit of God. “In the beginning, when God created the universe, the earth was formless and desolate. The raging ocean that covered everything was engulfed in total darkness, and the Spirit of God was moving over the water”. The Hebrew word “ruach” can be translated as spirit, wind or breath. This verse about the presence of the Spirit right at the beginning of everything makes me think that God breathed on the whole of creation. It is interesting that after his resurrection, Jesus also breathed on his disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

We usually think about the Holy Spirit in terms of the New Testament, but it should not be. With the coming of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, his work certainly gained a new dimension, but the third Person of the Holy Trinity is visible throughout the Old Testament. In Joel 2:28, it is said that God would pour out His Spirit on all people, and the sons and daughters of Israel would proclaim God’s message, and the old people would have dreams. Peter quotes this verse in his message on the day of Pentecost.

We read in 1 Samuel, that the Spirit of the Lord sometimes took control of Saul and also about the powerful presence of the Spirit in the life of King David. Jesus also said to his disciples to wait in Jerusalem for “when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power.” Power, everywhere in the Bible, is an attribute of the Holy Spirit and nowhere more so than in the words of the angel to Mary in Luke 1:35, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and God’s power will rest upon you.”

Prayer: You, oh Holy Spirit, are like the wind that blows through my whole life, sometimes I only detect your light stirrings. On other days, your power will fill me like a very strong wind that moves me to be active in your service. Thank you for being busy with me all the time. Amen

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