Word of the Day

Put Upon

Numbers 11: 17

Then I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take of the Spirit who is upon you, and will put Him upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you will not bear it all alone.

In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit would rest “upon” individuals. When the Spirit came upon them, they were empowered to do great things. It was the Old Testament version of the intertwined partner relationship with the Holy Spirit which we have been discussing.

In this passage from the book of Numbers, God spoke to Moses regarding the heavy burden of leading the Israelites through the desert. First one sees the recognition that the Spirit was upon Moses. It seems both God and Moses were well aware of the anointing of the Holy Spirit which was upon Moses. Management of over a million people is a burdensome task so God had Moses set out leaders from the tribes, then He took of His own Spirit and put it upon them also in order that they could help Moses lead the people.

This is a key administrative point – leaders and administrative heads should always be people who have the Holy Spirit. God’s intent is not about appointing the most intelligent, or the most learned people. He teaches us to choose and He chooses people who are led by His Spirit.

In this study on the Holy Spirit, I am endeavoring to give you a brief survey of Holy Spirit Scriptures. Of course, I cannot recite all 248 or so in this forum but let me give you some examples of the Holy Spirit resting “upon” someone. This series on the Holy Spirit might prove a good resource for your own study. Remember that the Spirit empowered people. You will likely want to read these in greater context to see the effect the Spirit had on these people and those around them.

Numbers 24: 2
And Balaam lifted up his eyes and saw Israel camping tribe by tribe; and the Spirit of God came upon him.

Judges 3: 10
The Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he judged Israel. When he went out to war, the Lord gave Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand, so that he prevailed over Cushan-rishathaim.

Judges 6: 34
So the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon; and he blew a trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called together to follow him.

1 Samuel 10: 6
Then the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you mightily, and you shall prophesy with them and be changed into another man.

1 Samuel 11: 6
Then the Spirit of God came upon Saul mightily when he heard these words, and he became very angry.

Judges 14: 6
The Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily, so that he tore him as one tears a young goat though he had nothing in his hand.

2 Chronicles 15: 1
Now the Spirit of God came on Azariah the son of Oded.

2 Chronicles 24: 20
Then the Spirit of God came on Zechariah.

This study is not about history. History is the study. Through it we learn, but still, that is not the end game. These scriptures demonstrate what is possible in our own lives when we apply ourselves in a collaborative effort with the Holy Spirit. All things are possible when we abide in the leading and company of the Holy Spirit.

The Brass Ring

Isaiah 42: 1

Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations.

I am sometimes asked which book is my favorite of the Old Testament. That’s easy! I love the book of Isaiah. The prophet Isaiah undoubtedly was in the flow of the Holy Spirit. He saw into Jesus’ life and ministry as no one else did. Because of Isaiah’s own intertwining with the Spirit, one can see the person of Jesus all through this book.

Obviously, in this verse, Isaiah foretold the coming of the Messiah. He also was shown the partnership that would exist between Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Before the Chosen One would bring forth justice to the nations, he would experience his own union with the Spirit.

It is through this partnership with the Holy Spirit that Jesus was empowered to do any of the things he did. Without the power of the Spirit, Jesus could do nothing (John 5: 19). This is one of the most profound realities of Christian life. Isaiah’s fullness of understanding of Jesus’ anointing is seen in the sixty-first chapter. “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me,” (Isaiah 61: 1). These are the very words which Jesus read in the temple that launched his earthly ministry (Luke 4: 18). This prophesy shows two examples of partnership with the Spirit. First, it shows that Isaiah spoke by the power, leading and unction of the Holy Spirit. Second, it reveals Jesus’ collaborative relationship with the Spirit. This is Jesus’ commission. I have only given a small part of it but you will appreciate reading the entire chapter.

Nowhere is this cooperative relationship defined more precisely than in Zechariah 4: 6, “Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord . . . saying, ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts.” This is critical language but an idea that we, perhaps, are yet to fully realize. While simple in theory, it is a bit more challenging in application, especially in that most of this applied theory is new in many parts of the body of Christ. We are only just now learning how to work in the flow with the Holy Spirit as Jesus did. However, he is giving us this revelation at this time in Church history so that we may go forward as a dynamic body of believers. As we increase our walk in and with the Spirit, we bring his power and wisdom to our own lives. That must be our first step. Only when we, through the Spirit, have met the pressing needs of our own lives can we set our eyes upon the horizon. However, having learned how to cooperate with the Spirit of the Lord for our own needs, we then take his power to the world. Our perspective changes along with our vision. We can then begin to cooperate with the Father on His goals and His vision instead of constantly being bogged down by earthly issues.

This intertwining with the Spirit is the key element necessary for us to arise as the mighty church of God, The Eternal. If there is any singular expression of needed deep revelation for believers it is the knowledge of how to walk with the Spirit such that every one of us is in continual communion with him, following him step by step. God spoke through Zechariah to reveal to us that everything we need to do, everything we are called to do is to be accomplished in the strength and power of the Spirit. What does this mean? This is the critical question. When we can answer this question definitively, we will have laid hold of the Kingdom of God. This is the brass ring!

The Promise of the Spirit

Joel 2: 28 – 29

It will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.

This is the leading Old Testament verse which told about the coming of the Holy Spirit. Here God promises to, not only send the Spirit, but to pour out the Spirit on all humanity, even those of no rank or position. Even the servants and those of the lowliest station are entitled to this special gift from God.

There is so much rich text and meaning in this verse that we could mine from it for a week. However, there is one word in it that I want to bring to your attention. It is the word “pour.” God has promised not a trickle, not a drip but rather a continuous pouring out of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is represented in Scripture as a river or flowing waters. John 7: 37 – 39 is a good example of this, “Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” But this He spoke of the Spirit.’” The flowing river of living water is the Holy Spirit. Thus, it is apropos that God should pour out this living water upon us.”

The anointing in the Holy Spirit is reflective of the Old Testament anointing which was accompanied by oil being poured over the anointed. Again, this spiritual gifting is represented by a pouring out.
The Old Testament saints did not know the Spirit as the poured out one as New Testament believers do. They knew him as a promise. In fact, few people knew anything about him other than him being a promise from God. Interestingly, of the 248 or so scriptures about the Holy Spirit, only about 44 are from the Old Testament. However, God was speaking to His prophets about this pouring out. It may interest you to discover that there are six more Old Testament scriptures which specifically address the pouring out of the Holy Spirit (See list below).

The significance of this pouring is distinguishable from a onetime gift or offering. God doesn’t just give us the Spirit one time. He continually pours out to those who continually seek Him. Don’t forget too, that we can seek more of the Spirit just as we seek the Father because they are both God.

Every person has a measure of the Spirit of God. When God breathed life into us, a piece of His Spirit was deposited within us. We are able to receive much more than that now, however. The Spirit is no longer a promise. He has been poured out. What the Old Testament prophets foretold, we now behold. The initial pouring out is described in Acts 2: 1 – 4, “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.” This is the fulfillment of that which was promised in Joel 2: 28 -29. Everyone who wishes can now be filled by the never ending pouring out. It can be compared to a water fall. The water continually pours over and onto anyone who chooses to stand in the flow. You can stay in that flow just as long as you wish. It is God’s delight to give you more and more. He is pouring. Are you receiving?

See Also: Isaiah 32: 15, Isaiah 44: 3, Ezekiel 36: 27, Ezekiel 39: 29, Proverb 1: 23, Zechariah 12: 10).

The Necessities

Nehemiah 9: 20

You gave Your good Spirit to instruct them, your manna You did not withhold from their mouth, and You gave them water for their thirst.

Food, water and the Holy Spirit – these are the necessities of life and God has provided them all to us. There are many people on this earth that think the only true necessities are food and water, but they would be wrong. There is no life without the Spirit of God. We saw that yesterday. If the measure of the Spirit, which is given to every person, were withdrawn, we would die. We would have no breath. What good is food and water to carcasses?

Even now, we wander through our days yielding to our desire for food and quenching our want of water. These are the cares of the body, the things we need physically in order to sustain life. Meanwhile, our spirits die from lack of nutrition. We care for our physical bodies, as well we should, because we are aware and educated about the physical requirements of our bodies. We are physically aware. However, no one taught us that our spirits need constant nourishment. Most of us did not grow up with the understanding that the Spirit of God was a spiritual need just like food and water are to the body. We are not spiritually aware, but that can change, and I believe it is changing.

The Spirit is good, a gift from God and our instructor. That is a sentence we would do well to ponder, even memorize, as long as the memorization is more substantive than a rote memory exercise. Just knowing that he is good can change our lives significantly.

Jesus sent to us the Holy Spirit. He even said it was to our advantage that he go so that he could send the Spirit. Our beloved Jesus sent him to be a benefactor of each of our lives, to improve the quality of our lives. Our role is to actively and purposefully receive him and to get to know him.

I hope you will solemnly ponder this week’s verses and allow them to aid you in finding a richer relationship with the Holy Spirit of God.

Creative Breath

Psalm 104: 30

You send forth Your Spirit, they are created; and You renew the face of the ground.

Yesterday we began a glimpse into scriptures about the Holy Spirit. In my studies I have found 248 verses which speak about the Holy Spirit. They all give us insights into who he is and what his role is in the Kingdom of God. The first thing we need understand about the Spirit is that he is God. That is the great epiphany of the Trinity.

Today’s verse is particularly interesting in the study of the Holy Spirit. An alternate reading for the word “Spirit” in this verse is “breath.” Think about that for a moment. This construction yields, “You send forth your breath, they are created.” Doesn’t this sound like the Genesis account of the creation of human beings? “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” (Genesis 2: 7). The Chumash reveals much about this passage. The breath of God created humanity. The Chumash tells us that this imparted a portion of God into the created being. People were made from matter from the earth and the breath of God, so we are part God because the breath inside us was given by the Holy Spirit. That impartation made us living souls or as the Chumash reveals, speaking spirits. In other words, God gave us his breath which is the Holy Spirit.

If you look up today’s verse you will be referred to two other verses relating the Holy Spirit as the breath of God, Job 33:4 and Ezekiel 37:9. Job reads, “The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” Certainly, that makes clear the creative, life giving power the Holy Spirit wielded in creating humanity. Perhaps it raises some new interest as well. There is another pertinent passage from Job, chapter 32, verse 8, “But it is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives them understanding.” Jesus called the Spirit our teacher. As we see from this passage in Job, it is from the Spirit that we gain understanding.

Consider also Job 27: 3 – 4, “For as long as life is in me, and the breath of God is in my nostrils, my lips certainly will not speak unjustly, nor will my tongue mutter deceit.” The footnote for the word “life” in the first phrase reveals the literal translation of this word is “breath.” The footnote for “breath” reveals the word to be “Spirit.” So, here is how it reads literally, “For as long as breath is in me, and the Spirit of God is in my nostrils . . ..”

Ezekiel 37: 9 is equally intriguing, “Then He said to me, ‘Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath,’ Thus says the Lord God, ‘Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life.’” The Old Testament folks realized two things that we may have lost. First, they recognized the Spirit as life giving. They also knew him as the breath of God. He is the creative force resident within us that gives us life.

I hope this has been eye opening and inspiring. I hope it permanently changes your perspective and enlightens your thinking about the Spirit of God. And, the next time I write, “God is as close as your next breath,” I hope it will mean something special to you.” Be blessed.

Creative Power

Genesis 1: 2

The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.

Through this Word of the Day devotional and Ivey Ministries, you are continually encouraged to learn about the Holy Spirit and to develop a relationship with him. This week, I will endeavor to assist you in that pursuit by showing you some of the verses about the Spirit and by sharing some background information.

Today’s verse represents the first time the Holy Spirit is mentioned in the Bible. God didn’t wait long to introduce him. In fact, we hear about him before any mention of the Son. Verse one reads, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Then God begins describing the creation of the earth and that formation starts with the Holy Spirit. We find out in the book of John that Jesus was in the beginning and that nothing that was made, was made apart from him, but we see that Holy Spirit is central to creation. Even now, he remains the creative power of God.

The Spirit hovered, many manuscripts say, over the surface of the waters. He was awaiting the Father’s vision and command. Then when God spoke, the Spirit created, or brought into being, that which the Father designed. This process of creation is how things work today also. Father began His book by demonstrating a key principle of life and of the workings of the Kingdom of God. Creation happens in cooperation with the Holy Spirit.

I told you that Jesus was in the beginning (John 1: 1). His role is significant but not so obvious. The power of creation begins with an idea or a vision. In this case, God had a design in mind for the earth. We know from Matthew 6: 10 that God’s idea was to create earth in the image of heaven. So, He had a clear picture in mind. The next thing He did was to speak. What did He speak, one might ask. He spoke The Word. That is where Jesus made his entrance. The Word is Jesus and Jesus is the Word. As soon as the Father spoke the Word, the Holy Spirit took that Word and materialized God’s vision.

We can do the same thing. We have an idea in mind, employ the Word of God by speaking it and then the Holy Spirit springs into action. He has hosts of angels and spirit beings who hearken to his command. This is how things get done in the earth. That is why it is so important for us to develop a relationship with the Spirit; to get to know him. Through our partnership with him, all things truly are possible. Jesus said he could do nothing of himself (John 5: 19). It was only through his collaboration with the Spirit that he could do anything. We know how successful Jesus was so there should be great motivation to learn to work with the Spirit as he did.

Today is a step towards knowing him better. We learned that he is the creative power of the Trinity. Knowing that might well change our perceptions of creating what we need in our lives as it probably affects our prayer life as well.

The Gentiles and the Spirit

Acts 10: 44 – 45

While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.

Peter, once brash and impetuous, matured into a grand spiritual leader. In this passage we see the perfect model of a New Testament preacher. The best message one can deliver is the one which invites and gives space to the Holy Spirit. Jesus told us the Spirit would teach us, guide us and be our constant helper. Jesus’ departure ushered in the Holy Spirit. When the Spirit is on the scene, miracles happen, people are healed and the blessings of the Lord touch the hearts of believers. The presence of the Spirit of God is what is needful because he is the power of God.

How do we know, however, when the Spirit is present? In today’s passage the circumcised believers (Messianic Jews) were amazed because they witnessed the pouring out of the Spirit upon the Gentiles. How did they know God poured out the Spirit on these Gentiles? Verse 46 reads, “For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God.” The manifestation of speaking with tongues comes with the Holy Spirit. These people began speaking with tongues and exalting God and the Jewish believers recognized the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon them. Apparently, as they listened to Peter’s message about Jesus, the Spirit fell upon all who listened and the Spirit’s presence was obvious to those who accompanied Peter.

It must have been quite an occasion for celebration in Cornelius’ home that day. His family was saved, adopted into the family of God and they received the out pouring of the Holy Spirit. I would say Peter did his job.

It is not important that we say lofty, eloquent prayers or deliver sophisticated sermons. Jesus said only one thing was needful. That needful thing is the Divine Trinity. Where they are allowed freedom and communion, they charge the atmosphere with power and the glory of God. We just need God in all three persons. In this generation, we have given ourselves to the lordship of Christ. Through him we have met the Father face to face. Now we need to actively pursue the same sort of relationship with God’s Spirit. That relationship takes the same thoughtful and purposeful seeking which we each employed in coming to know the Father and the Son. If we do not pursue Him, then we will never know him or the power of his might. We will not have all Jesus died to give us. We can spend our entire lives never knowing him. Our Christianity will likely remain intact but will we be two-thirds Christian? How can we be fully united with God if we do not know one-third of the Triune Divinity?

I think these are troubling questions, theologically. The fix, however, is perfectly simple. It is our responsibility to seek the Spirit and come to know him as we do the Father and the Son. Second, as we wander through this world, engaging with others, our relationship with the Spirit brings him into association with those we encounter. We are the vessels which carry the Holy Spirit into all the world. It sounds trite but it is, none the less, God’s plan. Let us devote ourselves, therefore, to knowing the Spirit or, indeed, coming to know him better. Let us pursue him relentlessly. He is the teacher Jesus spoke of so importune him to teach you about himself and about all the things of God.