THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
In the creation account of Genesis, the Holy Spirit brought order out of the chaos. This same Spirit is he who gave life to ancient Israel, guided them, and empowered them to be a light to the nations.
THIS WEEK’S VIDEO
FOR ADDITIONAL PRIESTHOOD
OF THE BELIEVER RESOURCES
DAY 1 - 6/3
It’s easy to see the Holy Spirit at work among God’s people in the New Testament, but this is just one aspect of who the Holy Spirit is. It’s important to remember that the Holy Spirit is God, and that he has always been at work in creation and in humanity since the beginning. As noted in Genesis 1, the Spirit was present at the creation of the universe. In fact, the Holy Spirit played a major role in its conception. As South Korean theologian YunGab Choi, writes, “in the midst of chaos and formlessness, God proclaims the word of creation. Consequently, the powerful and dynamic force of the Holy Spirit completes it in such a way that it demonstrates order and shalom.”1
The passages you will read today from Genesis and Job describe the Holy Spirit’s role in the creation of the cosmos. The Spirit was instrumental in bringing order out of the chaos. In much the same way, he brings order out of chaos in the lives of God’s people throughout history.
1) YunGab Choi, “Holy Spirit in the Old Testament.” In The Lexham Bible Dictionary,edited by John D. Barry et al., (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016), 217.
Genesis 1:1-2 (ESV)
1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
Job 26:13-14 (ESV)
13 By his wind the heavens were made fair;
his hand pierced the fleeing serpent.
14 Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways,
and how small a whisper do we hear of him!
But the thunder of his power who can understand?”
To read more about the Holy Spirit’s role in creation, see Gen. 2; Pss. 33 and 104.
DAY 2 - 6/4
It is only through the Spirit’s power that life is given and sustained in human kind. God himself, as revealed in the Holy Spirit is the author and source of life The Holy Spirit’s role in the creation of the earthly realm was only the beginning of his relationship with God’s family. In Genesis 2 we see that God gives form to the human race through the dust of the ground and gives life by breathing his Spirit into his new human creation. In Psalm 104, we find that it is also through the Spirit that renewal comes upon God’s family and creation.
Genesis 2:5-7 (ESV)
5 When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the LordGod had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, 6 and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground— 7 then the LordGod formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.
Psalm 104:27-32 (ESV)
27 These all look to you,
to give them their food in due season.
28 When you give it to them, they gather it up;
when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
29 When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
when you take away their breath, they die
and return to their dust.
30 When you send forth your Spirit, they are created,
and you renew the face of the ground.
31 May the glory of the Lordendure forever;
may the Lordrejoice in his works,
32 who looks on the earth and it trembles,
who touches the mountains and they smoke!
To read more about the Holy Spirit’s power on God’s people, see Zech. 4; and Mic. 3.
DAY 3 - 6/5
Throughout the history of Israel, the Spirit spoke to his people through the ministry of the prophets. The prophets functioned as God’s mouthpiece to the people. In this way, he provided guidance, peace, and even the law itself.
One example of an Old Testament prophet was Ezekiel. Dr. Michael Heiser writes that, “Yahweh and members of his entourage come to Ezekiel, who is then commissioned as Yahweh’s spokesperson.”1 In this way, God empowered the prophet through the Spirit to speak to the people in a manner that would provide both encouragement and a realization of what is to come.
In today’s Scripture reading, we read how the Holy Spirit was instrumental in the calling of the prophet Ezekiel. Ezekiel’s ministry was difficult, foretelling the destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar and the exile of its inhabitants. Yet in this passage and throughout the book of Ezekiel we read how the Spirit abided with and strengthened the prophet to do the work God called him to do.
1)Heiser, Michael S. The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible(Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2015.), 237.
The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bibleby: Michael S. Heiser.
Ezekiel 2 (ESV)
2 And he said to me, “Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak with you.” 2 And as he spoke to me, the Spirit entered into me and set me on my feet, and I heard him speaking to me. 3 And he said to me, “Son of man, I send you to the people of Israel, to nations of rebels, who have rebelled against me. They and their fathers have transgressed against me to this very day.
4 The descendants also are impudent and stubborn: I send you to them, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God.’5 And whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house) they will know that a prophet has been among them.
6 And you, son of man, be not afraid of them, nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you sit on scorpions. Be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house. 7 And you shall speak my words to them, whether they hear or refuse to hear, for they are a rebellious house.
8 “But you, son of man, hear what I say to you. Be not rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.” 9 And when I looked, behold, a hand was stretched out to me, and behold, a scroll of a book was in it. 10 And he spread it before me. And it had writing on the front and on the back, and there were written on it words of lamentation and mourning and woe.
To read more about the Holy Spirit in the prophets, see Num. 27; and 1 Sam. 10.
DAY 4 - 6/6
In Ezekiel 37, Ezekiel has a vision in which he sees the deadened spiritual state of God’s people. This is represented both as a valley of bones as well as the Spirit’s manifest presence bringing those dead bones back to life. The dry bones are a vivid representation of of Judah’s spiritual state – the consequence of their disloyalty to their covenant with Yahweh.
Israel and Judah seemed to have lost touch with their Father and hope for the future, but Yahweh had not lost touch with them. In Ezekiel’s vision, Yahweh demonstrates how the creative and restorative power of the Spirit can bring life to the dry bones in an instant.
Ezekiel 37:1-14 (ESV)
The hand of the Lordwas upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the Lordand set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. 2 And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. 3 And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, you know.”
4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 5 Thus says the Lord Godto these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. 6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.”
7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8 And I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. But there was no breath in them.
9 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 may live.” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.
11 Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are indeed cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel.
13 And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. 14 And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the Lord.”
To read more about the Holy Spirit as God’s manifest presence, see Exod. 3; and Ps. 139.
DAY 5 - 6/7
Up to this point, we have seen the creating and empower role of the Holy Spirit as well as how he manifests himself in the natural world. As we have studied, the prophets were equipped for ministry directly by the Spirit himself to make Yahweh’s true nature and character known to his people.”1
In Numbers 11 we see that the Spirit’s power was given to the leadership of Israel to support and strengthen this new people. This underscores how God does not simply work through select individuals. He desires to empower and work through communities of people who are loyal to him. The Holy Spirit’s ability to empower God’s people for ministry is what ultimately provides a means of guidance for the church today.
1)Glasser, Arthur F. Announcing the Kingdom: The Story of God’s Mission in the Bible(Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group, 2003.), 119.
Announcing the Kingdom: The Story of God’s Mission in the Bibleby: Arthur F. Glasser.
Numbers 11:10-17 (ESV)
10 Moses heard the people weeping throughout their clans, everyone at the door of his tent. And the anger of the Lord blazed hotly, and Moses was displeased. 11 Moses said to the Lord, “Why have you dealt ill with your servant? And why have I not found favor in your sight, that you lay the burden of all this people on me?
12 Did I conceive all this people? Did I give them birth, that you should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom, as a nurse carries a nursing child,’ to the land that you swore to give their fathers? 13 Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they weep before me and say, ‘Give us meat, that we may eat.’ 14 I am not able to carry all this people alone; the burden is too heavy for me. 15 If you will treat me like this, kill me at once, if I find favor in your sight, that I may not see my wretchedness.”
16 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Gather for me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them, and bring them to the tent of meeting, and let them take their stand there with you. 17 And I will come down and talk with you there. And I will take some of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them, and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you may not bear it yourself alone.
To read more about how the Holy Spirit empowered others for ministry, see Zech. 4 and Isa. 49.
VIDEO CONTENT COURTESY OF THE BIBLE PROJECT