Our daughter, Kristin, and I were having a great conversation earlier today on the Old Testament appearances of the Holy Spirit. Most of us think that the Holy Spirit wasn’t around until Pentecost and the start of the New Testament Church in the book of Acts. But that just isn’t so. There are verses that point to the work of the Holy Spirit in several of the Old Testament books.
It’s difficult to really have an understanding of the Trinity. God is so magnificent that it is impossible for us to grasp His grandeur and power. So, years ago I came up with a way for us to try and understand the Godhead – three in one. Each member of the Trinity has His own attributes and yet all three members share the exact same “DNA.”
If we think of ice, water and steam, we all know that they are the same molecule – H2O. Yet, one is a solid, one is a liquid and one is a gas. In our world, temperature or pressure are the ways that H2O changes its form. Higher temperatures yield water or steam, while freezing temperatures yield ice. We know that they all exist, but we also know that they don’t co-exist in the same space at the same time.
But imagine that they could. Ice, water and steam, in the same vessel, at the same time, existing together yet each with its own characteristics. That, in essence, is how the Trinity works. Each member shares the same “DNA” as the others yet each part of the Godhead has attributes that are different from the others as well.
And let’s not forget that as God chose to reveal more about Himself to His people, He became more intimate with us. First, God the Father, was above us – as a pillar of fire or in heaven, speaking to us from afar. Then, Jesus, God in the flesh, came to live among us in the flesh, so God was with us, taking the form of one of us, and giving us a model of behavior and love to follow. Finally, at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came to live within each of us – to indwell us. So God the Father above us, Jesus, the Son, among us – and the Holy Spirit within us!
By the way, did you notice that I referred to the various members of the Trinity as male? That’s because although the Holy Spirit is never thought of as female or male, common usage has come to refer to the Holy Spirit as “He” – as a matter of convenience. And we know Jesus is male and God was Father is also thought of as male. So… the Godhead is referred to as male.
David made references to the Spirit of the Lord in 2 Samuel and the prophet Ezekiel also made reference to Him in the book bearing Ezekiel’s name. The Psalms and Isaiah also have similar verses pointing to the Holy Spirit. Joshua, Samson, Gideon and Saul all had encounters with the Spirit as well. And in one of the most notable books about suffering, the book of Job, there is also a verse about the Spirit of God. So, as you can see, the Holy Spirit was present throughout the writings of the Old Testament books.
In fact, the first reference to the Spirit comes in the first several verses of Genesis. In our verse for tonight, we are told, in Genesis 1:1-2 by Moses, the author, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 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.”
God, Jesus and the Spirit were all present at the creation of everything. Notice how the Spirit “hovered” over the water? That Hebrew word refers to the moment when a bird stops flight and hangs still in the air for a brief instant before landing. It’s quite an interesting phenomenon. It’s like everything hung frozen in time at the moment of creation while the Spirit “hovered” over the creation.
My encouragement this evening is that God created the earth, the heavens and everything else. In fact, He created the earth as the perfect “nest” for mankind and to walk with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. My prayer is that we will all remember that the Holy Spirit is a very important member of the Godhead and that even when we are too tired to pray, the Spirit prays for us – and He is always present! Isn’t that magnificent? Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace!