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  • Writer's picturePastor Peggy

The Activity of the Holy Spirit in the OT: Part 1

We just visited the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the disciples and others—the empowerment of the early church began. Because of this, it’s easy to think of the Spirit of God’s activity by emphasizing the teaching of Jesus and the writings of Paul in regard to the gifts and fruits of the Spirit. Jesus said the disciples were to wait for the Spirit to come and empower them for service. Paul emphasizes the need to allow the Spirit to develop good fruit in us and for us to be filled with the Spirit on an ongoing basis. It is an awareness of the Spirit with us.


As a result, we can often not pay attention to the activity of the Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, from the very beginning of time. In the next couple weeks, we will be concentrating on the activity of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament—and how it brings us too today.


Let’s begin with Psalm 51:11—David is crying out to God to not take the Holy Spirit from him—to lose the sense the Lord’s presence with him. Couple this with Psalm 139 where David proclaims that the Spirit is everywhere at all times.


There is a sense of desperation in the psalmist that to lose the enduring sense of God’s presence would be absolutely devastating—to David it would be like taking his very breath away.


But what can we learn from the OT about the presence and activity of the Spirit.


We need to go back to the very beginning of the Word of God in Genesis 1:2—it tells us that the Spirit of God was “hovering” over the waters. The Hebrew here suggests the idea of “watching over.”  The Spirit is pictured hovering over the creation, preserving and preparing it for God’s further creative activity. I want you to think about that for just a moment—if the Spirit is hovering over and watching over God’s creative activity—think about how the Spirit of God is with you now, watching over God’s creative activity in your own life. We will be exploring that in greater detail next week.


This same Hebrew word is found in Deuteronomy 32:11 where the metaphor is used from nature, that of the eagle watching over and training its eaglets to fly. In nature, the eaglet is basically pushed out of the nest and begins to fall…the eagle then swoops down and catches that little one on its wings and returns it to the nest. This happens over and over again until such a time when the eaglet’s wings become stronger and they begin to get the understanding of flying!


In Isaiah 31:5 the word is used in regard to the Lord watching over His people. We need to grasp the precious truth here that from the very beginning God the Holy Spirit watches over his creation and that includes us as His children.


This carries us to the words of Jesus and the fulness of what He teaches us about the Holy Spirit.


John 14:16-17—the Counselor will be with you forever—the Spirit of truth, he will remain with you and in youWe have to understand, this is powerful to the disciples because they would have understood that throughout history up to this point was that the Spirit came upon people but did not dwell within them.


John 14:26—Jesus goes on to tell the disciples that the Spirit of God will teach you all things and remind you of everything Jesus said.


Psalm 1:6 proclaims that the Lord watches over the way of the righteous.


Job 34:21—Elihu in his discourse with Job reminds us that God watches over humankinds’ ways.


Nahum 1:7 reminds us that the Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of distress, he cares for those who take refuge in Him.


Psalm 34:18—The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, he saves those who are crushed in spirit.


What can we take away with us today in regard to the activity of Spirit:


1.     His purpose is to “watch over” God’s people, to watch over creation.

a.      It reminds me of the song, His Eye is One the Sparrow.  “His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me. I sing because I’m happy. I sing because I’m free. His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.”

b.     Jesus says that even when a sparrow falls to the ground it is known by God. How much more valuable are we to God.

2.     The assurance today is that 24/7 the Spirit of God is watching over you. You are the Lord’s precious possession and you are valuable to Him in every way.

3.     From Genesis to Revelation, we will see the Spirit of God working in the lives of people…and if God doesn’t change, doesn’t that mean that the activity of the Spirit as it is revealed to us remains unchanging as well.

So today, no matter where your heart is, no matter your current situation in life—the Spirit of God is watching over you and is present with you and is in you—you are never alone!

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