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Dry Bones Live!

William posed a question at our Zoom Bible Study:

Does the Holy Spirit appear in the Old Testament?

We offered a few examples and William took us through several texts.

The Spirit was involved in creation,

“…and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters.” Genesis 1:2.

“In the beginning God created …” Genesis 1:1. God (Elohim) is plural here in Hebrew whereas created is singular, indicating that God is more than one and is one at the same time. The word used for Spirit in verse 2 is ‘ruach’ which means wind or breath. He is unpredictable and wild.

Some people in the Old Testament were given the Spirit for a specific purpose and for a limited amount of time.

As a creator the Spirit gave gifts of creativity to others. Exodus 31:3,

“I have filled them with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship.” These gifts were for the specific purpose of producing the tent and the ark of the covenant.

In Numbers 11:16-17 the Spirit that is on Moses will also be upon 70 others, to bear the burden of the people.

Samson’s strength was a result of “the Spirit of the Lord coming mightily upon him,” in Judges 14:6, specifically so Israel would defeat their adversary.

Ezekiel was brought to a place by the Spirit (ruach) of the Lord and told to prophesy over a valley of dry bones, saying,

“O dry bones: … behold, I will cause breath/Spirit (ruach) to enter you and you shall live.” Ezekiel 37. The Spirit gave life. The context is Israel’s unfaithfulness, they were a ‘dead lose’ but with the Spirit they were enlivened as the Spirit brings life and order out of nothing, as he is all-powerful. God can do the same thing to us when we appear to be dead in terms of faith. William and others shared that many times they’d heard Christian speakers say that before they discovered the Holy Spirit they were like dry bones. But with the Spirit they were animated and alive, ready to share the faith with others and on fire for God.

In Amos 7:14 Amos is also told to speak for God and although the Spirit is not mentioned specifically here, it is believed that Amos received the Spirit to enable him, a mere herdsman, to fulfil God’s calling.

Joel prophesies about the future coming of the Spirit, “…I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall,” Joel 2 28-29. The is mentioned by Peter in Acts 2 on the day of Pentecost. The Spirit has the power to transform.

In the Old Testament the Spirit is there from the very start and is manifested gradually in people lives, through certain ones, who had a specific task to do. Joel says this will be extended to people generally and not reserved for the few, which was fulfilled when the Holy Spirit came upon those waiting in Jerusalem.

In future studies we will look at the Holy Spirit as ‘Paraclete’ comforter, who will enable Christian to do even greater work than Jesus, as he returned to the Father! We will look at the gifts of the Spirit in the New Testament.

The aim of the five sessions is to know in our own minds if we want the Holy Spirit in our lives and know what God wants us to do. Very often God gives us a particular ministry and sends us out with the power of his Spirit. William said that the Holy Spirit is a person who is powerful, and He equips people for his service. We are called to put one foot in front of the other and press on but being constantly open to God and his call to change our path as He sees fit.

Jesus came to give life in all its fulness, the sort of life that animate the dry bones in the Old Testament account of Ezekiel’s’ experience of the Spirit.

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