Monday, January 27, 2014
The Holy Spirit, Part 3
2nd Timothy 3:16 is an excellent verse to pause and consider for a moment. Paul writes that “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God.” The phrase “given by inspiration of God” happens to be one Greek word: “theopneustos” meaning “God-breathed.” It is the stamp of the Holy Spirit’s authority on everything we find in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. God testifies through His servant that every jot and tittle is accurate and correct on all subjects it touches on. For a professing Christian to reject some portion of the Bible in favor of human reasoning is a demonstration of rank unbelief; we fall into the trap of accepting finite rationalizations from men over divine revelation.
We now come to one of the most energetic books in the Old Testament as far the Holy Spirit is concerned: the book of Judges. We find in just a cursory examination, the Holy Spirit falling upon or moving various judges seven times in this book; Judges 3:10; 6:34; 11:29; 13:25; 14:6, 19; 15:14. In the first instance we find Othniel son of Kenaz, younger brother to the famous Caleb. The Spirit of the Lord came upon him and he judged Israel 40 years; incidentally the same amount of time as their wilderness wanderings. Othniel also defeated Cushan-Rishathaim, king of Mesopotamia. We see Zechariah 4:6 and Hebrews 11:33 in action in this narrative. A stalwart faith in God brings our spirit into alignment with His, Amos 3:3. It is no longer us doing the works then, but God, 1st Corinthians 3:5-7; Titus 2:14.
In Judges 6:34 the narrative focuses on Gideon, son of Joash. The Midianites, along with a vast confederacy of armies, come to plunder Israel. Gideon has been chosen b y an angel of God to lead Israel against Midian, and the Spirit of the Lord comes upon him to empower him for the task at hand; which would be far too immense humanly speaking. By the time Gideon leads his band of soldiers against the Midianites the odds are 300 against at least 135,000 soldiers, Judges 8:10. The reason that Gideon’s army was so small? “The people who are with you (Gideon) are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me,’” Judges 7:2. The Lord saves with many or with few. It is human reasoning that is befuddled at the odds arrayed against us at times. From the perspective of the circumstance we find ourselves entrenched in, well may it be that we should despair…if we had no recourse. The apostles learned this same hard lesson when Jesus wanted them to feed the 5000 men (plus women and children) that followed after Him. Jesus knew what He was going to do, that is, miraculously feed the group, John 6:6. Jesus tested Philip, as God has tested many before; not to see if Philip had faith, but to demonstrate the maturity of his existing faith. Philip trusted Christ, but his faith was still in a state of infancy and he gave a carnal answer, whose rationale was based solely on human reasoning, John 6:7. God does not need our help, but the Holy Spirit seeks willing vessels that He can work through to accomplish His eternal purposes: namely the salvation of lost souls and glorifying His name.
Years later the Holy Spirit would come upon Jephthah just prior to a great battle between the king of Ammon and Israel. The Spirit of God made Jephthah ready for this great service, and Jephthah’s godly leadership inspired Israel and gave them the victory, not to mention bringing God the glory. It was indeed a contest between spiritual powers in this instance. Jephthah taunted Ammon’s king by asking him “Will you not possess whatever Chemosh your god gives you to possess? So whatever the Lord our God takes possession of before us, we will possess,” Judges 11:24. Yahweh had given Israel that parcel of land centuries ago; if Ammon and their demon god Chemosh (a “god” renowned for his love of child sacrifice) had truly given it to them, it would be theirs. Jephthah marched in Yahweh’s name; Ammon touted the banner of Chemosh, so to speak. Centuries after this Elijah would similarly challenge the prophets of the false god Baal, 1st Kings 18. The results were the same. “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but we will remember the name of the Lord our God. They have bowed down and fallen (those who placed their faith in human strength); but we have risen and stand upright. Save, Lord! May the King answer us when we call,” Psalm 20:7-9.