Friday, May 2, 2014

The Holy Spirit, Part 12

We find in a historical account regarding Moses: “They angered Him also at the waters of strife, so that it went ill with Moses on account of them; because they rebelled against His Spirit, so that he spoke rashly with his lips,” Psalm 106:32-33. Here we find the reason things went ill with Moses. God commanded Moses to speak to the rock before the people, and that water would come forth. Instead, Israel’s human leader struck the rock and stole some of God’s glory by proclaiming “Hear now you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?” Numbers 20:10.

Note the word “we.” Moses ascribed this power at least partly to himself. The psalmist informs us that this was Moses speaking rashly, for he apparently did not clearly consider what he was saying. But it was said before the whole of the congregation, and could not be withdrawn. This is a critical lesson to leaders whom God has raised up; He has raised you up to feed His sheep, not steal His thunder. If Moses was not spared, then we would do well to be exceedingly careful to give God the glory due His holy name.

It was against God’s Spirit that Israel rebelled. The writer of Hebrews, quoting about this era in Israel’s history, says “Therefore, the Holy Spirit says, ‘Today if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of trial in the wilderness, where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, and saw My works forty years. Therefore I was angry with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, and they have not known My ways.’ So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest,’” Hebrews 3:7-11. The Holy Spirit here is being challenged and rebelled against, although in the above passage quoted (from Psalm 95:7-11) it is God Himself being challenged and rebelled against. In fact the passage from Hebrews in which the writer addresses this topic in the OT has the Holy Spirit speaking as only an individual with thoughts and emotions can. This passage teaches us that we can rebel against God’s Spirit, and He is vocal in condemning said rebellion. He calls it for what it is, and when we reap the consequences of having indulged in it rather than obeying, He will be shown to be just in His judgment. We are warned; we are told obedience to the Spirit yields life and joy. Disobedience (unbelief/rebellion) yields sorrow, regret and pain.

David writes of this marvelous Spirit: “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, you are there,” Psalm 139:7-8. The psalmist likens the Spirit to God’s presence, deducing that they are one and the same; in that simple vein of logic he goes a step farther to assert that no matter where he might flee in Heaven (space or the Heaven of Heavens), Hell, or earth, the Holy Spirit is everywhere. In other words the Spirit is omnipresent, meaning that He is everywhere at once. This feat is something only God can do, and since the psalmist insists that the Holy Spirit is everywhere in the universe, then He must be omnipresent.

As a side note, I am not referring to the Holy Spirit being “everywhere” in the vague, perplexing and enigmatic pantheistic sort of way. I am not saying that God is part of everything, or that everything in the universe is the sum of God. That would make God subject to His universe, and He is no greater than His material components. Furthermore, it would also mean He is suffering the universal breakdown that we see around us as entropy has its way in this closed system. To say that God is in everything and part of everything also means God is good and evil, truth and lies, etc. God is everywhere, but separate from His creation and not subject to the universal laws (gravity, etc) that bind the universe and cause it to operate. As a unique being with defined morals, holiness and reason, He is approachable by created beings and capable of interacting with and altering His creation, not being subject to it. Miracles, in the pantheistic sense, would not occur because God is subject to the laws of nature (being nature Himself) and is also sickness, pain, death, disease, etc. Why would He perform a “miracle” and act against Himself?

3 comments:

  1. Unfortunately thast pantheistic idea is prevalent in modern churches.

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  2. Can i ask something,if there is a god who helps in time of need,an helps i wonder were is he when i have need him much,cause its like he has disappear,out of many people life.i have lost my job,unemployment finish,i pray an pray an nothing absolutely nothing has happened,no change no job no help so i ask you,shoud i continue believing that he god is hearing my need.

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  3. First, I am very sorry to hear about your troubles, and I will pray for you and your situation.

    I know that it can be hard sometimes when we don't "see" the results we want from God, but there are conditions to answered prayer that must be met, and even if these conditions (laid down in the NT) are met, God does not have to answer in the way we wish. Sometimes prayer we want is not what is best for us and God knows something better, and is bringing it if we are willing to wait for it.

    The first condition regards the person of Christ; if we have not been saved by faith in Christ and belief in His gospel we are not God's. This is clearly vital, to know who we have placed our trust in. When we have become children of God through faith in Christ we are then His children, and the relationship of parent/child can truly begin.

    Second, if we are already His children do we have unconfessed sin in our lives? Is there some habit of sin, or particular sin that we refuse to acknowledge or let go? If so, God will not bless and prosper a child selfishly demanding his own way but also insisting God hear and answer his prayers. God would be condoning the sin that sent His own beloved Son to the cross.

    Hebrews chapter 12 teaches about the chastening of God and both its pain and benefit for His children. I have endured this on many occasions, and the Bible makes it clear that no adopted child of God escapes it; nor should we want to, for God matures our character through it and makes us useful for service.

    Finally, don't judge the Lord on purely pragmatic grounds. I know sometimes it seems like He doesn't answer prayer, but He may have answered it in a way you have not seen, or is in the process, or He may be attempting to teach patience. We can't and shouldn't judge God's reality based on weather we get results, but on the truth of His claims from Scripture. If we are convinced of the evidences Scripture presents that God is real and really cares for us, then in genuine, child-like trust we ought to rest in God's promises and permit Him to take care of us. Sometimes standing still and simply waiting for God is the hardest part. I sympathize; I have a very hard time waiting sometimes.

    I encourage you to find and associate wit other Bible believing, Holy Spirit-led Christians who can be there for you with fellowship, counsel and prayer. It's much easier to bear when you have more of your family around, and it is easier to remember Christ's love for us if we are surrounded by Christians living in God's will and suffering trials and discipline as well.

    I leave you with the admonition that Jesus warned us that in this world we would have tribulation, but Christ gives us a peace that differs from worldly peace, John 14:27; 16:33. What you are suffering is not something at all unusual but a temptation to depart from faith in God because you can't see what He's doing; James tells us that we should endure temptation because it will yield great reward, James 1:12.

    "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it," 1st Corinthians 10:13.

    I hope this helps you in your trial. My family will keep you in our prayers, friend.

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