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 But it was said before the whole of the congregation, and could not be withdrawn.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?