God's Holy Spirit in the Old Testament. The Witness Series, Part 3


A lit candle in a Geneva church

Since the Holy Spirit was given at Pentecost, some wonder about the role of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament.

Certainly the Holy Spirit was actively involved in the Old Testament. In our first devotional of this series (Light of Hope. The Witness Intro), we discovered that the Holy Spirit was actively involved in Creation, and throughout the entire Old Testament we see the Holy Spirit actively involved with individual people, equipping them for specific tasks, guiding, counseling and leading.

Take for example Moses, Samson, Gideon, David and even Joseph.

Let's take a closer look at Joseph's life. From very young, he received visions from God. The one that made his brothers upset was: "We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it." (Gen 37:7, NIV2). When opportunity arose, they sold him to a band of Ishmaelite traders, who in turn, sold him as a slave in Egypt. There Joseph became a slave in Potiphar's home. He quickly advanced, however, and became Potiphar's own attendant. Potiphar's wife was attracted to him and made advances at him, for he was young and handsome. It would have been easy for a young man like him to fall into temptation; however, his mind was fixed on his Heavenly Father, and he rejected her advances. Potiphar's wife was upset and accused him for trying to rape her. As a result of his good intentions, he ended up in prison.

Even in the dungeon, Joseph advanced quickly to the point that he was put in charge of all the prisoners. One day a pair of fellow prisoners, a cupbearer and a baker in Pharaoh's court, received individual dreams. They shared their dreams with Joseph, and Joseph, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, assured the cupbearer he would get his job back, while the baker would be executed within three days. It all happened just as Joseph said (See Gen 39).

After the cupbearer went back to his service in Pharaoh's court, he forgot about Joseph. It wasn't until two years later, when Pharaoh had a strange dream that no one could interpret, that the cupbearer remembered Joseph. At the advice of the cupbearer, Joseph was brought to the Pharaoh to interpret the dream. Filled with God's Spirit, Joseph was able to tell exactly what would happen in Egypt: Following seven years of plenty, famine would invade the whole region. There was but one way to save the Egyptians: Save grain for the next seven years of plenty until the famine came knocking at their door. Joseph was considered a hero. He saved Egypt.

The famine, in turn, led Joseph's own brothers to come to Egypt for food. They didn't recognize their brother at first, for he was dressed as an Egyptian and was second in command of that thriving country. When Joseph eventually revealed himself to his brothers, he forgave them.

All through his life, Joseph never accepted bitterness. He always kept on trusting on His Heavenly Father, striving to follow Him at all costs (See the rest of Genesis). Everyone recognized that he had the Spirit of God within him. Even Pharaoh recognized that: "So Pharaoh asked them, 'Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God?'" (Gen 41:38, NIV2). This shows how the Holy Spirit could direct certain individuals and lead them to trust in our Heavenly Father.

The Holy Spirit also directed those who wrote the Old Testament, making certain that the prophecies of the upcoming Messiah would be accurate. All these prophecies were fulfilled when Jesus came to this Earth. The Holy Spirit empowered the real prophets to proclaim messages from the Most High (See http://answers2prayer.org/bible_studies/jesus/gods_signature.html ).

The Holy Spirit even empowered artisans while building the temple. He didn't always come upon people in the same way. In some instances, the Spirit remained permanently with certain individuals, like Moses, David and Elijah; while others receive the Spirit temporarily, like Saul, Samson and the 70 elders. But whenever the Holy Spirit came upon people in the Old Testament, they received supernatural abilities.

So what happened at Pentecost? Whereas the Holy Spirit came down individually upon certain people in the Old Testament, He became accessible to all followers of Christ in the New Testament, at Pentecost. And this is the same Holy Spirit that is with us today. He can open our minds to understand the Bible fully.

All my life, I thought I knew the Bible. I was faithfully attending a legalistic church, and I strictly held to their doctrines. One day I was invited to attend a Messianic synagogue. Intrigued I went there with my family. As we entered, an overwhelming presence was felt by both my wife and myself: God's presence through His Holy Spirit was in that place. I had never felt His presence in this way before. During the service there was prophesying. The Rabbi's wife prophesied that there was someone in the congregation that was facing an open door, the door of the Messiah Yeshua. She was encouraging that person to not hesitate any longer, but to go through that door. Little did she know that she was prophesying to me.

I thought I knew Jesus, I thought I knew my Bible, but that day I tumbled down from my ivory tower and accepted Jesus into my life. That day He became real to me, and my whole life changed. He gave me total victory over the addiction I had struggled with for 30 years. But even more amazing, after my first encounter with the Holy Spirit, I found I could open my Bible and actually understand it, I mean really understand it like I never could before. The difference simple: God's Spirit was dwelling in me. Jesus was so right when he said: "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth." (John 16:13)

My outward attitude changed as well. I used to be an egotistical, selfish individual who would only think about himself (just ask my wife!). Dishes? That's women's work! Cleaning up? Not for me. After all, I was the bread winner! Of course it didn't matter that my wife also worked full-time, and she had long ago given up hope that I would ever change. She even stopped asking me to help out. But she began to see changes happening in me. I began insisting on doing the dishes, putting away my shoes without reminders, and cleaning up all my work areas. God made a difference in my life, He has become my Messiah. Praise the Lord for leading me to Him.

Yes, I used to think I was saved. After all, didn't I obey all my church's doctrines? Didn't I try to read my Bible? Didn't I try to pray? Didn't I? But I learned that being saved is not about what I can do, it's about what God does in a person's life. Jesus came to this earth to die in my place, to save me from eternal damnation. He saved me through His own blood. Jesus loves-ME!-and He manifested that love by making His dwelling place in me, through His Holy Spirit! Praise God!

The Holy Spirit is now even more actively involved in our lives than in the past.

Are you bitter? Invite God's Holy Spirit. He will fill you with peace and joy!

Rob Chaffart

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