The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament - 4 May 2021
By Carina Francke
“Was the Holy Spirit involved in the Old Testament?” I have heard people ask. For sure He was! Even though the Old Testament refers to Him as the “Spirit of God” or the “Spirit of the Lord,” the Godhead is and will forever be the unchangeable Triunity. Although this terminology does not appear in the Old Testament, it is clearly implied. It is the Spirit that successfully enables people to complete God-given tasks. One can say that such a job has to do with an act of power by God through man.
The Holy Spirit at Creation
Visualise this picture as described in Genesis 1:2. The earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep. The Spirit of God was hovering over this emptiness. But as the “executive arm” of the Trinity, He was quite active as God spoke words of creation over the emptiness. Within six days, the chaos turned into a paradise where living beings could live. God’s words in Genesis 1:26, ”Let us make man in our image, in our likeness,” imply the involvement of the Holy Spirit. Job 33:4 confirms this truth when Job confesses that the Spirit of God had made him and the breath of the Almighty had given him life.
The Holy Spirit empowers Leaders of Israel
Do you recognise this scenario? A number of believers and people in general become unfaithful to God – worship and serve anything but God – and live as though there is no tomorrow, and eventually end up on the proverbial rubbish dump. They run to the Lord for help, He graciously grants them favour and for a while, all is well. And then … back to the old ways.
This was also the history of Israel. One of the most important ministries of the Spirit of God in the Old Testament was his involvement in the lives of the Israelites. When in distress, God sent leaders like Moses, the Judges, Samuel and others to lead them. But it was the Spirit of God upon them that enabled them to powerfully lead the nation – not their own doing.
Remember Samson and Gideon?
Moses also knew the activity of the Spirit. In the desert, he saw the Lord come down in a cloud and took some of the power of the Spirit that was on Moses and put the Spirit on 70 elders. When the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied, but they did not do so again (Numbers 11:25). The Spirit of God also filled people with skills, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts to enable them to equip Israel’s place of worship (Exodus 31:3,6).
Prayer: Father, thank you for the ministry of the Spirit in the Old Testament that pointed to the coming of Your Son, Jesus, the Anointed! He came to pour out the fullness of the Holy Spirit on all believers. What a privilege! Amen!