At the very outset of Scripture we see the Spirit of God “hovering over the waters.” His presence in creation was most prominent and implicitly, most active. It was the Spirit, some say, keeping everything together and doing the work of dividing.
The Lord is said to have breathed life into man, after which he became a “living creature.” Being that the Hebrew word for breath is also the same word for Spirit, it may indicate that the Spirit was the active agent in giving man his generation.
The Spirit of God then appears prior to the flood, where God says that His Spirit would not abide with man forever due to the escalation of sin. This seems to indicate that the Spirit had a role in bringing the judgment upon the earth in the form of a flood.
It isn’t until the Joseph narrative that the Spirit appears again. This time it is when Pharaoh speaks of Joseph’s depth of wisdom to his servants, saying, “Can we find a man like this, in whom is the Spirit of God?”
The next mention of the Spirit comes in Exodus 31 and is similar to its use in Genesis 41. Bezaleel is said to be filled with the Spirit and given the necessary knowledge and craftsmanship for constructing the tabernacle. It should be noted too that Nehemiah speaks of the Spirit being given to the people of Israel in the Wilderness wandering to teach them (9:20).
In Numbers 11 the Lord takes some of the Spirit that is upon Moses and gives it to the 70 elders of Israel. Here may be another indication of the Spirit’s imparting wisdom and skill.
Numbers also records Baalam (Num. 24) and Joshua (Num. 27) as men who had received the Spirit in a special degree. In the book of Judges the Spirit is referenced approximately 6 times as that which empowered the various judges for their particular work of deliverance. In the book of 1 Sam. the Spirit is said to “rush” upon Saul and David at the commencement of their kingly service.
Interestingly, it is not until 2 Samuel 23 that the Spirit is said to “speak through” someone, namely David in his life’s final song. Otherwise, the instances of the Spirit are few in the life of the kings. This certainly evidences something of the apostasy & decay of the nation. However, Nehemiah notes how the Spirit spoke through the prophets and warned the people of their waywardness (9:30). Thus we have the prophetic books which abound with references.
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