The Spirit of God in the Mission of God: The Torah

Here’s today’s Installment of “The Power and Presence of the Holy Spirit“:

The Spirit in the Books of Law

In Genesis the Spirit is not only present as God speaks the world into being (Gen 1:2), he also sustains human life (6:3). The Spirit enables Joseph to do what no one else can: interpret Pharaoh’s dreams (41:38).

The Spirit is not explicitly mentioned in the exodus narratives, but it seems that God’s presence with his people in the pillar of fire and cloud is probably his Spirit (cf. Exod 13:21–22). At the construction of the tabernacle Yahweh filled Bezalel with the Spirit to give him ability, intelligence, and knowledge of craftsmanship (31:1–5; cf. 35:30–35). This filling of the Spirit enabled him to do what no one else in Israel could. Then when the tabernacle was complete the cloud covered it and Yahweh’s glory filled it (40:34–38).

In Numbers the Lord provides help for Moses by giving the Spirit to seventy elders, and Moses expresses his desire that all God’s people might have the Spirit—an utterance that clearly indicates that what he and the seventy leaders experience is not something that the whole nation enjoys (Num 11:17–29). Remarkably, the Spirit came upon the pagan prophet Balaam, with the result that he prophesied truly (Num 24:2), and Joshua, who might have received the Spirit with the seventy elders (cf. Num 11:28), is described as having the Spirit (Num 27:18; Deut 34:9).

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To see all the posts in this series, go to the category “The Power and Presence of the Holy Spirit.”

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