Last week the scriptures gave us a plethora of examples in the New Testament of various people who were filled with the Holy Spirit but what about the Old Testament saints? Did they have the Spirit?
Let’s begin with Joseph (Gen. 41:37-45) where Pharaoh recognized the Spirit of God operating in him as he showed discernment and wisdom in leadership. After his promotion Pharaoh changed his name to Zaphenath-paneah which means ‘God speaks and lives’.
Ex. 31:1-11 and 35:30-35 tells us of Bezalel and Oholiab who were chosen by God to build the Tabernacle. They were ‘filled with the Spirit of God’ and gifted with skill, intelligence, knowledge, craftsmanship, and inspiration for teaching their trade.
You can find the Holy Spirit mentioned in various places giving people the authority to prophesy or speak for God (Moses and the elders, Num. 11:16-30, Balaam, 24:2, and Joshua 27:18).
In Judges we find the Spirit active in Othniel (3:9-10), Gideon (6:32), Jephthah (11:29), and Samson (13:25) who were all gifted with leadership: military and judicial.
Saul and David, Elijah and Elisha, Azariah, Jahaziel, Ezekiel, and Zechariah were all empowered by the Spirit; Job (27:2) and Solomon (Pv. 1:23) also recognized the breath or Spirit of God in them. Lastly, Isaiah and Joel promise a future outpouring of the Spirit (Is. 32:15; Joel 2:28) for our benefit.
Why study these ancient men? What could we possibly have in common with them?
But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin. Micah 3:8 ESV
That’s why. Even though the saints of old only experienced a temporary infilling of the Spirit it was required to accomplish God’s assignments; is it any different for us today?
Paul tells us that we are to know and understand the gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:1-11) and their purposes. He informs us of the differences and distinctions but reminds us that their purposes are always for the benefit and advancement of the Kingdom.
To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 1 Corinthians 12:7 ESV
The Greek word for ‘common good’ is similar to our word symphony. Believers bring together a harmonious action when we work together, like an orchestra, to fulfill God’s mission. We all have a unique part to play using the variety of gifts, activities, and service but they’re all are empowered (1 Cor. 12:6, 11) by the Holy Spirit. Paul puts the ball in our court and gives us the responsibility to use that empowerment to benefit the Body of Christ. When each part is working properly (synergy) the whole body grows and builds itself up in love (Eph. 4:16b) so don’t just play your individual instrument … find out how to be part of the symphony.