Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Tuesday, April 23, 2013:  Judges 1:1-2:9

12 Then Caleb said, “Whoever attacks Kirjath Sepher and takes it, to him I will give my daughter Achsah as wife.”13 And Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, took it; so he gave him his daughter Achsah as wife. 14 Now it happened, when she came to him, that she urged him to ask her father for a field. And she dismounted from her donkey, and Caleb said to her, “What do you wish?” 15 So she said to him, “Give me a blessing; since you have given me land in the South, give me also springs of water.”  And Caleb gave her the upper springs and the lower springs.  Judges 1:12-15 (NKJV)

We often hear and study about examples of Jesus in the Old Testament.  But, what about the ministry of the Holy Spirit?  Throughout the pages of the Old Testament we find pictures of the work of Jesus on the Cross and of the power of His death and resurrection.  But do we also find pictures of the promised Holy Spirit?  I believe that we do find such a picture in the story of Caleb's daughter Achsah.

Stories such as this are more than just the historic record of what happened in the past.  They are signs and types of good things to come.  So here is the deeper meaning of Caleb and his daughter Achsah. 

Caleb, the father, shows us aspects of our heavenly Father.  He represents God's ability to carry us to our full inheritance.  That's what Caleb did for Irael.  He was never discouraged over the challenges.  He never gave up -- so that even in old age he was still winning victories.  Most importantly, he cared for the needs of his children.  He had a heart to seek blessing and provision for his daughter, Achsah.  That's the kind of man Caleb was.  God Almighty is the same kind of Father to us.

Caleb made provision for the marriage of his daughter.  In similar fashion, God the Father has sought a Bride for His Son.  In many ways, the center and focus of God's eternal activity has been to gather the Bride of Christ from redeemed humanity.  The culmination of history is the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.  At the center of the universe is a LOVE STORY. 

Caleb, the father, made provision for his daughter.  He gave her land.  But, we find that this land was "in the South".  That means it was desert land.  It was dry and arid, unable to provide crops.  It was unfruitful, unproductive land.  In similar fashion, many believers find that their lives have dried up.  They are like a desert.

Caleb asked his daughter what she needed.  Her reply was that he give her "springs of water."  This speaks to us of the ministry of the Holy Spirit.  She asked her father for water.  We are encouraged to ask our Father for the enfilling and empowering of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus spoke of this by using the illustration of a good father's care for his children. 

11 If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”  Luke 11:11-13 (NKJV)

At times, our lives can become dry and unproductive.  We long for refreshing from God.  Like Achsah, we recognize that our lives need "springs of water" to replenish, restore, and revitalize.  We need the ministry of the Holy Spirit.  So we boldly ask our Father to fill us.

Caleb responds by doing more than he is asked.  God does that, too.  Ephesians 3:20 says that He is "able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think."  Caleb gave her "the upper springs and the lower springs."  God actually wants to give us more than we are asking for.

The lower springs are the bottom of the mountain.  This is the pool from which the workers can drink -- from which the fields can be irrigated and the animals watered.  It is the actual SUPPLY that brings renewal.  The upper springs are the head waters far up in the mountains.  The upper springs are the SOURCE.  Jesus said that the Holy Spirit will be like a river of living water flowing from the depth of your insides -- your heart (John 7:38).  God wants to give us both.

We need daily to drink from the lower springs.  As we walk through life, there is a continual need for a drink of the water of the Holy Spirit.  This is what it means to be daily filled with the Holy Spirit.  But, we also need to tap into the head waters.  We need to go to the top of the mountain and find a fullness that will never run dry.  Jesus spoke to a woman by a well one day about this very thing.  He told her "whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:14)

If we are dry and parched, Jesus offers us living water.  The Holy Spirit will come and fill us to overflowing.  We can enjoy the daily and hourly presence of God. 

He will also become a well-spring inside us continually pouring His life through us.  We need not run from one blessing to the next -- from one meeting the next.  We can have "the anointing which abides in you" (I John 2:27).  It stays and is an abiding comforter to guide and strengthen.

The SUPPLY is the hand of God.  The SOURCE is the heart of God.  He wants to fill you in such a way that all your needs are met.  But He also wants to take you to the head-waters.  He wants you to know HIM as well as what He can do.  The Holy Spirit will be like an unending river that brings joy, peace, and power.  He will cause His rivers to flow in our dry places -- streams in the desert (Is. 35:6).

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