The picture above is called Starry Night and was painted by Vincent Van Gogh. The reason that I picked Starry Night to share with you, is because I love the way that Vincent painted the wind. See that swirling bundle of power and light right in the middle of the star field? That’s how he saw wind. It’s folded back on itself, twisting and reaching forward and back at the same time, not bound by up or down.
I love the wind. I’ve sailed on the Chesapeake Bay with my Uncle and my Dad, watching the invisible force fill the canvas sails, and push the boat across wind sanded waves. I’ve flown kites too; deltas, great Chinese dragons, and airfoils. I’ve felt the live-jerk of the wind on the other end of 100 pound test line, and had the line burn my fingers because it pulled out too fast. I got a set of leather, fingertipless gloves for my birthday after that happened. I still have the scar on my index finger though, a reminder of how ferocious wind can be.
Wind is un-catchable, uncage-able, powerful, and mysterious. It can be devastating too. Hurricanes and tornadoes are unstoppable walls of force that literally demolish and pound away everything in their paths.
Why all the thinking about the wind? Well, it woke me up for one. For another, right now, I can see two great pine trees bowing and flipping, swaying and tickling each other under its influence. It’s been on my mind a lot, because the wind’s been blowing with near gale force on and off for several days here. I’ve been mulling over too, the fact that wind is used an awful lot to describe the Holy Spirit.*
In the Old Testament, He’s called the Ruach Hakkodesh (Psalm 51:5) Ruach can mean wind, breath,(of God, of men, and of animals) and spirit. When it is used in combination with the word Hakkodesh, it means Spirit and not just any Spirit, but the Holy Spirit. I know, it’s hard to kind of wrap your head around who exactly He is. God the Father, is our Father because of Christ’s work on our behalf. Those of us blessed with amazing dads see the connection and go “Oh, okay, I understand, kind of. My dad’s love and protection are like His love and protection.” With Jesus we have God in the flesh, God who became Man, The Infinite in an Earth Suit.
Even better than that, we have an Advocate who knows what it’s like to be human (including how strange it is to start off yawning and then hiccup). He knows our problems and issues from the inside out; “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:14 ESV
But, He left. Our Messiah, Our King, Our High Priest, Son of God, Son of Man, Word Made Flesh, left. He left. He told us why, in John 16. Take a look:
“Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you” John 16:7-14 ESV
Right. The Holy Spirit is vital to me then, and His being here is to my advantage but, it’s kinda hard to get to know Him. And yet, watching the wind and looking at my own life I can see the evidence of both the wind outside on the trees and the grass, and evidence of the Spirit in my life now and again. Time to really dig into Scripture and see what I can find about my Constant Companion.
You’re welcome to tag along through the rest of the post, or you can go digging on your own and Chase The Wind. Here I go. I’m going to look and see what Jesus also said/did concerning the Spirit being given to His disciples and later on, to me.
Before Jesus left, He breathed on his disciples. Hmmm. Why? A little on the strange side. I mean it isn’t customary to go around exhaling on people. Not today, and really not back then either. Take a look:
“Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. ” John 20:20-22 ESV (bold italics mine)
Wait a minute, why does this sound familiar? God breathing on someone. Hmm. A quick zip through an online Bible Study Program and I find where He had breathed on someone before. Take a look:
“…Then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” Genesis 2:7 ESV
In the beginning, man was lifeless. And then the Lord breathed into Him and Adam drew a deep breath and was the first living human being. But, through our choice, through his rebellion and he died, and all of us being the same as Adam and Eve, died too. But then (I love Biblical But-thens, because it means ‘don’t give up hope yet, not yet’) the Rescue Mission which was in place before Elohim spoke “Let there be light” began to rumble into motion. It culminated in The Second Adam, Christ, redeeming us on the cross but also in His breathing new life into man again. Like artificial resuscitation can bring the physical body back to life if air is missing for a short period of time, so Christ’s work, His life, death, and resurrection brought me back to life. And Ruach Hakkodesh is a vital part of that new life.
Hmm. I’m going to have to stop here for now. But this is definitely just the tip of something. I’m excited.
Encourage One Another Scribes.
* I’m going to be talking about all three Persons of the Trinity, and avoid being word-tangled as I write I’m going to use modifiers and pronouns that are single when talking about each. But remember while He is Three, it is Three-In-One. He always was Triune, always is Triune, always will be Triune. English just doesn’t have the right words to really describe that. Actually, I think that the Hebrew writers and those working with Greek and Aramic struggled with that dilemma as well and that makes me feel a little better.