People of the Spirit
God of might and mercy, in Your love I’m found, in Your mercy I live, and in Your grace I’m saved.
Read ISAIAH 44:1-5
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“The Spirit is elusive but profound and worthy of our adoration. The Spirit epitomizes the nearness of the presence and power of God” (Clark Pinnock).
Isaiah, like Hosea, looks forward to a time of renewed fertility and prosperity. It is hard for us to grasp the significance and power of his language, but as we watch news clips of drought-stricken areas where the only source of food is subsistence farming, we may capture something of its urgency. Without water there is nothing: no life, no hope, no future. That’s how it is with the Spirit. Without him we are dry, withered, and unproductive.
This outpouring of the Spirit leads to a new sense of intimacy with God (5) and service (1). With a post-Pentecost perspective we can rest in the assurance that the Spirit is in us, enabling us to live in the power of the resurrection and to address God as “Abba.” This Spirit who is always with us brings the assurance that v. 5 foresees. He is the guarantee of our final salvation. “Throughout Acts the presence of the Spirit is seen as the distinguishing mark of Christianity—it is what makes a person a Christian” (Ben Witherington).
These words were addressed to a people in exile, bringing a promise of restoration. Their desperate longing to return to the land and to the temple are reminiscent of the dry land longing for water, or the farmer watching his life-giving crop wither in the drought. We are in a very different position. We are free. The Spirit has come. But to what extent do we reflect the life and hope of which these verses speak? Perhaps if we lack the sense of refreshment and life it is because we also lack any real sense of our daily need of the Spirit.
Take time to reflect on your need of the Spirit, both personally and in your church fellowship. Pray for a fresh outpouring, remembering that the word implies magnificent generosity.
Spirit of God, You are unlimited, unconfined, and unpredictable. Yet You are always with me. Guide me, lead me, change me. Fill me with Your peace, presence and power.
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