John T. Willis

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Spirit--Wind (continued)

As we saw in the previous blog, the Hebrew word "ruach" often means "wind." Here we note a few other important biblical teachings about this:

A. Just as Yahweh causes the wind to blow, and uses the wind to accomplish his purposes, so Yahweh allows Satan to use the wind for his purposes within the limitations which Yahweh puts on Satan. One example of this is Job 1:19. In Job 1:6-12, God allows Satan to attack what Job "has" [his possessions], but refuses to allow Satan to harm Job himself. So Satan goes forth--and one thing Satan does is to "send a GREAT WIND [RUACH] across the desert, strike the four corners of Job's oldest son's house, and fall on Job's ten adult children and kill them." This is the direct work of Satan, not of Yahweh; yet Satan could not do this if Yahweh did not furnish the wind for Satan to use. Yahweh allows Satan to use his free will, just as he allows human beings to use their free will.

B. In John 3:8, Jesus compares the work of the Holy Spirit with the "WIND" [Greek PNEUMA]. Here, Jesus emphasizes the mysterious nature of the Holy Spirit's work. The blowing of the wind is mysterious, and human beings cannot control it; the same is true of the work of the Holy Spirit.

C. Sometimes, the Bible personifies the wind, that is, speaks of the wind as if it were a person. A good example of this is Psalm 148:8, where the psalmist summons "THE STORMY WIND [RUACH]" to "praise" God. An inanimate "thing" cannot really praise God in the usual sense of the word praise. But by "fulfilling God's command," "the stormy wind" praises and glorifies God, its creator. We all praise God by doing what God created us to do.

[More to come]

John Willis