Day 4
THE HOLY SPIRIT WAS INVOLVED IN CREATION
WHEN I WAS first ordained to the ministry in Ashland, Kentucky, in 1964, I was publicly questioned
by one of my old mentors, Dr. N. B. Magruder. He wanted me to demonstrate to the congregation that
I was worthy to be ordained, so he asked me certain theological questions. I had no idea what was
coming. One of the questions referred to the eternality of the Holy Spirit. Dr. Magruder asked me to
explain the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament. I wasn’t prepared for that question. However, I began
by referring to the role of the Holy Spirit in Creation, after which I told all I could think of regarding
this subject. I barely managed, but that event caused me to think more deeply regarding the teaching of
the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament.
As we will see further below, there are many references to the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament,
some of which I will elaborate on later in this book. He was, in fact, present and active the whole
time—from Creation on! For example, Pharaoh discerned that the Spirit of God was in Joseph (Gen.
41:38). Bezalel was “filled with the Spirit of God” (Exod. 31:3). The “Spirit of the LORD” was upon
Othniel (Judg. 3:9–10), Gideon (Judg. 6:34), Jephthah (Judg. 11:29), Saul (1 Sam. 10:10), and David
(1 Sam. 16:13). The Holy Spirit lay behind the ministry of Elijah (1 Kings 18:12; 2 Kings 2:16). The
Spirit of God came upon Azariah (2 Chron. 15:1) and Zechariah (2 Chron. 24:20). The references to
the Holy Spirit go on and on. One of the greatest of all is this: “Not by might, nor by power, but by my
Spirit, saith the LORD of hosts” (Zech. 4:6, KJV).
But back to Creation. God the Father was the primary agent in initiating the act of Creation.
However, the Son and the Holy Spirit were also active. The Son is often described as the one
“through” whom Creation came about. “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was
made that has been made” (John 1:3). Paul said that there is “one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom
all things came and through whom we live” (1 Cor. 8:6). The Son is the one “through whom he [God]
made the universe” (Heb. 1:2). In the same way the Holy Spirit was at work in Creation. The Holy
Spirit is generally pictured as completing, filling, and giving life to God’s creation.
“The Spirit of God was hovering over the waters” (Gen. 1:2), indicating a persevering, sustaining,
and governing function. “The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life”
(Job 33:4). The word Spirit in the Old Testament is from the Hebrew word ruach, which means
“wind,” “breath,” or “spirit.” The wind of God—or breath of God—could be a figurative way of
referring to the Holy Spirit’s activity in Creation. So the psalmist, in speaking of the great activity of
creatures on the earth and in the sea, says, “When you send forth Your Spirit, they are created” (Ps.
104:30, NKJV).
As we just saw, Jesus, the second person of the Trinity, is depicted as Creator. “For by him all
things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers
or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him
all things hold together” (Col. 1:16–17). Some of these lines could equally describe the Holy Spirit—
for example, that He is before all things.
The point is, we must never forget that the Holy Spirit had a hand in Creation, just as Jesus did.
For further study: Genesis 1:1–3; Psalm 104:24–30; 136:5–9; Revelation 4:8–11
Glorious Holy Spirit, when I consider that You had a role in Creation, it means You also
had a role in making me! And now You dwell in me! Thank You for this truth. Do make me
ever-increasingly grateful to You for being my Creator. In Jesus’s name, amen


Day 5
THE HOLY SPIRIT GIVES WARNINGS
IN NOAH’S DAY God said, “My Spirit will not contend with man forever” (Gen. 6:3). I grew up on the
King James Version, which says, “My Spirit shall not always strive with man.” The implication is
that there is a limit to God’s patience with humankind. He is “slow to anger,” yes (Exod. 34:6). But
when He finally stops warning sinful people and manifests His judgment, the consequences can be
pretty horrible.
I vividly recall evangelists coming to my old church in Ashland, Kentucky, back in the 1940s and
1950s. They would quote this Old Testament verse frequently—Genesis 6:3—when warning people
of God’s impending judgment. Invitational hymns like “Almost Persuaded” and “Pass Me Not, O
Gentle Savior” frequently followed sermons that warned of the danger of people postponing getting
right with God. It was always stressed, “Now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation”
(2 Cor. 6:2). There is no promise of tomorrow. God might say to the person who thinks he has “many
years” left: “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you” (Luke 12:20). This
gives you a hint of my earliest background.
It is out of the kindness of God that He gives warnings. “Note then the kindness and the severity of
God,” said Paul (Rom. 11:22, ESV). And yet God gives warnings only when there is still hope. Such a
warning is an example of His kindness. Jonah marched into Nineveh with the warning: “Forty more
days and Nineveh will be overturned” (Jon. 3:4). There was no explicit promise of mercy if they
repented, but the Ninevites “believed God” and “declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to
the least, put on sackcloth” (v. 5). The consequence of their repentance was: “When God saw what
they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the
destruction he had threatened” (v. 10).
As I said, Jonah’s message did not offer any hope to the people of Nineveh. For all I know, this
absence of a promise of mercy may have been what shook them rigid. You may ask: since Jonah
clearly said that Nineveh would be overthrown in forty days—with no apparent hope—how was it
possible that God did not keep His word but had mercy upon them? The answer is this: God never
warns when there is no hope. For example, there is no indication that God ever warned Sodom and
Gomorrah for their wickedness. He just punished them instead. So if God sends warning, take it with
both hands! Be glad. Heed the warning.
When I was a teenager, an aged visiting evangelist announced, “Someone here is getting their last
call.” He refused to close the service and handed it over to the pastor. The pastor refused to end the
service and sat down. The people slowly got up out of their seats and went home. The next day as I
finished my paper route (I delivered the Ashland Daily Independent to 110 homes in the
neighborhood), my mother said, “Did you hear about Sandy*?” “No,” I replied. “What do you mean?”
Only moments before, one of my friends was suddenly killed by a car out of control as she walked
home from school. She was in the congregation—scoffing at the preacher’s sermon—the day before
when the evangelist said, “Someone here is getting their last call.” The effect of that event upon me
was incalculable.
“It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed” (Lam. 3:22, KJV). In Jonathan Edwards’s
unforgettable sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” (July 8, 1741) he said, “It is by the
very mercy of God you are not in hell right now.”1 When he finished, people were seen holding on to
pews in the church—and also outside holding on to tree trunks—to keep from falling into hell. It was
one of those rare moments when God came down in unusual power. God’s mercy is often
demonstrated by His warning us. “So, as the Holy Spirit says: ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not
harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert’” (Heb. 3:7–8).
The eventual result was that God swore in His wrath, “They shall never enter my rest” (v. 11).
The Bible says basically two things about God: He is merciful and He is just. By merciful it means
He does not want to punish us; by just it means He must punish us. Is there a way whereby He can be
merciful and just at the same time? Yes. He sent His Son into the world to die on a cross—and
punished Jesus for our sins. That was His justice. This way He does not have to punish those who
trust Jesus’s blood for salvation. That is His mercy.
Do you know for sure that if you died today you would go to heaven? Transfer your trust in your
good works to Jesus’s death on the cross, and you will be saved. But don’t wait. “My Spirit will not
always strive with man.” How gracious are the warnings of the Holy Spirit.
For further study: Genesis 4:6–7; 18:25; Matthew 3:7–10; Luke 12:13–21
O gracious Holy Spirit, thank You for Your warnings. I know You warn us because we
are loved. Grant us grace to wake up before it is too late. In Jesus’s name, amen.
* Not her real name


Day 6
THE HOLY SPIRIT VINDICATES
MY FAVORITE OLD Testament story is that of Joseph. He was given dreams that indicated his eleven
brothers would one day bow down to him. His mistake was telling the dreams to his brothers! They
decided to kill him but changed their minds and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites—never expecting to
see him again. But God was with Joseph. He was sold to an Egyptian officer named Potiphar and won
favor. During this time he refused Potiphar’s wife’s flirtations, so she accused him of trying to rape
her. He was put in prison. While there he interpreted the dream of Pharaoh’s cupbearer. Years later
Pharaoh had a dream that no one could interpret. The cupbearer remembered Joseph, who was
instantly released from prison in order to interpret Pharaoh’s dream. When Pharaoh heard the
interpretation, he said, “Can we find a man like this, in whom is the Spirit of God?” (Gen. 41:38,
ESV), this being one of grandest references to the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament. Joseph by the help
of the Holy Spirit interpreted Pharaoh’s dream, and Joseph’s own dreams were soon fulfilled. Joseph
was made prime minister of Egypt. Sometime after that his eleven brothers came to buy food in Egypt
and had to go to the prime minister—bowing to him, having no idea he was their brother. It was then
that Joseph’s dreams were perfectly fulfilled. The Holy Spirit brought vindication to Joseph.
You could say either that Joseph was vindicated or the truth of his dreams was vindicated. When
it comes to vindication—being proved right, especially when misunderstood or falsely accused—
remember two things. First, God only vindicates honesty and integrity and those on the side of truth
and justice. Therefore falsely accused or misunderstood people deserve vindication only when truth
and justice are on their side. So if you deserve vindication, you will get it—sooner or later. The
psalmist wrote, “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit
your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: he will make your righteousness shine like the
dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun’ (Ps. 37:4–6). Second, vindication is what God
does best. Do not deprive Him of doing what He is an expert on. Don’t elbow in on His territory. If
you do, you will only delay the process. But if you will leave matters to God to order and provide,
He will vindicate in a matter you never dreamed possible. But if the truth is not at stake, don’t expect
vindication.
“It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord (Deut. 32:35; Rom. 12:19). This is the Holy
Spirit’s prerogative. But He may not do it today or tomorrow! Joseph waited some twenty-two years
before his dreams were vindicated. In my book Total Forgiveness I point out that Joseph’s
vindication was delayed until he got right in himself and totally forgave his brothers for what they
did. Are you waiting for vindication? I sympathize with you. I know what it is to be falsely accused, set
aside, misunderstood, and maligned. I have had this from my own family—from a godly father and
grandmother. They were as sincere as they could be. They felt I had broken with God. I waited a long,
long time before my dad said to me, “Son, I am proud of you. You were right; I was wrong.” As for
my grandmother, she went to heaven fully believing I had missed the mark. In heaven the truth will be
vindicated. It is not personal. It seems personal when we are falsely accused. It hurts. But if it is the
truth we are standing for, you can count on this—God will get involved! He may take time. It may be
we need sorting out while we wait. Do you need sorting out? Do you need to forgive someone who
has been hurtful? Joseph had a lot of sorting out to do before he could be trusted with greatness.
You may even get vindication from someone whose opinion doesn’t particularly matter to you. I
don’t think Pharaoh’s vindicating and exalting Joseph meant all that much to Joseph. Joseph’s heart
was back in Canaan—where his brothers lived. Being cleared before them was more important than
being made prime minister of Egypt. And perhaps that is another reason Joseph could be trusted with
such a lofty position; it didn’t matter to him all that much!
When it comes to having your name cleared, let the Holy Spirit do it! He does it best. He will do it
in a manner that is dazzling—in a way you could have never dreamed. But don’t rush the Holy Spirit.
Let Him do His own work in His time, and you will be so glad you did not interfere.
For further study: Genesis 41:16; Matthew 23:12; 1 Corinthians 4:4–5; 1 Peter 5:6–10
Holy Spirit, please forgive me for my impatience in trying to get vindication. I am sorry.
I turn everything over to You, knowing You will reveal the truth in Your own time. In
Jesus’s name, amen.Day 6
THE HOLY SPIRIT VINDICATES
MY FAVORITE OLD Testament story is that of Joseph. He was given dreams that indicated his eleven
brothers would one day bow down to him. His mistake was telling the dreams to his brothers! They
decided to kill him but changed their minds and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites—never expecting to
see him again. But God was with Joseph. He was sold to an Egyptian officer named Potiphar and won
favor. During this time he refused Potiphar’s wife’s flirtations, so she accused him of trying to rape
her. He was put in prison. While there he interpreted the dream of Pharaoh’s cupbearer. Years later
Pharaoh had a dream that no one could interpret. The cupbearer remembered Joseph, who was
instantly released from prison in order to interpret Pharaoh’s dream. When Pharaoh heard the
interpretation, he said, “Can we find a man like this, in whom is the Spirit of God?” (Gen. 41:38,
ESV), this being one of grandest references to the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament. Joseph by the help
of the Holy Spirit interpreted Pharaoh’s dream, and Joseph’s own dreams were soon fulfilled. Joseph
was made prime minister of Egypt. Sometime after that his eleven brothers came to buy food in Egypt
and had to go to the prime minister—bowing to him, having no idea he was their brother. It was then
that Joseph’s dreams were perfectly fulfilled. The Holy Spirit brought vindication to Joseph.
You could say either that Joseph was vindicated or the truth of his dreams was vindicated. When
it comes to vindication—being proved right, especially when misunderstood or falsely accused—
remember two things. First, God only vindicates honesty and integrity and those on the side of truth
and justice. Therefore falsely accused or misunderstood people deserve vindication only when truth
and justice are on their side. So if you deserve vindication, you will get it—sooner or later. The
psalmist wrote, “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit
your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: he will make your righteousness shine like the
dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun’ (Ps. 37:4–6). Second, vindication is what God
does best. Do not deprive Him of doing what He is an expert on. Don’t elbow in on His territory. If
you do, you will only delay the process. But if you will leave matters to God to order and provide,
He will vindicate in a matter you never dreamed possible. But if the truth is not at stake, don’t expect
vindication.
“It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord (Deut. 32:35; Rom. 12:19). This is the Holy
Spirit’s prerogative. But He may not do it today or tomorrow! Joseph waited some twenty-two years
before his dreams were vindicated. In my book Total Forgiveness I point out that Joseph’s
vindication was delayed until he got right in himself and totally forgave his brothers for what they
did. Are you waiting for vindication? I sympathize with you. I know what it is to be falsely accused, set
aside, misunderstood, and maligned. I have had this from my own family—from a godly father and
grandmother. They were as sincere as they could be. They felt I had broken with God. I waited a long,
long time before my dad said to me, “Son, I am proud of you. You were right; I was wrong.” As for
my grandmother, she went to heaven fully believing I had missed the mark. In heaven the truth will be
vindicated. It is not personal. It seems personal when we are falsely accused. It hurts. But if it is the
truth we are standing for, you can count on this—God will get involved! He may take time. It may be
we need sorting out while we wait. Do you need sorting out? Do you need to forgive someone who
has been hurtful? Joseph had a lot of sorting out to do before he could be trusted with greatness.
You may even get vindication from someone whose opinion doesn’t particularly matter to you. I
don’t think Pharaoh’s vindicating and exalting Joseph meant all that much to Joseph. Joseph’s heart
was back in Canaan—where his brothers lived. Being cleared before them was more important than
being made prime minister of Egypt. And perhaps that is another reason Joseph could be trusted with
such a lofty position; it didn’t matter to him all that much!
When it comes to having your name cleared, let the Holy Spirit do it! He does it best. He will do it
in a manner that is dazzling—in a way you could have never dreamed. But don’t rush the Holy Spirit.
Let Him do His own work in His time, and you will be so glad you did not interfere.
For further study: Genesis 41:16; Matthew 23:12; 1 Corinthians 4:4–5; 1 Peter 5:6–10
Holy Spirit, please forgive me for my impatience in trying to get vindication. I am sorry.
I turn everything over to You, knowing You will reveal the truth in Your own time. In
Jesus’s name, amen.