When I stop and contemplate the power of God, I am in awe. There is nothing or any one as powerful as the Spirit of God, who represents God and His character to us on earth. It is humbling to even think it is due to God’s creative power that we live and have our being (PS 104:30).
Although we sometimes think of God’s power revealed through His Spirit as first being experienced on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2), it actually appears throughout the Old Testament. In fact, the word dunamis (Greek for power in the Septuagint) is often used in the Old Testament when speaking about the Spirit of God. For example, God’s power was seen and experienced by His people, the Israelites, in the Old Testament passages as they praised God for His infinite power, Deuteronomy 3:24 declares: Sovereign Lord, …For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do the deeds and mighty works you do? Thus, to understand more fully the New Testament, and how God’s power is involved in our lives today, we must consider the message concerning the Spirit of God that came before it. We must consider the Ruach Yahweh as He moved, and acted and changed lives and circumstances in the Old Testament.
One of the first important aspects I recognized in analyzing the power of God in the Old Testament is that it is qualified by His other attributes, including love. God is certainly all-powerful, and if it were not for knowing that His power is intertwined with His love, we would most likely be leery to draw close to Him. In other words, He could be real scary; and, we could have an unhealthy form of fear towards Him. But, unlike powerful men and women who have allowed power to corrupt their characters and to hurt anyone who opposes them, God’s power is qualified by His love and other attributes equally. Hence, God himself is all-powerful and God himself is love. Thus, although God clearly can do even more than He has done or will do, we can rest knowing that He will never use His power in a way that contradicts all that makes up His character. For example, as Grudem explained, “God could have destroyed Israel and raised up a great nation from Moses (Ex 32:10), but He did not do so.”
I find that God’s power being qualified by His character is an important and comforting truth concerning the infinite power of God in interaction with His creation. While knowing there is no power greater than He, we are awed, while encouraged to trust in Him, instead of finding ourselves afraid of Him. We see this exampled in the story of Rahab. Rahab had heard how God always brought success to the Israelites, His people; so, she knew what side she was going to be on. Her faith was in the God of Israel’s character and power, and His faithfulness to His people (Joshua 2:9-11).
Isaiah speaks of the spirit of the Lord God resting upon the coming Messiah as a servant; whereas, in earlier times the spirit was resting on the kings of Israel. Power is granted to the weak who trusts not in himself, but in God. My New Testament Professor, Peter Grabe said: “PS 61:1 clearly alludes to the anointing of the king in 1 Samuel 16:13. It is, however, said that the Spirit of Yahweh now no longer operates in the context of royal power, but in the context of the proclamation of good news to the humble.”
It is exciting to see the power of God at work in the Old Testament and to read of the prophets declaring the coming gift of the presence of the Spirit of God. Ezekiel 36:26 clearly states that this gift will be available to all of God’s people; first, as a remedy for Israel’s ‘heart of stone,’ but beyond that to be a remedy to the sinful hearts of Gentiles who believe in His name, and, thus, become His people. The Old Testament witness of Ruach Yahweh is relevant to us today and relates to all aspects of our lives. His power is where His presence is. As Christians, His presence now dwells in us through the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, weakness and power as an inseparable unity is displayed in 2 Corinthians 12:9. This statement that ‘power is made perfect in weakness’ constitutes the Magna Charta of Christian existence. Paul sees his weakness and sufferings as marks of commendation by the Messiah as Christ Himself was crucified in weakness, yet lives by the power of God (2 Corinthians 13:4; 1 Corinthians 1:18, 22-24). Christ’s power rests where one has acknowledged their complete inability and accepts in faith Christ’s work and righteousness. You can invite His power into your life today simply by acknowledging your weakness.
Sure hope you are enjoying God on your journey; and, I hope you see His power at work in your life!