Continuing our Names & Titles of the Holy Spirit series in this article we are going to look at the term Spirit of the Lord throughout the scriptures and learn more about what happens when the Spirit of the Lord gets involved.
The Spirit of The LORD Came Upon Othniel
Othniel was the first Judge of Israel mentioned in the book of Judges. He was the son of Kenaz who was the younger brother of Caleb. When you read the scripture it can look like Othniel was the brother of Caleb however that is not so Caleb was his uncle.
We read that Kenaz only had two children named Seraiah and Othniel (1Ch 4:13) – so Caleb was definitely not Othniels brother he was his father’s brother.
The story can be found in Judges chapter 3. Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgat the LORD their God, and served Baalim and the groves. (Judges 3:7)
As a result… God sold them into the hand of Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia: and the children of Israel served Chushanrishathaim for eight years. (Judges 3:8)
And when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer to the children of Israel, who delivered them, even Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. (Judges 3:9-11)
We read… the Spirit of the LORD came upon Othniel and led Israel to battle against Chushanrishathaim and the Lord gave Othniel the victory.
As a result, Israel enjoyed a period of peace for 40 years and Othniel dies. Sadly, after the death of Othniel, Israel goes straight back to its evil ways and the cycle continues.
The Spirit of The LORD Came Upon Gideon
Gideon comes onto the scene when… All the Midianites and the Amalekites and the children of the east were gathered together, and went over, and pitched in the valley of Jezreel. (Judges 6:33). And in (Judges 6:34) we read… But the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon.
The Famous Fleece
While the Lord told Gedeon he will deliver Israel through him Gideon is having his doubts and asks God to prove it via a fleece. He will put out a fleece on the floor and if it is wet from the dew the next morning and the ground is dry he will know for sure. And he wakes up the next day and it so.
But he still doubts so he again asks God for the opposite. That the fleece remains dry and the ground is wet. He wakes up the next morning and it is so. (Judges 6:37-40)
I was thinking this is a bizarre request asking God to prove what he says is true in this way. After all, he is talking to and receiving instructions from God. That would be enough for me I thought.
But maybe it is not as clear-cut as we think.
- After all, we talk to God too – don’t we? For he that speaks in an unknown tongue speaks to God! (1Co 14:2)
- And we receive instructions from God too – don’t we? Through the gifts, his word, and by his Spirit.
- And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel (Judges 6:22).
You see it was just a man that appeared to Gideon and passed on the message and it was only later that Gideon realized it was an Angel. So there was no big booming voice out of heaven speaking to him. So very similar to our relationship with God in the New Testament.
We read in Judges 7 about the mighty victory after whittling the size of the Israelite army down to 300 men. And they defeated them with trumpets and lamps which caused the enemy to turn on themselves and kill each other.
But it was all possible because the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon.
The Spirit of The LORD Came Upon Jephthah
We are introduced to Jephthah in Judges chapter 11. He was a mighty man of valor but he was a son of a harlot. He lived with his Father (Gilead) and his wife who had other children. When the children grew up they kicked Jephthah out and would not give him any part of their inheritance.
After a period of time, the children of Ammon are at war with Israel, and the elders of Gilead who had earlier kicked him out now go to him for help. And they agreed that if the Lord gave him the victory he would become their head.
Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah (Jdg 11:29) and he was victorious. And Jephthah judged Israel for six years. Then died Jephthah the Gileadite, and was buried in one of the cities of Gilead. (Jdg 12:7)
There is a weird twist within this story.
Jephthah vowed a vow to the Lord …whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD’S, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering. (Jdg 11:31)
And when he goes home his daughter comes out to meet him.
He rent his clothes realizing what he had done. His daughter however wanted him to fulfill his vow and asked for two months to go and bewail her virginity.
And it came to pass at the end of two months, that she returned unto her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed: and she knew no man. (Jdg11:39)
Did Jephthah Kill His Daughter?
Now when first reading this you think how could he kill his daughter however I don’t believe that happened and it doesn’t actually say he did. God was against child sacrifice. He intervened with Abraham and Isaac. But the following statement from the Lord makes it clear…
They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind (Jer 19:5)
Jephthah said whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me shall surely be the LORD’S, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.
It is believed the word and should be the word or. So if a human comes out first they would be the Lords or if an animal it would be a burnt offering.
Or dedicating whoever came out of the door to the Lord is the burnt offering – not actually killing anyone but setting them aside for the Lord.
It would seem the bewailing of her virginity rather than bewailing that she was going to die is a clear indicator that her life from that time was living as a virgin to the Lord (what we would call a Nun today).
She was Japheth’s only child so he would have no descendants either. He died 6 years later. So I don’t think this scripture speaks of killing his child but separating (dedicating) her for the Lord’s service.
In a similar manner, Hannah who was barren promised to dedicate her firstborn child to the Lord if he would give her children, And she vowed a vow… then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life (1Sa 1:11), she gave birth to Samuel.
And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her… For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him: Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there. (1Sa 1:24-2)
So she dedicated Samuel to the Lord and he was raised by the prophets. So I’m convinced we are losing something in the translation and Jephthah did not sacrifice his daughter but dedicated her to the Lord’s service.
Nonetheless – once again we see when the Spirit of the Lord comes on someone they have victory over the enemies.
Spirit of the Lord Came Mightily Upon Samson
Who hasn’t heard of the story of Samson? We read how the Spirit of the Lord began to move him at times (Jdg 13:25). The next thing we learn is he was faced with a lion and the Spirit of the Lord mightily came upon him and rent that lion like a kid. (Jdg 14:6)
Now just to be clear… he didn’t rent it like a video game – he rent it as in split it in two. And just like a kid is not like some child but like a little lamb. Such was he his strength when the Spirit of the Lord came upon him.
Pause for a second and just consider how big and tough a lion is.
How the lion would have been attacking him, big gnashing teeth, sharp claws, powerful strength, the king of the beasts, and Samson split it in two. This is supernatural strength.
Samson becomes very rebellious, yet the Lord still uses him to rescue Israel from their oppression under the hands of the Philistines. He actually hangs out with the enemy. His best friends are from the enemy. Disobedient to his parents he marries a woman from the enemy. After all, he has all of this strength, is afraid of nothing, and therefore knows better.
If Ye Had Not Plowed with My Heifer, Ye Had Not Found Out My Riddle
But the wife he married betrays him. (Judges 14:12-20) He is partying with the enemies and tells them a riddle. His wife cries and begs him for the answer to the riddle for seven days and he relents and tells her. She then tells her people who answer the riddle.
…And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, and slew thirty men of them – took their garments, etc, and paid the agreed price for them answering the riddle. 30 sheets and 30 changes of garments.
To add insult to injury they give his wife to his best friend – that’s what happens when you are unequally yoked. (2Co 6:14) Obeying his parents would have saved so much hurt and pain.
When Samson learns his wife has been given to his companion he catches 300 foxes and puts a firebrand in the midst between two tails, and then sets the brands on fire and sets the loose so that they burn up all of the Philistine’s crops. Their corn, vineyards, and olives. (Jdg 15:4-5)
As a result, The Philistines are a tad upset and burn his wife and father-in-law with fire. (Those who betray others usually end up paying for it dearly – and usually, from the very hands they sold the betrayed person to). (Jdg 15:6)
Samson despite knowing of their betrayal decided he would avenge them and then cease fighting and he smote them hip and thigh with a great slaughter. (Jdg 15:7-8)
But it is a long way from being over! (Judges 15:9-20)
The Philistines retaliate and their army comes up against Judah. The people of Judah get scared and 3000 men of Judah go to Samson and tell him they want to bind him and deliver him to the Philistines. They are unhappy that Samson has stirred up trouble (despite the fact they were being oppressed by the Philistines anyway).
So Samson allows them to bind him with two new cords and handed him over to the Philistines.
1000 Killed With A Jawbone Of An Ass
And then we read in (Jdg 15:14-15) that the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and the cords that were upon his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands loosed from off his hands. And he found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand, and took it, and slew a thousand men therewith.
And Samson judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years. (Jdg 15:20)
In Judges chapter 16 we read how Samson falls in love with Delilah who is approached by the Philistines and she over a period of time entices Samson to divulge the secret of his strength. He eventually relents and tells her it is his hair and she cuts his hair, binds him, and he is betrayed by the person he again loves for the second time into the hands of the Philistines.
The Philistines poke his eyes out, bound him with fetters of brass; and put him in the prison house to push the grinding wheel. (Jdg 16:21).
His hair starts to grow back and the lords of the Philistines gathered together to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god and they said, Our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand. (Jdg 16:22-23)
And they got drunk and brought Samson in before them to make sport of him.
Now the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the Philistines were there; and there were upon the roof about three thousand men and women, that beheld while Samson made sport. (Judges 16:27)
And Samson was placed between two pillars that held up the temple and put his hands on each one. He called to the Lord for strength to come upon him one last time.
And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life. (Jdg 16:30)
The Spirit of the Lord Came Upon Saul
And the Spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man. (1Sa 10:6) I cover the incidents with Saul in more detail in this article: Spirit of God (Holy Spirit Names Series)
The Spirit of the Lord Came Upon David
Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. (1Sa 16:13)
We know that David is famous for slaying Goliath the giant and he was a great king over Israel. He was also a great psalmist. He relied on the Spirit of God. In the Psalms he says, Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy holy spirit from me. (Psa 51:11)
While a lot can be said about David, and no doubt will be said throughout this blog for this article let’s dwell on his last song – his last words.
Now These Are The Last Words of David
David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said, The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue. The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me,
He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain.
Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow.
But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands: But the man that shall touch them must be fenced with iron and the staff of a spear; and they shall be utterly burned with fire in the same place. (2Sa 23:1-7)
For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The LORD said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool. (mark 12:36)
The Spirit of the Lord Came Upon Jahaziel
Not many people recognize the name Jahaziel however he features prominently in a story you are more familiar with. It is the story of Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles Chapter 20) and most people know of the famous prayer of Jehoshaphat.
We set the scene with Moab and Ammon (a great multitude) coming against Jehoshaphat for battle. As they draw near everyone starts to fear and Jehoshaphat proclaimed a fast throughout all of Judah. (2Ch 20:3)
And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the LORD: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD. (2Ch 20:4)
Then in the next few verses, we read about the prayer of Jehoshaphat and he finishes with the words… O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee. (2Ch 20:12)
We read that… all Judah stood before the LORD, with their little ones, their wives, and their children. (2Ch 20:13). You could imagine the fear, the uncertainty, and the silence, as the entire congregation is now waiting to see what happens after this prayer to God.
And then the silence breaks with the voice of Jahaziel!
Then upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah… came the Spirit of the LORD in the midst of the congregation. (2Ch 20:14)
Once again… you may not recognize the name Jehaziel but he uttered words that have been repeated in Churches for thousands of years.
…for the battle is not yours, but God’s
And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.To morrow go ye down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz; and ye shall find them at the end of the brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel.
Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD
Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you. (2Ch 20:15-17)
Who hasn’t been encouraged by these words?
Yes… you may not recall the name Jahaziel but when the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, the words he spoke… have continued to reverberate for thousands of years.
The Spirit of the Lord Was Upon Jesus
Obviously, there is no greater than Jesus. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit (Mat 1:20)
He proclaimed the famous words…
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, (Isa 11:2, Luke 4:18)
Ezekiel Spoke By The Spirit of the Lord
And the Spirit of the LORD fell upon me, and said unto me, Speak… ( Eze 11:5). Of course, one of the most famous prophetic visions in the Bible is… The Valley of Dry Bones.
It’s found in Ezekiel chapter 37 but begins with… The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones.
Micah Was Full Of Power By The Spirit Of The Lord
But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the LORD, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin. (Mic 3:8)
Don’t Tempt The Spirit Of The Lord
We read an interesting story in Acts chapter 5 about Ananias and Sapphira lying to the Holy Ghost.
Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out. (Act 5:9)
There is a thought that Ananias and Sapphira may not have been born-again believers but rather had something to do with the Sadducees trying to undermine the work.
And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them. And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.) Act 5:13-14
The term… “the rest durst no man join himself to them” indicates that Ananias and Sapphira were in that group. It certainly didn’t slow down “others” joining them.
Also… Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation. (Acts 5:17)
Also seems to confirm this theory.
Either way… don’t lie to or tempt the Spirit of the Lord!
The Spirit of the Lord Caught Away Philip
Act 8:29-40 talks about Philip being told by the Spirit to go and talk to the Ethiopian eunuch who was reading the book of Isaiah.
As an aside… have you ever wondered why he was reading the scriptures and where he got them from? He may well have been Jewish serving as a eunuch in Ethiopia. After all, at this stage, the early Christian church still believed the gospel was for the Jews only.
It wasn’t until Acts chapter 10 that Peter was sent to the house of Cornelius and the subsequent fallout from that in the church council in chapter 11 that they realized that the Gentiles also could be saved. Up until then, they didn’t preach the gospel to the Gentiles.
Nonetheless, one of the most mysterious things is the fact that… the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip. (Act 8:39) But Philip was found at Azotus (about 30 miles away): and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea. (Acts 8:40)
Where the Spirit of the Lord Is There Is Liberty
Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. (2Co 3:17)
You may also be interested in… Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit Names Series)