‘Then Elijah said, “ Go say to Ahab, “Harness your chariot and go down before the rain stops you”. In a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind, there was a heavy rain. Ahab rode off and went to Jezreel. But the hand of the Lord was on Elijah; he girded up his loins and ran in front of Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel’ (1 Kings 18: 44-46).
It was the climax of an eventful day that the Lord selected to show His power to a nation immersed deep in idolatry. Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal and Asherah in the name of the true God. After annihilating them, Elijah announced the end of the severe drought that has been affecting the country for three and a half years. When Elijah made this announcement, there was not even a trace of cloud in the sky. But the clouds from afar heard the voice of the prophet of God and obeyed him. They came from the Mediterranean and covered Mount Carmel and beyond in no time.
It was then that Elijah advised King Ahab to harness the chariot and ride fast to escape the rain. For the first time, Ahab obeyed Elijah. He rode off in his chariot to his palace. When he was speeding up in the royal chariot something unexpected caught his attention. Elijah was running in front of his chariot. Elijah had neither chariot nor horse. ‘But the hand of the Lord was on Elijah’.
Hand of the Lord! It is the power that keeps us fast and we call it the Holy Spirit. He helps us to run faster than chariots! He helps us to overtake everything worldly! Because ‘ the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world’ (1 Jn 4:4)
At creation it was ‘a wind from God sweeping over the face of the waters’ (Gen 1:2). It is not surprising that the Scripture begins with a reference to the Holy Spirit. The Bible mentions about the Holy Spirit in its last page too. ‘The Spirit and the bride say. “Come.”( Rev 22:17).
When this Spirit is with us, those who meet us will quickly notice it. This was the experience of Joseph. Remember what Pharaoh said of him? “Can we find anyone else like this- one in who is the spirit of God?” (Gen 41:37).
It is the spirit of prophecy as Saul realized on the way to Gibeah. ‘And the spirit of God possessed him (Saul), and he fell into a prophetic frenzy along with them (other prophets of Gibeah)’ (1 Sam 10:10).
It is the spirit of wisdom and it helps us learn the counsel of God. ‘Who has learned your counsel, unless you have given wisdom and sent your holy spirit from on high?’ ( Wis 9:17).
It is the same spirit that dwells in all things. ‘For your immortal spirit is in all things’ ( Wis 12:1). Isaiah experienced it as a live coal touching his mouth. ‘Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: “ Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out”( Isa 6:6). It is indeed the spirit of sanctification.
Ezekiel’s experience was more vivid. He saw it as ‘flowing from below the threshold of the temple’ (Ezek 47:1). Beyond a certain point he couldn’t measure it. As time passed he was moved from ankle-deep to knee-deep to waist- deep and finally landing in a ‘river that he could not cross, for the water had risen; it was deep enough to swim in, a river that could not be crossed’ ( Ezek 47:3-6).
These are from the pages of the Holy Bible. Now what about us? How do we experience the Holy Spirit, the power of God? Do we run faster than others and overtake the world? Do we get added strength like Samson? Does our life change overnight like Saul when the Spirit visits us? Does the live coal ever touch our lips and sanctify us? Have we, like Ezekiel, ever experienced the anointing of the Holy Spirit that increases every moment? Do others identify you as one with the spirit of God, like Joseph?
The Spirit says; “Come”. He waits at our door and keeps knocking. What he needs is just our permission to come inside. All our spiritual exercises are aimed at making us open the doors of our heart to the Holy Spirit. Let us pray with the deep conviction that the Holy Spirit who instructed and guided the prophets, apostles, and saints will be with us too.