Summary: It is woven into the story of mankind. It is there from the beginning and it weaves all the way until the end. It is the thread that ties it all together.
Pt. 1 - Before Day 1
It is small. It is usually unnoticed . . . until . . . the moment a thread is pulled you suddenly recognize its significance and how essential it is to the overall garment, tapestry or storyline. If the thread is removed the picture is incomplete. If the thread comes unraveled the whole is destroyed. Over the next few weeks we are going to examine the most important thread in history. It is a thread that not only runs through our entire story but also ties the story and us together.
Just a few weeks ago we celebrated Easter and now we are screaming towards Pentecost Sunday. After the resurrection of Jesus, the disciples were told to wait and they would receive power. It is the most profound introduction of the Holy Spirit. However, make no mistake it was not the first. The involvement and importance of this thread is unmistakable.
As Pentecostals we tend to focus all of attention on Acts 2 and the Day of Pentecost. I think it is crucial to back up and lay this thread bare so that we know what we have rather than just looking at the end garment.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
One of the key principles to learn when examining Scripture is the Law of First Mention. Often in Scripture importance and significance is revealed by the fact that something is mentioned first. It is prominent and preeminent. We should take notice and give proper attention to that which is mentioned first.
Now in the Creation Account, long before the Day of Pentecost, and here that we see the first glimpse of the thread that weaves all the way forward to Acts 2. This thread is seen at various times in the creation narrative. On the 6th day, as God creates man He has a conversation with His triune self and says "Let US make man in OUR image." The Holy Spirit was involved in the entirety of the creation process. Day One through Day 7 the Holy Spirit is there, threading His way through our story.
However, again I draw your attention to first mention. I can't even say on Day One because this is prior to there ever being a day! Prior to any "Let Us" statements, prior to any explosion of creative power, before any light, sun, moon, plant, fish, or the crescendo of designing and breathing into man the thread is there. He gets into the act early.
Verse 2 - The Spirit of God hovers over the waters.
God is a God of order and will set things into place, put things in line, and provide structure. But here we get a glimpse of not only what things were like before the beauty we see around us now, but this account in Genesis gives us a clear picture of the nature of the Holy Spirit long before the fire-filled day of Pentecost.
It is an odd statement. The Spirit hovered over the waters. Perhaps another version gives greater understanding and insight.
First this: God created the Heavens and Earth—all you see, all you don’t see. Earth was a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky blackness. God’s Spirit brooded like a bird above the watery abyss.
From hovering to brooding like a bird.
We are given a word picture of the Holy Spirit hovering or brooding over the chaos of our world. The picture is that of a mother bird settling over and watching over the eggs before they hatch. Protecting. Buffering.
Think about this action of the Holy Spirit . . . the powerful but at this point wordless Spirit of God is preparing for God’s cosmic Word.
The Holy Spirit settles over the chaos, nothingness and prepares for order and the creative Word of God!
The Holy Spirit watches over our mess until our mess gets the message that God said to come into order! Straighten up!
The first time we see the thread and see Him at work He is setting up to change chaos to order!
As Pentecostals we have historically focused on tongues and we will before this series is over. However, we can't allow that focus to cause us to forget that His first work was order!
If you don't think that is a great gift, then just stop and realize that everything in life naturally moves towards disorder.
"Chaos" means disorder!
Once God put things in order everything naturally moves from order back towards chaos. Think of your kitchen; you clean it and put everything in order, but as soon as you are done, the slow process towards disorders starts.