OUR HUMAN SPIRIT IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
Scripture Reading: Gen. 2:7; Prov. 20:27; Job 32:8; Exo. 35:21; Num. 14:24; Deut. 2:30; Ezra 1:1, 5; Hag. 1:14; Jer. 51:11; Job 6:4; 10:12; 15:13; Psa. 31:5; 32:2; 34:18; 51:10, 12, 17; 77:3, 6; 78:8; Prov. 16:2; Isa. 26:9a; 57:15-16; Psa. 106:33; Prov. 16:32, 18-19; 17:27; 25:28; 18:14; Isa. 29:24; Eccl. 7:8-9; Dan. 5:12; 6:3; Mal. 2:15b-16
The verses listed above are the most precious and the most important verses in the Old Testament regarding the human spirit from Genesis 2 through Malachi 2. It is interesting to see that the first verse refers to the creation of the human spirit, while the last verse in the Old Testament regarding the human spirit exhorts us to take heed to our spirit. We should not just take heed to our outward behavior, but we have to take heed to our inward spirit, because our human spirit is the very source of all our behavior. If we are wrong in the source, regardless of how right we might be in our behavior, we are still wrong. If the source is dirty, then how could the issue be clean? It is impossible. So we all have to take heed to our human spirit. These verses show how strategic, how important, and how prevailing is this matter of our human spirit.
THE BREATH OF LIFE
Genesis 2:7 unveils the creation of man. God used the dust of the ground to form a body. Then God breathed into the nostrils of this body of dust the breath of life. Proverbs 20:27 says, “The spirit of man is the lamp of Jehovah, / Searching all the innermost parts.” The Hebrew word for spirit in this verse is the very word for breath in Genesis 2:7.
The word commonly used in Hebrew for spirit is ruach, but here in Proverbs 20:27 the Hebrew word for spirit is neshamah, not ruach. This is the same word used for breath in Genesis 2:7. This verse is a strong word to prove that the breath of life which was breathed into the nostrils of man’s body of dust at the time of creation is our spirit. Job 32:8 tells us also that there is a spirit in man.
THE LAMP OF THE LORD
In Proverbs 20:27 the spirit of man is the lamp of Jehovah for searching our innermost parts, for God’s dealing with us. God’s dealing with us is always in our spirit and through our spirit. Our human spirit is the means and the organ for God to deal with us, to search us. If you come at night into a building to do something, you cannot do it in darkness. You need light. Our human spirit is a lamp to God for Him to come in to search us, to deal with us.
A PROMPTING SPIRIT
In Exodus 35:21, during the time when the tabernacle was going to be built up, the people’s spirit made them willing. Not only did their heart move them, but also their spirit prompted them to go on in a fast way to fulfill God’s purpose. This shows that our human spirit is an organ for us to go on to fulfill God’s purpose.
THE IMPORTANCE OF OUR SPIRIT
Zechariah 12:1 and Isaiah 42:5 are quite similar to one another. They tell us that in the whole universe there are three main things created by God: the heavens, the earth, and the human spirit. These two verses show us the importance of the human spirit. In the heavens there are many items, and on the earth there are many items, but God did not itemize those things. God just refers to the heavens and the earth. As human beings we also have many parts, but God did not say anything about all the parts of our body or the parts of our soul. God spoke of only one thing: the spirit of man. This shows the importance of our human spirit because our human spirit is the organ, the means, for God to contact us and to deal with us and for us to contact Him and to receive Him.
A DIFFERENT SPIRIT
At the time of Numbers 14:24 most of the Israelites were quite rebellious toward God, but Caleb was different. He did not have a different mind, a different will, a different heart, or different decision. Caleb had a different spirit. Verse 24 then says that Caleb fully followed the Lord. We have no other way to follow the Lord. If we are going to follow the Lord, we have to use the proper organ, our human spirit. Caleb followed the Lord by a different spirit, which was different from all the other spirits.
HARDENED IN SPIRIT
Deuteronomy 2:30 says that God hardened the spirit of Sihon the king. It does not say that God hardened his heart, but his spirit. God’s dealing with man is always through the spirit. Even He allows a person to be hardened in his spirit.
(Our Human Spirit, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)