The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. – Hebrews 1:3
I remember studying Shakespeare in a high school language arts class. The first passage I ever read was from Hamlet. I felt like what I was reading was well written, even though I had no idea what it meant. The language was so different from what I was used to. I knew Shakespeare was famous for his work, so I worked hard to understand. What I found was that my understanding was like a muscle. The more I read and worked at it, the easier it was to understand. Eventually, I could read large sections of Hamlet and appreciate the meaning and the masterful literature simultaneously.
Reading the bible is similar to reading Shakespeare. It’s a muscle that you learn to use. Over years of meditation, you begin to have eyes to see the truth of God in the pages of this sometimes confusing text. You learn interpretive skills that enable you to unearth beautiful truths more efficiently. One of those skills is to learn to see the world through ancient Hebrew eyes. Today we are looking at the Hebrew word “Ruah” (Spirit, breath, wind).
God’s Spirit is his animating presence in the universe. He animates us; he animates all things that live and move. For a Hebrew, the same invisible animating force that moves the trees (wind) moves us (breath). At first glance, this may sound like a primitive understanding of life, but is it? The passage above tells us that Jesus “upholds the universe by the word of his power.” Even physicists struggle to understand the most fundamental particles of the universe and how they are animated and sustained. Perhaps the Hebrew perspective of Spirit is more scientifically helpful than we think?
God’s Spirit animates the world around us. He animates you and me. Without breath, there is death. Without Spirit, there is death. Stop right now to take a deep breath. That breath of oxygen that keeps you alive and moving is, in one sense, God’s Spirit sustaining you. Take another breath and thank him for life. This Spirit that sustains life itself, desires to animate your life in a way that brings restoration to the world. Perhaps you can practice a spiritual discipline of breath prayer. As you breathe in, ask God to fill you with His animating strength. As you exhale, breathe out all lethargy, indifference, and brokenness.
Choosing an undistracted rhythm of prayer in solitude is key to connecting with a God who is unseen. And the result of this intentional rhythm is delighting God’s heart as well as tasting sweet delight in it too. But rhythms of intentional private prayer don’t find their way into our life automatically. Often it takes choosing a particular place to pray and create space for this intentional rhythm. Where can you hide away today to pray to your Father who is unseen?