The Breath of God
Posted on 08/10/2014 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.
TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)
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Great is the Lord God Almighty
Great is the Lord on High
The train of His robe fills the temple
And we cry out highest praise
Glory to the risen King
Glory to the Son, glorious Son
Lift up your heads, open the doors
Let the King of Glory come in
And forever be our God
Holy is the Lord God Almighty
Holy is the Lord on high
Let all the earth bow before You
And crown You Lord of all
Holy and Anointed One
Your name is like honey
on my lips
Your spirit like water
to my soul
Your Word is a lamp
unto my feet
Jesus I love you
I love you
Risen and Exalted One
I EXALT THEE
For thou O Lord art high
above all the earth
Thou art exalted
far above all gods
I exalt thee
I exalt thee
I exalt thee
*** listen to the audio to hear the introduction ***
Genesis 2:7 (NKJV)
7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
Most of us are very familiar with this verse. God formed a body out of dirt. It was fully formed, with a heart, a brain, all the other organs, blood, bones, muscles, skin, hair, ears, eyes...
But that body was just a lump of meat. A brilliantly designed lump, but nothing more. It was dead. It didn't die, it simply never had life.
Those who believe life came about on Earth by mere accident point to experiments in which scientists have managed to arrange amino acids in a way that are the building blocks of living creatures. Of course they didn't create their own elements out of which they were created, but let's stay on topic. The point is, they created building blocks, but they could not create life.
God formed a perfect human body with the design to operate flawlessly. But it had no life. No spirit. And so God breathed into its nostrils, and, as we just read, "man became a living being."
We call this "being," or this "life," "spirit." And we tend to believe that each of us has our own completely separate spirit. Is this true? Maybe not, or maybe so.
And what does it matter either way? We know we each have our own separate choices. Each person much choose what to do with Jesus, with His sacrifice for their sins, and each person will be judged by God solely on their own actions and no one else's.
But let's just take a look at a few passages of Scripture, and see where it takes us. It certainly won't be a waste of time, because the word of the Lord does not return void, and the text in the Bible is breathed out of that word and points back to it.
The breath of God. God breathed into man's nostrils, and that breath gave him life.
In Job 33:4 (NKJV), we read this:
4 The Spirit of God has made me,
And the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
So he says the Spirit of God has made him, past tense. And he says the breath of the Almighty gives him life, present tense.
Psalm 139:13 says, "For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made."
Just like God formed Adam from dust, so God formed you in your mother's womb. And whether He formed you with His physical hands is not the right question; He put life into motion by His word, not by any physical or tangible form.
But leaving all those technical details aside; did God breathe into your nostrils?
Remember what we just read: "God MADE me, and His breath GIVES me life."
Your body was formed in your mother's womb. You're obviously not there any more. And while your cells are always being made new, as old ones die and new ones take their place, you can point to a chronological time that your body started being formed.
But God's breath GIVES you life. Right now. And this doesn't say that God BREATHED into you and GAVE you life, but that His breath, right now, is giving you your life.
In Job 27:3-5 (NKJV), Job says this:
3 As long as my breath is in me,
And the breath of God in my nostrils,
4 My lips will not speak wickedness,
Nor my tongue utter deceit.
So he said that the breath of God is in his nostrils. The breath of God is in YOUR nostrils. Right now. And that's the only reason you have life.
Job 34:14-16 (NKJV) says this:
14 If (God) should set His heart on it,
If He should gather to Himself His Spirit and His breath,
15 All flesh would perish together,
And man would return to dust.
Now, these words came from Elihu. Job had received counsel from three of his friends, counsel which God Himself condemned. But then Elihu spoke, and what he said was of God, and prepared the way for God to speak directly to Job.
So we can take his words seriously. And they're very interesting, to say the least.
If God should gather to Himself His Spirit and His breath... All flesh would perish, and man would return to dust.
Let's let that soak in for just a minute... If God should gather to Himself His Spirit and His breath... All flesh would perish, and man would return to dust.
God's Spirit. And God's breath. Without them, we would all die. This doesn't say that we would keep living, it would just be miserable. And that's what you'd expect if we were our own separate sources of life like it's easy to think we are.
But if God should gather back to Himself His Spirit, His breath, we would all be no more.
I may be responsible for my actions as an individual person, but this almost sounds as though MY life is the same as YOUR life. It is the breath of God that animates this body of flesh.
So life... Life that is in everything... This says all "flesh" would perish, AND "man" would return to dust. So it sounds as though the life of animals is also the life of God, for they, too, are formed of flesh.
And life is also required for vegetation. Without life, all trees and grass and vegetation would die.
Well how about the rocks and the water and the dirt? They're in constant motion, aren't they? Their solidity is only an illusion. The things you see all around you are 99% empty space. They are atoms spinning around one another, made of smaller bits that are spinning around, and those are made of even smaller bits. Who knows how small it goes. Maybe forever, if you can allow your mind to blow a fuse and finally give up trying to bring down to its level the vast wisdom of the handiwork of God.
The shapes and textures, the colors and smells and sounds, all come from the exact arrangement of these spinning elements, and an intelligence and power much higher than our own is what keeps them the way you see and feel and hear and smell them now.
And it's certain that, without His wisdom and power, everything would lose its form, and all the bits that form what we think are solid objects would cease their movement, losing their shapes, textures, colors, smells, and sounds, and all matter would seem to simply disappear.
So your body is held together by God's wisdom and power. And the life in your body is the breath of God.
The passage we just read doesn't say, "If God should gather His breaths," but, "If God should gather His BREATH." Singular.
If you were to blow up a baloon, you would blow it up one "breath" at a time. So you could say that it takes many "breaths," plural, to blow up the baloon. But when you finish inflating it and you tie it shut, it isn't full of your breaths, but of your breath.
I'm full of life, full of the breath of God. And YOU are full of life, full of the breath of God. And it is the same breath. The one breath that, if God take that breath back, our life would be gone, for our life IS the breath of God.
Ezekiel 37:9 (NKJV) says this:
9 Also (God) said to me, "Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, 'Thus says the Lord God: "Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live."'"
That was in the valley of dry bones. And God commanded Ezekiel to prophecy to those dry bones, that they would come together. And they came together and were covered with flesh. And whether this was figurative doesn't matter right now. The point is, they were still dead.
And so God commanded Ezekiel to prophecy to the breath. Not the breaths, but the breath. The one breath. And he wasn't told to tell it to come from one location, but from the four winds. One breath, from four different directions. One breath, animating many bodies.
God's breath is in you. And that same breath is in me. It's what gives us life, and we are filled with that life, with that breath. The SAME breath.
You might have said at some time, "But I don't have anything in common with so-and-so, or with those people, or with that group." And yet, you are filled with the same breath. And that same breath is the only reason you're both alive. That's a pretty big thing, the biggest thing, and you both have the same life in common.
"Yeah, but they have their life, and I have mine." Well, they do have their own situations, their own choices, their own responsibilities, their own stories. But they don't have their "own" life, because the life that enables them to "be" is YOUR life, too.
And anyone who thinks that certain people's lives don't really matter, don't realize they're really thinking that about their OWN life, because there is only ONE.
I'm not getting that from some weird mystical text somewhere. I'm getting that from the Bible. It says we all must answer for our own choices. We all must pay for our own sins, or let them be placed upon Jesus. Some of us will be taken, and some of us will be left. But the LIFE that animates you, the LIFE that lets you make choices, that LIFE is all ONE. It is the Breath of God. The One Breath.
And Isaiah 42:5 says that God gives "spirit" to those who walk upon the earth. Now, the word "spirit" can get confused with other things. What is the spirit? What is the soul? Are they the same? Are they different?
God is spirit. What does that word mean? Well, the word "spirit" also means "breath." As we read in Job 34, "If He should gather to Himself His Spirit and His breath, all flesh would perish, and man would return to dust."
Could we possibly be souls, the individual persons we are who are responsible for their own choices? I think most of us can agree on that. But this passage doesn't say that if God took away people's souls, then they would return to dust.
Perhaps your soul is made alive by the Breath of God, the One Breath.
When you wake up in the morning, and you feel your breathing, and you start moving your body, that life that is flowing through you is the Breath of God. The One Breath.
When you go to work and are sitting with a difficult client who your mind is telling you you should throw off the nearest tall building, that person is filled with the same Breath of God. The same breath that is filling you. And while your two souls might make very different choices and live very different life stories, you are filled with the same breath, and in that way, you are one.
You could call it breath, or spirit, or life. All those words can point to other things as well. Don't let that distract you. Today, right now, we're listening for the truth in the Scriptures concerning our source of life. Which is the spirit of God. The Breath of God. And since it cannot be separated from itself, we are all connected.
A few weeks ago, we talked about loving our neighbor as ourself, and we considered that, when we have a "me and NOT me" perspective, it becomes a gargantuan ordeal to REALLY love our neighbor as much as we love ourself. But when we stop seeing "me" as separate from "my neighbor," and our self is allowed to start to disolve, then selfless acts of love tend to automatically follow.
Well, we're really talking about the same thing here today. I can't control your choices, and you won't have to give an account to God for mine. We each will experience timeless eternity according to the just judgment of God, and what He says to me at that time might not be the same as what He says to you.
But behind that moving form of soul, there is that which gives that soul life, allows it to feel, gives it the power to choose, to act, to perceive.
Consider your physical breath for a moment. When you take a breath, you would say that you are breathing. When you exhale, you would say that what is coming out of your nose or mouth is YOUR breath. It is personal. You identify with it.
But you are filled to overflowing with another kind of breath. It is spirit. It is life. It is God.
Now, this is where the weakness of human words can get in the way. We know that the Holy Spirit dwells within the believer in a way that He doesn't dwell within those who have not been born again by His Spirit. And yet, the Spirit of God is what animates every single human and animal on earth.
I know, it boggles the mind, right? The grasping mind, always thrown an irreconcilable curve by the things of the spirit. And yet it continues to try to put into a box of form that which is beyond form. It tries to nail down with thought that which is beyond our human ability to think.
So let's just let it go. We've looked at some of the things the Bible says to us about this subject. But we might be delusional if we expect our human minds to understand it all.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (KMV*) says this:
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths, making them plain and straight.
You don't have to understand it all. Trust in God completely. And when it's important for your mind to understand something that is within its realm, then it will. And either way, God will direct your paths. He will make them plain and clear.
And this one thing is clear: We are supposed to be good Samaritans. We are supposed to love mercy. We are supposed to not have a judgmental attitude. We are supposed to love everyone else as much as we love ourselves.
And this isn't such a stretch when we realize that the life I feel in my body right now is the very same life you feel in your body. That spark around which our minds form multi-layered idols that we call "me," it is not separate from anyone else. That spirit that gives life to your eternal soul, if God were to gather that one spirit back to himself, we all would die, for it is all one and the same.
And whatever all this means, it's what God has inspired men to record for us in the Scriptures, and it is the truth.
So what can we do with this? Well, maybe, when you're sitting in that traffic jam or waiting in that long line, instead of thinking about where you think you're supposed to be, and instead of thinking about the past or your imagined future, wake up.
You're sitting there in your car, or standing there in line. And you're in your body. And you feel the life. Do you? Maybe at least a slight tingling or warmth in your hands? Can you feel THAT from the inside? It's okay if you've been lost in your mind for so many years that you can't. But it's there. It's the breath of God. So just take a little while to sense it.
You're filled with life. You are intensely alive. Even if you are tired, you are overflowing with life.
"Oh, but I don't have as much Breath of God as the next person." Nonsense. You'll be fully alive until you die, and even then your soul will be waiting to hear the voice of God, as the breath of that voice once again gives you life.
As John 5:28b-29 (NKJV) says,
28 The hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice
29 and come forth -- those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.
Without the Breath of God, the Spirit of God, you wouldn't have life. And even after your body dies, you will be resurrected by that same Breath, the power behind His voice.
The life in me is the life in you. It's not weird or evil to just stop and feel it from the inside. To know that THAT is your life. And when you look at someone else and you look into their eyes and see the life in them, THAT is your life too, just as your life is theirs. You won't insult or hurt that other person, because you would be insulting or hurting yourself.
Your choices matter to you when you face God, but the differences in the choices of you and the other person do NOT matter. Theirs matter between them and God, and yours matter between you and God, but what matters between you and that other person is LIFE. And that One Life is the One Life you share.
Not so you can beat them over the head until they agree with you or until their personality pleases your carnal mind. But so you are connected as one, and as you walk with God, that One Breath, that One Life that is both your life and their life, just might draw them to the One whose breath that is.
Are you okay with all this? Let your mind get upset if it wants to, because it will never be able to fully grasp all this. It doesn't know that. But you do.
Let's go ahead and close today's service with a time of prayer, ministry, and inner silence, as we let the Scriptures we've read today sink in, and as we fully lean upon God, trusting in Him and in His Breath that is our Life.
If you'd like someone to talk or pray with you, you can instant message one of us, or if you're listening at another time or place, you can go to almcyberchurch.org, click the Pastors' Offices link, and contact us there.
Whenever you need to leave, you're free to do so, and if you can stay until after this time at the altar, you're invited to make your way into the room to your left when you're done here, and we'll meet there in a few minutes for some fellowship.
Come, and let's rest in the life-giving Breath of God.
*** listen to the audio for closing prayer ***