Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Unfolding Breath

I have no idea why this word, "breath," was brought to mind the other day in relation to Scripture, so I decided to dig a little deeper.  Using the NIV, we first see the word breath in Genesis 1:30.  God has just created the entire world, culminating with Adam and Eve.  He then gives them a command:

"Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.  God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.  And there was evening, and there was morning -- the sixth day."  (Genesis 1:29-31)

In this command is the phrase "everything that has the breath of life in it."  Everything that has lived, lives, or will live does so because God breathed life into it.  If you live, God chose you to live.  He breathed life into you.  You have a purpose.  Don't waste it.

The next time we see this word is in Genesis 2:7.

"The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being."

It is only because God breathed into man that he became alive.  Without that breath, he would have just been a body lying in the dirt.  I love how this verse says "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life."  This comes from God.  God is life.  This helps me understand how God is able to bring people back from the dead.  He is LIFE!  He has always had victory over death.  He is LIFE!  Do you feel dead?  Turn to God.  He has the breath of life.  He can resurrect you and make you alive!!

Job says it well - "The Spirit of God has made me, the breath of the Almighty gives me life." (Job 33:4)

Psalm 150:6 gives the living a directive: "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord."  Why?  He gave us life.  We should praise Him.

Ezekiel 37 tells the story of Ezekiel being in a valley full of dry bones.  God tells him to speak to the bones, to tell them that the breath will enter them and they will come to life.  The bones start to rattle, and tendons and flesh are attached; but they will not be alive until breath is breathed into them.  He prophesies in God's name that the breath will enter them.  It does, and dry bones become living beings once more.

Fast forward to the New Testament, and we see in John 20 Jesus speaking to his disciples.  He says, "'Peace be with you!  As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.'  And with that he breathed on them and said, 'Receive the Holy Spirit!  If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.'"  Jesus' life-giving breath.  The disciples are made alive spiritually.  They are given the Holy Spirit, who is part of the Trinity.  So, He is life!  When you become a follower of Christ, you are given the Holy Spirit.  You are given life!  This life will never end.  Even when we die, this life continues in us.  We will live for eternity in Heaven...really live.  There will be no more suffering.  We will praise God always and live in peace.

There are many verses that talk about breath.  There are verses about the breath of life.  There are verses about how the breath of God destroys those things that are evil.  One of the greatest is II Timothy 3:16-17:

"All Scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."

The Word of God, the Living Word, is literally the breath of God, the breath of life.  God's Word gives life.  It teaches and corrects.  It helps us live.  It helps us avoid the road that leads to destruction.

Won't you let God breathe on you so you can live?

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