Just as the triune God has many titles, the Holy Spirit has multiple titles, and he has seven listed here. Please remember that in biblical times, one’s name or title was considered a lot more than just what everyone calls you. One’s name was considered an extension of oneself. To give one’s name to someone was thought to give power over oneself to that person; that’s why Jacob was so eager to get his attacker’s name in the great wrestling match. Of course, knowing God's name doesn't give us power over him, but it does allow us to relate to him on a personal level.
So here we have seven names, and each of them reveals something about the Spirit which we need to know and act upon.
His first name is the Spirit of the Lord. This reminds us that he is the third Person of the Trinity. Everything that God is in his nature, the Spirit is: omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, eternal (from eternity past) and worthy of all worship, allegiance, obedience.
The second name listed is the Spirit of wisdom. He’s the source of all true wisdom, and there’s no wisdom in this world without him. He’s the One who gave wisdom to Solomon, and he’s the way that God fulfills his promise to give us what we need in this area: “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” When we need this, the Spirit of Wisdom is the Person who gives it to us.
Third, he’s called the Spirit of understanding. This is parallel to wisdom and is thus linked to it, so it’s similar but not completely synonymous. I see it as discernment, the ability to see the world as it really is, the ability to see beneath the surface, the ability to not be fooled by appearances. If you want that, there’s only one place to go.
Fourth on the list is the Spirit of counsel. If we just listen, we’ll find him giving direction a lot more often than we thought. He’s all around us, offering lessons and giving instructions in life. When you’re in tune with the Lord and feel that little “nudge” onto a certain path, he’s the One doing it.
He’s also the Spirit of power. Of course, he’s God, so he’s all-powerful, right? Of course he is, but I think this is talking about more than that. He’s the source of our power. He’s the One who empowered the apostles to perform their miracles, and he plans to change your life in no less dramatic ways. When you’re surrounded by temptations and think you can’t say “no” one more time, you can. When you’re burdened down by trials and think you can’t take one more step under them, you can. Because the Spirit of power lives within you.
He’s also the Spirit of knowledge. This reminds me that he’s the One who inspired (literally "breathed in") the Scriptures, who "moved" the prophets and other writers to write down what he wanted them to. That means all the Special Revelation, the things we know about: God, the universe, the spiritual realm, our eternal destiny. And keep in mind the definition of Special Revelation—things we we'd never be able to figure out unless he took special effort to reveal them to us through the Bible.
And finally he’s the Spirit of the fear of the Lord. He is the One who inspires true worship. He’s the One who brings about that sense of awe when we know we’re in the presence of the Holy One of Israel. God is not our buddy, and he’s not our Pal. We’re made in his image, but he's unlike us in so many ways. The Spirit reminds us of that and draws us back into a sense of holy fear that brings us closer instead of driving us away, who inspires (as Eugene Peterson puts it) "a fear that pulls us out of our preoccupation with ourselves, our feelings, or our circumstances into a world of wonder."
Yes, most of his work is behind the scenes, but what work it is!
Holy Spirit of God, you're the Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. What would I do without you?
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