A couple of years ago we had a MAJOR flood in our area. It was unreal. We didn’t expect it. We weren’t prepared. Dams threatened to break. Bridges threatened to collapse. A rain system simply settled on top of us and deluged for days.
The river system that runs through our neighborhood is usually very calm. But during this time it cut straight shots from river bend to river bend resulting in houses, which were not even close to the river, being swept away down to the foundation. School’s portable classrooms floated away and people drowned on flooded, congested interstates where the waters rose faster than the cars could get out of the way. We watched in horror from our television screens, helpless.
When it was over and the waters receded, it looked like a tornado, not a flood, had hit our town. Places where the water had risen and tumbled by with such extreme force the landscape had been wiped clean. School was closed for the rest of the year. Hardly anything that the water had washed over remained. On each side of the riverbank yards and yards outstretched of huge trees which had been left laying flat by the tumbling water. They called it “the thousand year flood.”
I still drive by these places and the landscape is still not the same as it was prior to the flood. They are recognizable, yet different. The landscape is not quite the same. Old oaks which once stood firm now lay on their sides, rotting. River bends were made straighter.
It was a flood that had never been seen in this area.
I can’t help but meditate on what the flood meant. How it stripped everything away.
In church, I have heard many references in either prayer, words of meditation, or song regarding the Holy Spirit “flooding” our soul. I used to equate that to filling our soul. But after seeing first hand the effects of a flood, I think it means so much more than that.
It means to wash everything that was there prior away. Not just wash as in cleaning a window, but to completely strip it and leave it barren. I think about this being done to me. When I pray for a flooding of the Holy Spirit, I am asking for all that I was prior to be washed away.
But then, I am ready to be filled. If I have baggage in my soul, then there is not much room for the Holy Spirit to reside. I understand the stripping. I have to be stripped before I can be filled. Only after I am stripped am I ready.
Soon we returned to the areas which were flooded and we rebuild. We go back to the river and learn to live life on it once again.
In some ways, life is better. Houses were remodeled and new life begins on the riverbanks. Roads were restored. People came together.
Can it be that way with our soul? After it is stripped can it be restored? I believe so. Not only will it be restored, but it will be richer and more beautiful than before.
“Father, flood my soul with your Holy Sprit. I am ready to be nothing of myself and filled completely by you.”
The inspiration for today’s post comes from Angie Smith’s blog: http://angiesmithonline.com/2012/06/the-robe/
Bear with me on this post, it is going to be amazing.
I Cor. 19,20 “Or don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a big price. So you must honor God with your body.” —
I have read that verse many times before and always thought, or perhaps was taught, that this verse had to do with taking care of yourself. –Don’t smoke, don’t drink or use drugs, eat right, take care of your sexual purity, exercise, etc. Basically, to take pride in your body, and handle it with care. It is the temple of the Holy Spirit. But oh, it is so much more!
I was reading Angie Smith’s blog this morning and she used this verse, “Isaiah 6:1 . . “In the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the Temple. Hovering around him were mightily seraphim. . .In a great chorus they sang, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord Almighty. The whole earth is filled with his glory!””
Angie went on to talk about how the train of His robe filled the Temple. I started to meditate on those words. I tried to visualize the train of God’s robe filling the Temple.
This led me to think on words I seldom think of: The Shekinah Glory. Wow. Can you imagine being able to see the Shakinah Glory like Isaiah or Moses? Simply put, the Shikinah Glory is the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. It is a Hebrew word poorly translated into English as the Holy Spirit or God’s Spirit. But it is so much more. It is the manifestation of the Holy Spirit dwelling among us. Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia. It explains it better than I can and gives you a bit of history as well:
From wikipedia.org (I encourage you to read the whole article at:) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shekhinah. Shekinah, Shekinah, Shechinah, Shekina, Shechina, or Schechinah, (Hebrew: שכינה) is the English spelling of a grammatically feminine Hebrew word that means the dwelling or settling, and is used to denote the dwelling or settling divine presence of God, especially in the Temple in Jerusalem. . . .
The Talmud reports that the Shekinah is what caused prophets to prophesy and King David to compose his Psalms. The Shekinah manifests itself as a form of joy, connected with prophecy and creativity: Talmud Pesachim 117a) The Talmud also reports that “The Shekinah does not rest amidst laziness, nor amidst laughter, nor amidst lightheadedness, nor amidst idle conversation. Rather, it is amidst the joy associated with a mitzvah that the Shekinah comes to rest upon people, as it is said: ‘And now, bring me for a musician, and it happened that when the music played, God’s hand rested upon him’ [Elisha] [2 Kings 3:15]” (Pesachim 117a). Thus the Shekinah is associated with the transformational spirit of God regarded as the source of prophecy.
Wow. There are so many places I want to go with this.
Not only does Shekinah fill the Temple but if I understand correctly, (I am not a Bible Scholar, much less one on languages), it fills people as well. It is what made David such a good musician, lyric writer, and the composer of Psalms. The Shekinah was upon David.
In Christianity it is believed that the scriptures are divinely inspired. Here, if you study the word, seems to at least hold true to David and the story of Elisha.
I recently was engaged in a conversation regarding art. The person talking was saying that, “as an artist, you feel that something beyond yourself has inspired your artwork, down to the last brushstroke.” Shakespeare and Homer talked about the Muse as an entity. So do poets. But beyond being an artist, what does Shekinah do?
But what else does the Bible say about the Shekinah?
I Kings 8:10 “As the priest came out of the inner sanctuary, a cloud filled the Temple of the Lrd. The priest could not continue their work because the glorious presence of the lord filled the Temple.”
Shakinah Glory is so powerful that the priest can no longer enter the Temple! It is so powerful that Moses could no longer enter the Tabernacle.
Does Shekinah happen today? We often talk about God moving in the church or how you can feel the “Spirit move” during worship. But is there more? Let’s go back to the first verse I quoted.
I Cor. 19,20 “Or don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a big price. So you must honor God with your body.”
O.K. so here is the leap I am making here and what I find amazing: If Shekinah filled the Temple in the Old Testament, and 1st Corinthians says that our body is the Temple, then does it not stand to reason that the Shekinah fills you, your body and your spirit? That you in and of yourself are a tabernacle for the Holy Spirit. You have the Shekinah Glory within you? Is that not what we pray for when we are baptized? “In the name of the Father, the Son and for the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Go back to the visual of God’s Robes filling the Temple from Isaiah. Imagine God’s Robes filling your own spirit. His Shekinah is filling you. He chooses to do that despite that we are a fallen human race. —- I don’t know that I have ever felt so Beautiful.