The Clothing of the Spirit

Judg. 6:34.---' The Spirit of the Lord clothed itself with Gideon.'

THE translation, 'the Spirit of the Lord came upon' is peculiarly tame and inadequate, because the meaning of the word would rather be the Spirit of the Lord 'put on' the man: the Spirit found the human personality and put him on as a dress. The striking suggestion is that the Infinite Spirit of God is moving through the world seeking whom He may put on, and ready to invest Himself wherever there is a human being ready to be put on. His works among men must be done through men. The invisible Spirit must clothe Himself in the body of a man or woman, and must use the faculties, the brain, the heart, the will. The spirit must be clothed upon of man.

Men are the clothes which God's spirit puts on. Dr. Timothy Richard once asked a literary man in China who had twice read through the New Testament what he considered the most striking thing in it, and he answered that the thing that seemed to him surpassingly wonderful was that men might become temples of the Holy Ghost. Truly this is so, and if the thought were not so familiar it would evoke our wonder too, and, if we really believed it, our praise. But the idea of a man's being the garment of the Spirit is even more wonderful than that of a man's being His temple, for it gives a more intimate suggestion of the relation between them, gives greater prominence to the Holy Spirit and less glory to the man.

This is the truth of all history. It is the fact of Pentecost. Jesus had a disciple named Peter. He denied his Master. But see him on the Day of Pentecost! There he stands, bold as a lion, defiant of outrage, scornful of consequences, gloriously eloquent, mightily persuasive. What was the secret? Why the transformation? The Spirit of the Lord had clothed Himself with Peter.

It was a feeble man who firmly planted Christianity in the Gentile world. Paul was a man of no appearance. There was nothing attractive about him. He was totally unlike a conqueror; yet Paul did more for Jesus than any man who ever lived. Why? He was the clothing of the Spirit. The Spirit of the Lord had taken on the form and person of Paul.

The Spirit of God deliberately selects the men He needs. He chose Gideon. We may be sure He had every reason. He had all the men of Israel to choose from, and out of all the number He selected Gideon. Why? Gideon had all the capacities. He had mind. He could think. He knew why Israel was in serfdom and weakness. He had energy and decisiveness. Power and promptitude are the qualifications for leadership. See how he acted when the hour arrived! Without a word to anyone, he built the altar to the Lord and demolished the idolatrous usurper. And Gideon had soul. The fear of the Lord was in him. He was obedient to the Heavenly Vision and Voice. The Holy Spirit never makes a mistake. With His supernatural insight He reads the heart. Then, as soon as the man is chosen, the Spirit clothes Himself with him, fills him with superhuman courage, charges him with magnetism and daring, thrills him from head to foot with power from on high.

A little book by General Gordon, has been opened almost at random, who, perhaps as much as any modern, had the single-minded daring that characterized Gideon. In his Reflections in Palestine, he says: "When I think of what a long wilderness journey I have had, how I have tried in vain to patch up matters, I cannot say too much on this subject. Speaking as a man, what a great blessing it would have been for some one to have said to me [though it is clear in the Scriptures], 'Seek the realization of the Holy Ghost's presence in you, and leave the rest.' No argument is wanted, just these words only. Believers in Christ have God the Holy Spirit living in them.

In Christ, timothy. maranatha