The Spirit Given to Instruct
by James Smith, 1860
The history of Israel from Egypt to Canaan — was the history of one great, long continued miracle — or a constant succession of miracles. Their deliverance from Egypt, their passage through the Red Sea, and their continual support in the wilderness — were all by the miraculous agency of God. The gifts which God conferred on them were numerous, important, and invaluable. Nehemiah after the captivity recounts many of them, and among the rest says, "You gave also your good Spirit to instruct them." Nehemiah 9:20.
What an important part the Holy Spirit has taken in all God's dispensations, and in all the departments of nature, providence, and grace. Under what infinite obligations are the Lord's people laid to this Divine and holy agent. Let us look at:
The GIFT."You gave your good Spirit." The Spirit was bestowed upon them to qualify their judges, to fit their great men to build the tabernacle, and to prophecy and preach to them. The Spirit was given to instruct them — and for this purpose he is still given. The gift was a person — for it required a person to impart instruction to them. A very intelligent person — for they were to be instructed on so many subjects, for so many purposes. A divine person — for if he had not been divine, he could not have instructed so many people, in so many things, for so many years.
He is called the good Spirit, because as an instructor he was not only full of wisdom and knowledge — but of benevolence, pity and love. This gift was necessary — especially under their circumstances; it was sufficient — because it was the gift of a divine person; it was distinguishing — for he was not so given to any other people under heaven; it was invaluable — nothing could be compared to it, no estimate can be formed of its worth. Blessed be God, this Spirit, this divine person, this good Spirit — is given to us, and given to instruct us! Mark then,
The DESIGN of this Gift."To instruct them." The Holy Spirit, is now the great teacher of the church of God — and he teaches every one that is born of God. We will now lose sight of the literal Israel, and notice the teaching of the Spirit, as all believers experience it at present.
Consider the lessons he teaches. He teaches us to know GOD — as holy, just, and good. He teaches us to know OURSELVES — as impure, separated from God, and deserving death and damnation. He teaches us to know JESUS — as the one great sacrifice for sin, as the sinner's only way of access to God, as the gospel mercy-seat where God meets with sinners, communes with them, and blesses them.
Consider the manner of his teaching. It is peculiar to himself, although he makes use of men and things.
There is a direct operation, or the putting forth of his power within us.
Then there is an enlightening, or light thrown on the subject to be taught, so that in his light we see light us.
Then there is a gradual unfolding of the subject, as the mind is able to bear it.
Then there is an inward prompting to approach, appropriate, and make use of the subject.
Then he assists us by his holy influences, helping our infirmities us.
At times, he teaches us by chastening us, and makes us hear the rod. By various means, and in a variety of ways — he teaches us the value, importance, and suitability of divine things. Only what he teaches us, we really know, and are assured of — for there is always a certainty attending the teaching of the Holy Spirit of God.
How wonderful the kindness and love of God to Israel, as manifested in the wonders he wrought for them, and the gifts he conferred on them. But how much more wonderful his love to us. What miracles of mercy he has wrought for us, and what gifts of grace he has bestowed on us.
Never let us lose sight of the character and work of the Holy Spirit — he is the good Spirit, and the instructor of the church of God. Let us seek his divine teaching, nor let us be satisfied with any teaching but his. If he teaches us — we shall become educated in the things of God, and shall be trained up for the enjoyment of the services of the upper sanctuary. What the Spirit teaches — we never forget, nor can we be persuaded out of it; for the demonstration of the Spirit goes beyond all argument. Beloved, all our spiritual knowledge, and all true religion, comes from the Holy Spirit!
He inspired holy men to write the Scriptures, and as instructed by him — they penned every line, they formed every letter. The Bible is divine — but its divinity will be seen, realized, and enjoyed — only as we are taught by Him who dictated every word of it! Our daily duty then, is to wait upon the Spirit for His teaching, and honor Him as the great teacher — by attending to his monitions, promptings, and instructions; by yielding to His dictates and obeying His word; and by confessing openly our need of the Spirit's agency and work. For this there can be no substitute found.
As valuable and important as human teachers are — they are no substitute for the teaching of the Holy Spirit. He teaches by them. He blesses us through them. But if we put human teachers in the place of his agency, operation, and teaching — we dishonor him, we grieve his love, and provoke him to jealousy!
Reader, you will never know yourself correctly, nor Jesus Christ savingly, nor God satisfactorily — but by the teaching of the Holy Spirit. May the Spirit instruct you to understand the law, appreciate the gospel, and place unlimited confidence in the Lord Jesus. Amen.
"But the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name — will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." John 14:26
"But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth." 1 John 2:20