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The Wind and the Winnow

And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.  Acts 2:2 (ESV)

Wind is invisible, ethereal, mysterious and powerful.  The Beaufort scale, which is used in the Met Office forecasts, is an empirical measure for describing wind intensity.  It was originally invented by Admiral Beaufort in the 1700s.  Many marine forecasts still give the wind’s strength using the Beaufort scale.  There are a variety of tools to determine the direction of the wind such as a simple weathervane or an anemometer.

Acts 2:2 records that when the Holy Spirit was given, the display of ability and power astounded everyone present.  The intensity was documented: “a mighty rushing wind”.  The direction was also chronicled: “there came from heaven”.  While wind is invisible, we can see its effects as it rustles a tree full of foliage and so it is with the Holy Spirit.  Just as we know that the wind is present when the boat’s sail is full, when the kite soars upward, and when the windmill is turning, we know that the Holy Spirit is active when we see the typical effects of His works and the fruit produced.

The word “Spirit” is translated from the Greek term pneuma which literally means ‘breath, a current of air or breeze’.  The Hebrew word for ‘Spirit’ (ruach) also means ‘breath’.  The English word ‘Spirit’ comes from the Latin verb spirare which means ‘to breathe’.  This is a theme that runs throughout the entire Bible.  In the book of Genesis, we see God breathing life into Adam and Eve.  In the book of Ezekiel we see God breathing life into the field of dry bones.  In the book of John we see Jesus breathing the Holy Spirit upon the disciples.  He is the Wind of Heaven, the Breath of God.  A well-loved hymn states:

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
Fill me with life anew,
That I may love the way you love,
And do what you would do.

In Acts 1:4 Jesus calls the Holy Spirit the gift of the Father.  Let us be thankful for the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Let us give thanks for the quickening work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  As regenerated, indwelt and sanctified by the Holy Spirit, may we continually yield to the Holy Spirit and be changed from glory into glory.  As the wind blows away the chaff in the natural discarding refuse of winnowed corn, so may the Holy Spirit blow away the chaff, ungodly refuse and carnality, of our lives this Pentecost.

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