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Chapter 10 - Quenching the Spirit

Quench not the Spirit. - 1 Thessalonians 5:19

Most are familiar with the image of a blacksmith taking a piece of hot iron and plunging it into a bucket of water. The loud hiss testifies to the heat being taken out of the piece by the water as it is turned into steam. We have the ability to similarly deflate the power of the Holy Spirit. We can be unaware of this cessation of the work of the Spirit with the example of Sampson.

And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him. - Judges 16:20

To better understand what is lost when we quench the Spirit, we should examine what we can know of his work.

Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, from within him shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believed on him were to receive: for the Spirit was not yet given; because Jesus was not yet glorified. - John 7:37-39

Here we have a picture of the Spirit indwelling a person such that an abundant and continual flow of 'living water' will be found. We also find that the Spirit provides comfort and truth.

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. - John 14:16-17

We can also see that the Spirit works to guide us in truth;

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. - John 16:13

We also have communicated to us assurance of our salvation.

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: - Romans 8:16

We also have help from the Spirit who works for us way beyond what we can even understand.

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. - Romans 8:26

We stand to lose a great deal (comfort, assurance, being guided in truth, and intercession) when we 'quench' the work of the Spirit. Since the risk is so high, we should consider how it is that we accomplish this self-injury.

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. - Ephesians 4:30

Here we can see that the Holy Spirit can feel 'grief' that we can cause. Presumably this emotional reaction is a result of hopes and expectations frustrated by poor choices we make. We all too often take a mechanical view of God and fail to appreciate his emotional range.

The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. - Psalm 145:8

We can see some of this hurt and regret with Jesus;

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! - Luke 13:34

We can see with the example of Jesus in his consideration of the people of Jerusalem the lament for lost opportunity. This may be similar to the 'grief' felt by the Holy Spirit of the opportunities we have and yet squander.

God can be provoked to anger and wrath.

Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils, And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood. Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went a whoring with their own inventions. Therefore was the wrath of the LORD kindled against his people, insomuch that he abhorred his own inheritance. - Psalm 106:37-40

God is yet merciful when he sees that we turn from that which is deserving of punishment.

And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not. - Jonah 3:10

God has desires for us that we should be blessed with all he has to give us. When we respond to the inclinations of the flesh, we start to follow a path away from God. His Spirit is grieved and his work in us is reduced. Like throwing a bucket of water on a fire, what we could have been and what we could have done is either postponed or abandoned.

For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. - 2 Peter 1:8


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