Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person. Genesis 2:7 (NLT, my emphasis)
That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. 20 As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! 21 Again he said,“Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.”22 Then he breathed on them and said,“Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” John 20:19-23 (NLT, my emphasis)
From Genesis to Revelation God uses His breath to bring His life into His children. I am told that everything that is a living being, is alive because of the breath God breathes into them. God’s breath is creative. But there is more.
Intimate. When I think about receiving someone’s breath, that is a very intimate thought. Breath can be sweet and “minty fresh” but it can also be foul. I never considered the intimacy of breath until I was married and suddenly there is someone who may truly love me but my “morning breath” is – well, in need of alteration! God is intimate with His children. He could have created everything in the world black or white. He could have made our eyes see only shades of gray! But instead there are colors and textures and smells which we respond to in positive or less than positive ways. I can’t look at the delicacy and color of a kitten or puppy and not consider how God made each one. And then there are the many colors of His children. Each beautiful and alive because of the breath that God Himself gave to him or her.
Powerful and Cleansing. Some where I saw a cartoon with God portrayed as a huge old man that blew hurricane force winds, blowing down trees and everything in His path. As I have read more about God and His breath in the Bible, I do not see the power in the force but in His presence. When God comes near, all that is not “clean” or “holy” has to leave. And the first place which needs cleaning is inside of me! James said that clean water cannot come from a salty stream (James 3:9-12) and neither can my witness to Him come from inside a life that does not allow His Spirit to cleanse me of sin.
God is faithful and will respond when I ask Him to create in me a clean heart (Psalm 51). If I open myself for Him to clean, it will be done! It will involve not only openness on my part, but change to living in His Way.
Comforting. I remember lying down on my bed as broken as I have ever been in my life. My young son had died about four hours ago. I knew where he was in that moment. I knew he was well and whole and playing his drums in the Throne Room of God. But I was here in a silent home. Tired and exhausted didn’t describe my body, mind and spirit. And then came such a soft and comforting peace. I felt like a child being held and rocked in the strong arms of her Father. No more pain. Tears fell but they soaked the shirt of the One who loved me. I could hear the Breath of God in my ear. And I slept better than I had in many weeks.
It may seem like a strange thing to ask God to “breathe” on me but it is another way for me to attempt to understand how I, as a finite being, is able to intimately interact with my infinite LORD. Michael W Smith wrote a song that really makes sense to me and I hope it helps everyone today to get a deeper insight into just how much our Father God loves us, His children.
Breathe written & sung by Michael W Smith