Without the breath of the Lord we would only be dust of the earth. (Genesis 2:7) That thought came to me this week as I watched a very talented man transform limp, rubber balloons into captivating creatures. He had a large black bag divided into sections. Each section was filled with different colored balloons. One by one, he pulled out a balloon, took a deep breath and then breathed into it. At times he would blow and then twist the balloon, blow again and twist again as he shaped each balloon and then tied them together. The end result was spectacular! I watched him create a dog, cow, monkey and a man sitting on a motorcycle. It was his breath that gave his creations life. He made his creatures for our enjoyment, but I saw in him a deep satisfaction each time he finished a creature. He told me that he travels all over the world training others in his craft.
The Psalmist understood the importance of the breath of God in us. In Psalm 39:11 he says, "Each man is but a breath." Indeed, Father God lovingly blew His breath of life into man and womankind, placing His Spirit within and making each individual unique. In several chapters in the book of Job we can read what Job's friend Elihu said about the breath of God. Two stand out to me: "The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life." (Job 33:4) "But it is the Spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty, that gives us life and understanding." (Job 32:8) God's breath gives us life and understanding. When we comprehend the significance of His breath we must give Him praise. "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord." (Psalm 150:6)
The prophet Ezekiel had a demonstration of how the breath of the Lord can transform dry bones. The Hebrew word for breath here is ruwach, meaning a powerful/violent exhale that releases the energy of life. God instructed Ezekiel to prophesy life to the dry bones in the valley. As he did so they came together, "but there was no breath in them." (Ezekiel 37:8) Next God told him to "prophesy to the breath." (Verse 9) As Ezekiel prophesied the breath entered the slain and "they came to life and stood on their feet--a vast army." (Verse 10)
God has been raising up an army of Believers since the days when Jesus walked on the earth. The book of John tells how Jesus commissioned His disciples. He is the One who brought the breath of Father God to earth. He said to His disciples, "'Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.' And with that He breathed on them and said, 'Receive the Holy Spirit.'" (John 20:21-22) Jesus knew that our Heavenly Father had plans to blow on them again and gave them instructions to wait in Jerusalem for the gift that God promised. They would be endued with power from the Holy Spirit so that they could witness to the ends of the earth. We read in Acts 2 how the ruwach of God came upon them on the day of Shavuot/Pentecost. Luke reports the following: "Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting...All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit..." (Acts 2:2, 4)
We still need the breath of God to fill us. This involves waiting on the Holy Spirit for refilling with the power and energy of heaven. As we are filled up we can release His life-giving breath to those who are around us. This is our mandate! We are partners with God in raising up an end-time army for the Lord.
Joan E. Mathias