Today's Foundationals Devotional: Physical reactions on God’s presence in the Old Testament
Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we
may be justified by faith.
Another type of experience often associated with the baptism in the Holy Spirit is some kind of powerful physical sensation. Over the course of years I have asked many people on what grounds they based their claim to have received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Their answer is often: some strong physical sensation or reaction.
The following are some of the experiences which have been mentioned to me: a sensation of a powerful electric current; a sensation of a fire or of intense heat in some other form; being prostrated forcefully on the floor; a powerful shaking of the whole body; seeing a very bright light; hearing the actual voice of God speaking; having a vision of heavenly glories; and so on.
Once again, in considering theories of this kind, we must acknowledge that they contain an important element of truth. Throughout the course of the Bible we find many instances where the immediate presence and power of almighty God produced strong physical reactions in those of His people who were counted worthy to come close to Him.
When the Lord appeared to Abraham and began to speak to him, Abraham fell upon his face (see Gen. 17:1-3). Several times in the books of Leviticus and Numbers, when God’s presence and glory were visibly manifested among His people, both Moses and Aaron and others also of the children of Israel fell upon their faces. When the fire fell upon Elijah’s sacrifice and all the people saw it, they fell upon their faces (see 1 Kin. 18:39). At the dedication of Solomon’s temple:
... the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not continue ministering [more literally, could not stand to minister] because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God (2 Chron. 5:13-14).
There are two passages in which the prophet Jeremiah gives his own personal testimony of the strong physical effects produced within him by the power of God’s Word and God’s presence.
Then I said, “I will not make mention of Him [the Lord], Nor speak anymore in His name.” But His word was in my heart like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, And I could not (Jer. 20:9).
Here Jeremiah testifies that the prophetic message of the Lord within his heart produced the impression of a burning fire in his bones. Later he says again:
My heart within me is broken because of the prophets; all my bones shake. I am like a drunken man, and like a man whom wine has overcome, because of the Lord [more literally, from the face or presence of the Lord], and because of His holy words (Jer. 23:9).
Here also Jeremiah’s words indicate a powerful physical reaction to God’s presence.
Again, powerful physical effects came upon Daniel and his companions because of a direct vision of the Lord.
And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, for the men who were with me did not see the vision; but a great terror [or trembling] fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves. Therefore I was left alone when I saw this great vision, and no strength remained in me; for my vigour was turned to frailty in me, and I retained no strength (Dan. 10:7-8).
At the immediate presence of the Lord, Daniel and his companions – just like Jeremiah – experienced strong and unusual physical reactions.
Father God, I am without words when I consider how great, majestic
and powerful the experience of Your greatness can be. Thank You for
the unity of Your Word, the Bible, and that I can fully experience Your
greatness from it. Amen.