Wind is a powerful force in nature. If you’ve ever seen or experienced a hurricane, tornado or cyclone, you know this all too well. Jesus instructed the disciples to wait for an empowerment promised by the Father (Acts 1:4-5, 8). This power would come in connection with the Holy Spirit. The word “Spirit” is translated from the Greek term pneuma which literally means breath, a current of air, or breeze. Therefore it’s appropriate the power of the Holy Spirit is inaugurated by the coming of a mighty rushing wind from heaven. This isn’t the first time we see wind used in scripture. God uses wind to convey various aspects of His powerful influence. An examination of the use of wind in scripture sheds light on the power of the Spirit received at Pentecost and available to us today.
First, wind is used by God to bring His judgment. God blew in a plague of locusts upon the Egyptians (Exodus 10:13). God comes to discipline the unfaithful “on the wings of the wind” (2 Samuel 22:11). The prophet Nahum illustrated God coming in judgment in a “whirlwind” against His enemies (Nahum 1:3). The Holy Spirit blows into the lives of sinners seeking to convict them of their sin (John 16:8-11).
Second, wind is used by God to end God’s judgment. The Lord sent wind to dry up the waters of the Flood of judgment (Genesis 8:1). He used wind to blow locusts in as well as blow them out during His plagues on Egypt (Exodus 10:13 and 19). Like a great vacuum the Spirit draws people toward Jesus where they can find salvation from the judgment of sin.
Third, God uses the wind to bring a blessing. God used the wind to part the Red Sea so the Israelites could escape from the pursuing enemy Egyptians (Exodus 14:21). In the wilderness God used the wind to bring the blessing of a harvest of quail for His hungering people (Numbers 11:31). God heard the prayer of Elijah and blew in rain to refresh the droughted land (1 Kings 18:44-45). Like the wind, the Holy Spirit brings tremendous blessing to the believer. The Spirit brings the blessing of the presence of God.
Fourth, the wind of God is powerful. Elijah was God’s instrument to defeat the prophets of Baal. But after the victory Elijah ran in fear from Jezebel and grew depressed. The Lord got his attention by sending a mighty wind that tore into the mountain where he was standing (1 Kings 19:11). The Lord got Elijah’s attention with a mighty wind. Then He spoke to him with a still small voice.
The power of wind can come in a sudden gust. Wind can begin in a small funnel that builds in strength. There were only about 120 disciples gathered in the Upper Room. They were obediently praying for the Promise of the Father. God habitually uses small things, small groups to manifest His might and power. His does this to make clear the Source of His power.
The power bestowed at Pentecost has had worldwide influence. There have been miraculous healings and prophetic fulfillments. Societal wrongs righted and darkness dispelled by the light of the Lord. The power of the Spirit has moved on people to build hospitals, schools, and bring societal order. But the most significant impact has been the piercing of the heart of sinful humanity with the truth of the Gospel. Millions of souls saved. Myriad disciples made. The Spirit breathed God’s revelation truth in an eternally relevant Book, the Bible. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away” (Mat. 24:35). Such power is a category infinity in wind strength!
Fifth, wind is invisible but real. Jesus used the wind to illustrate the Holy Spirit cannot be seen (John 3:8). To this day with all our scientific advances meteorologists still have difficulty calculating the wind. You don’t see the wind coming. You don’t know it’s there until it touches you. You may not see the Spirit, but He is always there.
Sixth, wind can be used by God to shake us up. A hurricane can be a frightening experience. On the ocean wind can make waves that change a comfortable voyage into a perilous ocean venture. It was a mighty wind sent by God that shook the ship Jonah was in and stopped him from his rebellious retreat (cf. also Psalm 107:25-30). Jesus can calm the storms in our lives (Matthew 8:26). Storms caused by the winds of God are meant to lead us to Him. The Holy Spirit can use windstorms in life to wake us from spiritual lethargy.
But Satan can kick up storms too. He is limited by God. But he can wreak havoc nonetheless. It was a mighty wind in the book of Job that destroyed the house where Job’s children were dining and killed them all (Job 1:18-19). Where the wind is from is important for us to discern. The powerful wind in Job brought a severe trial. The powerful wind of the Spirit brings power to serve and witness for the glory of God. God can use all things for good (Rom. 8:28). That is a powerful statement when you think it through.
Seventh, wind moves things. It is the wind that blows into the sails of a ship and moves it (Acts 27:7, 13-18). Even though people can be big and sluggish like ships the wind of the Spirit can move them. A sailing ship without wind is dead in the water. Without the Spirit we can’t move. The Holy Spirit is able to move the unmovable. The Holy Spirit is able to drive us to our destination.
Eight, wind blows away the chaff. Chaff is the discarded outer portion of wheat. Those who harvested wheat took the cut stalks to a threshing floor where they beat them until the kernels of wheat separated from the outer skin. The threshed wheat was then tossed into the air so the wind would blow away the chaff. Chaff symbolically is a type of sin. It represents that which is unwanted, superficial, lightweight, spiritually. The Spirit blows away ungodly refuse in our lives (cf. Psalm 1).
Ninth, wind is a sign of the Spirit bringing life. In the book of Ezekiel, the prophet Ezekiel is brought “in the Spirit” to a place where he sees a vision of a valley of dry bones. God directs Ezekiel to prophesy over the dry bones. When Ezekiel obeys a wind comes from God and breathes life into the dead bones (Ezek. 37:1-14). Just as this prophetic vision pictures God sending a wind to bring life to dead Israel in captivity, so too does the Holy Spirit come as a wind upon Christians who have been trying to minister and serve in their own strength. The wind of the Spirit is a symbol of bringing life to that which was dead or dying. When the wind of the Spirit blows He brings new life to the unsaved and refreshing to those out of breath.
R.A. Torrey said, “A real revival is a time of quickening or impartation of life. . . . Only God can impart life, therefore, a revival is a time when God visits His people, and by the power of His Holy Spirit, imparts new life to them, then through them imparts life to sinners dead in trespasses and sins.”  Revival is the Spirit blowing and bringing life to that which is out of breath or dead. We need a breath of fresh air from the Spirit. We need a holy breeze from the Holy Spirit. We need the mighty rushing wind of the Spirit to blow again. Join me in making that our prayer.