In Isaiah 11, the prophet foretells how the coming Messiah will emerge from David’s lineage. He also explains how the messiah will be full of God’s spirit.
The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge, and the fear of the LORD. And He will delight in the fear of the LORD, and He will not judge by what His eyes see, nor make a decision by what His ears hear. Isaiah 11:1-4
This scripture, alongside others, reveals the 7 spirits of God.
What are the 7 Spirits of God?
A close look at Isaiah 11 1-4 reveals that there are 7 spirits of God namely;
- The Spirit of the Lord
- The Spirit of Wisdom
- The Spirit of Understanding
- The Spirit of Counsel
- The Spirit of might
- The Spirit of Knowledge
- The Spirit of the Fear of the Lord
Let us take a close look at each of these below.
The Spirit of the Lord
The spirit of the Lord can also be referred to as the spirit of dominion or Lordship. This spirit is the one that typically “comes upon” believers to empower them for service. The statement “the hand of the Lord came upon” or the “spirit of the Lord came upon” is used severally in scripture to refer to the spirit of the Lord. A good example is the story of Samson in the book of Judges. Before he did any of his mighty works, the spirit of the Lord would come upon him (e.g. Judges 13:25, 14:6, 14:19,). But an even more prolific example is given in Isaiah 61 in reference to Jesus.
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; Isaiah 61:1
The Spirit of Wisdom
Just as the name suggests, the spirit of Wisdom is the one who brings God’s wisdom. The wisdom of God can confound even teh wise and can get you out of impossible situations. For instance, Jesus told his disciples not to worry about their legal defense if they are arrested for preaching the gospel “For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” (Luke 12:12). Christians ought to pray for teh spirit of wisdom as modeled by Solomon. After he asked God for wisdom, the spirit of wisdom came on him so much that the entire nation knew that teh wisdom of God was upon him (1 Kings 3:28). As James records, God is willing to dispense this kind of wisdom to anyone who asks (James 1:5).
The Spirit of Understanding
The spirit of understanding will open your spiritual eyes to help you comprehend the mysteries of God. A good illustration of this is given by Apostle Luke.
And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Luke 24:45
After this, the apostles finally understood what Jesus had been teaching them for the last 3 years. Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Church at Ephesus, opened the book by praying for them to receive the spirit of understanding. He wanted to community some mysteries in the book that he knew would require spiritual insight. So he prayed;
(I pray that) the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, Eph. 1:18
It is one thing to hear/read God’s word and another to understand it. Without the spirit of understanding, you will be like the proverbial seed that was sown by the roadside andthe birds of the air took it. But with understanding, you will be like the seed that fell on good ground and yielded 30, 60, and 100 fold.
The Spirit of Counsel
The spirit of Counsel offers guidance to the believer. David talks about this spirit in Psalms 16:7 where he explains how the reins of his heart (inner man) gives him instruction in the night seasons. There are many examples of the spirit of counsel at work in teh Bible. For instance, in the Book of Acts, we read how Paul, Silas, and Timothy were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach in Asia (Acts 16:6). Even though they wanted to, the Holy Spirit gave them counsel against it. This must be what Isaiah meant when he said,
Whenever you are tempted to turn to the right or to the left, you will hear his voice behind you, saying, “This is the way. Walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21
The Spirit of Might
The spirit of might is what gives supernatural strength. The spirit of might would often come upon Samson and empower him to do mighty works – like killing a thousand men with only a donkey’s jawbone as a weapon. Jesus promised the new testament to receive the spirit of might as well. In acts, we read,
but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Acts 1:8
The Greek word for power used in the scripture above is the word dunamis. It is the same word used for MIght. Unlike Samson, the new testament church may not necessarily require physical strength. However, we still need to be strengthened in the power of God’s might (Eph. 6:10). Suffice it to say we need to Ask God for the Spirit of Might.
The Spirit of Knowledge
The spirit of Knowledge gives revelation and that makes the difference between head knowledge and heart knowledge. Apostle Paul puts it this way;
we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might
become aware of the things that are freely given to us of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:12).
To become aware of things means they had previously been hidden. When hidden things become revealed, you become aware of them. The spirit of knowledge brings revelation knowledge which is the highest form of knowledge. This is what Paul referred to when he talked about God revealing hidden things by his spirit ( 1 Cor. 2:9-10). This spirit that reveals hidden things is the Spirit of knowledge.
The Spirit of the Fear of the Lord
The spirit of the fear of the Lord is what inspires reverence. It was very common with the Old Testament prophets but it is still relevant even in the New Testament. When the spirit of the Fear of the Lord descends, he does something that will inspire the fear of God. For instance, when Ananias and Saphira lied to God, they were struck dead and the aftermath was a release of the fear of God upon the church.
Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events. Acts 5:11
It is possible to enjoy the manifestation of God’s spirit and still lack the fear of God. For instance, teh church at Corinth condoned all manner of sin including adultery. People even scrambled for communion elements in the church. They clearly lacked the spirit of the fear of God. it is dangerous to live that way because when the spirit of fear descends, he often comes with judgment.
To sum it up, the seven spirits of God are meant to work together in the life of a believer to create balance. When you have all the 7 spirits, you will be a mature Christian who is not only empowered but also righteous and holy. Most Christians only focus on teh spirit of might (power) but forget teh other facets – but we should all desire the fullness of God’s spirit.