Brian has previously noted that we will be working through Jack Levison’s most recent book, Fresh Air: The Holy Spirit for an Inspired Life. Today I will be doing part three. Thanks to Paraclete Press for the copy of this book!
The chapter I will be reviewing is entitled “Daniel’s Discipline.” Because I don’t want to give away the stories in the book, I won’t talk about them. This will be a mere surface level review. The texts that Jack wants us to become familiar with prior to reading the chapter (which I really suggest you do beforehand) are Job 32:1-33:7, Daniel 1:1-21, 4:1-18, 5:10-16, and 6:1-5.
In this chapter Levison reflects back on a previous biblical character that he introduced us to, Elihu. After introducing Elihu he introduces to us a new character, Daniel. In this chapter he compares and contrasts these two biblical figures. In doing so, Levison shows what the true source of wisdom is.
What I particularly liked about this chapter was how deep and unearthing his exegesis was. He did exegesis on both characters and showed how one believed and felt the Spirit was on him because he was boisterous and couldn’t contain himself (Elihu) and how the other just lived a life of true simplicity that was accompanied with discipline (Daniel). One flew from the seat of his pants, the other had true ruach-insight that was due to a life of simplicity and discipline.
Regarding Elihu’s speech in Job 32:16-20, Levison writes:
“We have much to learn from Elihu’s mistake. Too often, I think, we associate the presence of the spirit of God with a feeling, even a physical sensation, from something as simple as goose bumps to falling on the floor and twitching. Too often we attribute to the holy spirit our inability to shut up, pulled as we are by a compulsion to offer our own two cents, to venture our own opinion.”
I think this is a word that Pentecostals need to hear (note that this is coming from one). It is true, we associate the Spirit with certain manifestations (which isn’t to say the Spirit isn’t involved), but sometimes forget that the Spirit is “in the gentle whisper. (1 Kings 19:12)”
I like what Levison has to say about Daniel, he writes:
“What we discover is this: the spirit is in Daniel for the long haul. The spirit is not, from where Daniel or any of the empire builders around him stand, a momentary divine ambush. Throughout the three generations—-Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, and Darius—Daniel exhibits such wisdom that a succession of foreign rulers recognize a spirit in him that can only have come from God. If Daniel possesses wisdom through three generations, it is not because he occasionally receives special endowment of the spirit of God but because the spirit within him is the perennial source of enlightenment, wisdom, and prescience.”
This was one of my favorite chapters in this book. I highly encourage you to pick it up and read it for yourself!
Brian is up next to review the following chapter.