It is understood that the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament was transitory in His direct dealings with man. Therefore, those on whom he was manifested, did not have him permanently. One sure thing, however, was that each time the Spirit manifested, the recipients would immediately go on to complete a mighty act requiring power or wisdom, or to speak a prophetic word. Some of these Old Testament recipients of the Holy Spirit namely: Othniel, Jephthah, David, Samson and Bezalel are considered below.
1. Othniel – Judges 3:7-11
Othniel was Caleb’s younger brother, the son of Kenaz. Scriptures record that at the time, the children of Israel were held captive as slaves serving under the hand of Cushan-Rishathaim king of Mesopotamia. This state of captivity was occasioned by the fact that the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord. They forgot the Lord their God and worshipped the Baals and Asherahs. This captivity continued for eight years until the children of Israel cried out to the Lord for help. In response to their cry, the Lord answered by raising the man called Othniel to be their deliverer. In order to fully equip Othniel for the task, the Holy Spirit had to come upon him, empowering with wisdom and might. The work of the Holy Spirit was evident, in that He was able to judge Israel rightly, went to war and defeated Cushan-Rishathaim king of Mesopotamia thereby delivering the children of Israel from slavery. The Bible also records that the land had peace for forty years after the mighty deliverance by Othniel, equipped by the Holy Spirit.
2. Jephthah: Judges 11
Jephthah was the son of Gilead who was rejected by his brethren as having no inheritance because he was born of a harlot. The Bible records that Jephthah fled from his people and dwelt the land of Tob with worthless men. “Fortunately,” the people of Ammon made war against Israel, and this caused the elders to seek Jephthah’s help. (At this point, I could not help but imagine how disappointed the elders would have been if their decision to seek out Jephthah (son of a harlot & rejected) turned out to be futile). Jephthah came on the scene and began to engage the king of Ammon; I believe he was attempting to resolve issues by dialogue. Verse 28 of Judges 11, records that the king of Ammon did not heed the words which Jephthah sent. At this point, Jephthah having tried dialogue and failed, the strategy had to change, and God stepped in. Verse 29 says: “Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah”. The Holy Spirit apparently infused Jephthah with enough courage to go to war with the people of Ammon and he came out victorious. Here, we see the Holy Spirit empowering a man who was rejected by his people, to become an agent of victory for his people.
3. David- 1 Samuel 16:13
David was one man who enjoyed the guidance of the Holy Spirit so much that he had a personal revelation of Him. In the scripture above the bible records that the Spirit of God came upon David when he was anointed by Prophet Samuel. He became a mighty warrior, defeating Goliath and leading the Israelite armies to many victories. In 1 Chronicles 18 the bible records that the Lord helped David to win all the battles that he fought. David was also a poet and musician, who composed numerous Psalms under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. David understood the advantage of the presence of the Holy Spirit with Him thus he prayed to God in Psalm 51: 11 not to take the Holy Spirit from him.
4. Samson – Judges 13:25
The Bible records in Judges 13:25 above, that the Spirit of the LORD began to move upon Samson. Samson’s incredible strength was greater than even the strongest of men in his time. The Spirit of the LORD” gave him supernatural strength to achieve great feats from time to time.
In Judges 14:6, the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon Samson, and he tore a lion apart as one would have torn apart a young goat, though he had nothing in his hand. In Judges 14:19, the Spirit of the Lord came upon Samson, and he went down to Ashkelon and killed thirty men on his own. In Judges 15:14-16, The Spirit of the Lord came upon him; and the ropes that were on his arms became like flax that is burned with fire, and his bonds broke loose from his hands, after which, he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, and killed a thousand men with it.
5. Bezalel – Ex 31:1-5
The scripture above refers to one Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, of whom God Himself said “…I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, to design artistic works, to work in gold, in silver, in bronze, in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of workmanship.” Through this enabling work of the Holy Spirit, God Himself raised Bezalel, amongst others to perform the task of building the tabernacle with excellence and precision.
These individuals were among the many in the Old Testament who were inspired by the Holy Spirit and accomplished great things under His guidance.