The Breath of God

By: Rev. J. Loren Russell

Genesis 2:7
And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

Breath is an interesting topic. Although there are many references to breath in the Bible, its first mentioned is in the book of Genesis where we are told that God breathed into the nostrils of the man, the creature He formed from the dust of the earth. Webster’s Dictionary says that breathe is “to draw air into and expel it from the lungs; to inhale and exhale freely.” The Hebrew word for breath is “neshamah” and literally means a breathing being.

The story in the Bible does not say that the man drew air into his lungs, but that the Lord breathed into his lifeless body and gave him breath. So, it can be reasoned that it was the breath of God that gave mankind the breath we all now breathe. Of everything that was created, man is the only one who was given breath in order to come to life. Everything else was created with breath already in them. God gave us a part of Himself as a part of His divine plan.

Breathing is a process, a very complexed process. Every time we inhale, we take in oxygen that is then distributed and nourishes our entire body. The oxygen exits our bodies in the form of carbon dioxide through the process of exhaling. Breathing is a process that even the most brilliant of us do not fully understand. What fascinates me, even more than this process, is the fact that it was the breath of God that gave us life. Every time we inhale and exhale, we should envision God Himself flowing through and feeding our bodies with His Holy Spirit. While everything in creation breathes, the only creation given the breath of God is man.

Each time we take a breath, we should remember where it came from. We need to acknowledge that we have been favored. And in case you want to push back on that, let me remind you that “favor ain’t fair!”

But there’s more! In creation, God breathed into man. At Pentecost, Jesus breathed on man; “And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost” (John 20:22). The first breath was for man to become a living soul, the second breath was for man to bring spiritual life to mankind.
It is interesting how COVID 19 primarily attacks the respiratory system. Take away breath and you take away life. In addition to adhering to and following the directives of social distancing, washing, and covering our face and hands, we need to breathe deeply to remind ourselves of the precious gift of life we have been given and the love we have been shown.

I am convinced that we will find while taking those deep breaths, that we have a built in mechanism for fighting against this deadly virus. Breathe…, and appreciate the breath of life!

God Bless you!

Rev. J. Loren Russell is President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial Strategy & Consulting; an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx; creator & host of “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM on Facebook LIVE and author of Matters of Faith: The Book. eBook available at

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