Christianity 201

September 15, 2015

The River of God

Who knew the Southern Baptist Convention publishes a daily devotional? We didn’t until last night. The depth of study in what follows — the devotional posted for yesterday — certainly is at the level C201 readers should expect. I was going to do some editing on this, and then decided to let you see it as it goes out; a devotional thought, some word study, the Christological connection, prayer requests for an SBC worker and a specific nation, and a memory verse that I assume is in the KJV.

We don’t have a link for this; to read today’s devotional go to sbc.net/devotions. At the bottom is a link to SBC’s devotional content provider, but you need a password in order to see their material.

Ezekiel 46 to Ezekiel 48

Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar. Then brought he me out of the way of the gate northward, and led me about the way without unto the utter gate by the way that looketh eastward; and, behold, there ran out waters on the right side (Ezek. 47:1-2).

A river as a symbol of life and health has appeared multiple times in the Bible. The first mention is in Genesis 2:10-14, discussing the river flowing out of Eden. The prophets Joel and Zechariah each mentioned fountains of living water that were sourced from the Lord (Joel 3:18; Zech. 14:8). It is the river of water of life, from the Book of Revelation, that comes the closest in both physical description and purpose to the river of healing described by Ezekiel. And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations (Rev. 22:1-2).

In each vision, the river flows from the presence of God outward. Each river is lined with trees that perpetually bear fruit and whose leaves have healing properties. In Ezekiel’s vision, the river flows eastward, getting wider and deeper the further it goes until it mingles with the dead sea and purifies the water, bringing life back to the sea (Ezek. 47:8). The rivers, which typify the life-giving power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, clearly illustrate the limitless transforming power of our almighty God. God’s power is not bound by proximity; the further we get from the truth and the light the more He is needed, and the stronger His power grows. Anywhere we find ourselves, no matter how dark and troubled the place, if we reach out to God we will be able to find Him. The restoration of the Dead Sea by the river of healing is proof that nothing is beyond the power of God. For with God nothing shall be impossible (Luke 1:37).

As with all other spiritual aspects of our lives however, we must seek redemption in order to find it. One would think that God’s river would be easy to see, but sin has a way of clouding our vision. We become “comfortable” (even if we are not happy) with where we are, and pushing through the weeds of sin that have us landlocked away from Him seems like too much trouble. We tell ourselves that we “are not that bad off,” or that “God will understand.” The reality is that, no matter what our reasons are, God will never understand or excuse unrepented sin. But the miry places thereof and the marishes thereof shall not be healed; they shall be given to salt (Ezek. 47:11). If we choose stay there, rooted in the byways of the world, then we shall surely die.

Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. (James 4:8).

Thought for Today:

God forgives sin, but He does not accept it.

Christ Revealed:

Through the river of living waters and one of the Names of God, Jehovah (Yahweh)-Shammah meaning: The Lord is there (Ezek. 47:1-12; 48:35; also Rev. 21 ‑ 22).

Word Studies:

46:7 as his hand shall attain unto = as much as he can afford; 46:24 places of them that boil = where the Temple servants are too boil the sacrifice; 47:2 utter gate = outer gate.

Prayer Needs:

Pray For Staff: Amanda Horn • Government Official: Rep. Ron DeSantis (FL) • Country: Bulgaria (6,924,716) Southeastern Europe • Major Languages: Bulgarian, Turkish • Newly opened to evangelism • 59.4% Eastern Orthodox; 7.8% Muslim; 1.7% Other (Catholic, Protestant, Armenian Apostolic Orthodox, Jewish); 3.7% None; 27.4% Unspecified • Prayer Suggestion: Pray for a greater desire to serve the Lord (Ps. 42:1-2).

Memory Verse:

John 15:1-5
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

Devotion courtesy Bible Pathway Ministries

I decided to include this song at the end, and after debating it for a few minutes, decided to use this version that incorporates a rather unusual choice for background images. (If you’d prefer a more traditional video for this song, click this link.)

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