River of God | Day 1
Ezekiel 47, Daniel 8:1-12, Acts 10:9-16, John 7:38-39, Luke 10:38-42,
Jonah 1-2 , Revelations 2:2-4, 1 Samuel 15:1-23, Psalm 36:8-9
In Ezekiel 47, the prophet Ezekiel has a vision of a river. He walks deeper and deeper into the waters - they start at his ankles, then grow to his knees, and then his hips. This is an important vision. It's also the source of a very important concept that believers need to understand.
The Bible is filled with unusual visions such as this one, from Daniel’s beasts (Daniel 8) to Peter’s sheet-wrapped animals (Acts 10). To stay free of error, we must judge our visions by Scripture and allow it to speak that which God intends. And we must do this without glorifying or creating doctrine from it. Ezekiel’s vision of the river stands as a picture of an outpouring of His Spirit. As we continue to study this significance, we will see how Scripture supports this idea.
Many have been in the river of God. Thousands of believers have been, and continue to be, changed through this mighty outpouring. But it is important to emphasize that the river of God is about much more than a river in a vision. It’s about a person. The river flows from God Himself - it is his life, flowing forth to heal and restore, to bring salvation, to release supernatural miracles.
“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified” (John 7:38-39, NASB). This verse shows us that even Jesus used the metaphor of the Spirit of God as a river. Why must we recognize this? Being in the river is being in God. To drink from the river is to drink from God. To release the river is to release God.
As humans, we thrive on and crave experiences. We want to see and feel. In this pursuit, we are driven to endless activities and service relationships. Our pursuit of God can deteriorate into the pursuit of one spiritual high after another. God is often lost in our search for God. But the story of the Bible is about God and people. The story of the Cross is God reunited with people. He is all about experiencing relationships. And any spiritual experience that does not in some way draw us closer to Him has either been wasted, or it wasn’t from God at all.
It is possible for river experiences, even revival, to be a replacement for Him. When we separate the person of God from the river of God, it pollutes the river by misplaced priorities through the deception of the enemy. We lose the move of God when we lose God in the move. This is why we must always focus our eyes on the person and not the thing. This is why we must recognize that the river of God and the person of God are inextricable. If we can grasp hold of this truth, we will be unstoppable.
We no longer have need for Marthas who let service get in the way of the relationship (Luke 10:38-42). We don’t want Jonahs who have service, but no relationship whatsoever (Jon. 1,2). We must guard against the deception of the Ephesians who let service replace relationship (Rev. 2:2-4). We dare not be like Saul who mistook religious activity and sacrifice for relationship (Sam. 15:1-23). Notice that the issue with each of these examples is that they did not keep the relationship with God as first priority. Let us not make that same mistake.
As we continue this study of the river of God, and as we learn more about what we can come to experience within it, keep this truth close to your heart. The river of God is about the person of God. It should always be about Him. He is the treasure and the priority. He is our source, and He is the beginning and the end of everything we desire. No matter what benefits or results we find in the river, this is not what we seek. We seek Him first, and all these things will be added.
If you find yourself standing on the banks of the river of God, watching the water but scared to dive in, ask Him to make you thirsty for it. He is willing and waiting to show you His goodness, to pour out His spirit on you. The river is available to you as a believer; it is your birthright. Only Jesus can satisfy your soul.