River of God | Day 9

John 15: 1-17, ​Genesis 32: 22-32, 1 Kings 18: 41-44, 2 Kings 5: 1-14

           As we have discussed before, revival begins with repentance. Repentance is the act of removing obstacles from the path of the river. It helps us adjust to God’s way of thinking. God’s cleansing is always in preparation for greater fruitfulness.

 

           Jesus said in John 15 that the pruning of the Father produces more fruit. The discipline of the Father causes a greater yield of “the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Hebrews 12:11). Hosea shows us that the breaking up of the fallow ground allows for the rain of righteousness (Hosea 10:12).

 

           Jacob’s thigh was dislocated by the Lord, then he was blessed with a new name and nature. In Elijah’s day, the judgment of drought prepared the way for a season of “abundance of rain” (1 Kings 18:41). The drought symbolized a lack of God’s blessing, but the rain represented a release of the flow of His river.

 

           Scripture is full of examples of cleansing preparing the way for blessing. A number of them are connected to water in some way, whether it be rivers or streams, even rain.

 

           For example, let’s look at the story of Jacob once again. His cleansing from his old nature came from a stream called Jabbok, which means “pouring out”. Once his old nature was poured out, God was able to then pour in a new nature, and bless him with the name and legacy of Israel.

 

           Naaman was cleansed of his leprosy and pride at the river Jordan in 2 Kings. Elijah’s drought prepared the way for cleansing and blessing. And when the blessing came, it was in the form of rain. Water is consistently representative of cleansing in the Bible. The cleansing then paves the way for the flow of the river to bless. We must respond to the current word of the Holy Spirit, allowing repentance to do its work. Only then will God be able to complete the process of revival in America.

 

           “Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19, NASB). In previous times, we’ve covered the first half of the scripture, emphasizing that repentance must come first. Now let’s look at the second half of this scripture - the “times of refreshing”.

 

           In the Greek, “times” is the word kairos, which means “opportune time”. The word “refreshing” is actually two Greek words. The first is ana, which means repetition, intensity, or reversal. Psucho means “to breathe, blow, or refresh with cool air”. When combined, they can mean “to draw breath again”, “to cool or refresh with a breath”, or “restoration”.

 

           This verse is Peter’s way of showing us that if we respond to the Holy Spirit, it creates a kairos time for God to breathe or blow on us again. He will revive us with a fresh breath, restoring us and giving us new strength to enable us to draw breath again. As Ezekiel was instructed to prophesy to the winds to blow and breathe life again, so are we given an opportunity to partner with God in breathing restoration into the world around us.

 

           When the process of repentance and turning has fully created the kairos of anapsuxis, we must seize the moment. Twice the New Testament says to redeem the time. “To redeem” is exagorazo, meaning buy or purchase. And again, the word “time” is the Greek word kairos. We must buy the opportunity when it is presented.

 

           When God breathes on an individual, it creates an opportunity for vision to be birthed. Allow Him to do so in those kairos moments. Vision is vital to the river of God. It moves us from mere mental assent to physical exertion. It separates the hearer from the doer, the convert from the disciple, mediocrity from excellence. It is also what separates a ripe harvest from a reaped harvest.

 

           When we are infused with vision, we will see the need like we have never seen it before. The harvest is plentiful! God is speaking a clear word to those who are listening. He is trying to awaken faith in us. It is time for us to rise up, hear Him, and obey.

 

           This knowledge doesn’t come without responsibility. Challenge yourself to look for the “times of refreshing” that will be available to you as you continue to repent and return. Look for the moments that we can seize, the opportunities that we can buy.

 

           God is preparing us for the wild, unabashed flow of His river. The obstacles are being cleared, and times of refreshing are coming. The Father is asking, “Can these bones live?”

 

           What will your response be?

 

 

These teaching concepts are derived from chapter nine of The River of God by Dutch Sheets.