The River Of God
Let me start by pointing you to a verse from a Psalm:
He opened the rock and water flowed out;
It ran in the dry places like a river.
It is from Psalm 105, which, it’s worth noting, is an outline of the history of Israel. That’s a good thing to keep in mind if you ever need a quick overview of the Old Testament. But the point I’d like to make now is that in the midst of this summary God saw reason to include Moses striking the rock in order to bring forth water “in the dry places like a river.” You can find the expanded version of this event in Exodus 17. It tells the story of the Israelites crying out to Moses that they were thirsty and then God instructing Moses to strike a certain rock with his staff. This event was important because of its symbology of Jesus, the rock of our salvation, being struck for our transgressions.
Let’s now compare this Old Testament passage with John 7:37-38 which describes the last days of Jesus on earth:
In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”
Here again Jesus himself is pointing to a river that was to come and was yet at hand; however, it would not flow across land but instead it would flow in the spirit across time and through the hearts of men. This “river” would be the Church of Jesus, the Christ. It would be like a river that began at the foot of the cross and which would meander through time. It has flowed from 2000 years ago to our present day, and it will flow to the end of time. And this river was never in danger of drying up either, nor was it ever in danger of being dammed or dispersed by the hand of Man, though lots of blood has flowed, lots of tears have been cried, and lots of resources have been expended in such endeavors.
Also, this river can be traced. When we examine history, the teachings of Jesus have not changed. That’s not to say that there have never been any false teachers who have wanted to dig their own canals. There have always been those, just as there are today. Such was prophesied by the source of the river itself. Man is at war with God and his rebellion takes on many forms. But we can be comforted in knowing that no man will ever stop this river:
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
The holy dwelling places of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns. (NASU Ps 46:4-5)
The question you must answer is, are you planted by this river? Are your roots being nourished by its waters? Or are you planted next to a canal dug by men and have your roots tapped into a “new thing?” Or, are you planted in the desert and receiving no water at all? Do your teachers look with embarrassment or disgust at the teachings of old? Does Man’s “wisdom” trump God’s Word in your, or your teacher’s, eyes? These are important questions that you must ever answer as you continually guard your hearts.
So let me pass along to you, my dear ones, a warning and some comfort from Jesus, which I have drawn from His words in the Gospel of John, chapter 10.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.
Jesus has led His sheep and He has been their shepherd for two millennia. His Spirit has dwelled in His people and they have known him, but more importantly, He has known His people. He was not upset when Man’s reference point for understanding the movement of heavenly bodies transitioned for Man from the face of the earth to the sun. He is not troubled by layers of rock that some point to as proof of millions and millions of years of earth history. He is not confused about how He created men to be different from women. His Word is as trustworthy and true today as it has ever been. Do not fret over the carryings-on of men who are, in their hearts, at war with their creator, who is your God. But rather trust in the LORD!
“Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. ” (Jer 17:7-8)
Tap your roots into the living water, and feast on the Bread of Life, and there bear fruit for your God and King.
My hope and prayer for you, my dear children, would be that you would plant yourselves next to this river so that you would not be blown from one strange doctrine to another, like the waves on the ocean. Put God’s Word in your heart. Meditate on it day and night. Pray earnestly that God would not let you be led astray, that He would hold you fast in the storms of life, as will I also be praying for you.
With great love,