Never Under-Estimate What God Can Do Through You!

 

A Bible Commentary –  Haggai 1:13; 2:1-19

We see in the Scriptures that God uses different people in different places, over different periods of time, for different purposes.

When Solomon was king of Israel, he built a beautiful temple in Jerusalem.  People from all over the world came and saw this wonder.  The Jewish people treasured the Temple because it was the place where God dwelled with a man and the place where they WORSHIPPED Him.

But as time went by, the nation began to turn from God, turning towards gods from the surrounding nations.

Civil war broke out and the Nation of Israel split into two kingdoms.  The Northern Kingdom (Israel) rapidly went downhill and the Southern Kingdom (Judah) followed close behind but at a slower rate.  The result of this turning away from God was Judah’s captivity by Babylon.  When the Babylonians came in, they destroyed the Temple that Solomon had built for God.

70 years passed, then God moved Cyrus of Persia to allow the Jews to return to their homeland.  About 50,000 people went back to Judah and when they arrived, nothing had changed.  Everything was in shambles.

Immediately, the returnees set about to rebuild the temple and re-laid the foundation during a great celebration; but then came opposition.  The Samaritans (who hated the Jews) didn’t want to see the Jews prosper, so they kept hitting back at them until finally, they stopped rebuilding the Temple altogether.

As the years passed by, slowly but surely, Jerusalem came back to life.  Homes were built, stores were opened, commerce re-established, fields planted, crops harvested, and life began to resemble something of a normal pattern, BUT there was a problem.  The Temple foundation still lay in ruins, overgrown with weeds.  Every time the Jews passed it, it stood as a reminder of their failure to take care of God’s house.

This situation remains for 16 long years.  Finally, God sent a prophet named Haggai to wake the people up.

From what history reports, Haggai’s ministry lasted only over a span of 4 months (Hag. 1:1; 2:1,10, 20).

We don’t know where he came from, we don’t know his lineage, his family – all we know is that he has come out of exile in Babylon with Zerubbabel.  God had a purpose for him after 70 years in captivity, and God had only 4 months for this man to minister.

And the effect of his ministry?

In just 24 days after his message, we see the people (led by their leader Zerubbabel and Joshua their high priest) started work again and reconstructing the Temple of God (Hag. 1:14-15).

THE WHOLE NATION turned around and completed God’s task because one new man spoke on His behalf.

This leads right into my title: Don’t Under-Estimate What God Can Do Through You!

GIVE TO GOD THE SMALL THINGS –

Fred Craddock, professor, and New Testament Emeritus says, “We think giving our all to God is like taking a $1,000 bill, laying it on the table and saying, ‘Here’s my life, Lord.  I’m giving it to You.’  But that’s not how it works!

God sends us to the bank to cash $1,000 bill – for 50 cent coins.  Then He asks us to give 50 cents here, and $1,00 there; to teach a Sunday school class, volunteer you help a hospice, or just clean up the sanctuary.”  The Small things!

So the question is – are we as prepared to be used by God?

  • It’s good to pause and think – what has God been calling you to do?
  • Does God expect anything from me?

What’s wrong with the people of Israel?

They’ve returned to their homeland Jerusalem more than 16 years earlier (586 BC, from captivity in Babylon).

  • They actually started rebuilding the Temple after their return with all good intentions.  [We all start out with good intentions, don’t we?]  But the work was suspended because of conflict with their Samaritan neighbors (Ezra 3-4).
  • They refused to let the Samaritans work on the Temple, the animosity grew, and the Samaritans fight back.
  • As a result, the work was halted and nobody bothered any attention to the unfinished work for another 14 years.

When God is out of mind, He’s out of your life.

The people had gotten indifferent about re-building God’s house.  They build “paneled houses” (1:4) for themselves.  It wasn’t a lack of resources; they have the time and the means to do it.  It was a lack of heart.

The Bible tells us where your treasure is for there your heart is also.  You can call it apathy, or being lukewarm, or just being lazy.  Whatever it is, God is neither in their mind nor in their lives.

So what’s the result of the God- absent life?

READ 1:6, 9-11

[6] “You have sown much but you harvest little”

Because the people had pushed God out the center of life, they were now suffering in every other area.  They had fields without produce, action without satisfaction. and labor without profit.  These occurrences appear to be a correlation between the blessings of life and our worship of God.

Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:33 (AMP),  “But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides.”

When our priority isn’t right, then we’ll see it in our lives, the fruit of our labor.

We can read a similar message given to the prophet Malachi.  The people had drifted away from God and no longer bringing their tithes and offerings into the storehouse – the Temple of God.

And God says in Malachi 3:10-12…

WHY WOULD GOD DO THIS?

He allows us to suffer the results of our wrong choices in life to wake us up, convict us of sin, and to lead us to repentance.  The longer they put it off, the longer they deprive themselves of God’s blessing.

Let’s stop procrastinating when God shows us what is right and good.  By putting it off, you’re just delaying God’s BLESSING in your life!

It’s interesting to note that God told them what they were thinking (1:2), “This is what the LORD Almighty says”

God not only knows the situation, He knows what you’re thinking!  He knows the condition of the heart!

So when God speaks to you and me, during the reading of His Word in the Bible, He’s addressing a NEED He sees in us.

A thought came to me, about the time when Jesus spoke to the Samaritan women at the well in John 4.  He was able to tell her of five husbands, and the woman said, “I can see you are a prophet.”  And when the conversation ended, she ran back to her village crying, “I can see a man that told me all that ever I did!”  The woman came for the water, but that wasn’t her greatest need.  She needed the LIVING WATER, and Jesus spoke to her need!

When God speaks through the prophets in the OT, He’s addressing the NEEDS of the people directly.

God was telling the people in Haggai’s time the real cause of their misery in life.  It pays to listen attentively to God when we are moved by a message.  We find this phrase repeated again and again (1:2. 3. 5. 7. 13; 2:1…):

“This is what the LORD ALMIGHTY says; the word of the Lord came through…”

Today God is doing the same thing – He is constantly speaking to us!

It may come as COMFORT, a WARNING, a word of WISDOM.  God is addressing a NEED in you, in me, or as a church.  And the result is the same – our heart is being stirred.

Being “stirred,” that’s the work of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter!  Taking the Word of God and showing it to us, convicting us of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8).  

So when God speaks, listen!  Don’t listen to – rely on, a sermon for someone’s sake.  The LORD says repeatedly, “Give careful thought to your ways” (1:5, 7; 2:15).

This is the right response to His Word.  Ponder carefully – to think about; reflect on, consider especially a matter soberly and quietly – and respond to Him.

1:12 says the “whole remnant of the people obeyed the voice of the Lord their God and the prophet Haggai because the LORD their God had sent him…”

  • They recognized it as a message from God, not from Haggai, not man’s suggestion.

This one decision – to heed God’s Word – changed them completely!

You may have been indifferent to 14 years, it really doesn’t matter.  What’s important is to take note of what God’s saying to you and act upon it.  It might just be a simple decision, but you need to MAKE IT!  Procrastinate and you can find yourself still in misery for another 14 years.  “Someday” is the devil’s tool to keep us from growing in the Christian life.  It’s not a lack of resources, it’s a lack of a heart.  Many Christians know what’s right and good, BUT…just couldn’t…wouldn’t act to doing it.

There’s a legend that’s worth repeating because it contains an important truth to this study.  *[See CREDITS]

Satan held a passing out parade at the spiritual academy.  During the day he questioned 3 of his evil spirits.  To the first, he said, “When you get out into the world, what are you going to say to the people?”

“Oh,” the evil spirit replied, “I shall tell them there’s no God.”

“That’s no use,” said the devil, “Creation tells people that there is a God.  Not many will believe you.”  Then he said to the second evil spirit, “And what are you going to tell the people?”

“I shall say that there is not going to be a judgment,” was the reply.

“That’s not much use,” answered the devil.  “Conscience tells them about judgment.  Not many will believe you.”  Turning to the third evil spirit he asked, “What about you?”

“I shall tell people that there is a God and a judgment to come,” answered the third evil spirit.  “But I shall add there’s no hurry.”

“Excellent,” said the devil.  “Many will believe that!”

People believe that there’s no hurry about accepting Christ, turning to God and putting things right.  The truth is – the time is running out fast, and the time to respond to God’s voice may just be now.

____________________________________________________________________________

CREDITS:

Legend Story:  “There Is A Legend” – June 18, 2007, Sermon Central.com; Mark Sutton, Missions Today.

Bible Translations:  New International Version (NIV); Amplified Bible (AMP)

Photo/Images:  Google Image Search.

Dictionary:  Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary – To “ponder”

 

“Whew, I Need Another Drink!”

going-without-water-21309806
I Need A Drink of Water!

Scripture:  Isaiah 12:2-6; John 4:4-15

Do you remember that moment when you were first SAVED; became a Christian, accepted JESUS as your Lord and Savior?

I remember not only the “moment”, on August 15th, 1972, I remember the next day, the next week after.  I wanted, I had to share with everyone I came in contact with, what had happened in my life.  I sure the people who knew me were thinking, “Yeah, sure things are different in his life.  We’ll see.”

I had no idea what “evangelism” was, nor was I familiar with the Bible; although I knew ‘about’ the book, but never read it.

Bubbling Springs
Bubbling Springs

There seemed like there was a fountain of living water, like a fresh water spring bubbling up and flowing out of me.  So much so, a young woman who sat next to me in the office, came to Christ that same week from the ‘bubbling over’ , the JOY, the exuberance of my spirit!

I’m sure many of you who are reading my story could share similar conversion stories.

So, what happened?  What happened to all the JOY, the EXUBERANCE we once demonstrated in front of others?

I’ll tell you what has happened, you STOPPED DRINKING the Fountain of Life!  

YOU NEED ANOTHER DRINK!

You stopped eating The Bread of Life!

YOU NEED TO EAT!

ISAIAH 55:1-2 (NIV Bible):

“COME, ALL you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.

Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.”

ISAIAH 12:2-6 (AMP Bible):

[2] “Behold, God, my salvation! I will trust and not be afraid, for the Lord God is my strength and song; yes, He has become my salvation.  [3] Therefore with joy will you draw water from the wells of salvation.  [4] And in that day you will say, Give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name and by means of His name [in solemn entreaty]; declare and make known His deeds among the peoples of the earth, proclaim that His name is exalted!  [5] Sing praises to the Lord, for He has done excellent things [gloriously]; let this be made known to all the earth.  [6] Cry aloud and shout joyfully, you women and inhabitants of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”

MATTHEW 5:6 (AMP Bible):

“Blessed and fortunate and happy and spiritually prosperous (in that state in which the born-again child of God enjoys His favor and salvation) are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God), for they shall be completely satisfied!”

An Old Testament Scenario Keeps Repeating Itself –

Over and over we read in the Book of Judges, “Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD.”

We LEARN from reading of the Book of Judges, Jews repeatedly fell in a cycle of SIN–

A CRY FOR HELP–OUTWARD REPENTANCE–DELIVERANCE THROUGH A JUDGE–A TIME OF PEACE–BACK TO SIN AGAIN.

The Book of Ruth starts out, “IN THE days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land.”  

Why was there a FAMINE in the land?  The reason for the famine in the land was because of SIN in the land!

“NO BREAD IN THE HOUSE”!

Bringing the BREAD home!

Bethlehem MEANS “House of Bread.”  In Hebrew, Beth-lehem is two words: means “house” (Beth as in BETH-EL, “house of God”) and “bread” (lehem).  [See Footnote [i] ].

The reason Elimelech took his wife and kids and moved out-of-town was because the was no bread in the house!  (Ruth 1:1-7)

One reason people are not going to church in America anymore is there’s no BREAD in the house!

And the reason there’s no bread in the house is….there’s SIN in the house!  The same reason God sent a FAMINE in the time of the JUDGES.

GOD WANTS TO PUT BREAD BACK IN HIS HOUSE…

BUT…we’ve got to pay the price!  REPENTANCE–TURNING WHOLEHEARTEDLY BACK TO GOD!

THE BREAD OF LIFE –

It’s no coincidence that JESUS was born in Bethlehem, the House of Bread, because JESUS is the BREAD; He is the Bread of Life and you can’t live without Him!

Coming back to JESUS and satisfy your spiritual hunger. 

Many spiritual functions parallel physical functions.  As our bodies hunger and thirst, so do our souls.  But our souls need spiritual food and water.

WATER AT THE WELL (John 4:4-12 & Isaiah 12:3):

“Give Me a Drink”

 Isaiah 12:3; John 4:4-12
Isaiah 12:3; John 4:4-12

Pausing and reflecting on what JESUS said to the Samaritan woman in verse 10:

“If you had only known and had recognized God’s gift and Who this is that is saying to you, Give Me a drink, you would have asked Him [instead] and He would have given you living water.”

*If you want to satisfy your thirst, you must ask for it; you must be earnest in PRAYER to God for it.

Those who have the right knowledge of Christ Jesus will continually seek Him out, and if we fail to seek Him, it is a sign that we don’t know Him.

Psalm 9:10:

And they who know Your name [who have experience and acquaintance with Your mercy] will lean on and confidently put their trust in You, for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who SEEK YOU…

Then JESUS continues speaking in verses 13 and 14:

“All who drink of THIS WATER  will be thirsty again,  But whoever takes a drink of the water that I will give him shall never, no never, be thirsty any more. But the water that I will give him shall become a spring of water welling up (flowing, bubbling)  [continually]  within him unto (into, for) eternal life

Obey your thirst!”  

All of us church know, we have access to this spring of living water.  But we’ve got to continually drink from the fountain!  If we don’t, we’ll find ourselves as the man in the introductory image of this blog.

It’s not enough to LIVE on our past experiences with JESUS; not enough to know the ‘spring of water’ is there; it’s not enough to drink once from the fountain of life!

Church, it’s time to get another drink!  It is time for all of us to get another drink of the Holy Spirit!

“If anyone is thirsty”

“Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out saying, “If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said,  ‘From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water'”  (John 7:37-38 NAS).

Then John the Apostle explains what JESUS meant by His words (verse 39):

“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.”

Back to the Woman at the Well –

John 4:19-26:

[19] The woman said to Him, “Sir, I see and understand that You are a prophet.  [20] Our forefathers worshipped on this mountain, but you [Jews] say that Jerusalem is the place where it is necessary and proper to worship.”  [21] Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither [merely] in this mountain nor [merely] in Jerusalem.  [22] You [Samaritans] do not know what you are worshipping [you worship what you do not comprehend]. We do know what we are worshipping [we worship what we have knowledge of and understand],  for [after all] salvation comes from [among] the Jews.  [23] A time will come, however, indeed it is already here, when the true (genuine) worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth (reality); for the Father is seeking just such people as these as His worshipers.  [24] God is a Spirit (a spiritual Being) and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth (reality).”  [25] The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming, He Who is called the Christ (the Anointed One); and when He arrives, He will tell us everything we need to know and make it clear to us.”  [26] Jesus said to her, “I Who now speak with you am He.”

The lights are beginning to turn on for the Samaritan Woman –

She recognizes JESUS as a prophet because He had supernatural insight into her personal life, exposing SIN.

The next thing she does is to bring up the issue of multiple religions and whose right.

When we’ve  ‘WITNESSED’ to people, they frequently bring up this topic:  They say something like,  “There are lots of RELIGIONS in the world, what makes your religious beliefs the only one?  Who’s to say you are right and they are wrong?”

Then they will usually say something like, “I believe there are good things to be gained from ALL religions and that no one religion has the exclusive rights to eternity.”

How then, should we handle this question?  

The same way JESUS did!

THE ARGUMENT–Samaritans vs. Jews (John 4:20):

The stated comment in verse 20 highlights the fact that altars were built at Mt. Gerizim [Abraham – Genesis 12:7; Jacob – Genesis 33:20].

Mt. Gerizim was the scene of THE BLESSING of the people (Deut. 27:4); with the tradition that Abraham’s offering of his son Isaac took place on this mountain.  Also, where Abraham met Melchizedek at.  No wonder this was an issue of heated conversation.

How does JESUS handle it?

He simply refuses to be drawn into the argument.  Instead, He predicts that a time is coming when worship will be possible in neither place.

The Samaritan woman appealed to the example of “our fathers” but JESUS points her to the one Father.

JESUS IS CALLING…

What JESUS is calling this woman at the well to do–and also calling us to do, is to learn to WORSHIP the True God, our heavenly Father–not at a particular place, but in spirit and truth.

We must be careful not to consider it WORSHIP just because who showed up on Sunday, Saturday and other days of the week.

Just because we went into a building designated for worship doesn’t mean we worshiped.

We need to LEARN to worship in “SPIRIT and TRUTH.”  This means we need to come into God’s presence with complete sincerity and complete honesty.

The OPPOSITE of “TRUTH” –

You can’t lie your way into the presence of God and expect to get away with it:

  • IF YOU want God to touch you?
  • IF YOU want God to feed you?
  • IF YOU want God to satisfy your thirst?
  • IF YOU want God to move supernaturally in your life?
  • IF YOU want to bring spiritual excitement back into your life?
  • IF YOU simply want more God?

Then you NEED to get right with God!

No more “fake it till you make it” approaches to your WORSHIP.  You need to confess your sins, change your lifestyle.

If you do WORSHIP IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH and you want more of God, then choose to seek His face.

If you find yourself today in a ‘spiritual wilderness’ and you are thirsty…there’s hope!

The fountain is flowing and I don’t know where you are right now in your spiritual life, but for me and my house…“Whew, I need another drink of water!”

A Bubbling Fountain
A Bubbling Fountain

 

 

 


Footnotes & Credits:

Footnote [i] :  www.desiringgod.org/articles/bethlehem-house-of-bread

Photo/Image Credits:  Google Image Search; Photo Pin.

Commentary:  Sermons From John – The Gift of Living Water.

Bible Translations:  Amplified Bible except where noted in the text.

“Shall We Gather At The River” – The Book of Revelation To John – (Part Six)

rev-22-1-And-he-showed-me-a-river-of-water-of-life-bright-as-crystal-proceeding-out-of-the-throne-of-God-and-of-the-Lamb-in-the-middle-of-its-street

This will be my final series study in the Book of REVELATION TO JOHN.  I hope you have enjoyed the study as much as I, and… although I didn’t address ALL the issues and questions most have in the reading, I’ve tried to highlight what the Holy Spirit was leading me to present to you.  That said, let’s look at the last Chapter in the Book, and “Shall we gather at the river”?

The River of Life – REVELATION 22:1-2:

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb  [2] down the middle of the great street of the city.  On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month.  And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

THE RIVER OF LIFE:

What a great day that will be when we gather together to see Heaven’s glorious scene for the first time beside the RIVER, flowing from the THRONE OF GOD and of the LAMB.

THE CRYSTAL CLEAR RIVER begins as a trickle, then flows throughout NEW JERUSALEM to provide healing and life to all who live on its banks.

The green grass, beautiful flowers, trees and meadows along its banks and can only be seen in the hearts and minds of man for the present, but one day soon, see it just as John has described.

What a day that will be.  All the troubles and trials of this life will pass into nothingness when we see JESUS face to face.

THE POWER OF THIS RIVER OF LIVING WATER:

Ezekiel 47:1-5 (NAS Bible):

[1] THEN HE brought me back to the door of the house; and behold, water was flowing from  under the threshold of the house toward the east, for the house faced east. And the water was flowing down under, from the right side of the house, from south of the altar.

[2] And he brought me out by the way of the north gate and led me around on the outside to the outer gate by the way of the gate that faces east. And behold, water was trickling from the south side.

[3] When the man went out toward the east with a line in his hand, he measured a thousand cubits, and he led me through the water, water reaching the ankles.

[4] Again he measured a thousand and led me through the water, water reaching my knees. Again he measured a thousand and led me through the water, water reaching the loins.

[5] Again he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not ford, for the water had risen, enough water to swim in, a river that could not be forded.

“Oh, those DRY BONES…”

Ezekiel has been down to the VALLEY OF DRY BONES, representing the dead spirituality of Israel as a nation.

These DRY BONES also stand for every man who ever lived that didn’t have the life-giving flow of God in their lives.  When God asked Ezekiel, “Can these bones live?”, He was asking a question for which there was only one answer:

If we answer in the power and ability of our own minds, our thinking, the answer would have been NO!  But in the POWER of the life-giving RIVER OF GOD, bones not only live but become a mighty nation able to do great things!

In John 4:14, we can see JESUS as He is waiting for the woman at the well who heard JESUS’ words:

“But whoever takes a drink of the water that I will give him shall never, no never, be thirsty any more.  But the water that I will give him shall become a spring of water welling up (flowing, bubbling)  [continually] within him unto (into, for) eternal life” [Amplified Bible].

As the WATERS of that river flow, much of it will go to those who will step into its water, wade out just a little bit and then deeper each day.

Every Christian must step out into the WATERstock-photo-testing-the-water-2831255

Ezekiel saw the waters as they were only ankle-deep as JESUS began leading him to the unseen depths of the RIVER.

Do you ever find yourself standing on the sand of a warm beach, looking towards the water wondering how cold, how deep, are there sharp rocks I can’t see in the water?

As a Christian, we must also step out into the unknown, to explore the things of God.  And as we MATURE in Christ and our relationship grows, we begin to wade out a little further from the shore…a little further until finally we are lost in the LOVE OF JESUS and learn to live by FAITH.

Too many people won’t venture out into DEEP WATER

My wife is an example of not wanting to venture out into the ocean.  “Knee deep,” is about it for her, all because of a teenage experience.  She almost drowned when stepping in an unseen hole beneath the waters with waves crashing over her and having difficulties in breathing. “I thought I was drowning,” she said.  Fortunately, a boy and a float-raft were nearby, helping her to get back to shore.

Are not RELATIONSHIPS sometimes like venturing out into deep waters?  Too many people won’t go out into the DEEP WATER in the relationship with JESUS because it requires a COMMITMENT OF FAITH to believe, that Jesus’ POWER keeps them afloat.

In these Scriptures in EZEKIEL, you see how that JESUS has taken Ezekiel to the House of God, the Temple, and revealed to him the source of the RIVER that will flow out into a dry and thirsty land, providing LIFE for all it touches.

“The WATERS came out of the right side of the house…flowed from the south side of the ALTAR”

What a wonderful picture that gives of the BLOOD of JESUS CHRIST–

The BLOOD flowed from His side on a Hill called Mount Calvary.  The BLOOD began as a trickle, then became a flow that reached down and began to flow out from beneath the “Altar of Sacrifice of the Cross”–to go down to the earth to flow over the souls of a sin darkened and lost world.

“What can wash away my sin?

Nothing but the blood of Jesus”

THE RIVER BRINGS LIFE!

Look again at John 4:14:  To those who choose to be washed in the Blood of the Lamb through REPENTANCE of sins, and acceptance of the SACRIFICE of JESUS, surrendering their lives to Him will have this same WELL of Living Water flowing from the heart of every believer which provides the ability to reach out to other people who have been washed in the BLOOD also.

The HOLY SPIRIT within each of us who are believers in Christ Jesus, in what He has already done on the Cross, is the MANIFESTATION of that RIVER of Living Water as He speaks through us, leading and teaching us everyday.

THE RIVER SATISFIES!

Psalm 63:1-5:

“Praise awaits You, O God, in Zion; to You our vows will be fulfilled.  O You who hear prayer, to You all men will come.  When we were overwhelmed by sins, You atoned for our transgressions.  Blessed is the man You choose and bring near to live in your courts!  We are filled with good things of Your house, of Your holy temple.  You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness, O God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas”  (NIV Bible).

DAVID knew what it was to need God’s forgiveness, God’s blessing that only the RIVER OF GOD would bring.

We live in a dry and thirsty land, so we need to be on guard against the power of sin.  If it were not for the constant flow and the POWER OF THE BLOOD of the Lamb as the RIVER flows on us, what chance would any of us have?

We Have A PROMISE…

God’s help is there for us just as it was for King David.  David wrote another Song to the Lord that we can read in Psalm 46:4-5:

[4] There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High.  [5] God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God will help her right early [at the dawn of the morning]”  (Amplified Bible).

We, as the Bride of Christ, shall be Overcomers!

The RIVER OF GOD, that begins at the Throne of God and of the Lamb that comes from the foot of the CROSS, gives us the POWER to overcome the power of temptation and sin; the POWER to be satisfied by the Holy spirit in every circumstance and know God has it all under control!

THE RIVER CLEANSES US!

WATER has a cleansing power beneficial to all of us.  But the CLEANSING POWER of the RIVER goes much deeper than natural water.  The water from your tap, your shower head, your bathtub faucet only cleanses the outside making us look good.

BUT, the LIVING WATER from the River of God reaches down to the hearts of men and washes away the STAIN and DEPTH of SIN.

There is an old song that says,  There is POWER in the BLOOD, POWER in the BLOOD!  Sins stains are washed in its life-giving flow,  There’s POWER in the BLOOD of the Lamb.

The River of God Cannot be Stopped!

Satan cannot stop the RIVER as it moves on.  Satan and the Antichrist are destined to be washed away in its cleansing power.

The River is a FLOOD of God’s POWER cleansing the world.  Matthew 24:14,

“And this good news of the kingdom (the Gospel)

will be preached throughout the whole world

as a testimony to all nations,

and then will come the end.”

To me, that is not a picture of a church that is sitting around doing nothing, waiting to be delivered.  That’s a picture of the Church as it stands (not sitting) under the anointing of the Holy Spirit and defies the god of this world; stepping out into the territory of the Devil himself to bring the MESSAGE of the Gospel to anyone and everyone who will hear!  “Let the Redeemed say so!”

There is ONE Limiting Factor in the POWER of this River to Cleanse…

That limiting factor is your own will.

God is a perfect gentleman and never forces His WILL on any man or woman.  It is up to us to ACCEPT His gentle offer and wade out into the river as Ezekiel had to do.

It all begins with that FIRST STEP!

Has the River Washed You Clean?

Have you made a Step into the Water of His Love?

God wants to let this RIVER flow in your heart today.  To let the CLEANSING POWER of the Blood of the Lamb to wash over you, right where you are sitting.

If that is your desire, SWING OUT into the Water of the River of God and experience the great SALVATION and PEACE Jesus offers!

3935060664_433f4e94b6

If FAITH AND TRUST can get you to the River, then it’s up to you to start swimming!


CREDITS:

Photos by Photo Pin and Google Images

Bible Verses:

Amplified Bible Translation (AMP) and the New International Version Bible (NIV)

There’s Another Day Beyond This One–and It’s A GIFT!

The GIFT is already here!
The GIFT is already here!

During the Holiday Season, so many people like to emphasize the GIVING experience.  We even quote Scripture to punctuate our giving experience:  “For God so greatly loved and clearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son…” ~ John 3:16.

But what I want to discuss in this particular blog-Post is,  how we can we thoroughly partake in what God has already given?

The GIFT — God gave to us all and now… we need to reach out and receive.  We’ll never know what’s on the inside unless we RECEIVE!

Scriptural Text:

EXODUS 15:22-27 AMPLIFIED BIBLE:

[22] Then Moses led Israel on-ward from the Red Sea and they went into the Wilderness of Shur; they went three days [thirty-three miles] in the wilderness and found no water.

[23] When they came to Marah, they could not drink its waters for they were bitter; therefore it was named Marah

Oasis of Marah (Bitter Waters)
Oasis of Marah (Bitter Waters)

[bitterness].

[24] The people murmured against Moses, saying,  What shall we drink?

[25] And he cried to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree which he cast into the waters, and the waters were made sweet.  There [the Lord] made for them a statute and an ordinance,  and there He proved them,

[26] Saying,  If you will diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord your God and will do what is right in His sight, and will listen to and obey  His commandments  and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases upon you which I brought upon the Egyptians, for I am the Lord Who heals you.

[27] And they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees; and they encamped there by the waters.

HOW GOD REVEALS TO US HIS CHARACTER, HIS NATURE IN THE BIBLE:

GOD has revealed Himself in various ways in the Bible for us to better understand His character–who He is by indication in His name.  [See Footnote [i]- source for the following names listed.]

*  ELOHIM=Creator, Preserver, Keeper of His Covenant.

*  EL-SHADDAI=Almighty God, Our all-sufficient supply, Restorer of power, gifts, and the One Who makes us fruitful.

*  ADONAI=Lord–Owner of all!

*  JEHOVAH=LORD–holiness (Truth Revealer), righteousness, redemption.

After being married to my dear wife for over fifty years, our relationship has grown even closer; utilizing the names we have for each other: honey (sweetness), sweetheart (character; heart), babe (physical attraction), and other descriptive qualities that will go unmentioned.  The names we’ve chosen shows the endearing relationship we have for one another.

GOD REVEALS HIS NATURE IN SCRIPTURE:  (*Footnotes [i].)

The names of God which He progressively reveals Himself in the OT is a response to His people’s progressing needs:

*  ABRAHAM in his test to offer up his son Isaac on Mt. Moriah.  JEHOVAH- JIREH=The God Who provides.  God provided a SACRIFICE.  And there, caught in the thorny bushes, a ram.  The GIFT had been provided and Abraham gladly received.

*  The PASSOVER LAMB, who would be slain so God’s people could go free (from Egypt) and Christians could be set free from the power of sin through “the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world”.

And from this experience came the expression “on the mount of the Lord it will be provided.”  And so it was, 2000 years later (Now 2000 years ago!) – on Mt. Moriah, which is, geographically CALVARY–“That’s where Jerusalem was built.”

These stories are all lessons to us.  In fact…the whole of the OT is!

“Now these things befell them by the way of a figure [as an example and warning to us]; they were written to admonish and fit us for right action by good instruction, we in whose days the ages have reached their climax (their consummation and concluding period)”  (1 Corinthians 10:11 amp).

I hope this study will speak to you as you’re reading and meditating on the application in your life.

JEHOVAH-ROPHE:

GOD REVEALS something else of His nature.

*  That He is the HEALER.

*  The LORD who HEALS.

In the verses above from Exodus 15, basically, God’s people have made it out of Egypt through the Red Sea.  After 400 years captive in slavery, and God providing the way of escape, they came out with Excitement, Expectation, and Energy!  This carries them on day one into the desert (they don’t notice the heat or thirst at this point).

Then comes day TWO…and their throats become progressively dry and parched.

Then comes day THREE…and they really start to moan!  I wonder in the story who or what was bitter here!

Then they see the water!  Yippee!!  An Oasis!!!  “God, you’ve done it!”  UP! – But the water taste foul.  DOWN – Undrinkable, Bitter, Frustration, Disillusionment.  They get more bitter from the experience and decide to take it out on Moses.  He then takes it out on God.

“Bitterness”

Bitterness described in the Bible as a spiritual poison (Hebrews 12:15).  It can be tricky to recognize because it’s NOT a symptom that’s visible on the surface like anger.  Bitterness is an underlying problem that often goes unnoticed in the believing Christian.  It doesn’t manifest on the outside and yet it sours the inside spirit of man.

“BITTERNESS” IN THE DESERT:   

It becomes a test–

Not of them to God (as they think: “will He come up with the goods?”), but God to them.  He has a lesson for them to learn.

“GET…(receive)THAT TREE…THE WOOD”

‘Throw the tree in the water and you’ll be okay.’  In fact: follow the LORD’s commands and statutes (decrees) and NONE of these diseases will hit you, for I AM JEHOVAH-ROPHE:

ROPHE meaning in the Hebrew language:  “Restore to heal, to make healthful – in body, mind and spirit”  (*See Footnote [ii].).

HEALING is in the Name and Nature of God–

Psalm 103:1-3:

“BLESS  (AFFECTIONATELY, gratefully praise)  the Lord, O my soul; and all that is [deepest] within me, bless His holy name!  [2] Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not [one of] ALL His benefits–  [3] Who forgives [every one of] ALL your iniquities,  Who heals [each one of] ALL your diseases,…”

So if this is so in God’s nature, why is there so much sickness?

It boils down to why God’s first name was revealed–SIN.  I’m not saying specifically because I, you, have sinned (though that may be the case and the cause)  Cf John 9.  BUT because of the PROBLEM of sin in the world.

–  The world going away from Him.

–  Us going away.

–  The pollution of power of sin.

That is the real problem!

THE SOLUTION TO SICKNESS:

It’s the hand out–

1.  For reaching out and taking and receiving…

2.  It’s the wood nearby…

3.  The tree.

The PROBLEM just might be “Bitterness”–

–  Of heart, of life.

–  Within you.  Your name is “Marah.”

–  Maybe a death in your family that goes unexplained.

–  Perhaps what you’ve done to others…or what they’ve done to you.

–  And there’s a need for forgiveness–one way or another.

–  Your experiences, memories?

–  Who did what?  Who hurt you?  It’s all tied together.

–  And so is the SICKNESS:  spirit, sin and unforgiveness affects the mind, which affects the body.

And the ANSWER is there to RECEIVE–THE WOOD–THE CROSS.

THE "WOOD" of the CROSS
THE “WOOD” of the CROSS

FORGIVENESS from God through repentance releases God’s hand in your life.  What WATER has flown through your life?

“You have made me drink bitter waters!”

The ANSWER IS JESUS:

JESUS answering the Samaritan woman at the well when He was asked, “You being a Jew, how is it that you are asking me for a drink of water?”  Jesus answered her,

“If you had only known and had recognized God’s gift

and Who this is that is saying to you, Give Me a drink,

you would have asked Him [instead] and He would have given you

living water.”

~ John 4:10~

If you find yourself with a dry, parched throat and DOUBT of the OUTCOME…

5583389970_d676214c49

John 4:11-12:  “She said to Him, Sir,  You have nothing to draw with [no drawing bucket] and the well is deep; how then can You provide living water? [Where do You get Your living water?]  [12] Are You greater than and superior to our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well and who used to drink from it himself, and his sons and his cattle also?”

John 4:13-15:  “JESUS answered her,  All who drink of THIS water will be thirsty again.  [14] But whoever takes a drink of THE water that I will give him shall never, no never, be thirsty any more.  But the water that I will give him shall become a spring of water welling up (flowing, bubbling)  [continually]  within him unto (into, for) eternal life.  [15] The woman said to Him, Sir, give me THIS water, so that I may never get thirsty nor have to come  [continually all the way]  here to draw.”

John 7:37-39:  “Now on the final and most important day of the Feast, Jesus stood, and cried in a loud voice, If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink!  [38] He who believes in Me [who cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me] as the Scripture has said,  From his innermost being shall flow  [continuously] springs and rivers of living water.  [39] But He was speaking here of the Spirit, Whom those who believed cr(trusted, had faith) in Him were afterward to receive.  For the [Holy] Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified (raised to honor).”

Revelation 22:1-3:  “THEN HE showed me the river whose waters give life, sparkling like crystal, flowing out from the throne of God and of the Lamb  [2] Through the middle of the broadway of the city; also, on either side of the river was the tree of life with its twelve varieties of fruit, yielding each month its fresh crop; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing and the restoration of the nations.  [3] There shall no longer exist anything that is accursed (detestable, foul, offensive, impure, hateful, or horrible).  But the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall worship Him [pay divine honors to Him and do Him holy service].”

Revelation 22:17:  “The [Holy] Spirit and the bride (the church, the true Christians) say, Come!  And let who is listening say, Come!  And let everyone come who is thirsty [who is painfully conscious of his need of those things by which the soul is refreshed, supported, and strengthened]; and whoever [earnestly] desires it, let him come,  take,  appropriate,  and drink the water of Life without cost.”   

IN GOD’S WISDOM, THERE’S A PRIORITY LIST TO FOLLOW:

#1.  Getting right with God comes first (and getting right with others).

#2.  The healing of the Spirit.

#3.  Then the healing of the mind.  PEACE!  How often is that mentioned in the Bible?  365 times!

#4.  The body.  Because that does matter to God.  The Israelites in the desert needed a DRINK, here!  And, God knew that.

#5.  Look at all the physical healings of Jesus.

All Christians get HEALED 100%–

Healing of the spirit comes first and if that’s true, and Scripture backs up the percentage, there should be no more fear.

It’s when we get taken to be with the LORD.  The Lord’s GIFT has already been given.  It is time to reach out and RECETHE ACTION COMES WITH THE GIFT:

Every man and woman must have their MARAH moment to drink; sour or bitter tastes in the mouth.  Life is full of disappointments, trouble, stress, losses, conflict, sickness…

But GOD had a remedy for Moses.  God told Moses to get that tree over there, toss it in the water and the act of God created SWEETNESS out of BITTERNESS.

BUT THERE’S MORE!

The Elims of Life–“And they came to Elim…” (VERSE 27)

ELIM WILL ALWAYS FOLLOW MARAH
ELIM WILL ALWAYS FOLLOW MARAH

What every one of us must realize, just as there are the “MARAH’S”, the bitterness of life, there are also the “ELIMS” of life.  “Elim” will always follow a “Marah”.

“…where there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees; and they encamped there by the waters”  (Exodus 15:27).

The LIVING WATER is there for you to partake of.  Now you need to go and RECEIVE the sweetness and encamp there in the midst of your doubt.

LIVING WATER
LIVING WATER

 


FOOTNOTES:

[i]  Names of God/Bible.org – https://bible.org/article/names-god/

[ii] Expository Dictionary Of Bible Words.

PHOTO CREDITS:

– Photo Pin.

Unknown (Wood Cross)

– Lessing Images.com

– The Exodus Route: Marah/Elim @ www. bible.ca/archeology/bible-archeology/-exodus-route-marah

CREDITS:

AMPLIFIED BIBLE translation.

VINE’S COMPLETE EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY OF OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT WORDS

Young’s Bile Dictionary by G. Douglas Young, PhD

 

 

 

In the Meantime…It’s All About the Dew

“Thou blossom bright with Autumn Dew, and colored with the heavens own blue…”  ~ William Cullen Bryant

brian_carnation_dewdrops
What “DEW” produces

Text: Hosea 14:4, 5 King James Version

(verse 4):  “I will heal their backsliding [“faithlessness” – Amplified Bible], I will love them freely; for mine anger is turned away from him.”

(verse 5):  “I will be as the DEW unto Israel; he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon.”

“BACKSLIDERS”, WHO ARE THEY?

Proverbs 14:14:  “The backslider in heart will have his fill of his own ways,  But a good man will be satisfied with his”  (NAS).

Hosea 14:1:  “RETURN, O Israel, to the Lord your God,  For you have stumbled because of your iniquity”  (NAS).

A church goer often came to the pastor for counseling.  His complaint…“I backslid a few years ago, but now that I’ve come back to the Lord, I just don’t FEEL the Lord like I used to.”

A LACK of FEELING!

His “lack of feeling” was producing anxiety in his salvation, his doubts in whether God had accepted him back.  I guess if you read again the story in the Gospel of Luke, where the prodigal son returns and a party was held in his honor by his father (Luke 15:20-24); or you read where it says the angels rejoiced when a backslider returns (Luke 15:10).  You can come away with the idea…when a person REPENTS, they should “feel” like a party is going on in heaven about them!  The SALVATION EXPERIENCE is not marked by “FEELINGS”.

“SPIRITUAL DOWNPOURS OF JOY” or “THE DEW OF HEAVEN”:

WATER is used as a symbol of God’s work in Scripture–

“WATER” used as an illustration of a “cleansing agent”:

“Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.  So that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word”  (Ephesians 5:25, 26 AMP).

“WATER” used as an illustration of a “cleansing agent”, and of the Holy Spirit:

“He saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but because of His own pity and mercy, by [the] cleansing (bath) of the new birth (regeneration) and the renewing of the Holy Spirit”  (Titus 3:5).

“WATER” used as an illustration of the Holy Spirit:

John 7:37 – “Now on the final and most important day of the Feast, Jesus stood, and He cried in a loud voice,  If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink!”

John 7:38 – “He who believes in Me [who cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me] as the Scripture has said,  From his innermost being shall flow  [continuously]  springs and rivers of living water.”

John 7:39 – “But He was speaking here of the Spirit, Whom those who believed (trusted, had faith) in Him were afterward to receive.  For the [Holy] Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified (raised to honor).”

Verse 38 is interesting, and even might suggest there would be FEELINGS involved in the salvation experience because of the use of the word “rivers”.

How could someone who had rivers flowing out of your innermost being not feel it

If you think that way, you’ve divorced the text from the original meaning.  The meaning is, not that you will feel something, but that God will give you a superabundance of the Holy Spirit.

I remember after the pastor left our home; after my wife and I received salvation, we went out to the kitchen and asked each other,  “Do you feel any different?”  And our answer to each other was: “NOPE!  I don’t feel any different.”  Jesus never suggests what you may or may not feel.

If you judge your salvation by your FEELINGS, you will be SAVED one day and LOST the next.  It doesn’t work that way.  You might use the EXAMPLE OF MARRIAGE:  If you don’t FEEL LOVE today, doesn’t mean your marriage is null and void.

SALVATION is the same thing, it’s a COVENANT, not a FEELING!

A SPECIFIC FORM OF “WATER”:

We’ve discussed “WATER” as emblematic cleansing and the Holy Spirit.  

5098915061_ce1afe65e5
God’s Blessing

So, what is “DEW”?

In Hosea 14:4, 5; God says He will be as the DEW to Israel, and especially to backsliden Israel when they have returned to Him.

“Dew” in Scripture–

Dew is used in the Bible as an example of God’s blessing [Isaac and Jacob]..

Genesis 27:27:  “And he (Jacob) came near, and kissed him (Isaac, his father); and he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said, See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the Lord has blessed;

Genesis 27:28:  “Therefore God give thee of the DEW OF HEAVEN, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine;”

In an arid climate, moisture is a valued commodity.  Isaac spoke of the “DEW” as the “dew of heaven,” and in the desert land, it is viewed as a BLESSING, a sign of FAVOR.

“DEW” WITHHELD, LIKEWISE, IS CONSIDERED A CURSE OR JUDGEMENT:

“ELIJAH THE Tishbite, of the temporary residents of Gilead, said to Ahab,  As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, before Whom I stand, there shall not be dew or rain these years but according to My word”  (1 Kings 17:1).

[9] “You looked for much [harvest], and behold, it came to little; and even when you brought that home, I blew it away.  Why? says the Lord of hosts.  Because of My house, which lies waste while you yourselves run each man to his own house [eager to build and adorn it].  [10] Therefore the heavens above you [for your sake] withhold the dew, and the earth withholds its produce.  [11] And I have called for a drought upon the land and the hill country, upon the grain, the fresh wine, the oil, upon what the ground brings forth, upon men and cattle, and upon all the [wearisome] toil of [men’s] hands”  (Haggai 1:9-11 AMP).

DEW is used as an example of being BLESSED by the Word:

“My message shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distill as the DEW, as the light rain upon the tender grass, and as the showers upon the herb”  (Deuteronomy 32:2).

Too many Christians today get hung up wanting the “Showers of Blessing”, and yet, don’t understand the value and greatness of the “Dew of Heaven.” 

THE “QUALITIES” OF DEW: How They Relate to a Genuine Work of the Holy spirit–

1.  DEW falls gently.

In the Gospel of Luke (Luke 24), we see two disciples traveling on the road to Emmaus after the death of Jesus.   Now they meet Jesus and carry on a discussion with Him for quite a while, failing to recognize Him at all.  After all, the new of Jesus death on the cross was the talk of the land.

Later, their eyes are opened, to see after He leaves; and when rehearsing the events experience, realizes the whole time, Jesus was there, opening the Scriptures to them, their hearts burning for…(My doctrine shall distill as the DEW).

Spending time in the Bible allows the dew of heaven to saturate you in ways that may not be perceptive at first.

2.  DEW is cooling and refreshing.

DEW is cooling and refreshing to the tenderest of plants as opposed to the potential dangers of a torrential downpour.  The drooping plant can be revived without…being overwhelmed!

The DEW feedsproduces growth, sustains it, completely satisfies ALL…without “overwhelming”.

3.  DEW is penetrative.

“It is like the dew of [lofty] Mount Herman and the dew that comes on the hills of Zion; for there the Lord has commanded the BLESSING, even life forever more [upon the high and the lowly]”  (Psalm 133:3).

I read that a visitor to Mount Herman said, the DEW penetrated everyone and everything.  It saturated everything; the floor of the tent was soaked, their beds were covered, guns were dripping and DEW DROPS hung everywhere.  The area around Mt. Herman is drought stricken, yet its base is surrounded by beautiful orchards and gardens…because of the DEW.

Mt. Hermon
Mt. Herman

Lets not ever underestimate the POWER of God’s DEW meeting our needs as fully as His torrential downpours.

4.  DEW usually falls in times of low visibility.

DEW falls most generally in the pre-dawn hours, while we’re asleep, in the darkest part of night.

Even in our darkest times in life, God is moving, even when we can’t see our hands in front of our faces, nor see the hand of God…His DEW is forming and moisturizing in unseen ways.

THE “DEW OF HEAVEN” and THE “SHOWERS OF BLESSING”- “RIVERS OF LIVING WATERS”:

Rivers of Life Flowing
Rivers of Life Flowing

Charles Spurgeon gave us his words to ponder while we sometimes struggle in our lives in staying TRUE to God’s Word.  Even in the darkest hours as we wait for the Holy Spirit to quench our thirsting from His living waters; to start flowing in us once more after being absent for so long.

“How greatly do I need it!  Without the Spirit of God, I am dry and a withered thing.  I droop, I fade, I die…  How sweetly does this dew refresh me!  When once favored with it I feel happy, lively, vigorous, elevated…I want nothing more!”

What a PROMISE this should be for us, while waiting in the meantime for the “Showers of Blessings”!  “His heavens shall drop dew” in the meantime.

He who has made you and I to live, as the grass lives in the meadow and treating each one of us like the grass… with the refreshing moisture from above.  Grass cannot call for dew as we can.

“Surely the Lord who visits the unpraying plant will answer to His pleading children!”

EZEKIEL 34:26:

Sowers of Blessings
Sowers of Blessings

“And I will make them and the places round about My hill a blessing, and I will cause showers to come down in their season; there shall be showers of blessing  [of good insured by God’s favor].”

As it is RAINING while writing this blog, God tells us that ‘showers will come in their season.’  

So in the MEANTIME, even in your low visibility of who He is…the DEW FROM HEAVEN is penetrating your spirit; refreshing your moments of thought as it falls gently on your life with the BLESSINGS guided by the Holy Spirit.

“I will be like the dew and the night mist…he shall grow and blossom like the lily…”  ~ Hosea 14:5.

“Who is wise, that he may understand these things?  Prudent, that he may know them?  For the ways of the Lord are right and the [uncompromisingly] just shall walk in them, but transgressors shall stumble and fall…”   ~ Hosea 14:9 AMP.

…and in the MEANTIME–

Where are you in your relationship with God right now?  Have you found yourself in a dry place spiritually?

Because of your past and present circumstances, have you turned your back on your salvation?

Difficult questions to answer, but in the MEANTIME, know this:  The DEW is forming where you are in the ‘right now.’  The “showers of blessing” are on the way!

“I will give you the RAIN for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, your new wine, and your oil”  (Deuteronomy 11:14).

Keep On, Going On to the Well

WELLS OF LIFE

TEXT:  ISAIAH 12:1-6 AMP:

[1]  AND IN that day you will say, I will give thanks to You, O Lord; for though You were angry with me, Your anger has turned away, and You comfort me.    [2]  Behold, God, my salvation!  I will trust and not be afraid, for the Lord God is my strength and song; yes, He has become my salvation. [3]  Therefore with JOY will I draw water from the WELLS OF SALVATION. [4]  And in that day you will say, Give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name [in solemn entreaty]; declare and make known His deeds among the peoples of the earth, proclaim that His name is exalted! [5]  Sing praises to the Lord, for He has done excellent things [gloriously]; let this be made known to all the earth. [6]  Cry aloud and shout joyfully, you women and inhabitants of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

LIVING WATER FROM THE WELL:

(John 4:10-14 AMP ):

[10]  Jesus answered her, If you had only known and had recognized God’s gift and Who this is saying to you, Give Me a drink, you would have asked Him [instead] and He would have given you LIVING WATER. [11]  She said to Him, Sir, You having nothing to draw with [no drawing bucket] and THE WELL IS DEEP; how then can You provide LIVING WATER? [Where do You get Your living water?]. [12]  Are you greater than and superior to our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well and who used to drink from it himself, and his sons and his cattle also? [13]  Jesus answered her, All who drink of THIS WATER will be thirsty again. [14]  But whoever takes a drink of the water that I will give him shall NEVER, NO NEVER, BE THIRSTY ANY MORE.  But the water that I will give him shall become a spring of water welling up (flowing, bubbling)  [continually] within him unto (into, for) eternal life.

DRAWING WATER FROM THE WELLS:

We often take for granted the availability of water when we are thirsty and it is relatively easy for us to take care of our thirst.  We go to the sink and get a glass of water; to the fridge to get a glass and just like that–we have something to drink!  Even when traveling around, going into stores, we can buy water if we’re thirsty.

My purpose is for drawing your attention to THE THIRST that we all have.

I am sure that if in the place where we live, the neighborhoods we find ourselves in, drawing water from a well into 5-gallon plastic containers probably isn’t something most of us would look forward to doing once or twice a day.  But in some areas of the world, it is an everyday occurrence [photo courtesy of Mercy-USA for Aid and Development showing water gathering at a well in Mogadishu].  I want to direct you to how the Lord quenches that thirst and to examine the JOY of God’s Word brings refreshment to our lives.

The Lord Gives Us the Water of Life Without Cost:

One lesson that we should all know as Christians is that God sent His Son to be our Savior.  Even Mosses lifted up the snake in the wilderness so people could be saved.

To this SALVATION the Lord Jesus invites us with His personal invitation:

And let everyone come who is thirsty [who painfully conscious

of his need of those things by which the soul is refreshed, supported

and strengthened];

and whoever [earnestly] desires to do it, let him come, take, appropriate,

and drink the water of Life without cost.

(REVELATION 22:17 AMPLIFIED Bible)

When our soul is parched and dry, it will… [not maybe], be refreshed by God’s LIVING WATER.

“JOY” Found Deep In The Well (Isaiah 12:3):

Isaiah, right in the middle of the referenced Bible verse says,  “with joy will you draw water from the wells of salvation.”  That verse in Isaiah 12, becomes our theme for this Blog.

DRAWING WATER FROM THE WELLS OF SALVATION–

1.  Constantly.

2.  Thankfully.

CONSTANTLY–

You have probably noticed in your reading of The Book of Isaiah in the past and already know how happy Isaiah was.  He could hardly contain himself!

Why was he so Happy?  If you glance back for a moment at Chapter 11, Isaiah talks to the people about the Savior.  He says the Redeemer (the Messiah) is going to come.  Isaiah describes all the things that His people will benefit from and after listing all those things in Chapter 11, we pick it up in Chapter 12, verse one:

“AND IN that day you will say, I will give thanks to You, O Lord”

And then he tells the people why:

“…for though You were angry with me, (referring to the Lord)…Your anger has turned away, and You comfort me.”

Grumbling and Complaining About ‘STUFF’.

The children of Israel had seen and experienced God’s anger; they kept on sinning; turning against Him and then finally turning back:

–The snakes came and after….they were grumbling and complaining.

–They were grumbling and complaining after God had delivered them from slavery from their Egyptian employers.

–They were grumbling and complaining while God gave them food to eat…every day!

Here Isaiah says the Lord WAS ANGRY but the anger of God had been turned away and the people are now comforted and they have forgiveness:

“Behold, God, my salvation!  I will trust and not be afraid”  (verse 2).

I have found myself like the children of Israel wandering through the desert with grumbling and complaining.  I almost seem to enjoy telling the world how miserable I am.  It somehow seems more self-satisfying than quote from memory: “Behold, God, my salvation!  I will trust and not be afraid.”

Isaiah goes on to say from there…

“Lord God is my strength and song; Yes, He has become my salvation.

The people in Isaiah’s time were beginning to see here hopefully, (as we are too) his reference to the Lord as SALVATION; where they will be able to draw their strength, where the time of rejoicing and joy is going to come from.  It is where they are going to find the DEEP WELL.

Isaiah wants the people to come back repeatedly to the WELL OF SALVATION to find Him, their salvation, to see Him in their  forgiveness.

We might ask ourselves, ‘Where do we find joy in life?  What do we find satisfaction in this world around us?’  Sometimes we find JOY and SATISFACTION in OUR FAMILY, OUR FRIENDS, OUR WORK.  This is just part of God’s JOY isn’t it…a part of a satisfaction that the Lord wants to give to us?

Deuteronomy tells us:  Deut. 17:19 ~…And he shall keep it (God’s Word) with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life…” 

He says that the WORD be a part of our everyday life because then, we are going to find the JOY in our salvation where we will find the true JOY for our living.

The CHILDREN of ISRAEL’S Example for the rest of us to take note:

Yes, the Lord gets angry with us; we sin by missing the mark in our daily lives.  But then His anger is turned away and He comforts us instead with His forgiveness.  What JOY is ours!  Then we agree the Lord becomes our strength in our JOY.

IT TAKES PRACTICE AND TIME TO GO TO THE WELL–The WELL of His Word in finding the JOY:

The Psalm writer reminds us in Psalm 36:8, 9:

[8] They relish and feast on the abundance of Your house; and You cause them to drink of the stream of your pleasures.  [9] For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light do we see light.”

The writer of the Psalm not only talks about the water of life, the fountain of life, but he talks about LIGHT.

God’s Encouragement:

Today, God encourages us to draw from the well of Salvation…turning to the Lord and His Word to find in it our JOY and satisfaction.  If I am sounding a bit repetitive…it’s for a reason.

One description that Peter gives to us in 1 Peter 2:2, 3:

Like newborn babies you should crave (thirst for, earnestly desire) the pure (unadulterated) spiritual milk, that by it you may be nurtured and grow unto [completed] salvation.  Since you have [already] tasted the goodness and kindness of the Lord.

Tasting that the Lord is good:

A lot of believers have already got a taste that He gives us with heaven instead of hell; gives us forgiveness instead of punishment.  And because of that taste, we should desire and crave to learn more about the Lord.  We want to draw water from the wells of salvation and when we do this constantly, we do it in thanksgiving.

The writer of Hebrews speaks of the “tasting” this way:

[4] For it is impossible [to restore and bring again to repentance] those who have been once for all enlightened, who have consciously tasted the heavenly gift and have become sharers of the Holy Spirit,  [5] And have felt how good the Word of God is and the mighty powers of the age and world to come. ~ Hebrews 6:4, 5 AMP.

BEING THANKFUL– (Isaiah 12:3, 4):

Being thankful is how Isaiah continues on in verse 3:  “Therefore with joy will you draw water from the wells of salvation.”

It probably sounded pretty strange to the children of Israel when they first heard Isaiah’s words.  Getting water was quite a task.  Not only did they have to dig the well, they had to go to the well daily; draw the water out of the well, put the water in jugs, and then carry the containers back to the house.  And I fuss when we have to drive in a car one mile into town, walk 20-feet into a filtered-water supply store,  fill up three 3-gallon plastic containers, and drive back home every two weeks or so?

In Biblical times, sometimes the well was outside the city gates where women would have to travel out there day in and day out.  Hopefully, once a day, sometimes twice a day, no matter if the weather was cold or hot; quiet or windy, every day!  They didn’t find much JOY there.

Now the Lord says to them ‘with joy will you do that?’  Isaiah refers not just to earthly water, but water from the wells of salvation:

(verse 4)  “Give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name.”

When the people see and understand the Lord’s deliverance, they will thank Him.  More than that, others around them will see and thank the Lord.

He says, ‘make known His deeds among the nations what He has done, and proclaim that His name is exalted.’  He goes on saying,

(verse 5)  “Sing praises to the Lord, for He has done excellent things;

let this be made known to all the nations.” 

Again, time and again, the children of Israel saw glorious things the Lord had done.  Despite their grumbling and complaining God had provided manna every day.  They had enough to eat so they didn’t have to worry about planting and harvesting, just gathering and eating.  Because of that, they could say to the LORD, they could give thanks to Him.

Isaiah sums it all up in the last verse by saying,

[6] “Cry aloud and shout joyfully, you women and inhabitants of Zion,

for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”

–GOD WAS WITH THEM,

–HE WAS IN THEIR MIDST,

–HE HAD NOT  FORSAKEN THEM,

–HE WOULD NOT FORSAKE THEM.

The LORD’S REMINDER FOR US TODAY:

–He is among us.

–He is in our midst.

–everyday.

Today we don’t see Him in a pillar of smoke or in a cloud of fire at night.  But we do see Him in the day-to-day blessings that He provides for each one of us.

We see Him in His Word which is the well of our salvation.  The LORD says, ‘don’t be far from God’s Word and you won’t be far from God Himself.’

In Colossians we read:  “Let the word [spoken by] Christ (the Messiah) have its home [in your hearts and minds] and dwell in you in [all its] richness, as you teach and admonish and train one another in all insight and intelligence and wisdom [in spiritual things and as you sing] psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making melody to God with [His] grace in your hearts”  (Colossians 3:16 AMP).

Turning back now to the Old Testament and reading the words of the prophet Jeremiah:

“Your words were found, and I ate them; and Your words were to me a joy and the rejoicing of my heart, for I am called by Your name, O Lord of hosts”  (Jeremiah 15:16).

As we keep on going on to the well to draw water we realize that the refreshing Word of God becomes our joy and our delight.

“But I Don’t Feel Like Crying out and Shouting for Joy.”

Cry aloud and shout joyfully, you women and inhabitants of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel”  (Isa. 12:6).

Although “feelings” are a part of who we are…Jesus had feelings and showed them in the Bible.  But when FEELINGS are in control of your spirit, a stronghold can be established.  “We don’t cry out and shout in the Baptist church,” or “Shouting and crying are only done in the Pentecostal churches.”  If those are your “feelings”, then you need to “keep on, going on to the well.”  Your throats must be parched and thirsty!

To “Cry Aloud and Shout for Joy”-

TO CRY OUT:

This word is usually applied in Scripture to the neighing of a horse (Jeremiah 5:8; 8:16).  But it is also used to express JOY, pleasing exultation by a “clear and loud sound of the voice (Isaiah 10:30; 14:14; 54:1).

Also to “cry out” is synonymous with numerous passages in Psalms:  Psalm 47:1; 148:1-4; 149:1-9; where people are called on to exult and shout, to make noise as an expression of their JOY!

The Shouting Side Is The Winning Side!

Football games in America, Soccer in other parts of the world, fans recognize the side that has the upper hand through the surrounding atmosphere.  The side that is doing well has the exuberant supporters; jumping up and down, shouting until they lose their voices, even dancing and singing!

The other side–that’s another story: glum expressions, dim faces and not likely to be dancing.  They could sing, but their songs would most likely be asking for God’s intervention.  I don’t know about you, but since I’m a child of the King and accept what He did for me on the Cross of Salvation by His blood, I’ll never be on the loosing side again!  I’m a winner!!  Do I hear a SHOUT?

“But I’m Too Conservative, Shy to Cry Out and Shout For Joy.”

If that is what you’re thinking, then you need a NEW EXPERIENCE; perhaps another visit to the well of salvation.

EXPERIENCE PRAISE AT THE WELL:

O SING to the Lord a new song, for He has done marvelous things; His right hand and His holy arm have wrought salvation for Him.  The Lord has made known His salvation; His righteousness has He openly shown in the sight of nations.  He has [earnestly] remembered His mercy and loving kindness, His truth and His faithfulness toward the house of Israel; all the ends of the earth have witnessed the salvation of our God.  Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth and sing for joy, yeas, sing praise ~ Psalm 98:1-4.

EXPERIENCE HIS PRESENCE AT THE WELL:

“…I am with you all the days (perpetually, uniformly, and on every occasion), to the [very] close and consummation of the age” ~ Matt. 28:20 AMP.

“Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they will comfort me” ~ Psalm 23:4 AMP.

Are you saved?

Can you sing this song, God is my salvation?  If your answer is yes, it’s time to go to the well once more!