We have just celebrated the New Year, along with the requisite New Year’s Resolutions, many of which have already fallen by the wayside. But there are New Beginnings that can happen every day – it’s never too late to have a New Beginning in your walk with the LORD!
Joshua 3:15-17: (New King James Version)
15 and as those who bore the ark came to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests who bore the ark dipped in the edge of the water (for the Jordan overflows all its banks during the whole time of harvest), 16 that the waters which came down from upstream stood still, and rose in a heap very far away at Adam, the city that is beside Zaretan. So the waters that went down into the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, failed, and were cut off; and the people crossed over opposite Jericho. 17 Then the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan; and all Israel crossed over on dry ground, until all the people had crossed completely over the Jordan.
Notice here that the priests had to take that first step themselves. They didn’t wait for God to dry up the Jordan. In fact, in verse 15, it tells us that the Jordan was overflowing its banks at that time of the year – during the Harvest season. Notes on this particular passage indicate that perhaps God chose this particular time of the year to further confirm the fact that indeed a MIRACLE took place, giving Israel a yet another sign that God was with them and that the nations of Canaan would be overthrown by them with His help.
Remember: this was the all the Israelites – a million+ people (estimates range in number for 1-5 million!). The crossing wasn’t accomplished in a few minutes – not even a couple of hours – we’re talking a FULL, FULL day at a minimum! They hasted to get over, it says in verse 10. Also, remember: the priests had been standing in the middle of the river bed all day with the Ark of God. The heads of each tribe took stones out of the river bed where the priests had been standing and built a memorial where they would camp that night, as a memorial to this great miracle.
(Joshua 4:5-6 (New King James Version)5 and Joshua said to them: “Cross over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, 6 that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’
What are your ‘memorial stones’ as you enter the New Year? We need to move forward…not look back to the ‘what might have beens’… we’re looking ahead to what WILL BE in this time of New Beginnings! … looking forward to God’s Presence; to MORE of God in our lives… more of His Miracle-working Power.
You are taking the Word of God into your ‘area’ right now. We don’t know what lies ahead, but we are obeying God in stepping out in faith. Our feet are in the ‘Jordan’ and we are wading out into the midst of the waters. We are not looking back – we are looking ahead. We are not looking downstream, we are looking upstream from whence the blessings come.
Water, in the Bible, is usually symbolic of the masses of humanity. Therefore, we are launching forth into the sea of humanity right where we are, to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost, the hurting, the sick, the captive, whether held captive by sickness or disease, or maybe someone is held captive by error in teaching from the Word of God. You know, there ARE churches today that don’t even teach the Bible. They don’t believe the Bible is true! Or they don’t believe that the Bible could possibly be relevant today. But God tells us in Hebrews 13:8: JESUS CHRIST IS THE SAME, YESTERDAY, TODAY AND FOREVER! People are held captive by whatever force that prevents them from hearing the truth of God’s Word – they are captive and need to be set free!
We are here to proclaim God’s Word and set the captives free! Goes DOES have a better way – and His way is Jesus. Jesus said, “I am the WAY….” As we follow Jesus, our lives are changed day by day, and we grow up in Him Who is the head!
1 Then he brought me back to the door of the temple; and there was water, flowing from under the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the front of the temple faced east; the water was flowing from under the right side of the temple, south of the altar. 2 He brought me out by way of the north gate, and led me around on the outside to the outer gateway that faces east; and there was water, running out on the right side.
3 And when the man went out to the east with the line in his hand, he measured one thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the water came up to my ankles. 4 Again he measured one thousand and brought me through the waters; the water came up to my knees. Again he measured one thousand and brought me through; the water came up to my waist. 5 Again he measured one thousand, and it was a river that I could not cross; for the water was too deep, water in which one must swim, a river that could not be crossed.
Verse 1: “Then he brought me back to the door of the temple; and there was water, flowing from under the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the front of the temple faced east; the water was flowing from under the right side of the temple, south of the altar.”
“Afterward” – after the prophesy of the previous several chapters concerning the millennial sanctuary [temple] and the New Jerusalem.
[WE are the temple of God. In I Corinthians 3:16, Paul says, ‘…don’t you know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? …’ and verse 17 continues with: ‘…the Temple of God is holy, which temple you are….!]
Back to Ezekiel 47….
The waters are flowing out of the temple. Jesus told us that out of your belly shall flow rivers of living water. (see John 7:27)
These ‘living waters’ that flow out from you are for the multitudes – these Living Waters are for EVERYONE. These living waters are not for a select few! You know, God uses all inclusive, non-confining, all-encompassing adjectives and nouns. He says in John 7:37: If ANY man thirsts… not just a few… ANY… that means YOU… that means ME! The only condition is belief in Him. Trust on Him… have FAITH in HIM!
Are you thirsty today?
He brought me out by way of the north gate, and led me around on the outside to the outer gateway that faces east; and there was water, running out on the right side.
3 And when the man went out to the east with the line in his hand, he measured one thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the water came up to my ankles.
Oh – our feet are beginning to get wet now. W are wading out into the sea of humanity. We are witnessing to a few folks… we are talking to them occasionally about God’s Love… we might even offer to pray with them about something. Our feet are beginning to get wet!
Again he measured one thousand and brought me through the waters; the water came up to my knees. Again he measured one thousand and brought me through; the water came up to my waist.
Up to our knees now. Well, since we’re this far, let’s go on out up to our waist.
Again he measured one thousand, and it was a river that I could not cross; for the water was too deep, water in which one must swim, a river that could not be crossed.
Swimming! That means your feet are off the bottom, and you have to let the river direct you!
…. …. …. …. …. …. …. …. ….
You see, as long as your feet are on the bottom, you can determine your own destiny. You can determine which direction you will go. BUT!!!! But as soon as the water is too deep, and you take your feet off the bottom, you have to swim for yourself. You have to get in it up to your neck and deeper, and we all know from swimming in the ocean, that we go with the current.
The ‘current’ in this case will be the Holy Spirit! HE leads us! HE guides us! HE directs us to certain people! HE directs certain people to US so we can minister to them!
You may say, “But I don’t know what to say to anyone.” Let me reassure you: you are already ministering to your family, to your friends, to your roommates, to your co-workers. You encourage them when they don’t feel well… you lift them up spiritually when they are depressed… down in the dumps. You don’t have to have a degree from some Theological Seminary to be able to tell someone about he Love of Jesus.
These waters that are flowing out of us are those LIVING WATERS!
This ‘river’ in Ezekiel is flowing out toward the desert… through the desert (the dry and thirsty land, a barren wasteland) and into the sea (the multitudes of humanity!). We are to bring the LIVING WATER of the Word of God to the multitudes… and not just a little seed every once in awhile and then leave them on their own. We are to nurture that seed with water…we are to continually bring that refreshing water of the Word to the masses of humanity. When we do that, people will be caught up in the river and will flow into the sea of Believers! And as you read further in that chapter in Ezekiel, you will find that those waters are for bringing LIFE to the multitudes! These waters bring healing and deliverance!
Out of your innermost being shall flow rivers of living water! Jesus is the Healer… The Holy Spirit is the agent carrying on the work of Jesus through YOU! Jesus healed the masses. He taught the people and healed them. Acts 10:38 tells us that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil, for God was with Him.
Jesus told us that we are to go into ALL the world and preach the Gospel to EVERY creature! There are those all-inclusive, all-encompassing nouns and adjectives again. That means that ALL the world is possible to go into… and EVERY creature is possible to reach!
Better yet: Jesus told us that He would be with us…and He gave us His Name to use to get the job done! Whom God calls, He equips! And that’s the Good News!
Do not be afraid. He said He would be with us! Tell someone today that God loves them! Tell someone today that God has GOOD plans for them! Tell them of the great love, mercy and grace of the LORD! They will be blessed – and so will you!
HAPPY NEW YEAR IN JESUS THE MESSIAH, THE CHRIST!