Part 2 - Building on Ern's key work on Ezekiel 47:3-5.
Rivers are Peaceful.
- Isaiah 48:18 – “O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! Then had thy peace been as a river and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea”.
This is not the peace of stagnation but the peace of certain and directed progress. It is the peace of a spirit-ordered life and not the peace of death and inactivity. “To be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:6). Here is a renewed mind dominated by the Holy Spirit and trained and ordered in the Word of Truth. How wonderful to know where you are going and to be able to go without the feverish uncertainty so characteristic of the directionless worldling. The course of this great Holy Spirit River is certain.
- Psalm 46:4 – “There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God”.
Psalm 46 is very rich in consolation and encouragement. It opens with a heartening word. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble”. Well it might, for the next two verses depict a scene of disruption and chaos that challenges the most impressionable imagination. In symbolical language all the turmoil, distresses and catastrophes of human life are painted in a solemn word-picture; “the earth removing … the mountains carried into the midst of the sea … the waters roaring … mountains shaking”. It is in the midst of all this upheaval that we are told about the happy streams which, undisturbed and unimpeded by the “trouble” surrounding, flow quietly laden with their life and treasures of help into the “city of God”. And so the river of the Holy Spirit flows into the believing heart carrying its cargo of grace treasures while all around is distress, perplexity and uncertainty.
- Isaiah 32:2 – “A man … shall be as rivers of water in a dry place”.
The man spoken of here is none other than our Lord Jesus Christ, and the river referred to is doubtless the Pentecostal outpouring which has come as a result of the exaltation of this wonderful Man. This world is indeed a “dry place” and the ONLY genuine refreshing offered to man is that which comes by the Holy Spirit. Philosophies but lure man into doubts, fleshly pleasures into disillusionments, human religions into hypocrisy. “This is the refreshing” (Isaiah 28:12).
- Psalm 36:8 – “They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasure”.
Man is everlastingly seeking satisfaction. However the “eye is not satisfied with seeing nor the ear filled with hearing … neither is his eye satisfied with riches” (Ecc 1:8, 4:8). What measure of satisfaction is procurable is limited in both quality and duration. It is subject to the ever-changing standards of human value. Surely there must be something available to man which will abundantly satisfy. Praise God there is. This wonderful Holy Ghost River flowing from the throne of the Eternal carries to the believing heart that form of satisfaction and pleasure which knows no fluctuation and is eternal in its duration.
Rivers Make Great.
- Ezekiel 31:4-9 – “The waters made him great, the deep set him on high with her rivers running about his plants, and sent out her little rivers unto all the trees of the field, therefore his height was exalted above all the trees of the field”.
This is the story of God blessing the nation of Assyria. It was this blessing that made Assyria great. The prophet likens it to a river irrigating the plants and spreading out in lesser rivers to carry its life-giving qualities to the trees of the field. So it is the Holy Spirit that makes us great as He waters our lives and makes us “grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ”.