Monday, June 19, 2006

Additional References to Rivers by Dr Ern Baxter.

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.

Rivers Gladden.

- 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.

Rivers Refresh.

- 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).

Rivers Satisfy.

- 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”.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

The symbol of the river has become something of a mockery I think in charismatic circles. "I see a river" ... "I see a waterfall". While this has become so because of enthusiastic but maybe a little misguided charismatics, the Word of God demonstrates that we have no right to sneer at this powerful image.

Here once again Dr Baxter so powerfully and prophetically delves into this image and awakens hunger in my heart! I absolutely loved his exposition of those different stages of experience in the Spirit! How many of us are like your confession, and just dipping our toes into the stream of the Spirit. No - I would go further and see myself as being guilty of that "smug orthodoxy" you spoke of. I am dabbling into stagnant pools that have come to be because of the spray from the real river. And I am looking at those dead puddles and ignoring the river that flows behind me!

What a fool I am!

Thank you so much for working through this powerful, powerful series. Even though I cannot come and be at the Brighton Leadership Conference in July, I join you in your hunger and desire for more of Him. My prayer is that you find your souls desire! And then you come back and pour out to us!

Dr S A J Burgess

ols said...

River of God! Flood over me! And lift my feet up off the ground!

Wow ...

Wow ...

dr annette marshall said...

This is absolutely great. I had always wondered about those texts in Ezekiel. I was SURE there was something to do with the Spirit of God there!! I am so grateful to God for Ern Baxer unpacking this and providing understanding and revelation. This is so amazing!

My prayer is that we would be able to be taught and trained and shown how to move deeper into the river of the Spirit.

So muhc so that we have to swim!! What would that be like.

apwbd said...

These are truly glorious riches.

It is very interesting that each of the images refer to deep, powerful rivers, rather than shallow, gurgling, fast-moving streams.

Large rivers are often relatively slow moving, but the move with purpose and the move with depth. While they may not be particularly quick, they move very powerfully.

There is an important challenge here for us - while we love things to happen quickly and often regard noise and excitement as good, that is not the way that lasts.

The things which will last in the kingdom of God are deep, powerful, but sometimes slow rivers. Yet, they never dry up, they always reach their destination and they cannot be stopped.

May the Lord help us to go deeper, not to chase simply after noise and excitement, but the lasting fruit of the deep things of the river of His Holy Spirit. Let us pursue the things that last forver. Let us sink deep into His Word and drink deeply of His Spirit and know the solid joys and lasting treasure, the peace that passes all understanding, the building of our house upon the Rock.

Praise the Lord for this excellent series, Dan.