• Matt Beaney

#417 - HE LED ME THROUGH WATER - (17/8/21)



During this LEARNING TO HEAR series I’m taking a different approach to these devotionals. I want to us work harder at searching the scriptures for ourselves. We will use the ‘Come to Jesus Daily’ method below to help us with this. It’s well worth the hard work involved!


TODAY’S TEXT

“As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits and then led me through water that was ankle-deep. He measured off another thousand cubits and led me through water that was knee-deep. He measured off another thousand and led me through water that was up to the waist. He measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in – a river that no-one could cross. He asked me, ‘Son of man, do you see this?’ Then he led me back to the bank of the river. When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river.” (Ezekiel 47:3-7)

I’ve included my reflections on today’s text below. However, I encourage you to pray and spend time reflecting (writing can be helpful) using the 5 questions below before reading my thoughts.


i. †GOSPEL - 'Gaze on the cross'- What does this text reveal about salvation through Jesus?

ii. UP – What does this text say about God – His worth, character, attributes, will, promises…?

iii. IN – What does this say about me, the church and how we are to relate? Is there a promise to believe, command to do, attitude to have, something to avoid, is there forgiveness to seek or give?

iv. OUT – What does this say about my community and mission?

v. DO - This has two components. Firstly, list as many possible ways that you can think of that one might apply the text (actions or attitudes). Secondly, hear - Pray about how the Holy Spirit is leading you, specifically, to respond.


MY REFLECTIONS


1. †GOSPEL

Ezekiel’s vision is about restoration. God was promising Israel that He would not give up on them and would restore them. This water is about God’s presence flowing from His temple in order to restore all things.

The river of God’s Spirit, brings salvation. He makes the ‘Dead Sea’ of our hearts alive. In the next verses, we read,

“He said to me, ‘This water flows towards the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, where it enters the Dead Sea. When it empties into the sea, the salty water there becomes fresh. Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live.” (Ezekiel 47:8-9)

To use a different metaphor, Jesus likened the saving work of the Spirit to the wind,

“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.’” (John 3:8)

If we are Christians, the river and wind of God’s Spirit have affected new life in us. Our lives are being transformed.


2. UP

Ezekiel prophesied to God’s exiled people in Babylon. They were there by God’s judgment, but He never gives up on them. Although He disciplines, He promises to restore. Another promise earlier in the book is worth noting,

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” (Ezekiel 36:26-27)

Ezekiel teaches that God hates sin. He disciplines His people for sin. He never forsakes and promises to restore.


3. IN

There is great promise for us in this text. If we will listen to God and follow Him, we will be led into the life of the Spirit.

This vision speaks to us of varying depths of the work of the Spirit. I’m sure that much could be said about this, but I simply want to say that there are different seasons of intensity of the work of the Spirit in our lives and in history. However, the Spirit of God is always flowing. God’s presence, power and purposes are always available to us.

4. OUT

Wherever the Spirit goes, there is salvation, as we read,

“Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live.” (Ezekiel 47:9)

Wherever the church is, there is to be new life. As those who are filled with the Spirit, we bring the new life of Christ to our communities. This is a powerful picture that is to inspire us.


5. DO? - Here are a few examples of application that I’ve come up with:

An application could be to study and meditate more thoroughly on this vision.

Are we praying for God to lead us into the deeper work of the Spirit?

Do we understand that if we are truly in the river of the Spirit, we will see communities transformed?

HEAR - Pray about how the Holy Spirit might want you to respond.


COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY



During this LEARNING TO HEAR series we are going to take a different approach to learning from the Bible together. We will use the ‘Come to Jesus Daily Method’ together (Gospel, Up, In, Out, Do) - you will have to do all the work!


1. Icebreaker - How has God spoken to you from the Bible this week? (During this LEARNING TO HEAR series, we are seeking to develop a culture of listening to God out of His word)


2. Select a text of scripture. (You could use the text from Sunday’s message or something of your choice.)


3. Read and recall. (Read the text and ask each person in the group to put it into their own words.)


4. Please go through these questions together:

i. †GOSPEL - 'Gaze on the cross'- What does this text reveal about salvation through Jesus?

ii. UP – What does this text say about God – His worth, character, attributes, will, promises…?

iii. IN – What does this say about me, the church and how we are to relate? Is there a promise to believe, command to do, attitude to have, something to avoid, is there forgiveness to seek or give?

iv. OUT – What does this say about my community and mission?

v. DO - This has two components. Firstly, list as many possible ways that you can think of that one might apply the text (actions or attitudes). Secondly, hear - Pray and share (if it’s appropriate) about how the Holy Spirit is leading you, specifically, to respond.


5. SIV - Finally, it would be helpful to talk and pray about how we are doing in regard to Serve, Invest and Invite. Do you have any encouraging stories or any plans in this regard? How do you want to pray in regard to our mission?







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