Saturday, January 7, 2012

Deeply Rooted. Fishers of men.

Ezekiel 47:6-12

 6 He asked me, “Have you been watching, son of man?” Then he led me back along the riverbank. 7 When I returned, I was surprised by the sight of many trees growing on both sides of the river. 8 Then he said to me, “This river flows east through the desert into the valley of the Dead Sea.The waters of this stream will make the salty waters of the Dead Sea fresh and pure. 9 There will be swarms of living things wherever the water of this river flows. Fish will abound in the Dead Sea, for its waters will become fresh. Life will flourish wherever this water flows. 10Fishermen will stand along the shores of the Dead Sea. All the way from En-gedi to En-eglaim, the shores will be covered with nets drying in the sun. Fish of every kind will fill the Dead Sea, just as they fill the Mediterranean.11 But the marshes and swamps will not be purified; they will still be salty. 12 Fruit trees of all kinds will grow along both sides of the river. The leaves of these trees will never turn brown and fall, and there will always be fruit on their branches. There will be a new crop every month, for they are watered by the river flowing from the Temple. The fruit will be for food and the leaves for healing.

Tonight this Scripture came alive to me as I was praying for people at Awakening. I read it before service and it stuck with me. I first want to point to verse 6 where Ezekiel is asked, "Have you been watching, son of man?" To preface the entirety of this post, I must explain the Scripture as a whole. Ezekiel is being taken on walk-through of where the stream leads. Throughout the vision, Ezekiel walks through and into the water. The man in the vision then poses the question in verse 6, which reminds me of how aware we must be of what the Lord is doing around us at all times. 

Verses 7 to 12, the man explains what the river's purpose is.

The river brings life, growth, expansion, bears fruit, refreshes, renews and restores. 

I know draw a parallel to John 7:37-38 which says, " 37 On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! 38 Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart." 

Also, another scripture that this brings to mind is John 15:1-8 which says, “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.
 5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father."

Yes, both of these scriptures speak of Jesus and the Holy Spirit that dwells within us today. Going back to Ezekiel 47, I want to walk through the revelation I had. Look back at all of bold and underlined words that I have made. These words should speak so deeply to this generation of believers. We are at a vital point where an outbreak of revival across the nations is beginning. It is a renewing, a refreshing. The beauty of this Scripture comes with the parallels of the Scriptures in John. Without the river of living water (Holy Spirit) and remaining in the vine (Christ), we can never fully walk in the ways of the Lord. 

Several things come to mind when I think of a tree growing beside a river. The first is the tree will produce abundantly for it is rooted at the edge of the river. The second is the depth of the roots. The roots of a tree near the river are deep and are filled continually by the water of the river. 

Image with me for a minute that you are a tree rooted beside a river. You would never thirst, have fresh and pure water, you would produce much fruit, and your leaves would never turn because of the vast nutrients you receive daily. This is the picture we should have for our walk with the Lord. He did call us "oaks of righteousness" in Isaiah 61. We should daily seek the Holy Spirit and immerse ourselves in the Lord's presence. We should be confident for our roots run deeply and we receive directly from the source. The vine, which is Christ, that is part of the tree brings it to life even more, producing even more fruit. 

How much fruit we bear is important. 

However, we must acknowledge that there are many different types of fruit; some may bear physically and others spiritually. Do not be ashamed of the fruit you bear for it is of the Kingdom if you are drawing near to the River.

We believers must take the Scripture and write it on our heart, ingest it. We must hunger and thirst for the things of the Lord. The more we seek, the more we hunger and thirst. The more this generation hungers and thirsts, the more restoration, freedom, salvation, peace, joy, goodness, light, and life will come into this world. Once we are filled, we cannot help but to pour out to the people around us. 

Finally, I want to talk about how this river in Ezekiel 47 purified and refreshed the waters of the Dead Sea. It caused it to come alive. We are called as men and women of God to be bold and speak life into those surrounding us. This purifying and refreshing of the waters caused life to come and fish reenter the waters. In Mark 1:17, the Scripture says, "Then Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”" This parallels to the multitude of nets on the shore with fish in them. These fish are in my opinion the men that Christ spoke to His disciples. We are called to cast our nets for the Kingdom. To some of you reading this the previous statement may sound cheesy, but I am oh so serious. We are called to do more than just receive, receive, receive. We are called to pour out. Therefore, we are the fishermen, as well as, the trees. Ha. That sounds a bit odd. We must do both in order to walk in the will of the Lord. Therefore, each separately is a position we have in the Kingdom. We must constantly be rooted in the river and be casting out our nets for the men and women of this world to grab onto. As they come to shore, they can also become deeply rooted in the river. 

I pray that this post has come together to make since. I know I moved around quite a lot, but this Scripture continues to blow me away. 

Here is the prayer I have for all of you. 

Oh Lord, give us fresh revelation daily of your Word. Let it come alive to us and be new. I pray, Oh Lord, that you will bring clarity and vision to those who cannot see, patience and rest to those who cannot hear, and peace for those who cannot speak. I pray Lord that you would prepare this generation to abide in the River. Let Your River flow over our roots and awaken the branches to bear fruit. Lord, purify and prune us that we may be used more than ever before. Strengthen us that we may stand in the midst of the storms, floods, and trials. Oh God, may we be still and also cry out to You. As in Ecclesiastes 3, there is a time for everything. Let us know and discern which is this. Thank you Father for the revelation of Your Word and the truth it brings. Thank you Lord for this year ahead of us. May it be a year of abundance and blessing. Holy Spirit may we find rest in you. Amen.

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