Snippets of Grace
Here For Good, Perhaps

"Water Flowing From the Temple"

The river flows from the east and towards the sea. Everything will live where the river goes. And on the river banks, trees will grow and their fruit will be for food and their leaves will be for healing. (Ezekiel 47:1,9,12)

This week, I just finished reading the Book of Ezekiel. What a fitting way to end this book, full of jubilant prophecies and hope in the midst of the people's experience of their exile in a foreign land. God's glory and grace will flow out of the Temple and into the seas, out toward the outside world, and blessing everyone who stand by the river banks. What a picture of hope and anticipation of God's movement in people's lives. The message here is that once again, after the exile, God will make His name great among the nations (Ezekiel 36:23, 36).

The imagery of a river is not always serene and full of quite satisfaction. At many times, rivers project the picture of a raging torrent, dangerous under currents, and rampaging flash floods. Rivers come with devastation. Their powerful waters can break large boulders and wreak havoc on anything that stands along its path. Anyone who has lived beside a river knows this fact. The writer of Ezekiel hinted about the power of the river of God. It is a "river that could not be passed" (Ez. 47:5). Everyone is supposed to flow with the river and witness its life-giving power and healing among the nations. The waters are deep. There is the element of uncertainty. But we are not to stay on the side where the "swamps and marshes are not fresh" (Ez. 47:11). We are to jump into the the raging river of God and witness God's blessings for the nations.

If missions work is God's movement among the nations and His many acts of bringing salvation to everyone, then the imagery of Ezekiel's river is a perfect illustration of God's missionary activity. It can sometimes be devastating. It changes our plans for the future. It alters our comfortable lives. The challenge is not to stay in the shallow waters and merely watch the river pass by. We cannot simply watch God move among the nations. We have to respond. We have to jump into the river and witness His healing along the river banks.

The river has already flowed from the eastern gate of the Temple and into the seas. Now, the river is still flowing. The question is: "Are we flowing with the river?" Do we see the river banks from the vantage point of the flowing river, or from the angle of a marsh land? I challenge everyone to jump into the river of God and participate in His salvation activity among the nations.


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