Adapted from an unknown author. If you watch television, do not expect great and wondrous things.
Ezekiel was a captive in the land of Babylon. He had been carried away by Nebuchadnezzar when the nation of Judah was taken captive, as described by Jeremiah's great prophecy...[we know of] two prophets during the captivity -- Ezekiel and Daniel. Ezekiel...prophesied during those first twenty or twenty-five years of that seventy-year period when Israel was held captive by Babylon.
This book of Ezekiel begins, then, with a...vision of God... If your heart needs to be set on fire by the revelation of the character and glory of God, read Ezekiel...
read in that and hear in that our Lord's words recorded in John 7 when he stood at the temple on the last day of the feast and said, "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink... 38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)" (John 7:37-39) This is the resource of the Christian life.
...The waters of the Spirit come from the very throne of God, from the supremacy of his authority, the highest point in the universe, the place where our Lord Jesus received the promised gift of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost...
Let us [consider] various aspects of this resource while examining [Ezekiel 47]. First of all, there is the source of the river. Where does it come from? [From under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house,]
As the prophet watches, he sees that [the river] makes its way down past the altar [at the south side of the altar], the place of sacrifice. And one of the great things that we have to learn as Christians is that we can never drink of the river of the Spirit unless we are willing to do so by means of the cross of Calvary. It is only as we are willing to accept the judgment of death upon the flesh -- the natural man and his abilities, ambitions, and desires -- that we can drink of the river of the Spirit of God.
Then, notice the power of this river. It has quickly grown large enough to swim in, yet [we see] no other river adding to it. No tributary streams are coming in. It is a great, gushing, mighty torrent of life...
As you read this, notice the experience of the prophet. He is led into this step-by-step; three times he [says that the man], "brought me through." Is God [bringing] you through? Have you ever had that experience?
The first step is to the place where the waters are ankle deep [Ezekiel 4:3, And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ancles.].
Isn't that a picture of a man who has experienced only a shallow sense of God's grace and power in his life? ...He's in just ancle deep [but it is a beginning but]...a lot of people stay there.
But then the prophet says the waters get hold of his knees [Ezekiel 47:4, Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees]. Have the waters got there with you yet? Have you begun to hunger and thirst and to pray and to seek the face of God? Here is a man who is not satisfied any more with just being born again. He is hungering after something. He is on his knees.
He is crying out to God, yearning for more [and getting it].
"[Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins]." It is beginning to possess him. There is less of him now, and more of the grace of God. The loins are always the symbol of power and he has come, then, to the place where he has begun to grasp something of the power of God, to grasp the fact that it is "Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts" that the Christian life is lived (Zech. 4:6) [it is about him]. It is not his eager desire to do something for God, or his consecrated zeal to flow it through, but rather, his quiet dependence upon [and obedience to] an indwelling Spirit that is the secret.
Then he goes one step further and says, "[Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over. (Ezekiel 47:5)]" Here is someone who is utterly committed. He is in over his head. He is out there where he is swept along in the current of God's grace. And what is the effect of this river on the land? As the prophet is [returned to the brink of the river] he says, "[Now when I had returned, behold, at the bank of the river were very many trees on the one side and on the other (Ezekiel 47:7)]" -- fruitfulness. The barrenness of the land has been healed. The river is fertile; everywhere the river flows, things begin to live.
Have you learned this yet? All of this is written for us. [The river] flows right through the middle of life. Have you found the river of the Spirit yet? [The only requirement is continued obedience to the word of God. It will come automatically, naturally as one grows up, just as a baby grows up. Every adult was once a baby.] It is as we learn these mighty truths that the Christian life begins to make sense. Until then, it is nothing but a plodding, dogged, difficult path, a struggle to try to keep things straight. But when we begin to experience the mighty, gushing torrent of the rivers of living water -- the flow of the Spirit of God right through the center of life -- everything begins to live, and life becomes significant and full for us.
The prophet sees this. And he closes this beautiful book with a description of the temple... But look at the last verse of the prophecy. He says:Ezekiel 48:35 It was round about eighteen thousand measures: and the name of the city from that day shall be, The LORD is there.
Our Father, we pray that this may be our experience, that we may see this mighty flow of the river of God in our lives and, discovering its power and its grace and its depth, commit ourselves to you so that there may be healing and fertility and escape from barrenness in our lives. Thank you, Lord, for this beautiful picture and for the truth that lies behind it. Thank you that these things can be our experience right now through Jesus Christ our Lord, the one who is the express image of God -- [we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Corinthians 3:18)]. We thank you for these mighty things, and ask that they be true in our experience as well as in our faith. In Christ's name, Amen.