July 22 - Message Update

SanLo Community, an update for 7/22/2018…

Thank you to Pastor Brian for the message, "Stream in the Desert," from Ezekiel 47:1-12. This morning’s Scripture Ezekiel 47:1-12 is a vision of the promise of God’s abundant provision.  God spoke through His prophet Ezekiel when Israel was held captive in Babylon.  The first portion of this book describes that because of disobedience and sin, Israel was overtaken by Babylon.  A short while after this prophecy, Israel was utterly destroyed.  Only a small portion, a remnant of people survived. Imagine how meaningful this vision of provision described in today’s Scripture was to those who survived.  

The vision of abundant provision is illustrated by a stream or river in the desert.  From John 7:38-39 there is no doubt that Jesus had this thought in mind when he said: “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him, but this He spoke fo the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive.” The Holy Spirit is the single source of living water, the stream in the desert from which God blesses His people.

Though we are studying the end times, “Tribulation and Triumph” what we will learn is God’s promise of future provision is relevant today because God’s deep love is for His people all the time.  But what does it mean? What does it look like? What does God’s abundant provision look like?

 

        I.   God’s abundant provision is IMMEASURABLE vv. 1-5

Our Father God is generous.  All that He is and has is ours.  He offers us the treasures of His Kingdom.  God provides for us in incalculable ways. 

This may be an obvious statement but vital to recall in our relationship with Jesus.  God’s IMMEASURABLE provision begins with Him.  There is no mention of where the water came but its implied that God is the source of this stream.  There are no other resources of water that builds the trickle into a mighty river within a relatively short distance.  

In the same way you and I have nothing to do with the flow of living water in our lives, it begins with Him.  God is the only source. We cannot produce or have this life giving water without God. 

Because of sin, we have the tendency to think we are the masters of our own destiny.  We falsely believe we are in charge of everything.  Yes, we possess abilities, gifts, and talents to live in this world but when we forget that God is giver of “every good and perfect gift” (James 1:17) than we are tempted to tragically believe we don’t need God. 

From the perspective of eternity, the time we have on earth is a speck, a dot, a tiny portion compared to God’s IMMEASURABLE plans.  How we live and respond to God during this time impacts eternity.  Maybe you are at a place where you are wondering what is life all about?  Our next point lets us know that...

 

        II.  God’s abundant provision gives LIFE vv. 6-10

God is the creator of all of life.  He knew us before we were born.  By His word the world exists.  God, the giver of life, provides all we need to live a full and abundant life.  This vision is a great picture of how God is the stream, the river of life in a parched and dry world.

For today’s message it helps to know the location of Ezekiel’s vision.  The river flows through the desert of the Jordan Valley to the Dead Sea.  How do we know this?  Arabah is known by the people of Israel as the Jordan Valley.  En-gedi is a town midway down the west coast of the Dead Sea and En-eglaim is near where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. 

Wherever the river flows and whatever it touches, the result is life. Not only is the Dead Sea brought to life, fruit trees of all kinds grow on both sides of this river.  This is a wonderful and hopeful illustration of the power of God’s presence in our lives. We will experience spiritually dry and dead times but remember God’s abundant provision is there even if we don’t yet see it. 

 We have learned His provision is IMMEASURABLE and LIFE giving. In our final point we see that..

 

        III.  God’s abundant provision is FLAWLESS vv. 11-12

God does not do things half way.  Everything He does is perfect, complete, and FLAWLESS.  He offers blessings to all who drink from the river of life with just the right amount of seasoning to live.  Followers of Christ don’t always feel blessed but God in His abundant provision has a plan to bless us in all circumstances. 

This river will cause trees to flourish producing fresh fruit every month.  Their leaves will be healing.  The provision of God is FLAWLESS.  It is the source of life, healing and fruitfulness.  

Notice our Scripture says that while the Dead Sea itself will be full of life because of the infusion of fresh water, the swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they will be left for salt.  Salt is essential to life.  Salt preserves and enhances flavor.  You might remember that all of God’s people are called the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13) “You are the salt of the earth”  We are called to enhance or make better the lives around us.  Do something this week to be a blessing.  Be the salt that enhances and makes life better for people around you.  

In recent years several founding members of SANLO have gone to be with our Lord.  Last week, Emmie S was laid to rest. Early Saturday morning we were informed that Kay M went home to be with our Lord.  We grieve with the families but because of God’s abundant provision we can look forward to being with them for eternity where there is no sickness, suffering or death.   All of us know the desert circumstances of pain, loneliness, and sadness.  Ezekiel’s vision reminds followers of Christ that we don’t need to wait until the end of time to experience God’s IMMEASURABLE, LIFE giving and FLAWLESS provision.  We can enjoy all He has now when we learn to live in the Holy Spirit, who is our “Stream in the Desert.”

 

Have a blessed week in the Lord!

Kathy