Please read Ezekiel 47:1-12 before you read this post. Really.
“Then He brought me back…”
The amount of time I could spend on just this first phrase…He brought me back from Sicily, again. He has brought me back to my shoulder problems, again. But spiritually speaking, where has God brought me back to? “the door of the temple.” Yup. This morning, Lord, You’ve brought me back to many things, but where I find myself is before the door of Your house. Dare I enter? I want to. But my heart aches – may I come before Your throne? What will I find there? another fiery trial? I’m scared. But I come….
Not a fiery trial: “there was water, flowing from under the threshold of the temple toward the east…” My first reading through these verses, I’m still trying to understand with human eyes, applying it physically. There never was water turning into a river coming from the temple. What does this mean, I wonder. So I go online to search out what others have found.
Matthew Henry Commentary: “That part of Ezekiel’s vision must so necessarily have a mystical and spiritual meaning…” He references Zechariah 14:7-8, Revelation 22:1, John 4:14, and other verses. A few things he wrote stand out to me so strongly:
“Ezekiel had walked round the house again and again, and yet did not ’til now take notice of those waters; for God makes known His mind and will to His people, not all at once, but by degrees.” This first truth as I now reflect on it brings an amount of peace and healing to my soul already (that’s what the waters carry anyway – healing. And I know as I meditate on the meaning of the waters and stand in the river, even at ankle deep initially, God will heal my soul). As I apply this first truth to the messy situation with my friend – whom I still have not been allowed to see and is still in trouble – I feel peace, healing my anxiety because I can go over the situation again and again, but god will reveal by degree in His time what and why He is working the way He is. I do not see the whole thing. But God does, and He will bring me to the water in the right time.
“But that is not all: Christ is the temple; He is the door; from Him those living waters flow, out of His pierced side.” There were several times this past Friday that I prayed for help to fix my eyes on Jesus. Only in Christ does there exist a flow of water that grows as it goes. Any substitute will quickly become depleted. Not the grace of the gospel though: “The gifts of the Spirit increase by being exercised, and grace, where it is true, is growing, like the light of the morning which shines more and more to the perfect day. It is good to follow these waters and go along with them. Observe the process of the work of grace in the heart; attend the motions of the blessed Spirit, and walk after them, under a divine guidance, as Ezekiel here did.”
As I go back again and read again up to this point, another phrase begins to stand out to me: 47:3 “and he brought me through the waters;” 47:4 “and he brought me through the waters;…and brought me through;” 47:5 “Again, he measured one thousand, and it was a river that I could not cross; for the water was too deep, water in which one must swim, a river that could not be crossed.” So many verses from various book in the Bible flood my mind at that point. As does a song…
Psalm 42: 7 “Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; all Your waves and billows have gone over me.”
Matthew 14:28-31 “And Peter answered Him and said, ‘Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.’ So He said, ‘Come.’ And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw the that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, ‘Lord, save me!’ And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him and said to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?'”
Ephesians 3:17-19 “that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, that you being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge…”
(back to Matthew Henry) “If we search into the things of God, we shall find some things very plain and easy to be understood, as were the waters that were but to the ankles,; others more difficult, and which require a deeper search, as the water to the knees or the loins; and some quite beyond our reach, which we cannot penetrate into, or account for, but, in despairing to find the bottom, must, as St. Paul, sit down at the brink and adore the depth (Romans 11:33).”
Ezekiel 47:6 “Son of man, have you seen this?”
Have I seen? Have I had a glimpse into the impassable ways of God? Have I stared into the depth of mystery of His mind and His ways? I have. And I find it dizzying. My heart feels crushed under its pressure, and I cannot breathe.
Lord, I’m sinking! I can’t swim here! It is high, I cannot attain it! HELP! Pull me out!
And Jesus says to me like He did to Peter: “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” But even as He speaks this gentle rebuke, He is holding my hand and pulling me up. He does not let me drown. Psalm 18:16 “He sent from above, He took me; He drew me out of many waters.”
Back to Ezekiel…”Then he brought me and returned me to the bank of the river.” Father, this is where I have to stop for today. I’d love to dive into the meaning of the rest of this mystery, but I need to stop and sit here, sitting here in the shallow end of the river. And as I listen to this song again – Find me in the river, find me there. Find me on my knees with my soul laid bare… I ask You to seal these lessons in my heart and memory. Grow my faith, please, just like Your grace grows deeper each day, just as the sun overhead grows stronger with the summer heat. Find me in your river, Lord. Keep washing away my doubts in the precious blood of the Lamb, wash away all my weaknesses and shame, wash over me in Your cleansing flood.