“And He Showed Me a River” (2)
The blessing we desire from
the Lord is often very
different from the blessing
He desires to give us.
Recently I have just had, for a number of reasons, a deeper sense of the goodness of God. When I consider His mercy, His patience, His forbearance towards me in saving me, and His allowing me to even serve Him in some measure, not to mention His care for me in so many ways, I just have to bow before Him and thank Him for all His wondrous goodness upon me.
The Apostle Paul tells us,
And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind because of your evil works, He now has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and without blemish and beyond reproach before Him.
— Colossians 1:21-22
As Scofield points out, whenever the New Testament speaks of “reconciliation,” as it does in this verse, it is always on our side; God was never our enemy, and so He never needed to be reconciled to us. The demands of His broken law had to be satisfied by the death of Jesus on the cross, but He Himself was never our enemy.
In contrast, we were all “enemies [of God] in our mind because of our evil works,” and this is often what makes it so hard for us to appreciate God’s goodness, or to understand why God is doing what He is in our lives. Instead, when we experience hardships, sufferings, disappointments, or other difficulties, it becomes very easy for us to doubt God’s heart toward us.
In fact, God never has a heart to cause us to suffer loss; rather, He is always working to bless us. The problem is, we look at things from the standpoint of time, and seek for blessing here. But as Darby comments,
God’s government is not in exercise to secure happiness to His people in a world such as this.
Instead, God views things from the standpoint of our highest blessing in eternity (Rom. 8:28-30).
Along these lines, I was reminded recently of what John tells us in his vision of the New Jerusalem:
And [the angel] showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, coming forth from the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street.
— Revelation 22:1
As I have pointed out before, the angel here did not show John the throne, but the river coming forth from the throne. Because we’re so fallen, we often feel that God’s heart is to rule over us, just as we desire to rule over others. But in reality, God is not like us; as we see here, the angel stressed, not the throne, but the river, because God’s heart is not on His ruling, but on His flowing. (See “And He Showed Me a River” • 1.)
This is a picture that can help us see what God desires for us even today. He wants to bring forth from our innermost being the “rivers of living water,” that is, the Spirit (John 7:38-39), to flow out for the blessing of others. He does need to bring us under the ruling authority of His throne, but that is not merely so He can rule over us, but so He can flow out from within us as the river of life.
From the standpoint of who we are, that is the highest blessing we can have, both in this age and in eternity. And that is why God is working in our lives as He is, even through many difficulties and sufferings: to bring forth the living waters from within our very being.
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— 16 December 2023 —