Scripture: Ezekiel 47:1-6
First we have the waters trickling from the house, an image of the household of Israel. The waters are coming from the east first – the direction of worship. By the time we get to the end of this passage we see what a great river flows out of this place. This is a beautiful picture. These waters are not destructive, but they are peaceful and full of life.
The man led Ezekiel out in calculated steps. Ankle deep then waist deep, and then over the head. The crazy thing is that Ezekiel follows the guy. Even for a vision, what would possess someone to follow so uncomfortably?
Finally after being in over his head, he was asked if he took it in. Then he was safely brought back to comfort, solid ground.
I want to begin this with worship. When we worship Jesus things are happening spiritually that we do not understand naturally and cannot accomplish outside of worship. The blessing and leading of God is flowing out of a place of worship. I know this is a picture for the household of Israel, but it is also a great picture of what my household should be like and what the Church should reflect.
Why is worship sometimes shallow? Because shallow/ankle deep is comfortable. Ankle deep requires no trust except that the water temp is right. Ankle deep waters are not hard to walk in. they don’t easily carry you away either. But ankle deep is a starting place, keep following the Lord. Am I ankle deep in some areas of faith… Is faith supposed to have areas? Is it faith if I have ankle deep faith for one promise or direction of God and over the head depth for other things? I am still listening for clarity on these questions.
After being ankle deep we are always led deeper, it’s our responsibility to follow.
Chest deep and the waters are not so quiet. Chest deep in the river, I can jump and be carried a little ways. None the less I am still in control. Nerves kick in and now this becomes a question of trust. Do I trust God’s leadership enough to go deeper?
In over the head requires diligent sacrificial faith. It asks me to count my life as nothing for the sake of following Him. It requires me to be like the psalmist and “fear no evil for you are with me.” It almost seems easier to give my life up than to give up control over my life. But God is asking me to do both. Give it all up, life, and control the over it.
Whatever depth I am at, God isn’t going to leave me there. He is going to lead me and He is patient waiting for my following. God isn’t hanging out in the deep end while I’m doing the alligator crawl in the kiddy pool. He leads and waits. I also noticed that He will lead us back to solid ground – a place of self confidence. When we take in the depths of His call, when we follow and labor to follow. When we trust like crazy – God leads us to a place to rest – labor into rest. God gives us mind-blowing revelations in the deep end, but then gives us two feet to stand on, so that we too might lead from a starting place.
As a leader, I have to remember not to yell out encouragement from the deep end, but to be patient and encouraging from the wading pool… or wherever people are at.
I have to be honest, this is scary. This requires a great deal of trust. It requires my eyes to be on the Lord. This requires me to know his heart and intentions are good, that He is Good. This requires me to follow Him out of a place of humility and worshipful sacrifice.
God thank you for your leading. Thank you that you wait patiently for me to follow. Teach me to make you the constant object of worship. Teach me to turn my affections and attention towards you. Lead me deeper. Teach me the benefits of vulnerability in following You. I want to follow you, wherever you lead. Give me the strength to give up control. Give me the confidence in YOU, to follow; trusting in your goodness. Let streams of living waters flow from the altar of my household and church. Impact a city with your goodness – Start with me.