Stream of Renewal
Father, lead me so that walking I may follow You, waiting I may trust You, worshiping I may praise You.
Read Ezekiel 47:1-12
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“…let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). How bright is your light?
Writing in the exile, Ezekiel looks forward to a reestablished temple, which gives rise to a restored and renewed society. The temple was always designed, like the tabernacle before it, to be a center of worship and a focal point for the presence of God within Israelite society. When the role of the temple was misinterpreted, when it became an end in itself or a source of trust or security, it failed in its true function and invited the criticism of God through the prophets (Jer. 7:4). Here it fulfills its true function as a source of hope and new life, speaking of the presence of God among his people.
The New Testament picks this up in two ways. First, Jesus is the new temple (John 2:19-22), the claim which so angered the authorities. As such, he becomes the way in which we experience God’s presence directly. Second, this is extended to his followers. Paul can describe us both individually and corporately as the temple (1 Cor. 3:16, 17; 6:19). Jesus, in words strongly reminiscent of Ezekiel’s prophecy, talks of rivers of water flowing from his followers (John 7:38,39). As we trust in him and bear witness to him, so we become the focus of his life-giving presence in a world of need.
This is both a great privilege and a great responsibility. We rightly rejoice in the new life that we have, but it is not to be kept to ourselves. Like this river, it is to flood out into the world, with ever-increasing impact. Our witness to the grace of God in Christ, and the evidence of transformed lives are to declare that God is here in a new way. This was the hope of Ezekiel, and it is the mission of the church.
Reflect on the impact your church has on its community. Pray that it might be a source of life and hope to many.
Lord, You are the light that shines, the love that heals, and the hope that cheers. May that light, love and hope shine through me.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.
© 2024 Scripture Union U.S.A. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission is prohibited.
Encounter with God is published in the USA under license from Scripture Union England and Wales, Trinity House, Opal Court, Opal Drive, Fox Milne, Milton Keynes, MK15 0DF.