Many people like to navigate or ride on the rivers of the world. Â They are beautiful, peaceful, and at the same time can be very powerful. Â They furnish hydroelectric power in certain places, and we know the power of the mighty Mississippi when it overflowed its banks and caused flooding and destruction. The Bible tells us about a river and its related streams that can cause a certain effect. David said, “There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.” Â (Psalm 46:4-5).
This cannot be literal because because there’s a city of God that is made glad by the streams of this river. Â This city of God is the church comprised of the chosen and redeemed of the Lord. The river of God’s grace is made known to us through the gospel of Jesus Christ. Â This river is powerful as nothing else but the power of God’s Amazing Grace could reach a dead alien sinner and save him from eternal woe and misery. John describes a river and its source in Rev. 22:1, “And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.” Â This river proceeds from the throne of God and the Lamb. We come before the throne of God to find grace and mercy to help in time of need. God is in the heavens and He does whatsoever he pleases as we are told in Psalms 115:3. Â We are made able to drink of His pleasure as it hath pleased the Lord to make us His children. Â “How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.Â They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures.” Â (Psalm 36:7-8). What a drink that is!
The streams that emanate from this river is evident in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ which is good news to the born again child of God. Â Streams water the places that they contact. Â These streams water spiritually the thirsty child of God as a citizen of the city of God. Â The stream of God’s love (which in essence is a river) is everlasting and makes us glad when we know that nothing can separate us from the love of God. Â The song says, “Sweet rivers of redeeming love lie just before mine eyes; had I the pinions of a dove, I’d to those rivers rise”.
The Psalmist describes the blessedness of the man that walks not after the counsel of the ungodly but delights in the law of the Lord which is found in the gospel. “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” Â (Psalms 1:3). Â The streams of the river of God’s grace furnish the information that helps us produce fruit to the honor of God; fruit that does not wither but prospers in the city of God.
The streams of Divine election, redemption, predestination, justification, calling and glorification, when understood in light of the truth, make glad the hearts of God’s people. The church is the place those streams are made manifest to those who hunger and thirst after righteousness. The Psalmist said, “God is in the midst of her” and would help her. Â This is the bride of Christ which the Psalmist describes a her. The seven churches of Asia were the seven golden candlesticks which John writes to in Revelation and tells us that Jesus “walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks.” Â (Rev. 2:1). Where two are three are gathered together in His name, He is there in the midst.
It is here in the church, that is the place of rivers and streams where the glorious Lord makes His people glad just as the prophet Isaiah said: “But there the glorious LORD will be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams; wherein shall go no galley with oars, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby.” Â (Isa. 33:21). Â Where do we look to find these broad rivers and streams? The Psalmist again gives us the answer. “Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities: thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken.” (Isa. 33:20). Â Zion (the church) is a peaceful habitation like a nice peaceful stream that Isaiah tells us will always be with us somewhere as the stakes thereof will always remain.
There is not anything more enjoyable for a child of God than to drink of the fountain that never shall run dry. May we always be like the Psalmist David when anyone says it is time to go into God’s house. “Â I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.Â Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem.Â Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together:” Â (Psalms 122:1-3). Â Jerusalem is the holy city that is made glad by the streams flowing from the river of God’s grace.
May we all contemplate the power of the river, the peace of the streams, and stay as close as possible at all times to the sources that will make us joyful, cheerful and glad. Our countenance is often manifest by the condition of our heart. “A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.” (Prov. 15:13).–April 17, 2013–Elder Larry Wise