This passage has really been speaking to my soul over the past month. I just keep being drawn back to it again and again. Each time read it, I get another picture, another lesson that I can apply to my life. I believe that God is calling me to go deeper in Him. For years, I have been moving forward, going deeper in the things of God. Recently, I feel like I have been sitting in waist-deep water for too long. I don’t feel like I am going backwards, but as heat rises water evaporates. So sitting still, means I am loosing water even if I am not going backwards.
Then he brought me back to the door of the temple, and behold, water was issuing from below the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was flowing down from below the south end of the threshold of the temple, south of the altar. Then he brought me out by way of the north gate and led me around on the outside to the outer gate that faces toward the east; and behold, the water was trickling out on the south side.
Going on eastward with a measuring line in his hand, the man measured a thousand cubits, and then led me through the water, and it was ankle-deep. Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water, and it was knee-deep. Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water, and it was waist-deep. Again he measured a thousand, and it was a river that I could not pass through, for the water had risen. It was deep enough to swim in, a river that could not be passed through. And he said to me, “Son of man, have you seen this?”
Then he led me back to the bank of the river. As I went back, I saw on the bank of the river very many trees on the one side and on the other. And he said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, and enters the sea; when the water flows into the sea, the water will become fresh. And wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish. For this water goes there, that the waters of the sea may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes. Fishermen will stand beside the sea. From Engedi to Eneglaim it will be a place for the spreading of nets. Its fish will be of very many kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea. Ezekiel 47:1-10
As I thought about this scripture the first time, I realized it took intentional movement. He had to made a decision to move forward, the water never carried him to the next level. I think part of me has always wanted God to just move me out, and sweep me away. I forget that He is a gentleman, and will wait on me to intentionally move towards Him, despite His movement of the water that can sway me in the right direction.
The second thing that stuck me was he was led to walk into the deeper waters. While God waits for me to intentionally move towards Him, He is always there ready to lead me into the next step towards Him. In fact, His design is that where He leads, I will follow. He will never lead me in stagnate water, He longs for me to go deeper.
It was a measured movement, one that was progressive. He wasn’t led from the ankle water straight to the swimming water. It was measured from a trickle, to ankle, to knee, to waist, to water deep deep to pass through. I know that I struggle with wanting God to just take me to the deep and let me skip all the steps in between. I don’t want to consider those steps successfully prepare me for where He is leading me. I need the lessons learned when I am waist deep to help me withstand the pressure of that water I can not pass through.
When I came back to this scripture, I thought about how many times I have stood in the ankle deep water wanting the refreshing that comes from just diving in. I love being in the water. I can settle for wading in water, but I am happiest when I can fully submerge. It is easy to look at where others are, and think “Why doesn’t God use me like that?” or “Why doesn’t God do that for me?” I have learned that generally the answer is “When you do what they have been willing to do, I will do that for you too.” People who appear to be more favored by God, generally spend more time in close proximity to the Lord. It provides them more opportunity for God to bless them.
Then God brought me back to this passage again. I just kept hearing fishing. I am not a fisherman, I have been fishing all of one time in my life so that is not my wheelhouse. As I read the “And wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish.”, I thought about standing on dry land fishing. The fish are few and small in shallow water. Other than a fishing pole and a little bait, you don’t need much preparation. You can fish and have little evidence of what you have been doing.
Most Christians want to fish from the shore. They want to live for God on Sunday and maybe Wednesday. There is little preparation for any activity that involves God. The rest of the week there is little evidence that they are a Christian. There is a tendency to exaggerate our impact on the non-believing world around us, when there is little fruit in our effort.
I know that you have to cast your line out farther and into deeper water to get bigger fish. You might wade a little into the water (or that is what my grandson does). You might need some weights on your hook to get it down deeper where the bigger fish swim. You might use live bait to get their attention. Still, you catch one fish at a time. If you are lucky you can catch a few in each setting.
I feel like that is where the Church has been. There are special program and activities that are done to try to cast the line far and deep. Some groups are willing to wade into the water, as long as they don’t have to get too far in commitment of time, money or energy. There is an excitement of the catch (as there should be with anyone who repents and turns to God), but often times we throw them back after a day in the boat. There are too few willing to make the commitment to disciple and clean the fish once their caught.
I then thought about the few shows I have watched with my spouse where they go deep water fishing. Generally they cast a net, and when it comes up it is swarming with fish of all sizes and all sorts of other sea creatures. You can tell the people on the boat are fisherman, and I can image they smell of it too. It is a dangerous job and takes a commitment.
I felt like God was showing me that He is about to bring in a harvest of souls like we have never seen before. He has been calling us deeper because He needs people who are willing to pull in the catch as fisher’s of men. He is bringing in fish of every kind, a multiethnic catch. This is where He is taking us, now. We are into the deep, so He can call in the harvest.
It really is going to take all hands on deck in the Church, not just a church. There is strength in numbers and this catch is going to be like Peter’s catch in Luke 5:5-7 And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.
He needs people who are willing to sort through the muck and mire that will also be there, regardless of how long it takes. He needs those who can sort and clean up what is about to be brought in. He needs those who are okay with walking around smelling like a fisherman, looking like a fisherman, and who are prepared to fully commit to being a fisherman.
The enemy is not going to give up the numbers without a fight. He will do whatever he can to stop our efforts. He needs people who are not going to give up the first sign of the storm but who are willing to weather it until the full bounty is in.
When we are willing God will use His written Word to reveal to us deeper things. As we seek Him, He will reveal Himself to us. He will show us the steps that we need to take to go deeper in Him. He will show us the purpose of certain aspects that we face. He will show us areas of our life that are holding us back, that are stifling our walk with Him. He will even show us where He wants to take us, if we will only listen to His voice and follow His lead.