There’s no doubt that the water that flows from the altar has both spiritual AND physical significance. How deep am I? Ankle deep? Knee deep? Waist deep? O that I would be overflowing in the living water of the Holy Spirit! (Luke 11:9-13; Ephesians 5:18)
Warren Wiersbe, “It’s tragic that too many linger in the shallows when they could be enjoying the depths.”
But this river of life also brings physical life wherever it flows, and during the Millennial Kingdom the fruit and life will be phenomenal. It’s what you would expect in a world not yet perfect, but under the rule of Jesus Christ.
May we not forget WHERE this river comes from, the altar where our Lord laid down His life. May we always remember the blessings are only because of the blood.
ESV Study Bible, “This aspect of the vision coheres with Ezekiel 34:25–31 in affirming that renewal is not just moral and does not just come to people but affects the entire natural world. Here, however, the water brings life not just to the “world” but to that part of it least capable of sustaining life. The influence of this river is found in Zechariah 14:8, but it extends into the NT as well, most pointedly in Revelation 22:1–2 near the climax of John’s vision of the new heaven, earth, and city.”
It’s wonderful to see, over and over again, how God keeps His promises.
Ezekiel 47:13–14 (NKJV) “Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘These are the borders by which you shall divide the land as an inheritance among the twelve tribes of Israel. Joseph shall have two portions. 14 You shall inherit it equally with one another; for I raised My hand in an oath to give it to your fathers, and this land shall fall to you as your inheritance.’”
Israel will indeed have all the land allotted to them. In Ezekiel 47 we have the boundaries of the borders specified, all around, while in Ezekiel 48 we get the details for each tribe, as well as the priests, and the prince.
We definitely see similarities to the heavenly city of Jerusalem…after all, it’s getting closer in time! The reason we have actual measurements is because this WILL ACTUALLY HAPPEN! Here we read about the gates all having the names of the 12 tribes of the children of Israel – we read the same thing in Revelation 21:10-14, as well as the names of the 12 Apostles for each foundation. This should inspire us – – the Millennial Kingdom, and then Heaven, are not just destinations, they’re motivations.
And what’s the best portion in both of these places? Him – the Lord! Which is why Ezekiel closes his book in a perfectly appropriate fashion:
Ezekiel 48:35b (NKJV) “…and the name of the city from that day shall be: THE LORD IS THERE.”
This is the compound name “YaHWeH Shammah.” If we’re blessed now with His perpetual presence, imagine what it will be like then!
1 Peter 2:11–3:7
Peter begs us to abstain from fleshly lusts so that we can be good witnesses while here on earth. He empowers us with the truth that this is not our home, we are simply passing through as sojourners, and pilgrims. This witness has an interesting balance between our citizenship in heaven, and our citizenship on earth. We are to be submissive to the “king” unless it conflicts with our submission to the King of kings. Apparently, the Christians Peter is writing to are being maligned and mistreated; Peter doesn’t coddle them, he challenges them not to retaliate…but to be like Jesus.
Employees are to be submissive to their employers, even if they’re harshly treated. It’s hard to accept, but the truth of the matter is, that Peter is speaking to slaves who were mistreated. He tells them that if they’re punished for doing good, and they take it patiently, it’s commendable before God. How many of us would be willing to do that? And yet this is the example Jesus gave us. This is how we were saved.
John Stott said, “The Greek word for ‘example’ here (1 Peter 2:21) is unique in the New Testament. It denotes a teacher’s copybook on which children trace their letters when learning to write.”
Children, let’s trace our teacher’s life in learning to love.
This is not speaking of child abuse by a parent, or a wife abused by her husband, the context is public humiliation and degradation from non-believers. Let God guide you, He will also defend you.
Sandy Adams advises, “Let us not swap insult for insult. The Christian is called to be a shock absorber. Let the hatred that passes from person to person stop with you. Jesus is our example. He bore our sin in His body without a word of complaint in His mouth.”
We must learn to thoroughly trust in our Shepherd, the Overseer of our lives.
In the book of Ephesians chapter 5, when Paul deals with husbands and wives, he spends the bulk of the passage on husbands. Here in 1 Peter 3, Peter gives more attention to the ladies – the Biblical balance is amazing isn’t it?
The primary point for wives…is to have that heart of submission. Submission doesn’t mean your only value is in bearing children, barefoot in the laundry room. Submission means you allow your husband to run with that responsibility of leading the family – encouraging Him to follow Jesus. When Paul deals with submission for the wives in Ephesians 5:22-24 he prefaces it with the command that we are to be submissive to one another (Ephesians 5:21). A healthy marriage will find husbands (for the most part) submitting to their wives, giving her her preference. But if a husband feels strongly about something he senses the Lord is leading in, it is here that the wife should yield, not kicking and screaming, but with an attitude of submission.
Peter encourages the wives whose husbands are unsaved to win them over, not with nagging, but with their chaste conduct (pure and reverent lives). If you want to attract your husband physically there is an outward beauty that has its place, but if you hope to attract him spiritually, then you’ll need that “inner beauty” Peter speaks about, a beauty unlike the outside, a million times more attractive…and it never fades away.
Husbands may only have one verse here in 1 Peter chapter 3, but what a punch it packs. How we are to live with them (be present, pay attention) and do so with understanding (get to know her, be patient). Many husbands fail miserably in these areas. They take their wives for granted, they’ve “conquered,” they have her, now they move on to other things. No, we are to honor our wives – always – realizing that she’s the weaker vessel (this could be in reference to her positional, emotional, or physical weakness). God wants husbands to realize that they’ve been given this life together with their wives – and if the husband mistreats his wife, his prayers will be hindered. That last statement almost sounds like spiritual suicide – where would I be if my prayers are hindered?
When we’re going through hard times of affliction, we have God’s Word to comfort us (Psalm 119:50). As a matter of fact, when we pop open our Bibles during those difficult and “dark” times (Psalm 119:55) (by faith) we comfort ourselves (Psalm 119:52). Of course we know it’s only God and His truth that bring any amount of peace, but we have a part to play in seeking Him by faith.
This Bible, God’s Word is the key, let’s open it frequently.
We are to obey God’s Word (Psalm 119:57), wholeheartedly (Psalm 119:58), we are to turn away from sin (Psalm 119:59), and do it immediately (Psalm 119:60). As we battle evil spirits and their lies, we are to remember God’s Word (Psalm 119:61) and even in the middle of the night, when we can’t sleep, we will give God thanks (Psalm 119:62) all because of His Word, the Bible. I wonder if that’s what Paul and Silas were thinking that night, at midnight:
Acts 16:23–25 (NKJV) “And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. 24 Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. 25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.”
How others value the Bible is even a good litmus test for the friends we choose to be close to, notice what we read in:
Psalms 119:63 (NKJV) “I am a companion of all who fear You, and of those who keep Your precepts.”
May the Lord bless and surround you with friends, companions, and co-laborers in Christ, who fear the Lord, and obey His Word.
Proverbs 28:12 (NKJV) “When the righteous rejoice, there is great glory; but when the wicked arise, men hide themselves.”
“When a righteous leader rules a nation, the people are happy (cf. 11:10), for there is order (cf. 28:2) and justice. But when … wicked leaders are in charge, good people go into hiding (also stated in Proverbs 28:28a) to get away from oppression (Proverbs 28:15–16) which causes them to groan (Proverbs 29:2).” – Bible Knowledge Commentary
Proverbs 28:12 (NLT) “When the godly succeed, everyone is glad. When the wicked take charge, people go into hiding.”
“When those who live with wisdom and righteousness rejoice because of the condition of their community, it is good for everyone. There is great glory.” – David Guzik
“When the wicked arise, men hide themselves: Even wicked men don’t want to be ruled by other wicked men. A culture may live off the inheritance of a previous righteous generation, but when the wicked arise those benefits and the freedoms righteousness bring will slowly diminish.” – David Guzik
Proverbs 28:13 (NKJV) “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.”
O the power and freedom of confessing AND forsaking our sins! Confession is not enough! Acknowledgment only, is insufficient. Remorse won’t bring a single blessing – we must confess AND forsake our sins. We must have a heart that is willing to obey even though we know we will be imperfect on this side of time.
“After a person sins he may try to conceal (trans. “covers over” in 17:9) that fact from God and others. But hiding sin does not pay off. Solomon’s father David knew this from experience (Ps. 32:3–4). It is far better to deal with sin by confessing and renouncing it. As David found out, confession results in God’s mercy and forgiveness (Pss. 34:5; 51:1–12).” – BKC
“Sin buried, is sin kept.” “Sin hidden, is sin held on to.” Sin surrendered is sin pardoned.
“Since Adam and Eve, human instinct leads us to cover our sins. Our conscience makes us ashamed of our sin and we don’t want others to see it. We even think we can hide it from God. Yet, this natural instinct to cover sin doesn’t benefit us. It prevents us from being real about our condition before God.” – David Guzik