Life as you know it is over. You, your household, friends, and neighbors have been taken into captivity. Your city has been destroyed, along with its temple. Your "Life is good" t-shirt has been turned inside-out. Life is hard. What about the promises that God has given to Abraham, his descendants, and the land?
God hasn"t left Ezekiel without hope. Ezekiel reads Jeremiah's letters to the captives, which contain an end date for their captivity-seventy years. Additionally, the LORD gives Ezekiel visions regarding the future-the far distant future. He allows Ezekiel to see what He sees.
This particular vision begins with a healing stream that flows from beneath the rebuilt temple. Ezekiel describes it: "There was water, flowing from under the threshold of the temple toward the east . . . . And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the rivers go, will live . . . . Along the bank of the river, on this side and that, will grow all kinds of trees used for food; their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not fail. They will bear fruit every month, because their water flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for medicine" (Ez. 47:1, 9, 12).
Ezekiel sees this river as he sits on the banks of another river, the river of his captivity-the river Kebar. Though he lives on the muddy banks of the Kebar, the vision of this other river flowing with crystal clarity captures his heart and sustains him. He becomes a two-banked man, living on one bank physically but on another bank spiritually.
Many spend their entire lives on the bank of captivity, where the muddy current washes their hopes and dreams downstream, where hopelessness and despair become the sediment on which they build a drifting existence. They are one-banked people.
Sadly, some believers sit on the banks of despondency and despair because they only see the river of their captivity. They don"t see what God sees because they give little time to the Word personally. The psalmist describes the two-banked person, whose lives evolves around the banks of both the temporal and the spiritual: "His delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper" (Ps. 1:2-3). Those who see the River of Life, though invisible to the naked eye, live by its banks, feed on the fruit from the trees it nurtures, and live lives of joy and peace. They become two-banked people.
Read Revelation 22:1-5. How does John's revelation compare with that of Ezekiel?
What does the division of land reveal about God's future plans for Israel?
What does Ezekiel's lament in chapter 30 reveal about God's plans for Egypt? What reason does he provide as the cause of their demise as a world power?
Review God's promise to David in 2 Samuel 7:12-17. Even in the midst of the darkest days of Israel's history, how does the LORD intervene to fulfill His promise to David?
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