Are You Tired of Splashing Around in the Puddles of Religion

Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Ezekiel, and more specifically, is found in the first twelve verses of the forty-seventh chapter. In this passage of Scripture we find the prophet being led back to the door of the house—the door of the sanctuary of the Lord—and as he came to the door, behold, there was water flowing from under the threshold of the house toward the east. The prophet Ezekiel had already been brought to the house of the Lord and had witnessed the glory of the God of Israel entering into by way of the gate which faces toward the east, and now the prophet is brought to the door of the Temple where he now sees water flowing from under the threshold of the sanctuary. I am utterly and completely convinced that there is a powerful picture that is contained within this passage, for when Ezekiel first came to the house, he witnessed the glory of the Lord entering into and filling it, but there was no water flowing from underneath the threshold. Ezekiel is brought back to the entrance of the Temple of the Lord, and this time, he sees water flowing from underneath the threshold toward the east—toward the direction in which the glory of the God of Israel came. Now, this is incredibly interesting when you take the time to consider it, for there was nothing in the house the produced any flow of water. If you study the pattern and layout of the Temple structure, you will find that contained within the Holy Place was the Table of Shewbread, the Altar of Incense, and the Golden Lampstand. The only piece of furniture within the structure and layout of the Temple which had any connection with water was the bronze basin, and even that was used for the washing and cleansing of the priests. Ezekiel’s vision of water flowing from underneath the threshold of the door of the house is absolutely incredible, for there was nothing of human nature that could have orchestrated or engineered the flow of water from the sanctuary. I am completely convinced that the water that was supernaturally produced from underneath the house of the Lord was directly produced and caused by the glory of the God of Israel which had entered into it. I believe that were it not for the glory of the God of Israel entering into the sanctuary of the Lord, there would have been no flow of water that was produced. It was the supernatural manifestation of the glory of the God of Israel which produced this flow of river from the sanctuary, and caused it to flow away from the sanctuary in the direction in which the glory of the Lord came.

If you study this passage of Scripture, I believe you will uncover two distinct realities that surround this water which was supernaturally produced by the manifestation of the glory of the God of Israel. The first is the direction of the flow, which is described in this passage in various places. In the first verse we discover that not only was water flowing from under the threshold of the house toward the east [for the house faced east], but the water was flowing from the right side of the house from south of the altar. Ezekiel was brought out by way of the north gate and was led around on the outside to the outer gate by way of the gate which faces east, and behold, water was trickling from the south side. When you come to the eighth verse of this chapter and continue reading, you will discover the direction of this water which flowed from underneath the threshold of the door of the sanctuary. The waters which the prophet Ezekiel saw went out toward the eastern region and went down into the Arabah. These waters went toward the sea, being made to flow into the sea, and the waters of the sea become fresh. As you take the time to study this mysterious flow of water which came from underneath the sanctuary, you will discover not only the direction of the water—“These waters go out toward the eastern region and go down into the Arabah”—but you also notice the depth of the water—“water reaching the ankles…water reaching the knees…water reaching the loins…a river that could not be forded, for the water had risen.” Oh, it is absolutely imperative that we understand this reality, for I believe with all my heart that these two realities provide us with a powerful prophetic picture of what the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord desires to do in these Last Days. The Temple which the prophet Ezekiel saw was a Temple that would stand in the coming days, which suggests that it was not a Temple that would stand during his generation. It couldn’t stand during his generation, for after all, the house of the Lord lie in ruins and rubble for seventy years. Ezekiel’s vision of water flowing from underneath the threshold of the door of the sanctuary is powerfully significant, for when we read about it, we are confronted both with the direction of the water, as well as the depth of the water.

It is at this juncture where I must pause for a moment, and state that I would dare say that this vision and image of water flowing from under the threshold of the door of the sanctuary can also be likened unto our lives as the children and people of God. I believe with all my heart that what we read in this passage can be a plum line—a measuring line if you will—that is set against our lives. I believe that what we read in this passage is a powerful prophetic picture which should cause us to evaluate two key areas within our lives—the depth of our lives, and the direction of our lives. There is very little that is being said today about depth in the heart and life of the people of God, but I am convinced that depth is something that is sorely lacking within many of the people of God within our churches today. Oh, there are many people who attend the house of the Lord week in and week out, yet they possess absolutely no depth within themselves. There are men and women who attend our church services, and who sit in our pews, and they are as shallow as you can possibly be. Please understand that by shallow, I simply mean that there is no depth to them. There is no depth in their worship. There is no depth in their praise. There is no depth in their prayer life. There is no depth in their intercession. There is no depth in their fellowship and relationships with others. They live their entire lives only surface deep, and they never experience any depth in those areas which truly matter. Even their devotional life is shallow, for they refuse to allow the Spirit of the Lord to take them deeper. The psalmist was right when he wrote of “deep calling out to deep,” and yet I fear that there are far too many shallow men and women sitting in our pews today. What’s more, is that it might even be said that in some cases, shallow people sitting in the pews of our churches is a direct reflection of the shallowness that exists behind the pulpit of the house of the Lord. Tell me dear minister—if you yourself are shallow in your own prayer life, how on earth can you expect to challenge others to possess depth in theirs? If you yourself are unwilling to go deeper in worship before the Lord, how can you challenges others to go deeper in their worship?

There is far too much shallowness and superficiality within our pews and churches, and there is very little depth. The prophet Ezekiel saw a vision of the water flowing from under the threshold of the door of the sanctuary, and eventually that flow of water became a river that was too deep to ford, and could only be swam across. Have you ever taken the time to evaluate the depth of your life, and the depth in your life? Have you ever taken the time to evaluate the depth of your relationships? Have you ever taken the time to evaluate the depth of your communication and conversation? Have you ever taken the time to evaluate the depth of your worship before the Lord? If there is one thing we must recognize and understand, it’s that there is absolutely no room for shallow religion, superficial Christianity, and surface-level devotion to the Lord. The Spirit of the Lord is searching the earth in order to find those who are willing to leave the shallow waters they have been used to, and are willing to explore the deeper waters. Oh, I can’t help but be reminded of one of Jesus’ encounters with His disciples, and the instruction and command He gave them. “And it came to pass that, as the people pressed upon Him to hear the word of God, He stood by the lake of Gennesaret, and saw two ships standing by the lake; but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. And He entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And He sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. Now when He had left speaking, He said unto Simon, LAUNCH OUT INTO THE DEEP, AND LET DOWN YOUR NETS FOR A DRAUGHT. And Simon answering said unto Him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing; nevertheless at they word I will let down the net. And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes; and their net brake” (Luke 5:1-6). Let us take and learn from this passage, and recognize that there are things which we simply cannot catch so long as we remain in the shallow waters which we are used to. Oh, you will notice that these disciples were on the shore cleaning their nets after toiling all night and catching nothing. I can’t help but wonder if these fishermen had launched out deep enough in order to actually catch anything in their nets.

So many times we remain in the shallow waters of religion and even “Christianity” expecting to catch something—only to find ourselves on the shores cleaning our nets. You cannot and dare not expect to remain in shallow waters with your nets there, and expect to catch that which your heart desires. What’s more, is that these fishermen had toiled all night and had come up with nothing, and I believe this is a picture of our toiling all night in the shallow waters of religion, the shallow waters of “church,” the shallow waters of prayer, the shallow waters of worship, and the shallow waters of “Christianity,” and have come up completely and totally empty. I would dare say that there are far too many people who, if they were only willing to launch out into the deep, and toil in the deep places, would find themselves catching and obtaining that which they desire. Let us recognize that for these fishermen, catching fish was their livelihood, and was their source of income. If they didn’t catch anything, they may have very well starved, and even gone broke. When Jesus gave them this instruction, He was giving them instruction that would radically alter their livelihood. I am convinced that Jesus still does the same thing today—provide us with instruction that will radically challenge us to launch out into the deep, in order that we might obtain that which we have toiled all night for. Moreover, these fishermen toiled all night, and the cleaning of their nets meant that they had had enough, and were done for the day. CLEANING YOUR NETS ON THE SHORE CAN OFTENTIMES BE ONE OF THE MOST DEPRESSING AND DEJECTING REALITIES IN YOUR LIFE, FOR YOU MAY BE CLEANING NETS WHICH WERE NEVER FILLED. There is not a doubt in my mind that others passed these disciples by and saw them not just cleaning nets, but cleaning empty nets. For fishermen, I would dare say that there is no greater disappointment than to have to clean empty nets on the shore. There are many of us who have labored and toiled all night, and have given up—perhaps even at the point of breakthrough. The fact that Jesus instructed these fishermen to launch out into the deep may very well suggest that had they labored and toiled in the deep throughout the night, they would have caught that which they were seeking. There are far too many of us who labor and toil in shallow waters, and we give up too quickly and too easily, not realizing or recognizing that if we had only launched out into the deep, and cast our nets out into the deep waters, we would find our nets full.

Oh, how full are your nets? How full are the nets that are in your life? Are your nets full, or are you standing on the shore cleaning empty nets after laboring and toiling all night with absolutely no results. I would dare say that not only do the deep waters represent depth within our lives, but the nets themselves represent depth as well. Let us recognize and understand that we cannot and dare not expect our nets to be full when all we are willing to do is labor and toil in the shallow waters. Perhaps the reason your nets are empty in your prayer life is because you are spending too much time laboring and toiling in the shallow waters. Perhaps the reason you haven’t caught anything in prayer is because you have spent too much time in the shallow places, and have been unable and unwilling to go into the deep places. Perhaps the reason your nets are empty in your worship is because you have been content and satisfied toiling in the shallow waters. Tell me—how satisfied are you when you’re standing on the shoreline cleaning your empty nets after laboring and toiling all night? Perhaps the reason your nets are empty in your devotional life is because you have been unwilling to move beyond the shallow waters of comfort, ease, religion and even “Christianity,” and launch out into the deep. It’s important for us to understand this connection with the depths and the presence of fish, and even the lure of fishermen, for it is found in Ezekiel’s vision. “Now when I had returned, behold, on the bank of the river there were very many trees on the one side and on the other. Then He said to me, These waters go out toward the eastern region and go down into the Arabah; then they go toward the sea, being made to flow into the sea, and the waters of the sea become fresh. It will come about that every living creature which swarms in every place where the river goes, will live. AND THERE WILL BE VERY MANY FISH, FOR THESE WATERS GO THERE AND THE OTHERS BECOME FRESH; so everything will live where the river goes. AND IT WILL COME ABOUT THAT FISHERMEN WILL STAND BESIDE IT; FROM ENGEDI TO ENEGLAIM THERE WILL BE A PLACE FOR THE SPREADING OF NETS. THEIR FISH WILL BE ACCORDING TO THEIR KINDS, LIKE THE FISH OF THE GREAT SEA, VERY MANY.”

Perhaps the reason why your relationships are so shallow, and perhaps even hollow, is because you are unwilling to launch out into the deep places. Perhaps the reason you haven’t caught anything in your relationships is because you haven’t launched into the deep places, and have chosen to remain in the shallow places. Perhaps the reason your nets are empty in your relationships is because you have been unwilling to venture out into the deep places. I would dare say that there are many Sunday afternoons where men and women who enter into our churches go home and spend the rest of the day cleaning their empty nets because there aren’t any deep waters in the house of the Lord. Oh, there is a powerful calling in the Spirit in this generation for the people of God to be people of depth—depth in their prayer life, depth in their worship, depth in their devotional life, depth in their relationships, depth in their personal life, depth emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. The vision which Ezekiel saw presents us with a powerful call to examine the depth that is found within our hearts and lives, and to truly examine whether or not we have been content to labor and toil in the shallow places. There are to many puddle splashing “Christians” in the house of the Lord who are content splashing around in the puddles of religion and “Christianity,” and are content with such living. Tell me dear brother and sister—how deep does your prayer life truly go? How deep does your worship really go? How deep does your devotional life go? Are you satisfied with such shallow living, and even spending your time on the shoreline cleaning empty nets after spending all night laboring and toiling for absolutely no results? Oh, are you tired of spending your days on the shoreline cleaning empty nets after laboring all night and catching nothing? Oh that we would hear the powerful call of the Spirit to take our boats and our nets, and to launch out into the deep, and there cast down our nets. Let us be a people of depth who are willing to launch out into the deep, and to do so at the instruction and command of our Lord.

The vision which Ezekiel saw not only contained revelation concerning the depth of the river, but it also contained revelation concerning the direction of the river. In other words, the flow of water which Ezekiel saw proceeding from under the threshold of the door of the sanctuary went in a very specific direction. Oh, I can’t help but be extremely challenged when reading of Ezekiel’s vision, and coming face to face with the need to evaluate the direction of my life. I believe with all my heart that the water which flowed from underneath the threshold of the sanctuary was directly produced by the manifestation of the glory of the Lord, and I am also convinced that it was the Lord Himself who guided and directed the flow of that water. There was water which flowed from the sanctuary of the Lord, and it was the Lord who directed that flow. Remember in the Old Testament book of Proverbs that it says how the heart of the king is like a river of water, and the Lord turns it however He pleases. I am convinced that we must understand the words of Solomon in this verse, for we must ask ourselves in what direction is our heart going. We must ask ourselves if it is the Lord who is truly leading and guiding our hearts. The vision which Ezekiel saw is a powerful call and challenge to us as the people of the Lord to examine the direction and flow of our lives. It is imperative that we pay close attention to this, for the direction of the river had a very specific impact wherever it went. “These waters go out toward the eastern region and go down into the Arabah…and the waters of the sea become fresh.” “…every living creature which swarms in every place where the river goes, will live.” “And there will be very many fish, for these waters go there and the others become fresh.” “…so everything will live where the river goes.”

Please don’t miss the significance of these verses, for wherever the river flowed, healing and life was produced—yet only as the river flowed in the direction the Lord dictated and purposed. Could it be that the reason healing isn’t taking place within our lives is because we aren’t flowing in the direction the Lord has called us to flow in? Could it be that the reason there is very little life where we are is because we have been flowing in a direction that is contrary and opposite to the one the Lord desires for us? So many of us are expecting healing and life to be produced within our lives, yet we aren’t flowing in the direction the Lord has ordained, nor are we willing to allow Him to direct such a flow. Tell me dear brother and sister—are you allowing the Lord to guide and direct the flow of your life, or have you taken control of it yourself? Tell me dear minister—have you taken control of the flow of the house of the Lord, or does the Lord have control of the direction of the flow? Could it be that the reason there is no life, no health, no fruit, no growth in many of our churches, is because we are not flowing in the direction the Lord has purposed and ordained. If you aren’t flowing in the direction the Lord has ordained and prescribed for you, how can you expect growth and fruit to be produced? Wherever this river went, life and health was produced, yet the question that must be asked is whether or not such words can describe your life. Are life and health produced wherever you go? Is growth and fruit produced wherever your life flows?

The glory of God produced a flow of water that flowed away from the sanctuary, in the direction the Lord prescribed and ordained, and became deeper as the water continued to flow. I would dare say that this may very well be a picture of the powerful awakening and revival which the Lord desires to send forth from His houses and sanctuaries in these Last Days. If there is one thing we must understand about awakening and the move of God, it’s that the Lord, and the Lord alone determines and dictates the depth and direction of it. We dare not assume control over such a reality, for to do such a thing would not only be madness, but would absolutely quench the flow of the Spirit in the land. Oh that we would ask the Lord for a supernatural manifestation of His divine glory and presence, and that we would understand that such a reality produced a flow of water that flows toward the dead, dry, arid, and hurting places all around us. This river flowed from the sanctuary of the Lord, in order that it might produce and bring forth life and health wherever it went. I believe the Spirit of the Lord is tired and weary of so-called “flows” and “movements” that produce absolutely no growth, no fruit, no life, and no health. Let us understand that just because there may be signs, wonders and miracles, doesn’t meant that it is a true flow and movement of the Spirit. The Lord will honor His word, and He will honor the preaching of the Word, and I would dare say that the Lord can cause signs, wonders and miracles to take place in spite of those present.

Oh that the Lord would send a true and genuine and authentic movement and flow of awakening and revival in the earth during these Last Days. We must possess discernment concerning what is truly a movement and flow of the Spirit, for if there is no health and life produced, and if there is no fruit and growth, it is not a true movement of the Spirit. I don’t care how much publicity and recognition it may receive—if there is no health or life, nor growth or fruit, it is nothing more than a shallow manifestation in the earth. The Spirit of the Lord is tired and weary of shallow “movements” and “flows” in the earth in these Last Days, and is looking for a people who will truly, genuinely and deeply cry out for a true flow and movement of the glory and presence of Almighty God. I would even be so bold as to say that much of what we witness on nationally televised programming are not true flows and movements of the Spirit—despite how much attention and recognition they receive. No more shallow and silly false movements and flows in the land. No more shallow religion and mere legalism and hypocrisy. It’s time that the true river of the glory and presence of God flow in the earth and bring healing and life, growth and fruit wherever it goes. Let us not go chasing after signs, wonders and miracles thinking and believing that they are signs of a genuine movement of the Spirit, for if we do so, we might be no better than the generation during Jesus’ day who were guilty of searching for signs and missed the person of Christ who is right in front of them.

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