Ezekiel 47, Psalm 133, 1 Corinthians 2:9, Ephesians 3:20, Luke 17, Psalm 118:24, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19

Matt Summerfield considers what is important to God to ensure the river of His presence flows freely.

Matt Summerfield
Matt Summerfield

I remember when I was a child, we had a number of holidays in the Welsh countryside staying in an old-fashioned gypsy caravan. It was absolutely beautiful and most days we would venture out for countryside walks, find streams and build dams to see if we could stop the water flow - we did of course tear them down before we left, after all, streams and rivers bring life so we didn't want to stop the flow of life.

In Ezekiel 47 the prophet Ezekiel has an amazing vision where he sees a river flowing out of the temple. Wherever the river flowed it brought life, health, healing and transformation. The river of God is a symbol of the Spirit of God flowing in us and through us into God's world.

But there are big rocks that can block the flow of the river of God. Our actions and attitude can sometimes build a dam that prevents the release of what God wants to do.

So what kind of culture releases the river?

1) Unity is important to God

Read Psalm 133. The writer is reminding us that there's something catalytic about unity; it brings a generous blessing from God.

In the Old and New Testament times, if you were anointed with oil or perfume, it was literally poured over your head, down your face, over your clothes and running off your feet. It was a symbol of the generous lavish covering from God.

The writer is saying that God wants to bless like that. What brings that blessing and release? Unity! When the family of God get along; when they're committed to keep the unity; when they don't allow difference and disagreement to damage or destroy a relationship; when they model honour and respect, acceptance and appreciation, love and kindness and patience and forgiveness. When we reconcile with people we've fallen out with, rather than talk behind their back to others. All of that releases a blessing from heaven.

2. Expectation is important to God

'That is what the scriptures mean when they say, "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him."' (1 Corinthians 2:9)

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." (Ephesians 3:20)

What I love about these verses is that they dare us to dream and imagine. They invite us to put our hope, faith and trust in the unlimited power of God.

When I hear about churches who are seeing God do incredible things, what is common to them all is that they believe in a big God.

God is looking for someone who will co-operate with Him. He's looking for His people who will join Him in seeing things change. Those who dare to dream and believe a different reality and then see God come through and do more than they can ask or imagine. The river of God is unblocked by faith, hope, expectancy and bold dreams.