The River of God

Bible Book: Psalms  65 : 9
Subject: Blessings from God; God, Rivers of
Series: Psalms - Kirksey

April 30, 2011, marked the third annual Delta Woods & Waters Expo Family Fun Day. They held the event at 5 Rivers, Alabama’s Delta Resource Center, off the Causeway in Spanish Fort, Alabama.

Did you know five rivers flow into the Mobile Bay? These rivers are the Mobile, Spanish, Tensaw, Apalachee, and Blakeley.

Inside the Exhibit Hall we saw a wide array of living or stuffed and mounted animals. Amid these specimens of local wildlife an artist displayed a unique object. It featured everything from rusty lawnmower parts to the skeleton of a “Big Mouth Billy Bass”. I could not resist pushing the button. When I did, the head and the tail started moving in time to the music, playing. The song played was “Take Me to the River” by Al Green. Also on that breezy day in April we took a brief cruise up one of the rivers where we saw this remarkable habitat of fish and fowl, as well as a great variety of wildlife. We spotted a blue heron in flight and mullet jumping out of the water, not to mention a well-worn alligator path near the riverbank. It was a wonderful experience!

Samuel Langhorne Clemens’ (1835-1910), once a river pilot, used the pen name “Mark Twain”, a riverboat term meaning two fathoms or twelve feet deep. This meant it was safe to navigate. Of course, his early life revolved around the Mississippi River. President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) called it “the Father of Waters”. Other famous rivers include the Nile, the Jordan, the Amazon and the Thames, not to mention the Ganges and the Yangtze.

Dr. D. Stuart Briscoe states, “Scripture is replete with references to rivers that play a monumental role in the affairs of the human race.”[1] For example, David, the psalmist, writes in Psalm 65:9, “The river of God is full of water. . .” He also writes in Psalm 1:1-3, “Blessed is the man / Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, / Nor stands in the path of sinners, / Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; / But 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 also shall not wither; / And whatever he does shall prosper.” In Habakkuk 3:9b we read, “You divided the earth with rivers.” Dr. George Herbert Morrison (1866-1928) writes, “In Scripture the river is always a blessed thing.”[2]

Please note that each passage highlighted in this message literally or figuratively refers to a river.

I. There is a river of relationship.

We read in John 7:37-39, “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” Verse 38 speaks of a river of relationship.

John records, “Jesus said to [Thomas], “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). Later, Paul writes in Romans 8:9, “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.”

Make certain you have a personal relationship with God the Father through God the Son by God the Holy Spirit. Faith is the basis of this personal relationship. Paul the Apostle shares the object of our faith in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”

II. There is a river of revival.

We read in Ezekiel 47:1-12, “Then he brought me back to the door of the temple; and there was water, flowing from under the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the front of the temple faced east; the water was flowing from under the right side of the temple, south of the altar. He brought me out by way of the north gate, and led me around on the outside to the outer gateway that faces east; and there was water, running out on the right side. And when the man went out to the east with the line in his hand, he measured one thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the water came up to my ankles. Again he measured one thousand and brought me through the waters; the water came up to my knees. Again he measured one thousand and brought me through; the water came up to my waist. Again he measured one thousand, and it was a river that I could not cross; for the water was too deep, water in which one must swim, a river that could not be crossed. He said to me, ‘Son of man, have you seen this?’ Then he brought me and returned me to the bank of the river. When I returned, there, along the bank of the river, were very many trees on one side and the other. Then he said to me: ‘This water flows toward the eastern region, goes down into the valley, and enters the sea. When it reaches the sea, its waters are healed. And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the rivers go, will live. There will be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters go there; for they will be healed, and everything will live wherever the river goes. It shall be that fishermen will stand by it from En Gedi to En Eglaim; they will be places for spreading their nets. Their fish will be of the same kinds as the fish of the Great Sea, exceedingly many. But its swamps and marshes will not be healed; they will be given over to salt. 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.” Verse 9 speaks of a river of revival.

Dr. Adrian Rogers (1931-2005) states, “Apart from whatever else is pictured here by the prophet, I see a picture of the Christian with a river of revival flowing out of his life.” Dr. Rogers explains, “Every temple designed by God in the Old Testament is in some way a preview and illustration of the Christian believer whose body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.”[3] Dr. Rogers further explains, “[Ezekiel] seems to be foretelling the same thing that Jesus spoke of – a river of revival as God’s floods of spiritual power flow from the cleansed temple of the believer in Christ.”[4]

Dr. D. Stuart Briscoe agrees that Ezekiel 47 refers to “a deeper experience” with God.[5] Dr. Vance Havner (1901-1986) laments, “We have sacrificed depth for width. So rather than having a mighty power dam, we have a stagnant swamp.”

III. There is a river of rejoicing.

The sons of Korah proclaim in Psalm 46:4-5, “There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, / The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, / shall not be moved; / God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.” Verse 4 speaks of a river of rejoicing.

Some believers honestly need to pray with David, “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation” (Psalm 51:12). When sin comes in our joy goes out. Unless there is repentance as we read about in Psalm 51:1-11, there will never be the joy we read about in verse 12. We read in Proverbs 28:13, “He who covers his sins will not prosper, / But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.”

David writes in Psalm 16:11, “You will show me the path of life; / In Your presence is fullness of joy; / At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” For all eternity we will be completely free from the presence of sin!

IV. There is a river of reconciliation.

We read in Isaiah 66:12a, “For thus says the LORD: / ‘Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, / And the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream. . . .’” Isaiah 66:12a speaks of a river of reconciliation. Just as Israel will experience reconciliation with God, we too as believers need to enjoy that blessing!

When we think of peace we remember the words of David recorded in Psalm 122:6-9, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: / ‘May they prosper who love you. Peace be within your walls, / Prosperity within your palaces.’ For the sake of my brethren and companions, / I will now say, ‘Peace be within you.’ Because of the house of the LORD our God / I will seek your good.”

Paul the Apostle writes in Colossians 1:19-23, “For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight— if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.”

Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:18-20, “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.”

Frances Ridley Havergal (1836-1879) poetically expresses, “Like a river glorious, / Is God’s perfect peace, / Over all victorious, / In its bright increase; / Perfect, yet it floweth, Fuller ev’ry day; / Perfect, yet it growth, / Deeper all the way.”

V. There is a river of redemption.

We read in Revelation 22:1, “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.” Revelation 22:1 speaks of a river of redemption.

From Romans 8:18-23 we read, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.” Dr. George W. Sweeting comments in Your Future, “Every element of nature is somehow affected by man’s sin. But in eternity, all of nature will be redeemed from the effects of the curse and restored to perfection as God originally planned.”[6]


Dr. Alexander Maclaren (1826-1910) writes, “The soul that rejects Christ’s gentle sway is harried and laid waste by a mob of base-born tyrants. We have to make a choice-either Christ or these: Shiloah or Euphrates.” We read in Isaiah 8:5-8, “The LORD also spoke to me again, saying: ‘Inasmuch as these people refused / The waters of Shiloah that flow softly, / And rejoice in Rezin and in Remaliah’s son; / Now therefore, behold, the Lord brings up over them / The waters of the [Euphrates] River, strong and mighty—The king of Assyria and all his glory; / He will go up over all his channels / And go over all his banks. He will pass through Judah, / He will overflow and pass over, / He will reach up to the neck; / And the stretching out of his wings / Will fill the breadth of Your land, O Immanuel.” Rev. Herbert Lockyer, Jr., (1913-2010) explains, “The swift Euphrates constituted divine retribution upon Judah for forsaking God.”[7]

There are at least five rivers of blessing that flow from the throne of God.

There is a river of relationship.

There is a river of revival.

There is a river of rejoicing.

There is a river of reconciliation.

There is a river of redemption.

May you enjoy the rich blessings of the river of God.

[1]Stuart Briscoe, All Things Weird and Wonderful (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1977), p. 160

[2]George H. Morrison, Highways of the Heart (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1994) [originally published (London: Hodder and Staughton, 1926)], p. 194

[3]Adrian Rogers, The Secret of Supernatural Living (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1982), p. 76

[4]Adrian Rogers, The Secret of Supernatural Living (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1982), p. 78

[5]Stuart Briscoe, All Things Weird and Wonderful (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1977), pp. 161-162

[6]George W. Sweeting, Your Future: George Sweeting on Bible Prophecy (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1984), p. 82

[7]Herbert Lockyer, Seasons of the Lord (New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1990), p. 17

By Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey, pastor First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort 30775 Jay Drive Spanish Fort, Alabama 36527

Author of Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice Available on and / / (251) 626-6210

© May 29, 2011 All Rights Reserved