Monday, November 10, 2014

“A Transforming Stream” Adult Sunday School Lesson

International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday November 16, 2014

Purpose: To recognize the Source of living water in our lives and examining ways of cultivating this healing presence as a resource for faithful living

Bible Lesson: Ezekiel 47:1-12 (CEB)
(1) When he brought me back to the temple’s entrance, I noticed that water was flowing toward the east from under the temple’s threshold (the temple faced east). The water was going out from under the temple’s facade toward the south, south of the altar. (2) He led me out through the north gate and around the outside to the outer east gate, where the water flowed out under the facade on the south side. (3) With the line in his hand, the man went out toward the east. When he measured off fifteen hundred feet, he made me cross the water; it was ankle-deep. (4) He measured off another fifteen hundred feet and made me cross the water; it was knee-deep. He measured off another fifteen hundred feet and made me cross the water, and it was waist-high. (5) When he measured off another fifteen hundred feet, it had become a river that I couldn’t cross. The water was high, deep enough for swimming but too high to cross. (6) He said to me, "Human one, do you see?" Then he led me back to the edge of the river. (7) When I went back, I saw very many trees on both banks of the river. (8) He said to me, "These waters go out to the eastern region, flow down the steep slopes, and go into the Dead Sea. When the flowing waters enter the sea, its water becomes fresh. (9) Wherever the river flows, every living thing that moves will thrive. There will be great schools of fish, because when these waters enter the sea, it will be fresh. Wherever the river flows, everything will live. (10) People will stand fishing beside it, from En-gedi to En-eglayim, and it will become a place for spreading nets. It will be like the Mediterranean Sea, having all kinds of fish in it. (11) Its marshes and swamps won’t be made fresh (they are left for salt), (12) but on both banks of the river will grow up all kinds of fruit-bearing trees. Their leaves won’t wither, and their fruitfulness won’t wane. They will produce fruit in every month, because their water comes from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for eating, their leaves for healing."

My Thoughts by Burgess Walter

Our lessons from Ezekiel take an exciting turn this week, we go from the logistic details of preparing a sacrifice, to experiencing the refreshing influence God can have on our lives.

Ezekiel is still experiencing this vision that begins in chapter 40 and continues thru chapter 48. I personally find this portion of Ezekiel’s vision the most comforting and revealing.

It begins with a trickle of water flowing out of the place where God supposedly dwells within the temple. As the water flows is begins to grow from a trickle, to a small stream, to a raging river, finally dumping into the Dead Sea. Also as it grows, it brings new life to wherever it goes.

To appreciate Ezekiel’s vision we need to understand the importance of water in God’s word. From Genesis to Revelation it is water that brings about renewal, healing, salvation, and eternal life.

From Genesis 1:(1) When God began to create the heavens and the earth—(2) the earth was without shape or form, it was dark over the deep sea, and God’s wind swept over the waters. In Genesis 2(10) A river flows from Eden to water the garden, and from there it divides into four headwaters.

Later God sends a flood and a new covenant is made with man. Then the children of Israel are saved by the Red Sea as they flee Pharaoh and Egypt. Then again during the 40 years of wandering in the desert, God sends them water from a rock, and eventually they reach their destination of Canaan by crossing the Jordan River.

The use of water continues into the New Testament where John baptizes Jesus in that same Jordan River. Later in Christ ministry he begins by changing water into wine. He teaches on the Sea of Galilee, and offers a Samaritan woman living water, heals a blind man by a pool. Water is an important part of God’s message to us.

In the Book of Revelation 7:17 because the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them. He will lead them to the springs of life-giving water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."

For me the lesson paints a picture of what happens to each of us, if we allow ourselves to become the dwelling place of God. A refreshing, life giving stream will flow from us as we allow that water to take us deeper and deeper until we can no longer stand on our own, but allow the water flow to engulf us completely. Then we can accomplish what God has intended, we become the ones that can bring healing, and renewal to other people’s lives.

I love the hymn “Channels Only” I think it depicts this lesson so well, Channels only, blessed Master, But with all Thy wondrous pow’r Flowing through us, Thou canst use us every day and every hour.

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