March 17, 2017
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
Living next to a river on which we have occasionally rafted, I have learned three things related to the river’s current:
• You can progress your way upstream, but battling against the current will make it rather a slow process. It is not too difficult in this section of the river that flows by our house. But 30 miles upstream there are rapids which make it nearly impossible to Go against The Flow!
• You can float downstream with the current. We have done that on a lazy summer afternoon, floating on inner tubes, gently going With The Flow! But the flow is rather subdued nearby, and it took nearly all afternoon to float just five miles downstream.
• You can more directly Go With The Flow! That is, you can paddle your way along with the current, reaching your destination quite a bit quicker than just floating.
Let’s apply all this to the Christian life. I have chosen two featured Scriptures, one from the Old Testament, and the other from the New (but quoted from the Old). We will consider the one from Genesis 24:27 first: “I being in the way, the LORD led me….” The very first blog I wrote back on March 6, 2013, called Getting In The Way, involves this Scripture.
The background of these nine words from Genesis is Abraham’s directive to his servant Eleazar to go procure a wife for the patriarch’s son Isaac from Ur of the Chaldees, the homeland of Abraham. Further instructions to the servant were “…you shall go…to my kindred, and take a wife for my son….” (Genesis 24:4). Since there was no ‘calling ahead’ to arrange things in those days (about 4,000 years ago!) Eleazar set off on a this thousand mile trip totally depending upon God to bring all things together! When he reached his destination, he laid out a test of two parts, described in Genesis 24:13 and 14:
Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men
of the city are coming out to draw water. Now let it be that the young
woman to whom I say, “Please let down your pitcher that I may drink,”
and she says, “Drink, and I will also give your camels a drink” — let her
be the one whom You have appointed for Your servant Isaac….
It happened exactly that way when “…Rebekah, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, came out with her pitcher on her shoulder.” (Genesis 24:15). She turned out to be God’s choice, the perfect choice, for a wife for Isaac! Now Eleazar could have battled against Abraham’s order to his servant. Or he could have just gone With The Flow and let things happen. But, no, he put himself ‘in the way’ of God! You might say, He was “paddling with the current,” and he arrived at the fulfillment of his quest in an amazing way!
Are we putting ourselves In The Way of God to Go With The Flow?
The next featured Scripture is from Luke 1:76 through 79, when Zecharias, John the Baptist’s father, was prophesying over his newborn son:
And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; for you will
go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, to give knowledge
of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins, through the
tender mercies of our God; with which the Dayspring from on high
has visited us; to give light to those who sit in darkness and the sha-
dow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
John the Baptist did not have an easy life! We don’t know much about his growing up years – through childhood into adulthood – because it only says in Luke 1:80, “So the child grew and became strong in spirit….”
• Luke 1:80 – He “…was in the deserts till the day of his manifestation to Israel.” It further says in Matthew 3:4 that “John…was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey…” – not the description of a genteel existence!
• Although the Scriptures say he was ‘popular’ with the common people, he certainly rubbed others the wrong way! In Luke 3:7 it is written: “…he said to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him; ‘Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? ” – not exactly the recommended way to win friends and influence people!
• Matthew 14:3, 4 – When John reproved Herod Antipas –– for marrying his brother Philip’s wife Herodias, the tetrarch threw the Baptist in prison, and eventually had him beheaded – not the most comfortable way to end your days!
John could have complained and resisted the tough life laid out for him, but he was determined to Go With The Flow! And his father’s prophecy at his son’s birth foretold that: “…you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways…” John was the prophesied forerunner of Jesus Christ! (See Isaiah 40:3-5; Malachi 3:1; 4:5, 6). And because he went With The Flow of his fulfillment of prophesy, he was a blessing in several ways:
• He was called the prophet of the Highest !
• He prepared the ways of the Lord !
• He gave knowledge of salvation to the people of Israel by the remission of their sins!
• He gave light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death!
• He introduced the way of peace through Jesus to his own people and to us!
So don’t fight against the current! Or don’t just drift along! Paddle strongly in the direction God is leading, and you will truly Go with The Flow – the Lord’s Flow!