The River In Flood
Water is used as an analogy many times in the Bible. With the River Murray in flood what better opportunity than to use this in a devotion.
Isaiah 43:1-2 (NLT) The Saviour of Israel
43 But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine.
2 When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.
Isaiah 41:17-20 (NLT)
17 “When the poor and needy search for water and there is none, and their tongues are parched from thirst, then I, the Lord, will answer them. I, the God of Israel, will never abandon them. 18 I will open up rivers for them on the high plateaus. I will give them fountains of water in the valleys. I will fill the desert with pools of water. Rivers fed by springs will flow across the parched ground. 19 I will plant trees in the barren desert—cedar, acacia, myrtle, olive, cypress, fir, and pine. 20 I am doing this so all who see this miracle will understand what it means—that it is the Lord who has done this, the Holy One of Israel who created it.
On a recent trip to the flooding River Murray, I was looking out from the high bank and see the main channel that had overflowed into the back waters. Such an expanse of water! Julie and I were praying, and I asked God what could I learn from this:
- There is lots going on, but it is not obvious and about 165GL/d is flowing: over ten time more than some years.
- It is flooding onto the floodplains, watering areas where there has been little water for some time, refreshing dry land
- There are occasional glimpses of fast-moving flow with flotsam on the surface
- Under the surface there is a strong current, whirlpools, logs, etc. It is dangerous if we were to be caught in this flow. It is like we are in the potentially dangerous flow and God’s perspective is viewed from above.
As a community, moving outside of the ‘normal’ bounds can be very uncomfortable, or even disastrous for life or livelihood. Like the river, we are certainly in unusual times and like the flood, this does not happen often. For some the flow is very fast and others less so, like existing in the lagoons and flood plains. All provide opportunities far out of the normal for watering the parched land. During floods, even the course of the river channel can be changed and might be different afterwards.
This is also a refining time for our community. We can call on God for his glorious and unlimited resources to help us, put down roots into God’s love.
Isaiah 43 writes that God is with us, we are his and has called us by name. He will not let us drown. Do not be afraid!
Remember God has a purpose, Isaiah 41 shows that many are parched and need watering, “I will fill the desert with pools of water”, “I will plant trees in the barren desert”.
Prayer: in the words of Ephesians 3:14-21
14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,[a] 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.[b] 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.
In a season out of the normal, instead of flailing or floating out of control in the water, let us have God’s view and be steadfast in His love. God’s love will help us navigate these waters.