Some people see analogies between the physical world that we live in, and spiritual realities. For example, if you see a dog slobbering all over the place, you might say, “People are like that, too, sometimes. Sometimes they need to get their act together and stop messing around.” Okay. So analogies have their limits.
But more than analogies, I believe there is prophetic symbolism in much of what lies around us. Prophetic symbolism is much more than a mere analogy. An analogy helps us to understand something, by way of comparison. But prophetic symbolism is the Father showing us His love, His mercy, His power, His compassion – and possibly a whole host of other attributes (not necessarily at the same time, of course) – for the purpose of both drawing us closer to Him, as well as glorifying His name.
That term “giving glory to” or “glorifying” the name of God is not absolutely simple. There’s a complex reality about the glory of God that we won’t even begin to get into here, but suffice to say that when God does something in order to glorify His name, it is a perfect desire and a perfect will which is not tainted by sin. It is not at all the same as when man wants to “give glory to” or “puff up” his own name.
Man seeks to do these things for entirely selfish reasons. But God seeks to give glory to His own name for reasons that far surpass human selfishness or anything that sin could ever touch. No, one of the reasons that God seeks to glorify His name is precisely because He knows that in so doing, it will draw people unto Himself, and have the result of rescuing them from the clutches of a cruel, hell-breathing, disaster-bringing devil. The devil is up to “no good business” in this world of ours.
One of the chief means by which we, as Christians, can combat the devil’s desire to draw people to himself, is to give glory to God so that people will be drawn to God instead. It is in the act of “giving glory to God” that people are drawn unto God, for it is in the reality of His glory that true peace, happiness, and fulfillment comes. It is inescapable. When God is truly glorified, people are drawn unto Him. It is that simple. So I do hope you make your chief aim, every day, to seek to give God glory in all that you do.
Did you know, for example, that if you fear continually, you are robbing God of His rightful glory? It is not because I am a good person that I seek not to fear (in an unholy way). It is because I know that it will rob God of His glory if I do. If I steal, or sin in any way, I am robbing God of His glory. God says in Isaiah 42:8, “I will not give my glory to another”. That’s pretty big stuff. We won’t get into that here. But suffice to say, do your very best to give God the entire glory – all the time. Don’t let anyone “rob” that glory from God. Certainly, do not yourself rob God of that glory.
I entitled this message, “Blessing in the River”. You see, the other day, I was standing by the river, with my eyes closed, shouting out to the Lord, “Lord, you are good! Yes, Lord, you are good!” I went on this way for what was probably just a few minutes. Nobody was there, so I had the liberty to just “shout it out”, and I really do think we need to find places like that in our lives, where we can just “go” to and “shout it out”. After I did so, I opened my eyes, and lo and behold, I looked down and saw some absolutely beautiful cut flowers sitting right there in the river (right near my feet). They were cut flowers, to be sure, and it looked like someone had bought them from a store and just put them in. Funny, they were not used flowers. They looked like they had just been bought. The stems were not even clipped, and the full foliages (leaves and all) were on the flowers right down to the stems.
I picked up the flowers, and brought them home and rinsed them off and cut them and put them in a vase! They looked so nice, and I was able to present them to my wife as a gift. I told her, “Honey, do you know where I got these? I found these in the river! They are a gift from the Lord!” Sure enough, I believe they were indeed a gift from the Lord.
Now talking about prophetic symbolism a little bit, I think it’s fair to say there’s a bit of prophetic symbolism in that. You see, it was in the river that I found the blessing waiting for me. I had to go into that river to retrieve that blessing. So, too, today, there is a blessing to be found in the river of God. To quote an Andy Park song:
The river of God sets our feet-a-dancing
The river of God fills our hearts with cheer
The river of God fills our mouths with laughter
And we rejoice for the river is here.” *
Today, I want to encourage you to find the blessings that can only be found in the river of God. How do you do that? That really is another story in and of itself but it certainly begins with setting your heart on the Lord and seeking to do His will. Seek to please Him. Seek to honor Him. Seek to give Him glory in all that you do. I believe that, as you do that, God will not only be glorified, but also “return the favor” in accordance with a promise found in God’s word. Jesus said, “If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.” (John 12:26b) Who knows? You might even find some beautiful, as-yet-not-used cut-flowers, waiting for you in a river!
* (c) 1994 Mercy/Vineyard Publishing (ASCAP)