Rivers Of Blessing

Tom Burke

September 2022
© 2022 Scriptural Study Groups.  All Rights Reserved.

The moment when a man or woman chooses to believe on Jesus Christ, that individual is changed — a new life is created within.1 Nothing further needs to be added, for that person is now complete in Christ.2 However, there is one important truth that the Christian needs to recognize in order to begin enjoying that new life: learning and believing God’s Word is of paramount importance.3

Many Christians feel that the study of God’s Word is a troublesome but necessary religious duty. Others approach God’s Word more positively, and find in it a source of comforting sayings, intellectual satisfaction, or conversation starters.

But God is very clear as to why He gave His Word. As His people, we need to learn to think in a new way. Previously, our thoughts were formed by the world around us and were guided by the words of wicked and unreasonable men.4 Such thoughts do not produce a Godly life!

The startling truth is that God chose to reveal His Word not to be a burden or to merely be a mental exercise. He gave these words so that we might begin to know and to understand His ways.5 If we know His ways, we can walk in them. And if we walk in them, we can be blessed.

Psalm 1:1–3Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

You will note that the blessed man spoken of in this Psalm has made two significant choices. First, he has chosen to not be associated with those who embrace the ways of the world, or even to give heed to their counsel. But in addition — and very significantly — he has chosen the ways of God and the thoughts of God. And these are not simply a religious duty, but they have become his delight. As a result, God has promised that he will be blessed.

The fruitful tree that is planted right next to a continual source of water is a beautiful illustration of that blessing. This same picture of blessing (and its opposite) is painted by the prophet Jeremiah:

Jeremiah 17:5–8Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.

For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.

Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.

For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.

Even as Christians, heirs to all that God has given in Christ, this truth is inspiring. Perhaps we have experienced it, and long to continue experiencing it throughout our lives. Perhaps we haven’t experienced it, but desire to. Could a life be any more blessed than that of this fruitful and rooted tree?

Actually, yes, it can be, and our Lord Jesus Christ spoke about it.

John 7:37–38In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.

He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

Consider these words. That blessed Old Testament saint was promised that his life would be that of a tree, planted by the river. Jesus promised that those who believe on him would have that river in them.

What’s the difference? That tree is blessed because it is planted by the river. It is a blessed recipient. The river is the source. And Jesus promised not just a river, but rivers. Not just nearby, but within. What was he speaking of?

John 7:39(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

The Gospel of John was written at a time after Jesus had been crucified, raised, and seated on high. It was written after the day of Pentecost, when this spirit was given for the first time. What Jesus promised in John 7 was, at the time of his speaking, a future hope. Today it is an accomplished reality.

Does this mean that Christians can no longer expect to be blessed, to bear fruit, and to be confident even in times of adversity? Of course not! But in addition to being blessed, we have within us the means to bless all those whose lives we touch.

Like the Old Testament believer, we have God’s Word in which to meditate, and the truths entrusted to us impart an understanding far surpassing the Law. In addition, we have the fullness of God’s powerful spirit. These two resources are capable of providing so much blessing that it can overflow! We can be to the world what Jesus, in his earthly ministry, was to the world.

Acts 10:38How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.

During the Gospel period, although the fullness of the spirit had not yet been given, Jesus bestowed a limited authority upon the twelve, and sent them out with clear and simple instructions.

Matthew 10:8Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

This charge can now be lived out by all believers, at all times, in all places.

Consider the example of the men and women whose lives are recorded in the book of Acts. Blessing flowed from Philip when he entered the city of Samaria.6 Blessing flowed from Peter when he entered the home of Cornelius.7 Blessing can — and should — flow from us as well.

Do you know why the Dead Sea is called the Dead Sea? It receives water from the Jordan River as well as from several smaller tributaries, but it has no outlets. Does this cause it to be a repository of blessing? On the contrary: it is a lifeless sump in which nothing can flourish.

Oh, believer, in Christ you are blessed with all spiritual blessings!8 This is assured. But in addition, you have been equipped and commissioned to bring blessing to a hurting world as representatives and imitators of our Lord Jesus Christ.

There are rivers of living water within you, waiting to be unleashed. Let them flow.

[1] See 2 Corinthians 5:17 (English Standard Version).

[2] See Colossians 2:10.

[3] See Matthew 4:4.

[4] See 2 Thessalonians 3:1–2.

[5] See Isaiah 55:8–11.

[6] See Acts 8:5–8.

[7] See Acts 10:45.

[8] See Ephesians 1:3.