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« The Acts of God | Main | The Success Of A Failure »

A Place of Broad Rivers

thames-river-nite-1-big.jpgIsaiah 33:20-21 Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities: thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken. 21 But there the glorious LORD will be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams; wherein shall go no galley with oars, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby.


Things are not always what they seem to be.

  • Ancient Babylon seemed to be in impregnable city.
  • The Roman Empire seemed to be incapable of defeat.
  • The Titanic seemed to be an unsinkable ship.
  • It has seemed to generations past that electricity could not be harnessed; that the speed of horseback could not be surpassed; that air could not support a flying machine.

But in the economy of God, seemingly impossible situations provide the arena for God to put his supernatural power on display. He delights to take the very things man calls impossible and turn them into monuments to his excellency.

Notice where God placed the spiritual capitol of Israel. Most cities were founded because of their advantageous location. But Zion was chosen, not because of what advantage it gave to God, but because of what happened there.


The first mention of Zion in the Bible is in <2 Samuel 5:7>: “David took the stronghold of Zion (that is, the City of David).” Zion, therefore, was the name of the ancient JEBUSITE fortress situated on the southeast hill of Jerusalem at the junction of the Kidron Valley and the Tyropoeon Valley. The name came to stand not only for the fortress but also for the hill on which the fortress stood. After David captured “the stronghold of Zion” by defeating the Jebusites, he called Zion “the City of David” <1 Kin. 8:1; 1 Chr. 11:5; 2 Chr. 5:2>.(from Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary)(Copyright (C) 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

There was nothing any more remarkable about this than Sylvania at Holland-Sylvania. God takes the ordinary, the less-than-promising, the common and transforms it into something of His making.

All God’s critters got a place in the choir
Some sing low, some sing higher
Some sing out loud on the telephone wire
And some just clap their hands, or paws
Or anything they got.

Listen to the bass, it’s the one on the bottom
Where the bullfrog croaks and the hippopotamus
Moans and groans with a big to-do
The old cow just goes MOOOOO

The dog and the cat pick up the middle
While the honey bee hums and the cricket fiddles
The donkey brays and the pony neighs
And the old coyote howls

Listen to the top where the little birds sing
On the melody with the high note ringing
The hoot owl hollars over everything
And the jaybird disagrees

Singin’ in the night-time, singin’ in the day
Little duck quacks, and he’s on his way
The possum ain’t got much to say
And the porcupine talks to himself

It’s a simple song of livin’ sung everywhere
By the ox and the fox and the grizzly bear
Grumpy alligator and the hawks above
Sly raccoon and the turtle dove.

by Bill Stains 

Isaiah 53: 1-3 1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? 2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Look at the unique ability of our God to overcome any natural deficiencies that seem to afflict the church.

Most great cities were founded upon a broad river.

  • Babylon on the Euphrates
  • Nineveh on the Tigris
  • Thebes on the Nile
  • Roman on the Tiber
  • Paris on the Sienne
  • London on the Thames
Yet Jerusalem had no great river.
  • Without a natural river, it had no natural supply route for commerce.
  • Without a natural river, it had no means of nourishment for the land.
  • Without a natural river, it had no natural means of defense.

Even so, here is what the Psalmist said,

Psalm 48:1-2 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King. 

Jerusalem is a type of the church. The church has been criticized some because it lacks all the things that other great religions of the world have.

  • Who is our founder?
  • What is our history?
  • What great contribution have we made to the world?
  • Are we listed in the who’s who?
  • How many adherents do we have?
  • What great colleges or universities do we run?
  • Those who are part of the church sometimes get nervous and paranoid that they lack all the advantages that people in the world have.

A. A nation cannot sow to the wind without reaping the whirlwind. We’ve given a carte blanche to high-minded educators in our institutions. Now, we discover that they have effectively dismantled the sacred precepts and the moral machinery that made this country great. The list of things America believes in at the threshold of the millennium look more like quicksand than solid rock:

  • Abortion rights: The real result is total disrespect for human life.
  • No prayer in school: No prayer, except when being shot at.
  • Sex education : Sexual expertise, but moral ignorance.
  • Rights of alternative lifestyles: Deviancy is now celebrated.
  • Multiculturalism : Everybody is right, thus, nobody is right.
  • Historical revisionism : Everything done in the past was wrong.
  • Moral relativism : No one has the right to judge anybody else.
  • Progressive education : Let us play with the minds of children.
  • Permissive parenting : Never say no. If you say it, don’t enforce it.
  • Freedom of expression : I can say or print anything I wish.
  • Political correctness : You cannot say or print anything you wish.
Lot chose the well-watered plains of Jordan, the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, because they appeared to possess the best attributes that the world could give. He ended up losing everything he had.

If you learn the ways of this world, you will share the fate of this world.

The secret: Jerusalem had no natural advantages because Israel was to focus on the supernatural advantage they possessed—-The Lord God Jehovah! The less you rely on the natural resources, the more you will rely on the supernatural resouces.

Verse 21 “The glorious Lord will be unto us a place of broad rivers…!

Cultivate your relationship with God instead of continually looking for everything you need elsewhere.

  • He will supply your need for commerce or livelihood.
  • Ps 37:25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

He will supply your need for nourishment.

  • Elijah in 1 Kings 17.

He will supply your need for protection.

  • a. Galley with oars and gallant ships were invading ships
  • b If you choose the world’s rivers, you will also choose the means by which you will be overthrown. Satan will sail in on the very river you thought was so important for life.

4. The important principle for us to learn is to trust in Him alone—-not in geography, pedigree, education, money, connections, nothing but Jesus!

He will be your broad river!

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