Do we really trust the LORD? Enough to do ALL that He says? Or just enough to feel safe?
26 Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.
We live our lives according to a set of rules, many of which are practical (things we have learned along the way), many are passed down to us from our parents and other people (teachers, club leaders, etc), and many are written down for us to read. For instance, Goofus and Gallant was a great teaching tool in the Highlights magazine that was popular when I was young; it taught by contrast what was considered good behavior and what was considered selfish behavior.
The problem with knowledge is that without the Spirit to guide us, we have no way to make sense of what we know. Why did the woman cut off the end of her roast and cook it in two pots? Because her great-grandmother had an oven that was too small for her big pot, so she cut her roast and cooked it in two pots! We need the Spirit to teach us relevance and perspective.
I was reading this morning in John and came across this passage:
37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.
As I pondered this passage, asking the Spirit to open my mind to what it meant, I was reminded by Him of several things that I have learned along the way.
- Look for context– What festival? 7:2 tells me that it was the Festival of Tabernacles, which was when the people lived in tents for a week to commemorate the Wilderness experience. It was also a picture of heaven as they celebrated the end of the wheat harvest. Having just celebrated the New Year and had 10 days of introspection before the Day of Atonement, it was a festive time.
- Look for relevance– “Let anyone who is thirsty…” Each day of the festival, there was a ritual “which consisted in a solemn procession with music, and headed by a priest, which went on each morning from the Temple to the pool of Siloam, where the priest filled a golden vase with water and carried it to the Temple amid the joyful cries of the people. He then poured it out on the western side of the altar of burnt-offering, while another priest poured a drink-offering of wine, at the same time, on the eastern side of the altar, and the people during this act chanted the words of “the Hallel,” Psalms 113-118.” Biblehub
- Look for significance– On this eighth day, there was no ritual, but Jesus stood and made His announcement. Was He proclaiming that the time for the Old Covenant was over? Was He announcing a New Covenant with Himself as the living water? Just three chapters back (ch. 4), He had done just that with the woman at the well. He offered her living water and a new covenant with Himself (vs. 10, 14, 23-24).
- Look for application– We have this living water, which is the Spirit. Paul writes for us to not “quench the Spirit (Eph. 4:30).” In other words, don’t constrict His flow in our lives by trusting in ourselves. Instead, we are to lean on Him and live on every word that comes from Him.
The Word of God gives us our best avenue to hear the words of God from His Spirit. Let’s spend an appropriate (how much is He telling you?) amount of time in His Word today. It’s important.