The descending river of God

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Raymond Golsworthy

We would like to consider Psalm 65:9, 10 and learn some things about the descending “river of God”. The psalmist describes very beautifully the effects of the refreshing rain on a dry and thirsty land, and we link these verses with the promise of Isaiah 44:3, “I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground.” We will now learn a number of lessons from the beautiful description of this river in relation to our spiritual refreshing.

The abundance of the supply
God promises a descending river (verse 9). Few of us have seen that God’s greatest river is the descending one, rain! And that river is full of water; God waters abundantly (verse 10; cf. John 10:10). All the fullness of God is in Christ and God fills us from Him (Col. 2:9, 10), supplying all our need from His “riches in glory … Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19).

The immediate effects, when the rain comes down!
1. The first thing the rain does is the breaking down of high ridges: “Levelling the ridges” (NIV).

This always happens when the rain comes on ‘bumpy’ fields, and it reminds us of Isa. 2:17, “And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down (made low)”, and also of 2 Cor.10:5, “Casting down every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.”

2. The drenching of the furrows is the next effect. (See NIV, verse 10). How true it is that God pours Himself and His blessings into humble and lowly hearts! Though He is high yet hath He respect unto the lowly (Psa. 138:6). Those are the ones He finds and fills in “times of refreshing” (Acts 3:19).

3. And then there is the beautiful softening of all (“soft with showers”, verse 10).

How necessary is this work among God’s people! We are often like those “sons of Zeruiah”, who were too hard even for David (2 Sam. 3:39). As David’s officers they were strong in battle, but their inner hardness was a grief to David.

Thank God, when He pours out His rain even the hardest heart can become soft, and tender; like the fine flour of the offerings (Lev. 2:1, etc.). Paul said, “Be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted” (Eph. 4:32), and “Let your gentleness be evident to all” (Phil. 4:5, NIV). God does this work by His showers.

The ultimate evidences when God’s river descends.
Three evidences that God’s river has indeed come down are listed in verse 13, the closing verse of the Psalm.

1. “The pastures are clothed with flocks.” Here we have the reappearing of shepherds with their contented flocks; happy local churches. This is the normal spiritual ‘ultimate’ in true revival. See Acts 2:44, “All that believed were together.” We are saved to be together under the care of one Shepherd.

2. “The valleys also are covered with corn.” This means that there is abundant supply of life-giving food for the people of the Lord. Spiritual revival brings new insights into God’s word, and richer ministries of His truth; an open heaven in every sense!

3. “They shout for joy, they also sing.” This is an understandable ‘ultimate’; … uncontainable joy and overflowing worship. When God visits a city or a community, joy will always be evident. Christ becomes everything, and thus all burdens are lifted. An example of this is seen in Acts 8:8, “And there was great joy in that city.”

O for that wonderful “river of God” to come down on us! God pouring out the fullness of His Son on every area and aspect of our need. We read that Elijah prayed and then the rain came. We read in 1 Kings 18:41,45, “There is a sound of abundance of rain … and there was a great rain.”

“Lord, teach us to pray.” (Luke 11:1)