Rivers in the Desert

Romans 4:16-21 It is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
17 (As it is written, I have made you a father of many nations,) before Him whom he believed, even God, who quickens the dead, and calls those things which be not as though they were.
18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.
19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb:
20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
21 And being fully persuaded that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform.

Have you been asking God about the things He has promised? Why hasn’t He done what He said He was going to do? Well, there is a principle that God always creates something out of nothing. So if you’re something, He has to make you nothing so He can create what He wants you to be.

Abraham was promised a son. But God didn’t bring forth that son until Abraham and Sarah were too old to have children. The promise could not be produced by human energy. There had to be a miracle. It had to be something that God did. So Isaac became the promise. The Body of Christ is brought forth by a miracle, too. First, it has to be completely dead. It has to be a wilderness, a desert that cannot produce anything.

The eleventh chapter of John’s Gospel gives the account of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. The Lord said, “Lazarus, come forth,” and he came forth. Then He said, “Take the grave clothes off of him,” and they did. You will remember that Jesus didn’t go immediately upon hearing of Lazarus. He waited a couple of days and then went. When He arrived, He said, “Where have you laid him?” And his sisters said, “Lord, had you been here our brother would not have died. But he has been dead four days and by now he stinks.” We’re going to have a stinking Church before it comes alive. Lazarus is a type of the Church. Where his sister said, “He has been dead four days,” the Greek reads, “He is a fourth-day man.” There was a belief that the spirit of a person who died lingered about the body for three days before it left. Then decay sat in. At that point there was no hope for any kind of restoration. So by saying Lazarus was a fourth-day man, she was saying that there was no hope for life to be restored. Now we understand why Jesus waited. He waited until there was no hope of any kind for Lazarus to be restored, and then He spoke the Word and made it happen.

Why is the Church like Lazarus? Why are we like this? Why does it seem that we can’t do anything? We have tremendous promises. How do we make them work? We talk about what we believe, and we are right on the borderline of being hypocrites, because what we believe and what we’re experiencing seem so far apart. Well, God allows His Church to become a desert where there is very little growth. When we become like Abraham and Sarah, then the Lord speaks a Word and the desert-Church blossoms abundantly. The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God. Isaiah 35:1-2.

The same principle is seen in Daniel 7:25-27. It says that the saints were under assault and being overcome by the antichrist until the judgment was set and the saints overcame the wicked one. It looks as though we are defeated for a time. Then God speaks and the Kingdom and dominion are given unto the saints. When He speaks it won’t be a voice out of heaven, unless you consider yourselves heaven. The voice of God will come through you.

Isaiah 43:19 Behold, I will do a new thing…

I’ll tell you, it’s new! You don’t bring forth an Isaac after Abraham and Sarah are so old they’re dead. It is something new! You just don’t bring to life a fourth-day man! There have been those who claimed to have died and then came back to life shortly after and told of what they saw. Well, that doesn’t happen for a fourth-day man.

Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? Will you be like those people Peter talked about, “All things continue as they were” (II Peter 3:4)? Or like some of today’s religious folks, “Oh, I don’t believe God heals today. He doesn’t speak today. We just have this Bible, and we do the best we can”? No! He can do something! Shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. A way in the wilderness! Rivers in the desert! Waters of life will come out of desert places. Out of the Body of Christ that seems to be dried up and dead like a fourth-day man, rivers of life will flow. God will establish His throne in the hearts of His people and the waters of life will flow through them.

You say, “We’re just becoming more and more nothing. We’re becoming weaker and weaker. We can’t do anything.” And God is saying, “I hope they hurry up and really get to the place where they can’t do anything, and then I can move through them. As long as they think they are something, I’m limited.” You have to become a desert before rivers of life can flow through you.

Isaiah 43:20 The beast of the field shall honor Me, the dragons and the owls… The field represents the world (Matthew 13:38). Thus the animalistic nature of man will be brought into subjection to the Lord. …because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert…There will be no life coming forth in the world until these rivers of life break forth out of the Body of Christ. …to give drink to My people, My chosen. Do you realize that God has some chosen people besides you? And the rivers of life are to flow through you to them. They have been chosen to receive the waters of life, and you have been chosen as the channels for that water.

Do you remember Joseph? Joseph became a wilderness. His desert experience lasted about thirteen years. But in one day God raised him up and placed him second in command to Pharaoh. “Oh, what a blessing to Joseph!” Oh, no! The blessing wasn’t for Joseph. The blessing was for all those people that needed bread. God raised up Joseph to be a channel.

The voice of him that cries in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Isaiah 40:3. The way of God into the earth is through this wilderness.

Copyright © 1999 by Henry DuBose