Prophet Ezekiel’s vision of the restoration, revival and refreshment of Israel as a nation is depicted in form of a river which originated from the temple precincts, specifically from the ALTAR. Wherever the river went, it brought refreshment to everything. Trees were refreshed to produce fruits for food and leaves for pharmaceutical purposes. Sea creatures including fish were refreshed leading to the thriving of the fishing business. Even the salty waters of the dead sea became sweet again.
However verse 11 claims, ‘But the marshes and swamps will not become fresh….’ But why did God choose to leave these marshy and swampy places as is? Why would a good God refresh most parts of your life but deliberately ignore the marshy and swampy places of your life? Why would a good God allow the scorching sun to continually hover over marshy and swampy places of your life? The Bible says that they were left like that so that they could produce a very important and necessary ingredient in every home i.e. SALT.
Could it be that your ability to become the salt of the earth comes as a result that God strategically leaves some sections of your life in a marshy and swampy condition? Could it be that God in his reserve policy allows some areas of your life not to experience refreshment? Could it be that a good God can deliberately leave a thorn in your flesh as He did to the Apostle Paul for a purpose? Could it be that to those God has given great revelations, he gives them a thorn in the flesh so that they do not get puffed up with pride? A thorn in the flesh as well as having marshy and swampy places in your life is there to demonstrate that God’s power is made perfect in weakness. Paul further consolidates this point when he says elsewhere that we have this treasure in earthen vessels or jars of clay, to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. May God help us to distinguish between pain for purpose and pain that destroys our faith in God. May we rely on God’s sufficient grace when some areas of our lives remain marshy and swampy for a reason. May we remain standing when God permits some thorns to remain stuck in our mortal bodies for his glory. In everything we do for God, may we be reminded that we are fragile mortals with human flaws and limitations.
It’s time to turn your swamps and marshes into salt. It’s time to let roses come out of your thorns. I rest my case.