The Oil and the River – A Truth Turn Up (Devotional) by Toyin Oladiran

Bible Passage: Zechariah 4:1-14 and Psalm 1:1-3

Feature verses: Zechariah 4:2-4. And he said to me, “What do you see?” So I said, “I am looking, and there is a lamp stand of solid gold with a bowl on top of it, and on the stand, seven lamps with seven pipes to the seven lamps. Two olive trees are by it, one at the right of the bowl and the other at its left.” So I answered and spoke to the angel who talked with me. saying, “What are these, my lord?”

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The Oil and The River-no wordsZechariah 4 and Psalm 1 are passages that are full of symbols with deep meaning. The meaning may not be obvious at first glance, but when you look closer, it unfolds so beautifully.

Basically, what happened in Zechariah 4 is that an angel woke Zechariah up and showed him something bizarre. He saw a lamp that was receiving its oil from two olive trees standing beside it. It was such an unusual sight that Zechariah asked, “What does this mean?” The angel answered, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.”

Likewise, in Psalm 1:1-3 we see the image of a tree that is planted by rivers of living water. The passage says that this tree “brings forth fruit in its season. Its leaves shall not wither. Whatever he does shall prosper.”

Let’s bring it together. In our main text today, the angel was showing Zechariah what it means and looks like, to be planted, and positioned where the power and Spirit of the Lord can take control and do the impossible in your life. The oil, in Zechariah 4, just like the rivers of living water, in Psalm 1, all represent the Holy Spirit, and His power that frames and flows in the lives of those who are planted and positioned by Him.

And according to Psalm 1:1-3, the result of a life that is planted close to God, is fruitfulness. It is a life that blossoms, a life that goes through the right seasons at the right time, a life that does not get drained out and wasted. A life that prospers. A life that has eternal significance.

Psalm 1 also tells us how to be planted close to God. “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of the scornful, but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in this law, he meditates, day and night. He shall be like a tree that is planted by rivers of living water, that brings forth fruit in its season. Its leaves shall not wither. Whatever he does shall prosper.”

We are positioned by the oil, and the river, that is, the Holy Spirit, when we give ourselves to responding genuinely, habitually and practically to God’s love for us. We do that by loving things of God, His Word, His ways, His presence. We do that by choosing life paths and lifestyles that make us more receptive of His love; life paths that draw us closer to Him. We do that by choosing not to fill our lives with exposures that dishonour and scorn Him.

the oil and the river-with verseA life that is planted close to God, is a life that is well-oiled and watered – able to do the impossible. ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.”

Is any of this real for you? Do you experience that strength; that power to be and do the impossible? Are you connected to the oil, planted by the rivers of living water? Or are you constantly drained, overdrawn, overspent and stretched thin?

If so, it might be because you are looking to yourself, or to other sources for strength, and not to God. This is so common in our times, when everything feels like a rat race, trying to get this, get that, climb that ladder, jump over those hoops. Life is so full and busy, and all too often, we want to do it in our own strength, and using our own wisdom. But a person that dwells in God by giving his heart to things of God, has a different experience. Life might be busy, and demanding. Life might even take difficult turns at times. But such a person who is planted close to the Holy Spirit is empowered and refreshed, able to be all that God has called him to be, and to do all that God has called him to do.

“Not by might. Not by power, but by the Spirit of the Lord…” This is what God is saying to you today.

So, you have some choices to make today. You can carry on in the rat race, powered by yourself, or you can live, planted and positioned close to the Source of Life, which is the Holy Spirit. It’s your choice. But God loves you so much, and He will always invite you to make your home with Him, so that you can live an oiled and watered life.

Can you do that today? Can you depend on the Holy Spirit practically, continually and habitually. Can you choose not to make Him a fueling station that you visit only when you feel like you are running dry? Can you choose to remain planted in the Holy Spirit, constantly being oiled and watered by Him? Test Him and see. There is no better life than one where you receive strength from the One who created life, the One who loves you deeply and indescribably and wants you to partner with Him to rule in this life.

Let us pray

Father, I am sorry for the times when I have dashed in and out of Your presence, not sticking around to really connect with Your heart. Forgive me because I often rely on myself for strength, and I am not patient to wait on You. I desire to be permanently plugged into the Holy Spirit, the One who is the Oil and the River for my life. Here I am Lord. I choose to plug into You today. I want a life that is planted by rivers of living water, and that is positioned by the oil of life. So today, I choose to come closer to You, and to keep coming closer daily, continually, authentically. “Not by power, nor by might, but by Your Spirit”. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

This week’s challenge

List three areas of your life in which you feel overdrawn and spent. Have you surrendered them to God? What that means practically is, do you believe that God, the Creator of all things, is on top of things in your life? Do you consciously and continuously talk to God about what you are experiencing? Do you believe that He is with you, working it out in the best way possible, and powering you to do the impossible? When doubts flare up, and you feel worn down again, do you return to the Source, and immerse yourself in Him, until you have connected with Him?

This week, your challenge is to get real about whether you are surrendered to God or not. And then, make a decision to surrender these three areas of your life to God. Do it practically, continually and habitually. Journal about it for some time, and then write to us at thenarrowgateway@gmail.com and tell us how it went.

Critically, I end this by saying, I am Toyin…

…fully convicted by my own words, and very much still under construction, in the hands of the Father.


The B.O.O.M Walk Program by Toyin Oladiran

We all come from somewhere. We all have our battle scars. We all have those life experiences, past or even ongoing, that have forced us into shadowy corners in our lives, preventing us from living fully, loving fully and most of all, serving God to the uttermost.

Some of us have carried on in this way, and gone on to do life ‘normally’, to become pastors, engineers, fathers, builders, lovers, secretaries, government officials, wives, teachers, sports coaches, gym instructors, you name it. Yet many are living a façade; a classic tale of smokes and mirrors. Many are carrying around, and being defined by those pivotal life experiences. Many have learnt to accept that this is just the way life is – living with and from the baggage.

What’s your scar? Where does it come from? Is it still driving your thoughts and responses to life? Are you tired of your scars keeping you wedged off into the fringes and sidelines of life, constantly angry, bitter, frustrated, rejected, insecure, proud, self-righteous … etc?

That’s what you and I will be tackling with the HOLY SPIRIT in The B.O.O.M WALK PROGRAM.💥

This Program is for EVERYONE…
…Yes, I said EVERYONE!

Be careful now. Do not think that only people who struggle with what we erroneously call ‘the big sins’ like murder, slavery, adultery etc struggle with the ‘Old Man’ (‘B.O.O.M’ stands for ‘bow out, Old Man’). Yes those are reflections of the ‘Old Man’ at work, but for the vast majority of people, the traits of the ‘Old Man’ are way more subtle, and internal.

I’m talking anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, self-righteousness, pride, fear, insecurity, rebellion against God, inferiority complex, lack of self-control…the list can go on.

The ‘Old Man’ thrives in secrecy… it’s all about the state of the mind, isn’t it?

Come on. Do not be afraid! And do not settle for more of the same!

Click here now to indicate your interest and to begin to prepare your heart and your spaces. The kind of transformation we are talking about here does not come by the click of a finger, neither does it come by lurking in a spectator’s seat. You need to take a bold step, own who you are and where you are at, and come along, for The B.O.O.M Walk Program.

I cannot WAIT to work with you. And if I am so excited about it, imagine how God, the Incredible Lover of your soul feels?😉

Hugs and Love,

Toyin Oladiran (Christian Transformational Coach and Creator of The B.O.O.M Walk Program)


The Narrow Gateway

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