Monday, June 7, 2010

God's New Thing

God's New Thing
June 7, 2010
Isaiah 43:19 "See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland."

The book of Isaiah is filled with prophecy, so much so, that it is difficult to make a distinction between what God said to the Israelites in their present situation versus what He wants to do in the future. This particular verse is no exception. God says He is doing a new thing. But what is that new thing? Is it really a pathway in the desert or a stream in a wasted land? The answer is both "Yes" and "No." What about applying this scripture to our lives today? Can you take this verse and just quote it over your life right here and now? If you read this verse, does this mean that God is talking directly to you and your situation at this exact moment? Is God still doing a new thing or was it over with when those specific Israelites were no more? The answer is also, "Yes" and "No." Let me explain.

When God said these words through the prophet Isaiah, He was talking specifically to the Children of Israel. It was during a rough period of time in their lives, when the nation of Babylon was overpowering them and their enemies were prospering. The Israelites were dismayed and frustrated. So God stepped in to encourage them with what was to come. He spoke directly about their personal redemption from Babylon and then God intertwined pictures of their full future. God was telling them, that in the present, He would redeem their situation, and He offered them glimpses of hope for their future, for everyone's future. That future was the full redemption of the Israelites through the sacrificial work of Christ for their sins (and our sins, today).

The verse preceding this one says, "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past." The "former things" God was referring to was the offering of an animal in payment for sins, as Jesus would be the final sacrificial lamb. But the "past" that God wanted them to forget was all the turmoil they had experienced. The Israelites had suffered and were still suffering; they assumed their future would be more of the same. God was encouraging them, saying that their future would not be full of strife forever. He was speaking directly toward their immediate future in the midst of talking about their Heavenly future (as Jesus didn't walk the earth for hundreds of years later).

There are many things we can understand from these scriptures in Isaiah, one of them also being how it applies to your life today. Yes, the "New Thing" God actually already did for the Israelites in removing their oppression. Yes, the "Former Things" God already took care of through Jesus Christ and His work on the cross. This, at first glance, leaves little left for application to our lives today. But this is not so. When God said these words, He was talking about the situation in its entirety, all the way to completion. That completion only happens when we are in Heaven with God, at the End of Ages, which is not here yet. Until that happens, He is always doing a new thing, even in the present. Until the end of the world comes, and it will, God always wants you to forget the former things and not dwell on the past. His work is always new. These scriptures still apply today because God isn't done yet.

As to your specific situation right now, I do not know if God would say to you He is doing a new thing or not. But here is some advice for you to consider as you ponder your own unique circumstances. It is found in the verses following Isaiah 43:18-19. When God spoke these verses specifically to the Israelites, they didn't perceive the "New Thing." He had to spell it out for them and tell them why they couldn't see it. In verse 22 He says, "Yet you have not called upon me, O Jacob, you have not wearied yourselves for me, O Israel." Despite God willing to go forward with them and complete His "New Thing," they could not see it and it would not be revealed to them unless they were on their knees in prayer, seeking the face of God for His will and plan. This is what applies to you and me right now. God might be doing a new thing and He might want you to perceive it, but you never will unless you weary yourself for Him, wearing out the fabric on the front your pants from spending time prostrate before Him in prayer.

God is always doing a new thing, and it is up to you and me to perceive it. When we do finally understand it through prayer, we are not to dwell on the past.

1. How can you interpret this scripture correctly, in light of your own life?
2. How can understand this scripture in light of the future things to come?
3. How can you pray about your current situation, for God to reveal what He is at work doing?

Add. Scriptures for Study: Is 42 & 43, Is 65:17, Ps 78:2, 2 Cor 5:17, Phil 2:13, Rev 21:4

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