God’s New Thing
“Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth”
Some time ago one of our leading newspapers reported a suicide on the first day of the new year. The victim was an eighteen-year-old girl. Before she took her life she left a note which read, “I made an agreement with God that unless life was worth living I would quit living.” Here was a young lady who decided that she wanted life worth living, but on her own terms. But alas, she found “doing her own thing” utterly dissatisfying and ultimately destroying.
By way of contrast, life is worth living for those who delight in the Lord—for he promises to satisfy the desire of every heart.
He transforms despondency into expectancy!
He says, “Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth.” What a text for a new beginning, and a fresh start!
In its sweep it offers:
The Promise of God’s New Thing
The Purpose of God’s New Thing
& The Prospect of God’s New Thing
So let us consider then the Promise of Gods New Thing
Our text reads… “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth” Isa.43:18-19. There is a divine seed of hope in these words, for God is telling us that he is about to do a new thing. Indeed, he states his intention in terms of a promise.
God Promises to Transcend the Things That Are Past
“Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.” That statement may not grip us until we look into the context and find that the “former things” refer to the mighty works of God, in the liberation, preservation, and occupation of his people. It was true that God had greatly blessed them in the past, but that was the past, and we should never rely on past blessings when there are present, and future blessings in store. That is why God was able to say “I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour; I gave Egypt for your
ransom” v3. In that one phrase, “I gave Egypt for your ransom…” we have the whole story.
Let me illustrate this:
The story of the exodus from Egypt and the entrance into Canaan, is a familiar account of the mighty power of God to overcome the enemies of his people, the oppressors of his people, and the afflictions of his people. God is not so much concerned with your past, – he is able to forgive your past, to transcend or rise above the mistakes of the past, and put you in line for a brighter and better future. So very often we can get bogged down in the past, like a tractor stuck in a muddy field, so that we are unable to move forward into our future. Many of Gods children are saved and stuck. Going nowhere! God wants to bring you out of the bondages of your past, into a new freedom for the present and the future.
This leads me to the point that God not only wants to transcend the things that are past,
God Promises to Transform the Things That are Present
Isaiah 43,14-17 shows just how God intends to defeat and destroy the enemies of his children’s peace and progress.
These verses go beyond the deliverance from Egypt to the deliverance from Babylon. How sad it is to recognize that a nation that had proved God in liberation, preservation, and occupation should now find themselves captive once again in Babylon. Yet this is exactly what happened. Because of their backsliding and rebellion, God had to send them in judgment down into Babylon. But in answer to the prayers of a faithful remnant, a great deliverance was effected. God wants also to defeat the things that rob you of peace and progress in the Christian life – He wants to liberate you from your past.
I believe that within the Church today there are many believers who, blinded by Satan, are robbed of their progress with God. They have slipped into many of our theologies a new and erroneous teaching that equates prosperity with blessing. Many genuine and true believers feel blessed, and are willing to say so, simply because they have a well paid job, a good home, a new car, and money in the bank. But this is not blessing in the Biblical or Spiritual sense. It is of course a blessing when these things have been added to your life, but you are only blessed when you have recognised that you are blessed to be a blessing.
Selfishness is the ultimate anti-Christ! It is foreign to the mind of Christ, it is the theology of Eden, that appeals to ones own appetites and desires. Yet many believers are gripped by it, and have put their trust in their possessions or their riches, and not put their trust completely in God. If one is not completely trusting God, surrendering all that they have and are to his Lordship, then one is not trusting God at all, and is living under the illusion of security in the things of time, rather than in the security of the things that are eternal.
This I believe is what God is eager to change in your life today. God wants to give you a NEW thing, a new compassion for People, and I should add – all people, rich and poor, black and white, Protestant, Catholic, Muslim, Jew, and everyone else,
… for unless you have a heart for all people, you are not blessed, you are blinded. Someday you may need God to step
in, when your money can’t help the situation!
This thought needs a little further Amplification! Through God’s miraculous working on us and in us, and as a result of our submission and surrender to His will, he is able to TRANSFORM our present, and create for us a life of spontaneity—”I will do a new thing … it shall spring (or sprout) forth” a life of creativity—”I will… make a way in the wilderness” and a life of productivity—”I [will] give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert” (Ch 43:19-20)
Do you have this kind of life?
Do not loose sight of the promise of new and better things to come. He can still give life to dry bones, still give hope to despairing souls, still provide water in the desert places of life, … just don’t forget the promise of new and better things. If material things have ruled your heart, and wrestled for your affections, let them go, or at any rate hold on to them lightly, and remember that Blessings always follow obedience.
This brings me from the Promise to …
The Purpose of God’s New Thing
Our text reads …”I will do a new thing…. I [will]… give drink to my people, my chosen. This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise” (v19-21). In this prophetic language we have devotional truth. When God redeems us it is for a purpose, and if we have eyes to see, that purpose becomes the supreme goal of our lives.
God’s Purpose Is to Satisfy His Own People
“I will give waters in the wilderness … to give drink to my people” he says. God’s greatest delight is to satisfy his people. Jesus says: “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6) God wants to do a new thing in our lives—spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically, and vocationally.
Let me illustrate this …
The Psalms of David give us a little insight into the longings of the young mans heart even in youth. (and I will have more to say about David in next weeks message) David wanted to please God, to serve God, to share God, and to honour God, but he was tasked with the duty of caring for his fathers sheep on the hillsides outside Bethlehem. He had little or no prospect of change. Unlike his brothers he was not sent into the army, not favoured at home, and not known either locally or nationally for any great achievement. But God saw his heart, and his heart was right, in fact the Bible says, “his heart, was a heart after Gods own heart?” And when God sees a genuine thirst, a genuine sincerity to glorify him, he steps in to satisfy his own people. Samuel the prophet is called to anoint David to be King, imagine, King, but God was going to do a new thing, and when God is about to do something new in your life, no man living can stop him! And if God said David would be King, then King he would be.
For Gods purpose is not only to Satisfy his Own People, but
God’s Purpose Is to Magnify His Own Person.
Verse 21 reads: “This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.” From Genesis to Revelation this truth shines forth with increasing brilliance. Peter sums it up perfectly when he says that we are “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that [we] should shew forth the praises of him who hath called [us] out of darkness into his marvellous light” 1 Peter 2:v9. Jesus said the same thing when he said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matt 5.16. This is why God says, twice over, in this very chapter, “Ye are my witnesses”. Let us never forget that “man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy
When God blesses us, and favours us, it is not only that we may be the benefactors of such blessing, but rather that we might pass on that blessing – to the end that God will be glorified in the benefits that will reach others. God has not given you a creativity and productivity so that you can enlarge your barns and build greater, and take ease, but that you rather might use your gifts talents and resources for the benefits of your neighbours and friends, and that He might be Magnified and Glorified in your doing it! Are you a channel through which blessing can flow? If they cannot pass through you, then they may not pass to you!
So we have seen something of the promise, and the purpose, now let us consider
The Prospect of God’s New Thing
We read in v 22-26 “But thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob; but thou hast been weary of me, O Israel. Thou hast not brought me the small cattle of thy burnt offerings…. thou hast bought me no sweet cane with money, neither hast thou filled me with the fat of thy sacrifices.” And then he goes on to say in language that is just music to my ears: “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. Put me in remembrance; let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified” .
If we are ever to enter into the promise and purpose of God’s new thing in our lives – then we must recognize certain facts. Indeed, there is no prospect of realizing God’s new thing without perceiving two things of utmost importance:
Firstly, The Failure of Man to Cope and
Secondly The Nature of God to Care
“But thou hast not called upon me,“ says God! These verses make sad reading, but they are a true reflection of the failure of man to cope or come to terms with Gods way. In the final analysis, we have to recognize that God can only expect utter failure from us. We have been born in sin, and shapen in iniquity, and the Bible declares “there are none that doeth
Good, no not one”. We are all of us, undeserving of Gods good, and Gods help, and like God’s ancient people who failed in intercessions—they had not called upon the God of Israel; they failed in dedications—they had mocked him with their burnt offerings and sacrifices; and ministrations—God had to say to them, “Thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities.” Totally undeserving of Gods love, and Gods continued mercy and grace…
Yet we see shining through all. The Nature of God to Care
“I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified.” In simple terms, this teaches us that God is waiting to forgive our sins, to purge our iniquities, and to blot out our transgressions. More than that, he offers in their place a new faith. He says, “Put me in remembrance” v26. In the Hebrew, this literally means “to bring back to mind the promises on which we can agree.” If you are saying to God today, that you cannot begin again, you cannot start afresh, then what God says to you is “ let us talk about it.”
Do you see what I am saying, that the PROSPECT of your receiving a new beginning, depends not so much on you, but on God. Not only is it true in Salvation, but it is also true in Service and Surrender!
Today’s Sermon is entitled “Gods New Thing” because for far too long man has tried to begin again, to turn over a new leaf, to begin a fresh chapter, to try once more, and again and again man without God has failed. There can be no beginning
in your life or mine without Gods intervention, without Gods grace, without Gods forgiveness, and without Gods help. You know that! For I believe like me, you have tried again and again. You have tossed the cigarettes to the back of the fire, you have emptied the spirits down the sink, you have torn up the betting slips, you have deleted the pornography, you have made new-year resolutions, you have genuinely and sincerely tried to make a fresh start, but time and time again, you have simply failed. Oh you may have lasted a week or two, or maybe even a month or two, but sooner or later, and usually sooner, you have fallen headlong right into the same old selfish sinful ways – feeling a failure, feeling weak, feeling hypocritical?
But New Beginnings are possible, gloriously possible but only with the help of God, with the aid and power of the Holy Spirit. God knows your struggle, God knows your weakness, and God cares. The Devil wants you to think that God is not with you, that you have been forsaken and abandoned by God, and that you are lost and damned to a hopeless, Christ-less and tragic end.
If we look at the life of the apostle Paul, we can see many times
of crisis in his life when even his friends forsook him, but—”notwithstanding the Lord stood with [him]” 2 Tim 4.17.
God always kept his promise, God did not give him up, God does not loose patience! God knows the struggle, the battle that every soul wages to maintain a healthy faith, and God promises help in the person of the Holy Spirit.
God is the author of New Things. The New Birth is of God, not by mans might or power, but of the Holy Spirit. You cannot experience this transition into the family of God apart from the Holy Spirit. Standing in the Church does not make you a Christian, no more than standing in the Garden would make
you a Chrysanthemum?
So it is with our Christian Service, and Christian Surrender … if God is not in it, it is off the flesh, and will profit none. It will amount to nothing more than wood, hay or stubble, when with Gods help, it could have been as “Gold, Silver or precious stones”.
Now this final word
We live in a world of change, and amongst the things people fear most is CHANGE! In this part of the world we hold very tightly to our sectarian traditions, and in doing so we have limited our Church growth, and lessened our Churches Glory.
My dear friends, all of that must change if we are to have any impact on the world around us in these latter days.
One thing I am sure of, is that God will require of His Church a new harmony and unity – unlike anything we have experienced before. How tragic it is when the Choir sing out of tune and yet more tragic when Gods Church and its membership are out of step with one another. Its time for change. God promises that in the end times he will “pour out of His Spirit upon all flesh” … and this will become increasingly evident in the months to come. There will I believe be dark and difficult times for the world, but great and glorious days for the Church, great days of reaping, great days of harvest and great days of glory.
Before this God wants to do something new in each one of our lives, to prepare us for Christ’s coming, and his kingdom. Don’t allow your Past to keep you from your Future! Stop looking over your shoulder at what was, look over to the horizon to what will be. And, let us believe God for his new thing in our lives, then go forward to embrace Change and enjoy Christ.
God Bless You … Amen.