*A new thing (introduction)*
Pastor Samuel Gyau Obuobi
Sunday, October 7, 2018
Isaiah 43:19-21 (NLT)
For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. The wild animals in the fields will thank me, the jackals and owls, too, for giving them water in the desert. Yes, I will make rivers in the dry wasteland so my chosen people can be refreshed. I have made Israel for myself, and they will someday honor me before the whole world.
The period in which Isaiah ministered was one characterized by threats from the enemies of Israel and Judah. The Assyrians had invaded the northern kingdom and there was spiritual and moral decline among the Jews. Chapters 40-66 of Isaiah prophesied specifically to the Jewish exiles in Babylon where he spoke about their comfort, salvation, and restoration. One of these prophecies is what we’ve just read. When you read it you realize that from the beginning God gave the people of Israel notable and significant promises. For example, in verse 2 he says:
When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. (Isaiah 43:2 NLT)
God carefully chose every word in the Bible so they are significant. In our walk with the Lord and our lives on earth, there are times that we go through certain challenges. He said “when” not “if.” He mentioned three things that I want you to take note of:
1. Deep waters: This connotes a serious situation; that is, there is the possibility of being drowned. It also connotes a succession of problems.
2. Rivers of difficulty: That is, rivers that are difficult to cross.
3. Fire of oppression: A situation from which it is difficult to escape.
However, for each of these, God has a response. As we go through these things, the person who is with us is God. The one who has given us this assurance is the omnipotent and omnipresent God. May I assure you by the word of God to never think that God has abandoned you. Regardless of the situation in which we find ourselves, he is with us. Sickness, poverty, and challenges will not overcome you. Your deliverance will amaze others who will wonder how it all happened.
God decided to remind them of what he had done before (Isaiah 43.16-17). On two occasions God split waters for his people to walk through on dry land (at the Red Sea in Exodus 14 and at the Jordan in Joshua 3). God wanted them to remember that he was capable of doing the impossible—what is beyond human comprehension. God was the one who defeated those who came against them when they tried to pursue them. In the context of their recalling some of these great things he had already done, God gave them a prophetic word:
“But forget all that–it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. (Isaiah 43:18 NLT)
When I reflect on this scripture and consider my life and where God has brought me from, I conclude that my future can only be better. If, in spite of the enormity of what God has already done for me, he tells me to forget about it because it is nothing, I can only imagine what is coming next. God has already begun the new thing he is doing. May he remove the scales from your eyes to perceive it.
*What does God mean by “I am doing a new thing”?*
1. He is creating something new; that which you have expected for a long time is now coming.
2. He is bringing us to a new level; it is time for God to lift you up to a new level. Your spiritual life may have been stagnant for a while but he is lifting you up to a new height.
3. He is opening a new chapter. God will write a new story for you. The story of yesterday may not be too pleasant but a new one is beginning.
As I prayed and reflected, I wondered what all these new things could be about.
Think big. Imagine something big because God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or think of. (Ephesians 3.20 KJV) These are days of excitement. They are days when God is going to do something great you have never heard of for what eyes have not seen is what he is going to do. You may be wondering what God can do for you at this age or after all that you’ve got but never put a limit on what God can do. Don’t forget that after Abraham was promised a child at 75, it was at age 100 that he produced that child of promise.
In Joshua 13, God told Joshua about all the lands he had not yet conquered. There is much more land for us to possess. Why do you think you have arrived when God himself says there is much more to accomplish? God himself will drive out the inhabitants of the land and your only duty will be to pick up the booty. (Joshua 13.6) There is much more land for us to possess. You can do better.
This message is premised on two conditions. Firstly, learn to walk closely with God. Walk hand in hand with him because it is he himself who will do it. Secondly, walk in faith.
There are some things God will do with you that you yourself will be scared of. The new things that God will tell you; the new ideas he will give you; and the new things you will discover will amaze you and get you scared. That is why you have to build up your faith. I see a greater hand coming on somebody to make him or her the man or woman God desires.
What God will do cannot be compared with what he has done before.
Isaiah 43.19-21, 1 Corinthians 2.9
Isaiah 42.9, Exodus 14, Joshua 3, Joshua 13