I Will Do A New Thing!

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I am doing something new! Now you will grow like a new plant. Surely you know this is true. I will even make a road in the desert, and rivers will flow through that dry land. (Isa 43:19, ERV)

"waters that fail not"
“waters that fail not”

Five years ago, a young man was wasting away his life, homeless, smoking crack and meth on the streets, and in the alleys of Victoria, BC. I recall with great sorrow the time I was standing by him on the stretcher in a hospital emergency room, crying, and wondering if his heart would be beating in another hour. It is every parents worst nightmare. As I pen these words, my son is back there in Victoria, staying at a five star hotel, The Delta Oceanpoint Resort And Spa,  and is going to be on TV and radio, talking about his experiences at Anawim House,  where he got clean, and began a new, and wholesome life. Now he is a successful parent and holding down a really good job, during times where many are struggling to find work!

Parents, in this crazy world, this is no time to stop praying for our children, our families, our friends. Especially our adult children. It took five years of praying before my son got turned around; but now I can shout it out: “God answers prayers.” “I love The Lord because He heard my voice.” (Psalms 116:1)

In it’s original context, a “new thing” refers to Cyrus’ command for the exiles to return to Jerusalem; the fall of Babylon and Israel’s restoration (Isa 43:20); and the restoration of all things (Isa 65:17-19).

For a similar use of this phrase, see Isa 48:6

“You heard what I said would happen. And you can see it has all been done. Shouldn’t you tell this to others? Now I will tell you about new things, secrets you have not known before.”

Our “Road In The Wilderness”

The Lord’s intention would give the exiles an unobstructed route back to the Promised Land (Isa 40:3-5). Are you a modern-day exile? Do you need help and do you want to find it in Jesus? Are you experiencing a wandering in the wilderness time in your life. Could it be that The Holy Spirit has intentionally led you there, just as He has done with our Lord? (Mat 4:1)

One thing that I thought of with our text for today is that we can follow the rivers in the deserts of our experiences: Even in desolate, desperate situations, the Lord would refresh His people (Isa 41:18-19).

The emphasis of the promise about God “doing a new thing” lies in God’s promise to do a NEW thing as in something unprecedented. Originally, it was Israel that was cautioned not to make the past the measure of the future (cf. Isa 43:18-19).

They were often exhorted to seek help and consolation in remembering their past; but this is a caution against a way of looking at the past which works injury—against a brooding on it that spoils the future. Self-consciousness comes with increasing years; we are apt to exclaim, “The thing which hath been is that which shall be;” “The child is father of the man,” points to the conclusion of a wide induction. Philosophy tells us that this unreadiness to believe that the future can be better than the past is but a proof of growing wisdom; and we are often inclined to say, “our theories of the Christian life have always been far in advance of our attainments; but shortcomings have brought down our expectations.” It is one of the severest penalties of unfaithfulness, where we see how that hope for the future is slain.

Often people are not troubled much about the loss of hope, but even these ones know what it is to have a dark void where there should be a light shining more and more.
One of the hardest tasks of the Hebrew prophets was that of renewing in the people the impulses of hope; and so this representative messenger of God proclaims,

“Remember not the former things,” old things may pass away, all things may become new.” (Psalms 43:18)

This new thing is compared with the opening of a path in the wilderness, and the supply of rivers in the desert. Before each one there is a pathless wilderness, beset by difficulties and perils; but even there God will make a way for His people, and sustain their life. Preparation and guidance, difficulty, peril, privation! These are thoughts which associate themselves with the desert and the wilderness. For every Christian, God is preparing a way through unknown experiences. By opening refreshing streams in the wilderness experience that The Holy Spirit leads us to and through.

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Of each person it may be said:

“THEY were the first that ever burst Into that silent sea.”

But God prepares the way; He preserves the traveller; the pilgrim,the sinner. Jesus will never turn such away. (John 6:37). Jesus connects the present, the future, and the past Each day shall be, in some respects, different from all past days; and when the heart turns faint at new demands made upon it, Jesus breathes new life into it with the promise,

“Behold, I will do a new thing!”

The voice of apprehension cries: “How shall freshness and vigour be maintained within me?” God says, “I will supply rivers in the desert;” not simply sufficiency, but abundance. Tomorrow may be a barren prospect; but God is with us; we are near to the Fountain of Life. We often speak of our lack of spiritual life and vigour as though it were a perplexing problem. Is it so, when we do not, will not, drink? There is a “law of the life” of the spirit as well as of the body. Our hearts are like seeds wrapped round so that moisture and air are excluded; such seeds may be planted, but they will not grow. Nor will our hearts wrapped round by prayerlessness, selfishness, indolence, and forgetfulness. We must take away these wrappings, lay them aside for ever!

This Divine promise pledges God to supply that which is a natural source of verdure, gladness, beauty. This is only one of many instances, in which we are taught that God’s will is not only to preserve, but also to adorn our life (Isa 35:1). We should surely listen to this voice. For most of us all life is emphatically new; our experiences shall not, indeed, be unparalleled in the history of our past, but to us, they shall be “a new thing” from God. Christ declares Himself to be the Giver of “living water;” life, and light, and beauty go before Him; He speaks the word which cannot fail:

“Behold, I make all things new!” (Rev 21:5, 2 Cor 5:17).

Our daily lives can indeed reflect such “things made new.”

“…the potters, and those that dwelt among plants and hedges: there they dwelt with the king for his work.These sons of Shelah were workers who made things from clay. They lived in Netaim and Gederah and worked for the king.” (1 Chron 4:23).

Anywhere and everywhere we may dwell “with the king for his work.” We may be in a very unlikely and unfavorable place for this; it may be in a literal country life, with little enough to be seen of the “goings” of the King around us; it may be among the hedges of all sorts, hindrances in all directions; it may be furthermore, with our lives filled with the wilderness wandering. Hands full of all manner of pottery for our daily task.

No matter! The King who placed us “there” will come and dwell there with us; the hedges are right, or He would soon do away with them. And it does not follow that what seems to hinder our way may not be for its very protection; and as for the pottery, why, that is just exactly what He has seen fit to put into our hands, and therefore it is, for the present, “His work.” — Frances Ridley Havergal

“Go back to thy garden-plot, sweetheart!
Go back till the evening falls,
And bind thy lilies and train thy vines,
Till for thee the Master calls.

“Go make thy garden fair as thou canst,
Thou workest never alone;
Perhaps he whose plot is next to thine
Will see it and mend his own.”

The colored sunsets and starry heavens, the beautiful mountains and the shining seas, the fragrant woods and painted flowers, are not half so beautiful as a soul that is serving Jesus out of love, in the wear and tear of common, unpoetic life. — Faber

The most saintly spirits are often existing in those who have never distinguished themselves as authors, or left any memorial of themselves to be the theme of the world’s talk; but who have led an interior angelic life, having borne their sweet blossoms unseen like the young lily in a sequestered vale on the bank of a limpid stream. — Kenelm Digby

“Behold, I will do a new thing, Isa 43:19.”

God’s messages to Israel are steeped in imagery supplied by their past experiences. From this familiar store the figurative expressions of the text are derived; it holds out a challenge to faith, a rebuke to unbelief.

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The emphasis of the promise lies in God’s promise to do a NEW thing—i.e., something unprecedented.

Israel was cautioned not to make the past the measure of the future (Isa 43:18-19). They were often exhorted to seek help and consolation in remembering their past; but this is a caution against a way of looking at the past which works injury—against a brooding on it that spoils the future. Self-consciousness comes with increasing years; we are apt to exclaim, “The thing which hath been is that which shall be;” “The child is father of the man,” points to the conclusion of a wide induction. Philosophy tells us that this unreadiness to believe that the future can be better than the past is but a proof of growing wisdom; and we are often inclined to say, “our theories of the Christian life have always been far in advance of our attainments; but shortcomings have brought down our expectations.” It is one of the severest penalties of unfaithfulness, that hope for the future is slain.

Often we are not troubled much about the loss of hope, but even then we know what it is to have a dark void where there should be a light shining more and more. I think that
One of the hardest tasks of the Hebrew prophets was that of renewing in the people the impulses of hope; and so this representative messenger of God proclaims,

“Remember not the former things,” old things may pass away, all things may become new.” (Isa 43:18)

This “new thing” is compared with the opening of a path, or the flowing of a river in the wilderness, and the supply of springs in the desert. Before each one there is a pathless wilderness, beset by difficulties and perils; but even there God will make a way for His people, and sustain their life. Preparation and guidance, difficulty, peril, privation! These are thoughts which associate themselves with the desert and the wilderness. For every Christian, God is preparing a way through unknown experiences.

But God prepares the way; He preserves the traveller; He connects the present, the future, and the past Each day shall be, in some respects, different from all past days; and when the heart turns faint at new demands made upon it, He breathes new life into it with the promise, “Behold, I will do a new thing!” The voice of apprehension cries, “How shall freshness and vigour be maintained within me?” God says, “I will supply rivers in the desert;” not simply sufficiency, but abundance. Tomorrow may be a barren prospect; but God is with us; we are near to the Fountain of Life. We often speak of our lack of spiritual life and vigour as though it were a perplexing problem. Is it so, when we do not, will not, drink? There is a “law of the life” of the spirit as well as of the body. Our hearts are like seeds wrapped round so that moisture and air are excluded; such seeds may be planted, but they will not grow. Nor will our hearts wrapped round by prayerlessness, selfishness, indolence, and forgetfulness. Take away these wrappings, lay them aside for ever!

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This Divine promise pledges God to supply that which is a natural source of verdure, gladness, beauty. This is only one of many instances, in which we are taught that God’s will is not only to preserve, but also to adorn our life (Isa 35:1). People should surely listen to this voice. For all of us,  life is emphatically new; our experiences shall not, indeed, be unparalleled in our history of  but to all, it shall be a new thing from God. Christ declares Himself to be the Giver of “living water;” life, and light, and beauty go before Him; He speaks the word which cannot fail:

“Behold, I make all things new!”—Thomas Stephenson: Christian World Pulpit, vol. v. pp. 209–210.

Jesus wants people that He can depend upon. He sees the examples we set in public, on Facebook, and elsewhere, He could say of Abraham, (who didnt have Face Book),

“I know him, that he will command his children . . . that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken.”

It is eternal life to KNOW Jesus. (John 17:3) What does our public behaviour tell others about us? About our “message?” Sadly, Jesus ends up saying “Depart from me for I never knew you” (Mat 7:22-23) to some people in the end.

God can be depended upon; He wants us to be just as decided, always as reliable, always as stable. This is just what faith means.

God is looking for people on whom He can put the weight of all His love and power and faithful promises. God’s engines are strong enough to draw any weight we attach to them. Unfortunately the cable which we fasten to the engine is often too weak to hold the weight of our prayer; therefore God is drilling us, disciplining us to stability and certainty in the life of faith. Let us learn our lessons and stand fast. — A. B. Simpson

God knows that you can stand that trial; He would not give it to you if you could not. It is His trust in you that explains the trials of life, however bitter they may be. God knows our strength, and He measures it to the last inch; and a trial was never given to any person that was greater than their strength, through God, to bear it. If Jesus brings you to it; He will bring you through it. This is why all God’s people can say: “…Behold, all things have become new…” because of that “new thing” that Christ has done!

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