“Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth, I tell you of them.”
Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise from the end of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that fills it, the coastlands and their inhabitants.” Isaiah 42:9-10
Are you longing for something new? Do you desire to leave the past behind? Are you ready to sing a new song? As we bring an end to a challenging year, perhaps these stirring words from the ancient prophet Isaiah might shape your thinking as you turn the page to what God has next.
The new things which Isaiah declared came to fruition through the Lord’s “chosen” “servant,” in whom His soul delighted. (Isaiah 42:1). Jesus is the one who ushered in a new covenant, a new life, a new creation through His birth, life, death and resurrection. It is in Christ that we can also experience birth, life, death and resurrection in our own spiritual journey as well! As we walk this path, remember these three steps to fully embracing the new things that God is doing in you.
1. Recognize the former things have passed. (v. 9)
“Behold, the former things have come to pass…”
God’s messengers often began by retelling God’s great accomplishments in the past. “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses. I brought you out of captivity. I parted the Red Sea and parted the Jordan River.” Why did God regularly remind the people of His great and mighty deeds? So, they would remember- God can be trusted. God can do mighty things through those who will trust and obey Him.
We live in a “What have you done for me lately?” culture. We often forget yesterdays blessings in the middle of todays burdens. Be careful and intentional to take note of the things that God has done and the promises God has already fulfilled. Keep track of the prayers God has already answered and the ways He has provided in the past. Don’t gloss over all that God has done for you. We look back & celebrate God’s faithfulness in the past, because it strengthens our faith to trust Him for our future.
We look back & celebrate God’s faithfulness in the past, because it strengthens our faith to trust Him for our future.Warren Mainard
When has God shown faithfulness to you? As you think about the new things that God may be doing in your life, do you take time to remember and reflect on God’s faithfulness? Recognize the former things have come to pass.
It is important to recognize when a season is over. Before you can know God has something new for you, sometimes you have to realize that something has run its course. Visiting the past can be instructive, but we were never intended to live there.
Scriptures: The Bible has a lot to say about letting go of the past and moving forward into the future.
“But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
“Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’” Luke 9:62
2. Prepare for the new things that have yet to come. (v.9)
“new things I now declare, before they spring forth I tell you of them.”
A visit to an old traditional church may lead you to believe that God is so steeped in tradition that He is opposed to anything new. God is all about the new… particularly when it comes to doing new things in you! Don’t stop believing that God’s not done with you yet. New things keep our lives and faith from growing stale! Even before they spring forth, decide to start fresh, make new commitments & goals, dream new dreams. Seek the Lord’s will and direction for all you do. God is inviting you to join Him in your future. Here are two tensions to wrestle with as you consider what’s next.
Two Tensions That All Christians Should Wrestle With When Preparing For The Future:
1. The freedom to plan and pursue your dreams. The Bible says, “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 God gives us a lot of latitude in terms of what dreams and goals and plans we bring before the Lord. This may be unfamiliar territory for you if you were raised with a “tight rope” perspective of God’s will for your life. Those with a “tight rope” mentality to God’s will believe that, one false or ill-fated step of disobedience and you will be out of God’s perfect will for your life. We think, “What if I go to this college, but I was supposed to go to this other one instead? If I make the wrong choice, the rest of my life will be out of God’s perfect will.”
What if you began to look at God’s will not as a tight rope, but as an Interstate. God has a direction that He clearly wants you to go in, but there is also room to change lanes, speed up and slow down, pull over on the side of the road to repair a tire. His Word is like the guard rails keeping you in His Will. What this means is that you have freedom to plan and pursue the dreams that align with His purposes for your life. The second tension is…
2. Seeking God’s will above your own. While God’s will is more like an Interstate than a tight rope, it is still incredibly important that we keep our eyes on the road. The Scriptures have a lot to say about doing life on your own terms vs. living a life submitted to the Lordship of Christ and the leadership of God’s Spirit.
“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.” Proverbs 19:21
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
“The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirit. Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established.” Proverbs 16:1-3
“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’” James 4:13-15.
Even Jesus prayed, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” Luke 22:42. All of this reminds us that God’s greatest desire is for us to live a life in close relationship and submission to His commands.
These days, being referred to as a “sheep” is far from a compliment. It indicates that we are mindless, thoughtless creatures who go and do what we are told no matter the outcome. However, Jesus called himself the “Good Shepherd” and reminds us that we are the sheep of His pasture. When you recognize Jesus as the Good Shepherd of your life, being a sheep (in the metaphor) is not a bad thing at all. When we are living in God’s will, like a sheep, we might say to Jesus, “Can I go and play and eat on that hill over there” and He will reply, “of course, I have brought you to this land, go and enjoy.” However, if we long to go outside of the care of Jesus the Good Shepherd, our Lord will lovingly bring us back into the fold, correcting us if He must. Jesus is the kind of Shepherd who will leave the 99 sheep who are in his safe care to after us when we have recklessly strayed away.
Do you take time to get away and dream dreams with God? To seek goals and plans that reflect His will and glory in your life? What are your dreams for your career? Your marriage? Your family? Has God given you a dream or a goal or a desire for our church?
Christ’s birth, life, death and resurrection would be the “NEW THING” that would change the course of humanity forever.Warren Mainard
3. Sing to the Lord a new song. (v.10ff)
“Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise from the end of the earth, you who go down to the sea and all that fills it, the coastlands and their inhabitants.”
A “new song” is a song that awakens our heart to God’s truth in a fresh way. A new dawn deserves a new song. In Isaiah’s time, the people had their songs. They were songs about creation. Songs about Abraham and Isaac. Songs about Moses and Egypt. Songs about Joshua and the Promised land. Songs about David. But GOD was going to do something that would inspire new songs. Isaiah is known as the prophet who most often and most beautifully foretold the coming of Christ in the Old Testament. In this passage, Isaiah is preparing the people for a new day, when the Messiah would come. Christ’s birth, life, death and resurrection would be the “NEW THING” that would change the course of humanity forever.
No person has inspired more new songs than Jesus Christ. Christ’s salvation is our new song. It is a song for all people, to the ends of the earth. All people… people who live near the Sea, on the mountains, in the desert, and throughout the cities and villages. The Gospel is for all people, so there must be a new song for all people. Our lives can be a song that brings the beautiful melodies of our maker to the people of our time.
Jesus is the new thing that makes all things new. He has done it, He is doing it, He will complete it… and oh what a HAPPY day that will be!
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:4-5