God’s New Thing

by Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey, pastor
FBC, Spanish Fort, Ala.

Introduction

God’s new thing is a wonderful word for the New Year.  We read in Isaiah 43:18-19, “Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old.  Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth, shall you not know it?  I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert.”  Rev. Matthew Henry (1662-1714) explains the best commentary on Isaiah 43:18-19 is found in Jeremiah 16:14-15; 23:7-8, where we read, “‘Therefore behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord, ‘that it shall no more be said, ‘The Lord lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,’  but, ‘The Lord lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north and from all the lands where He had driven them.’ For I will bring them back into their land which I gave to their fathers. . . . Therefore, behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord, ‘that they shall no longer say, ‘As the Lord lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,’ but, ‘As the Lord lives who brought up and led the descendants of the house of Israel from the north country and from all the countries where I had driven them.’ And they shall dwell in their own land.’”

The context of our text begins with Isaiah 43:14-17, “Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, / The Holy One of Israel:  ‘For your sake I will send to Babylon, / And bring them all down as fugitives— The Chaldeans, who rejoice in their ships.   I am the Lord, your Holy One, / The Creator of Israel, your King.’  Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea / And a path through the mighty waters, / Who brings forth the chariot and horse, / The army and the power / (They shall lie down together, they shall not rise; / They are extinguished, they are quenched like a wick).”  Dr. Stephen F. Olford comments on Isaiah 43:14-17, “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 captives once again in Babylon. But 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.”[1]

Allow me to share three things related to our text.

I. The Daily Grind of Familiar Things

There is “the daily grind” of life, as we read in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, “To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:  A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up; A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing; A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away; A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak; A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.”  We must beware lest life become mundane and vain.  In the round of daily activities we can begin taking certain things for granted.  Solomon refers to common elements of life in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, after a while things can lose their significance and become familiar things.  We are told, “familiarity breeds contempt,” but Phillips Brooks (1835-1893) added, “only with contemptible things and contemptible people.”  It is easy to become comfortable in this world and to become comfortable with this world.  The believer must remember this world is not my home, I’m just a passing through.

In a message based on Luke 10:5-6, preached at the Tuesday Lecture at Salters’ Hall, June 25, 1710, titled, “The Work and Success of the Ministry,” Matthew Henry shares, “It is likewise to us a temptation to question, Whether we have the presence of God in our ministry, or no?  We are ready to say, as Gideon did, If the Lord be with us, where are all the wonders that our fathers told us of? [Judges 6:13] the wonders that were wrought by the powers of the word. . . .”[2]

II. The Dissatisfied Groan for Former Things

Sometimes we are to look back and remember as in Isaiah 46:9, “Remember the former things of old, / For I am God, and there is no other; / I am God, and there is none like Me.”  While it is important to remember the great things God has done with gratitude, there is a danger in looking back.  There is a natural tendency to look back to exciting times, “the good old days” or “the glory days” and to forget the best is yet to be.  Such a time for the nation of Israel was their deliverance from 430 years of Egyptian bondage through the Exodus. God through Isaiah calls His people to comparatively forget the former things.  Rev. Matthew Henry writes, “Though former mercies must not be forgotten, fresh mercies must in a special manner be improved.”  Thomas O. Chisholm (1866-1960) penned the words to the hymn titled, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” Jeremiah the prophet wrote, “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, / Because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).

Dr. Vance Havner (1901-1986) writes, “How many of us live looking back or ahead, between a holy past and a holier future, but in a hollow present! Some sigh for the good old days when our fathers worshiped in this mountain.  Some long for a better day ahead, when the Great Avenger shall vindicate us of our adversaries. But we need not stand at Jacob’s well with our souls unsatisfied.  The Messiah has come, He lives today, and He will meet us now where we are and as we are.  We cannot go back to the fountains of yesterday nor drink at the springs of tomorrow.”[3]  As we trust and obey the Lord each day we have new proof of God’s presence, power, and purpose.

III. The Delightful Grace concerning Future Things

The hymn writer, Isaac Watts expresses, “Our God our help in ages past, our hope for years to come.”[4]  From our text recorded in Isaiah 43:18-19, we read, “Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old.  Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth, shall you not know it?  I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert.”  God through Isaiah promises His people that He will do greater things than He did in the past, namely, deliverance from Babylonian captivity.

Babylon represents the world spanning global anti-God system (Revelation 17:1 and 18:1).  Nimrod and Nebuchadnezzar are associated with it.  Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse (1895-1960 ) explains, “Babylon stands for all that is the world, as over against the call of the heart of God. . . . There is a form of Babylon which is political, and there is a form which is religious.”[5]

Dr. Merrill F. Unger (1909-1980) explains, “[Isaiah 13:6 is a] prefigurement of the final destruction of Babel (Babylon), connoting prophetically the disordered political and governmental system that characterizes the earth during ‘the times of the Gentiles’ (Luke 21:24; Rev. 18:1-24). This political Babylon, together with ecclesiastical Babylon . . . shall be destroyed at the second advent of Christ.  Political Babylon stands in contrast to the divine order (Isa. 11-12:6) with Israel in her own land, the center of spiritual blessing and the divine world government of the King-Messiah (Isa. 2:1-5).”[6]

With God there is an air of expectancy and an anticipation of hope, a confident expectation of a favorable outcome, namely, freedom from captivity a road through the desert and rivers in the wilderness.  A promise to remove all obstacles of coming to Him.

A New Testament counterpart to Isaiah 43:18-19 is Romans 8:31-39, where we read, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?  Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.  Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  As it is written:  ‘For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’ Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,  nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Nothing will stand in the way of belonging to Him.   God paved the way back to Himself through Jesus and now nothing will keep us apart.  This is new this is our hope this is God’s promise.

We read in Isaiah 43:20-26, “The beast of the field will honor Me, / The jackals and the ostriches, / Because I give waters in the wilderness / And rivers in the desert, To give drink to My people, My chosen.  This people I have formed for Myself; / They shall declare My praise.  ‘But you have not called upon Me, O Jacob; / And you have been weary of Me, O Israel.  You have not brought Me the sheep for your burnt offerings, / Nor have you honored Me with your sacrifices.  I have not caused you to serve with grain offerings, / Nor wearied you with incense.  You have bought Me no sweet cane with money, / Nor have you satisfied Me with the fat of your sacrifices; / But you have burdened Me with your sins, / You have wearied Me with your iniquities.  ‘I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; / And I will not remember your sins.  Put Me in remembrance; / Let us contend together; / State your case, that you may be acquitted.’”  God calls His people to be reconciled to Him.  This is the essence of revival, for God’s people to be reconciled to Him on His terms.

Conclusion

Late one evening in March of 1987, Don Moen received word of the tragic death of one of his young nephews in an automobile accident.  He searched the Scripture for words of comfort for the family.  He thought about Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”  However, he felt the need to further read through his Bible, soon his eyes fell on our text.  After praying, he quickly penned the words to his song titled, “God Will Make a Way.”[7

From Isaiah 43:18-19, we read, “Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old.  Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth, shall you not know it?  I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert.”  There is the daily grind of familiar things, the dissatisfied groan for former things and the delightful grace concerning future things.

Does your future have a future?  For this message to have meaning, you must remember God’s great provision of Jesus Christ.  Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”  In addition, Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 1:20, “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.”  Take God at His word, repent of sin and believe the Gospel, namely, the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sin.  Then, as a believer, you will forever enjoy God’s new thing!

Grow old along with me!

The best is yet to be,

The last of life, for which the first was made:

Our times are in His hand

Who saith “A whole I planned,

Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!”

Grow old along with me!

The best is yet to be,

The last of life, for which the first was made:

Our times are in His hand

Who saith “A whole I planned,

Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!”


[1]Stephen F. Olford, “God’s New Thing,” Sermon Notes, (Isaiah 43:19)

 

[2]The Miscellaneous Work of the Rev. Matthew Henry, V. D. M. in Two Volumes, Vol. II, (London: Joseph Ogle Robinson, 1833), 756

[3]Vance Havner, Day By Day by Vance Havner “Between Yesterday and Tomorrow,” John 4:20, 25, (New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1953).

[4]Isaac Watts, “Our God, Our Help In Ages Past,” (1719)

[5]Donald Grey Barnhouse, Revelation, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1971), 265

[6]Merrill F. Unger, Unger’s Commentary on the Old Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2002), Isaiah 13:6

[7]Don Moen, “God Will Make a Way,” February 28, 2011, Accessed: 12/28/13, http://www.donmoenandfriends.org/donmoen-god-will-make-a-way/

Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey, author of: Author of Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice
Available on Amazon.com and WORDsearchbible.com

http://www.amazon.com/Sound-Biblical-Preaching-Giving-Bible/dp/1594577684

http://www.wordsearchbible.com/products/Sound_Biblical_Preaching_1476.html

http://www.webspawner.com/users/franklinlkirksey  / fkirksey@bellsouth.net

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