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When You Are Looking for God to Do a New Thing

Winters are long in Canada. I’m a summer girl, through and through, In fact, the hotter the better. I enjoy nothing more than sitting on my back deck in the sun and reading a good book. Each year, as winter melts into spring and the flowers poke through the frozen ground, my smile is a little brighter and my step a little lighter. There is something about the promise of spring – the newness of life that springs up all around us – that makes the heart just a little happier.

Spring is a beautiful picture of our God. He is the God of new things. His endless creativity and infinite power is on display all around us. He’s constantly doing a new work in and around us. He’s not only the God of eternity past, who worked in the lives of ancient people, but He is also the God of the present , bringing fresh new life.

Is there an area of your life that feels stagnant, stale, old and tired, lifeless? Maybe it’s a relationship that has lost its spark . You’ve fallen into familiarity and routine, and quite frankly, you are a little bored. Maybes it’s a job that lacks excitement – like you are just going through the motions without a sense of purpose. Maybe it’s your wardrobe that has become drab and dull. You long for something new that makes you feel pretty again. Or maybe it’s your relationship with God. You are reading Scripture, but the words don’t jump off the page like they once did. You are praying but your prayers seem to hit the ceiling and fall flat. I’m here to tell you that we worship a God of new things. He is able to take anything that is stagnant and lifeless and breathe fresh life into it.

A God of New Things


Isaiah 43:16-21 speaks to this aspect of God’s character – the fact that He is the God of new things. Isaiah prophesied to the nation of Judah about 100 years before the Babylonian captivity. Again and again, he warned them of the coming judgment for their sin and idolatry. They had just seen the Northern Kingdom of Israel fall at the hands of Assyria. Isaiah told the people of Judah that the same thing would happen to them if they didn’t repent and turn back to God.


Here's the main point of the passage: We worship a God of new things, so look for new things until all things are made new.


But what does this look like in ordinary life? How do we look for new things until all things are made new? How can we be a people of new things? Let’s discover how by walking through this passage step by step.

1.Remember God’s Faithfulness (Isa. 43:16-17)

Interestingly, Babylon has not yet taken Judah into exile, yet God promises to judge Babylon for their mistreatment of His people. God declares the end before the beginning; He declares events before they happen. How can Judah be sure God will keep His promise to judge Babylon? The answer is in verses 16-17. What are these verses alluding to? The miraculous exodus of Israel from Egypt and their deliverance through the Red Sea. God makes a way when there seems to be no way. As the Israelites stood at the edge of those waters, the Egyptian army in hot pursuit behind them and the Red Sea like an immovable obstacle in front of them, they must have thought they were done. Surely this was the end. But God makes a way through the sea. Just as God delivered Israel from the Egyptians by making a path through the Red Sea and then releasing the waters at just the right moment to bury the Egyptian army in the frothy waves, He promised to deliver Judah from exile and punish their oppressors in the process.

Isaiah was calling the people of Judah to remember God’s faithfulness. The point is this: We can trust God in the present by remembering His past faithfulness.

Look back over the course of your life and recall all of the times God has shown up. How has He been faithful to you? If you keep a journal read back through it. Think through all the times He’s answered prayers, provided for you, protected you, and demonstrated His love to you. Remembering past victories strengthens our faith and confidence in God's ability to deliver us from present challenges. And it’s so important to speak of God’s faithfulness to the next generation. Tell your children about what God has done in your life and in your family. Recognizing His past faithfulness helps you to trust Him more for the future.


2. Forget the Former Things (Isa. 43:18)

Wait a minute! Which one is it? Are we to remember God’s faithfulness or forget the former things? We are to do both.

First we remember God’s faithfulness, and then Isaiah says, put that out of your mind. Why? So we can look for the new thing God is doing. If someone asks you what God is doing in your life and you respond with something amazing that He did ten years ago, that may be a sign that you are living in the past. The past can become an idealized world into which we retreat, and the future becomes too frightening to face.

Or sometimes we become stuck in the failure and sin and disappointment and discouragement of the past, and when this happens, we will never go forward to the new thing God has for us. This shows us that there is a sense in which we must remember the past, in terms of God’s great work on our behalf. There is also a sense in which we must forsake and forget the past, with all its discouragement and defeat, and move on to what God has for us in the future. It’s good to remember what God has done, but this shouldn’t keep us from noticing the new things God is doing in the present.

Do you feel stuck in the past? Is there something that has happened in your life that you can’t seem to move beyond? To find freedom from? God wants you to forget the former things so you don’t miss Him in the present. 


3. Expect New Things (Isa. 43:19)

God is doing a new thing because He is a God of new things. God wants to do new things because it reflects the immensity of His eternality and the limitlessness of His vast resources. He is inexhaustible. We need to avoid the temptation of constantly reverting to the miracle God did in our lives ten years ago and missing how He’s working today. God is always doing something new, and we must look expectantly for the new work God is doing in our lives. The sun rises each morning, demonstrating that our God is a God of new beginnings.

Now certainly, we can fall into the opposite ditch. We can make an idol out of the “new.” We can err as the people of Athens did who spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing (Acts 17:21). We can be tossed about by every wind of doctrine. But we don’t want to work against the new thing God wants to do.

When God says, “Now it springs up. Do you not perceive it?” He is saying, “Will you stay in step with my Spirit?” If we want to be present with God in the here and now, looking for the new things He wants to do in and around us, we need to stay in step with His Spirit. We need to be actively watching and listening, and then taking steps forward as He leads.

God makes a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Often, when God makes a promise, we worry about the details or the obstacles for the fulfillment of the promise. God replies to us, “Don’t worry about it at all. I will even make a road in the wilderness. I have resources and plans you don’t know about. Leave those problems to Me.”

God is able to bring about new things, even in seemingly impossible situations. God’s people are to live with a sense of holy expectation. In her new book Waking to the Goodness of God, Susie Larson writes, “Surely only goodness and mercy follow me. Surely, they do! If you don’t leave with a sense of expectancy, wondering what good things God is up to in and around you, that’s a sign that you need healing, truth, and renewed perspective. Cultivate an expectant heart around God’s goodness. Keep wondering what surprises God has up His sovereign sleeve. Even on difficult days, trust more in God’s ability to bring goodness than the Enemy’s intent to bring sadness. God doesn’t write the pain into our stories, but He will most certainly redeem it for His glory. Move from a posture of bracing for impact to one of holy expectancy.”

We are to expect good things. Will life sometimes bring disappointment, struggle and suffering? Yes. In fact Jesus promised that in this world we will have trouble. But the psalmist said this: “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”

Are you confident in God’s goodness? Do you live with a sense of holy expectancy that God is doing a new thing, even when you might not be able to see it? We can only be the people God has created us to be by going forward with God. Trust Him for something new. Watch for it.


4. Give God Glory (Isa. 43:20-21)

The fourth step in looking for new things until all things are made new is this: Give God glory. God provides water in the wilderness for animals and people alike. Notice He says, “the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.”

When we declare our praise for God, we are giving Him glory and fulfilling one of the purposes we were created for. We were created for God’s glory. First Corinthians 10:31 says, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Life is wasted when we do not live it for the God’s glory. On the other hand, life is full of meaning and joy and purpose when we do everything to God’s glory.

In his book God of All Things, Andrew Wilson writes,"The real God will land in the middle of your life like an elephant crashing through the ceiling, displacing your sin, changing all your priorities, and forcing you to reorient yourself around the weight of glory.” God’s glorious presence causes us to reorient our lives around this purpose: to glorify Him. To live our lives in a way that makes Him look glorious.


5. Hope for All Things New (Rev. 21:5)

We’ve come to the end of our passage in Isaiah, but we haven’t yet talked about the last part of our main point: Look for new things until all things are made new. To see the part about making all things new, we need to turn to Revelation. He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”

John has been given a vision of the new heaven and the new earth at the end of time. He sees the New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven, the place where God will dwell with His people forever. Since the very beginning, God has wanted to dwell with His people. He walked with Adam and Eve in the garden until sin interrupted their sweet fellowship. Since then, God has been making a way for sinful people to dwell in His holy presence. He did this through the tabernacle and the priesthood and the sacrificial system, then later through the temple. Then the Word became flesh and dwelt/tabernacled among us at the incarnation. Then after the resurrection and ascension of Christ, God sent His Spirit to dwell inside of us. The presence of God coming closer and closer. And in eternity we will live in unbroken fellowship with God forever, where there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain.

The one seated on the throne, God Himself, says, I am making everything new!” This is the consummation of God’s work of renewal and redemption, the work that has begun here and now. Here we get a brief glimpse at the thinking behind God’s eternal plan. He allowed sin and its destruction in order to do a greater work of making all things new. We often wish Adam and Eve would never have eaten the fruit. But we fail to realize that redeemed humanity is greater than innocent humanity, that we gain more in Jesus than we ever lost in Adam. God’s perfect state is one of redemption, not innocence.

When God finally completes this work of making all things new, they will stay new. Nothing will wear out or decay, and no one will age. There is coming a day when God will redeem everything. Everything in your life that you think is beyond redemption, beyond fixing, God will redeem. He will make all things new.


Look for New Things Until All Things Are Made New

Let me circle back to the question I asked at the beginning: Is there an area of your life that feels stagnant, stale, old and tired, lifeless? Hear these words spoken over that area of your life: We worship a God of new things, so look for new things until all things are made new.

  1. Remember God’s Faithfulness

  2. Forget the Former Things

  3. Expect New Things

  4. Give God Glory

  5. Hope for All Things New


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