Church Theme for this Year: God is Doing a New Thing in his Church
Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
"I am preparing to do a new thing in the Earth."
The instant these words are read you may immediately think about what is going on in our country and the world. Things are at such a flashpoint in our world, It would be easy to wonder if God's "new thing" was in relationship to some horrible event that might take place. This could lead to a sense of panic and fear.
This world deserves judgment, so does the nation where we live, and so do every single one of us for our sins, but in the mercies of God, He offers so much other than that.
My concern was answered not in words but by a clear impression that came with a tremendous sense of peace that God is still in control in the midst of it all.
"Shall you not know it?"
When the Lord asks, "Shall you not know it?" He is saying, "Do you want to open yourself to My new thing? Are you willing to embrace it?"
This verb "know" in the Hebrew language is far more than cerebral awareness of insight. It has to do with the total giving of yourself, as in the husband-wife relationship within marriage. This "knowing" is a total receptivity, a total embrace. The Lord is saying, "I'm going to do a new thing. Will you embrace it? Will you receive it into your life?"
Our reaction should be Yes, Lord. I want to be open to whatever You do. I want to be available to Your time for me. If, in my world, You're going to do something new, then there's every reason for me to believe there's something new You want to do in me to prepare me for such a time.
The setting for God's "new thing"
My personal view is that this passage takes place at a time preceding Babylonian captivity, yet they were captive to the politics and power of their circumstance. The Lord was addressing a people in exile, at a time of intense difficulty. Though not the same as Egyptian captivity and slavery, Israel was distanced from the confidence of their home setting and under the duress of a foreign power.
These things happen to all of us. Perhaps you are distanced from the place that God made for you, not enjoying the blessing of what He intended for your life. Never accept the things that are tormenting in life as though they were predestined for you—they weren't. God's intended place for you, as announced over and over in His Word, is benevolently planned, with high promise and purpose.
There was also the threat of an invasion from foreign powers. The engines of war were set up and ready to besiege the city. There are circumstances in our lives in which we feel besieged. It's wearying. You live in the insecurity of never knowing when the problem will erupt that will eventuate in the crashing defeat of something you'd hoped for. Finances have a way of doing this to us—the uncertainty of being able to make it from here to there. Relationships have that same kind of quality when things become stressed to the breakpoint.
This was the setting in which God said to His people, "I am going to do a new thing." Looking at the setting is important because we see how parallel it is to circumstances we face in our world today. Regardless of what may be speculated about current events and an uncertain future, if God can fashion what He wants to in us, we'll be ready for our place in whatever happens next in the world. That's why I'm most concerned about how God's "new thing" applies to you and me. God reminds us of His role and His works.
Sometimes it seems like as soon as God does a good thing, the Adversary comes back to get even, just as Pharaoh pursued Israel after they'd been delivered from Egypt. As Israel approaches the Red Sea and begins to break through to victory, they look back and see Pharaoh's army is coming. The very path of their deliverance has become their enemy's path of pursuit!
God says, "Just you wait and see. This is gonna be good." The Israelites passed through the Red Sea, and the waters closed in on their enemy. God is our complete Deliverer; He will not take us just halfway there.
"Do not remember the former things..."
God no sooner reminds us of the mighty new thing He did at the Red Sea, then His next words are, "Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old" (v. 18). He's not saying that they're unimportant, but He's admonishing us not to confine Him to what He's already done. Moses could have never dreamed what was going to happen when he took an obedient stance, holding out the rod and speaking the words the Lord had told him to speak. He was probably just as amazed at what happened as was everybody else.
The miracle at the Red Sea was beyond anyone's ability to speculate or guess, and there are new things God wants to do for us that are beyond anything we can fathom, invent, ask, or imagine. Ephesians 3:20 says that God is able to do "exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us."
Perhaps you are reading this right now and facing a situation so overwhelming that unless God does something that transcends human imagination, you don't know of any way that it will work out. Maybe what the Lord's getting ready to change is you rather than the circumstance. Nevertheless He promises that He's going to do "a new thing." Why doesn't God tell us what His "new thing" is?
Why does God project to do a new thing without giving us an indication of what it's going to be, or even that it's approaching?
First, He withholds telling us in order to keep us from trying to anticipate His ways and thereby limit Him. Our part in His new thing is to let Him work in us a readiness to respond. When God says that He's going to do a new thing, there's something very reassuring about the fact that it will be done right.
Second, He doesn't tell us in order to free us from attempting to drum up faith. If God told us the new thing He was going to do, we'd try to help Him, and all we'd be doing is getting in the way.
Third, God wants to demonstrate His exhaustless resource of wisdom and power. As a father delights to do things that rejoice his children, or a husband would love to bring home a gift for his wife that demonstrates his love for her as a total and complete surprise, so God desires to show us something wonderful of Himself that we haven't even figured out yet. It doesn't matter if we know what the "new thing" is or not. Our hearts can be filled with hope knowing that God is going to do it; and we know that when He does, it will be enough to handle the situation, no matter how impossible it seems to us.
"Now it shall spring forth."
Just because you don't see it doesn't mean it hasn't started. Right now, the Bible says, it's going to spring forth. It isn't something in the future.
However what this text actually says is: "now it shall sprout." Jesus, in speaking of the entry of His kingdom, said, "First the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head" (Mark 4:28). In other words, preliminary to even the visibility of the blade above the ground, there is the sprout beneath it.
What the Lord wants us to understand when He says He's going to do a new thing is that it is in process already. You can't see it yet, but it's set in motion; just like after a long, cold winter, there's a change going on inside the Earth underground, preparing to bring the approach of spring. Beyond what has perhaps been the cold, bitter winter of your soul—or the drought of a long dry spell—the Lord says He's set in motion that which will bring about deliverance unto a time of growth, development, refreshing, and fruitfulness. When God's "new thing" sprouts in you, it will be with the fragrance and beauty of the springtime of His purpose in you.
"Your world is one in which I want to do a new thing, but I want you to recognize, it's a new thing in you, and a new thing for you.
Open to God's new thing in your life
How can we open to God's "new thing"? Walk in simple obedience. Keep on loving Jesus, praising the Lord every day. Feed on His Word.
Make a mental commitment to do the right thing, and then say, "Lord, work it in me." God's called you to His terms, not that He might manipulate you, but that He might bless you; because all of His ways are righteousness and peace.
The Lord is calling us to open to "a new God-thing" because it's sprouting—even now! He wants each of us to embrace it in our humanness, our personal life, our family, and our relationships. He's declared He will do it in His eternal Word, and He's whispering it today by His powerful Holy Spirit. As He does, our response becomes pivotal. God may be doing a new thing, but it can blow right by us—not because He's indifferent about our experiencing, knowing, and being transformed by it, but because it calls for our participation, and He will never force that on anyone.
UPCOMING SERVICES & EVENTS
February 19, 2017 (Sun), 5:00 pm
Church Fellowship - Unity Service Location: Maranatha Community Church (Pastor: Stephen Dyson)
1123 East Redondo Blvd., Inglewood, CA 90302
The Voices of Praise and Totally Committed to Christ Praise Dancers will minister. Pastor Dandridge will give a short unity message.
February 26, 2017 (Sun), 3:30 pm
Church Fellowship at Greater New Morning Star: Anniversary Services for Pastor Demetrius Griffin
Location: Greater New Morning Star 210 W. Florence Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90003
Pastor Dandridge will bring the message and Dorothy Pitchford chorale will sing.
March 8, 2017 (Wed), 7:00 pm
Church Council Meeting
All church ministry and auxiliary leadership should plan to attend.
March 15 (Wed) - 19 (Sun)
Annual Shiloh Baptist Church - Trenton, New Jersey Fellowship to celebrate anniversary of son of Holy Light, Pastor Darrell Armstrong
Pastor Dandridge will be speaking at the 11:00 am worship service.