*Article was published in the January edition of The Herald; a monthly publication of Green Hill Baptist Church.
“Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it?”
As we move into a new year, there is a sense of old things passing away and new things coming. We make resolutions, which are well-intended commitments of things we plan to change in the coming year. For example, on the physical level, we may plan exercise more or change our eating habits. We may plan to cut back on our Krispy Kreme doughnut intake! On the spiritual level, we may plan to get more involved in the ministry of the church. That may mean joining a Sunday School class or adding Sunday and Wednesday evening services to our weekly schedule. These are well-intended actions, but if we’re not careful we can soon find ourselves defaulting to the same old routines.
A new year brings challenges of unavoidable changes. For some of us, that may mean getting used to writing 2015 on our checks rather than 2014. It may mean reprogramming ourselves to accept the changes and opportunities of a new year and new season. This is similar to the message the prophet Isaiah brought to God’s people Israel. Assyria had invaded the fortified cities of Judah, which ultimately led to the fall of Jerusalem. The Babylonians had carried Judah into exile, so chapter’s 40-55 record what happened during that exilic period.
It’s in these troubled times that Isaiah brings a word of encouragement to God’s people. He reminds them that God had not forgotten them in their time of need. Not only had God not forgotten them, but He had planned to deliver them and restore them as a people and nation. Furthermore, He would bring judgment against their enemies. God had a wonderful plan for His people, but laying hold of it would require their obedience.
Church, God has a wonderful plan for us. He has a new season of opportunities for us to enjoy, but laying hold of it will require our obedience. Let me share three simple statements that we need to consider as we move into this new year:
God tells Israel not to call to mind the former things or ponder the things of the past. Don’t allow things in the past to hinder you from laying hold of the future. Sin often holds us back and it can come in many different forms – from past hurts and unforgiveness to addictions and strongholds. Is there anything holding us back that we need to let go?
God gives Israel a word of promise that He will do a new thing. God has given us His Word and it is filled with wonderful promises, but we must take hold of them. We must receive God’s Word as truth for our lives. Is there truth from God that you need to take hold of right now?
Unless we are letting go of sin and taking hold of God’s truth, we will not be able to move forward and enjoy the new thing that God will do. Friends, I don’t want to miss what God has planned. So, let’s let go, let’s take hold, and let’s move forward together! Happy New Year!