A brand new beginning

Olu JegedeDevotional

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As we start a new year, I felt to share a reflection that I believe will spur us into a brand new season.
You may be asking what difference does a day make. After all a new year is really just another day. As I pondered on this I realized that the celebration of a new year is something that goes back thousands of years ago. For much of recorded history humanity has observed the sun, and moon, and the earths planetary movements pertaining to both. This is largely because we determine our weather patterns, and seasons from these movements. And of course the seasons facilitate the provision of food and sustenance for humanity. And so a new year historically is a powerful time of reflection. After-all the earth has traversed its way completely around the sun, and just as it begins another course of giving life, so symbolically we look at our lives, and brace ourselves for a new year.

In Isaiah 43, the prophet speaks as well of a brand new beginning to his desperate listeners. Assyria had ravaged ancient Israel, and now they were in exile in a foreign land. It was definitely a cause for dejection. Yet these are the prophets words:

Isaiah 43:18-19
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

I find 3 things to share from the words of Isaiah

Firstly, he challenges them to forget the mistakes of the past. This advise may be difficult to apply, particularly if the mistakes of the past have gotten you into the trouble you are in today. Realistically speaking, you may actually need to remember the past, so as to avoid the same pitfalls. However, this is not the kind of forgetting Isaiah is talking about. He speaks to bitter regret that stems from sin, failure, inadequacy and brokenness. His words are designed to set us free from the past, realizing that God owns the future, and that our past need not determine our future.

Secondly, this forgetting is designed to free us from the fear of failure. The prophet explains this more in verse 1 of chapter 43

But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine

Gods solution to fear is to simply command us NOT to fear. He doesn’t offer a 12 step process, or self help hints. He simply states out of creative authority, that since He is the author of our lives, He his powerful enough to set us free from fear. It’s as if God is saying “don’t you know who I am. Here are my titles…… I am powerful enough to come to your aid”. Knowing who he is, gives him credibility, and allows an open heart to believe that He can vanquish our fears. Can I encourage you like Isaiah did? As you go into this brand new year, DO NOT FEAR. Lean hard on God, and allow him to soothe your fears away. Be confident that your God is your body guard, and he is able to change your tomorrow, freeing you from fears of yesterday.

Finally God says, to “see”. In verse 19, he says look and see, I am doing a new thing. This is where my title for this devotion comes from. He is really doing a new thing. We may not know what it looks like, but we need to look. This looking comes from an internal vision. It comes from a place of faith, where we believe that the Lord wants to do something grand in our lives in this new season. You may not have a vision quite yet, or its foggy as to what you are looking for. That’s ok. Just keep looking. Look to God by your consistency in walking in relationship with Him, and as you focus on Him, things will become plain to you.

So rest with the ancient Israelites. Enjoy the prophets declaration that a brand new beginning is coming your way in this new year.

– Pastor Olu Jegede