Gwen Williams

Scripture: Isaiah 42:1-9

Prayer: Father God, thank you for giving us a new day and a clean slate on which to write. Thank you for keeping us safe in your bosom and granting us new mercies daily. Thank you for being God of Comfort as we journey through this pandemic. Father, thank you for enabling me to share a few words and may they be for your glory. Amen.

Isaiah speaks of new things in our scripture text as well as in other scriptures. In Isaiah 43:18-19, he says “Forget the former things, don’t dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing.”

In Isaiah 65:16-17, he writes, “Because the former troubles are forgotten and hidden from my eyes, I will create a new heaven and a new earth, the former things will not be remembered nor will they come to mind.”

Isaiah is best known as the Hebrew prophet who predicted the coming of the Messiah, who would redeem the people from their sins. His name means “Yahweh saves” or “Yahweh is salvation.” His main message is focused on judgment and salvation.

He was married to a prophetess and had three sons. He served as a court prophet and with the death of King Uzziah, he had a vision of an angel from heaven. He was fearful because he felt that he was a man of unclean lips and lived among unclean people. The angel touched his lips with hot coal and told him his sins were forgiven.

Then he heard the voice of God asking, “Who will go? Whom shall I send?” In gratitude for being purged of his sin, he replied, “Send me,” and God commissioned him to go and prophesy to the people. He prophesied to the southern kingdom of Judah.

The book of Isaiah is divided into three sections: (1) events leading up to the captivity and exile in Babylon, (2) redemption and restoration (Comfort), and (3) the Messianic Reign. Today’s message comes from the Messianic Reign and describes the suffering servant.

In each of the scriptures, the word “Behold,” is a command to pay attention, fix it on your mind. This word is used 1,298 times in the Bible. God’s new thing was something that God had never done before. He was going to make a path in the wilderness and water to spring forth in the desert.

When new things occur in our lives, old things disappear. They have lived out their time. You can’t live in the past forever, thinking about what could’ve, should’ve or would’ve happen. Stop second guessing yourself.

New things mean new blessings. You will have experiences beyond your wildest dreams or expectations. Give God space to work new things in your life. Do not give God your plan or agenda and expect Him to approve it. Rather, give Him a clean slate and a pure heart. God will change your life, your attitude and your thinking.

Because of COVID-19, we have learned many new things. They include how to count to 20 seconds, how to make and use hand sanitizers, how to wear gloves and masks, how to make masks from bandannas and other materials, and social distancing. We have learned how to use technology for worship, meetings, and visiting family and friends, for online shopping, for distance learning, and for tele-health doctor visits, how to be safe at home and a lot of new terminology.

We have also learned some of the things that we can no longer do such as hugs and kisses, dining at your favorite restaurant, attend indoor theater and entertainment, visit the spa, barber, beauty shop and nail salon, celebrate special events with family and friends, and travel on cruise ships.

2021 will be better because of our prayers, fasting and meditations on God’s word. God will clear your path. Isaiah tells us that God will be with us as we pass through the flood, fire and hardships. God wants you to step out of your comfort zone. Be creative. God likes new things. In Revelation 21:5, He says, “Behold, I will make all things new.”

As we embark on 2021, consider (1) that it’s okay to look backwards for a brief time, but we must keep moving. Open new doors and step through them. (2) When God gives you something new, do not reject it by hanging on to the old thing. (3) New beginnings make happy endings. (4) Close the door to the past, open the door to the future, take a deep breath and step through the door and start a new life.

Closing prayer: Father God, it is time for us to forget the past, forget the mistakes and focus on what you are doing in our lives today. I know you are doing new things. You have placed new people in our lives, closed old doors, while preparing us for new opportunities. The process may be painful at times, but we know it is for our good and we will be stronger and wiser. Thank you for the clean slate. This I pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.