Bible Society of South Africa

New Beginnings: Refocus on God – 17 January 2022

By Louise Gevers

Bible text(s)

19Watch for the new thing I am going to do.

It is happening already — you can see it now!

I will make a road through the wilderness

and give you streams of water there.

20Even the wild animals will honour me;

jackals and ostriches will praise me

when I make rivers flow in the desert

to give water to my chosen people.

21They are the people I made for myself,

and they will sing my praises!”

Isaiah 43:19-21GNBOpen in Bible reader

A New Year is a new beginning which provides opportunity for a fresh start. It’s an opportunity that people of faith can embrace in order to refresh their spirits and grow and flourish in their relationship with God in a new situation. God is a generous and loving Father whose “steadfast love … never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning…” (Lamentations 3:22, 23)

The wet garden, glistening in the sunlight, gives testimony to this as the sprinklers drench it. Everything looks fresh and vibrant as the tiny sunbirds flit busily from branch to branch, dipping their beaks into the abundance of little purple flowers, so different to during the many years of drought when the garden had become dry and depleted. But God didn’t abandon us then, rather, He used these difficulties to feed our faith.

Sadly pondering the difficulties of the drought instead of enjoying the delights of a fresh garden, or remaining fixated on the problems associated with the pandemic, instead of embracing the fresh promise of what God has in store for us this new year, would be foolish.

God’s word to His people through Isaiah was, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past”. (Isaiah 43:18, NIV) It was time for them to take a new step of faith and respond to God’s invitation to focus attentively on Him. His plan was to do something new, something amazing – “make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert”. It was time to drop everything else to get in step with God and relinquish the former things that had clouded their minds, challenged their faith and depleted their energy.

Providing water in the desert to quench their thirst would enable them to get through the wilderness one day at a time. But they had to be on board, something Jesus warned of when speaking about the coming of His Kingdom – losing focus on Him for salvation would mean losing altogether – something the Israelites had experienced before. Jesus’ graphic example was: “Remember Lot’s wife!” (Luke 17:32)

New beginnings are not always easy but focusing on God, who knows our needs, is fundamental in enabling us to look forward, with hope, to stability and answered prayers. The challenge of something new revitalizes our faith and establishes us more firmly in Him, putting a new song of praise on our lips and fostering new trust in our hearts.

Prayer: Gracious God, open my eyes to see and embrace the new things You are doing in our time. Refresh the wilderness of my heart by your life-giving Spirit that I may live joyfully in step with You each new day. Amen

Bible Society of South Africav.4.18.10
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