What is it about something “new” that attracts us? A new house, a new car, a new job…a new arrival in the home, a child…what is it about “newness” that is so exciting, so attracting? Perhaps the first thing is that it has no past. It is a thing of the present moment. Secondly, there is no flaw in it. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and often the flaws are overlooked for the joy of having the new thing. But thirdly, the “new thing” is desired because of the future, what it will be, how it will be used, how it will be experienced and enjoyed. So, if we direct our attention to God’s “…new thing,” (Is. 42:9) of what is He speaking? Why does He call it new, and what is His purpose in accomplishing it? One thing is certain in our consideration of Him, the “new thing” will certainly exceed our expectations.
In Isaiah 43:19, the “new thing” is described as two things. The first is, “…I will make a way in the wilderness.” The second is, “…(I will) make rivers in the desert.” What does He mean? Moses had asked God in Exodus 33 that he might know His ways, in order to KNOW Him. Essential to the true knowledge of God is the knowledge of His ways. We can come to Him by only ONE WAY, Christ. But then we get to the issue of “rivers.” What does He mean? Jesus speaks of “RIVERS of living water.” (Jn. 7:37) We know that He is speaking here of the Spirit of God, but do we grasp the import of what He is saying. This NEW THING is Himself, the Spirit of God. He is NEW, fresh, unchanging, unaffected by the happenings and conditions of the past, and ever increasing the extent of the horizon as to what He will do if we trust Him. RIVERS…do we understand that He is speaking of power here? He is speaking of the power of a Life, the Life of Christ by the Spirit.
Since Jesus said that the will of God is to be done on this earth, “as it is in heaven, ” He most certainly will provide the NEWNESS of the Spirit in His fullness, in this NEW day, for the accomplishing of that will, because in heaven, all is by the Spirit. We so often associate the subject of “Newness” with a change in circumstances, or condition…and this is true, as ” the Christian life is a series of multiplied new beginnings,” and sometimes those new beginnings are in new places. But the “Newness of the Spirit” is present, IN our circumstances.
Moses prayed in Psalm 90, “…satisfy us EARLY with Thy mercy.” Does God not want to give us the freshness, and the power of the Spirit of God “early?” Is this not the privilege and the position of the believer, that he should receive the fullness of the Spirit for the new day? Christ is new every day, for He changes not.
One last thought…In Isaiah 43:22, we find that the people of Israel did not avail themselves of this new thing, because, “…thou hast not called upon Me, O Jacob.” May we believe Him this day who said, “Call upon Me, and I WILL answer you, and show you great and mighty things that you do not know.” (Jer. 33:3) The “rivers” are there. The everlasting “well of water” is in the heart. Do we do Christ an injustice by not asking Him, and believing Him for it? The receiving of the fullness begins with the individual alone with God. Then it continues with “two or more” gathered in His name, and praying. After this, it proceeds to the assembly of the local body of believers. And then….where is the limit? May God give us this day to KNOW the rivers of living water…to be satisfied with Him, so that others may taste and see, and know that He is truly the living God.