“See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.” (Isaiah 42:9)
God made that promise to Israel about the coming Messiah. He said, “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations.” (Isaiah 42:1)
It was certainly a long-awaited and exciting promise. The problem was that when God made that promise to Israel, they were at their lowest point. The nation had been annihilated; its holy city of Jerusalem had been profaned. Babylonian soldiers had met no resistance as they marched into the city, into the Temple, even into the Holy of Holies. The best and brightest were carried off in chains to Babylon.
Psalm 137 describes how these Hebrew captives felt, “By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. There on the poplars we hung our harps, for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” How can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a foreign land?” (Psalm 137:1–4)
2020 is here. A new year. A new decade. And I believe God is declaring new things for you. Hopeful things. Wonderful things.
But isn’t it hard, sometimes, to grasp hope in the middle of Babylon? It’s hard to hope after loss. After disappointment…to “get past” the past in order to move on to new things. You may have even hung up your harp on the poplar branch since there’s nothing to sing about.
But God declares new things for us. In fact, that same passage promises us this, “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out…” (Isaiah 42:3) If you’ve been broken or neglected, he won’t cast you aside.
So, as we head into the ’20s together, let’s realize that the former things have taken place and there’s nothing we can do about that. But let’s hold onto hope for the new things God has in store for us.
We’d love for you to come explore those new things with us on Sundays! See you then.
Jim Mann, Ph.D. pastors New Life Church at Robson Ranch. This interdenominational church meets at the Robson Clubhouse on Sunday mornings at 8:30 a.m. Visit www.newlifedenton.org for more information or www.drjimmann.com.