Series: The New Humanity
Preacher: J. Murdock
Reflection: Tim Gillespie
Live Wonder: Verity Were
Live Adventure: Zan Long
Live Beyond: Moe Stiles
Live Purpose: Vanessa Rivera
Editor: Becky De Oliveira
Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Isaiah 43:1-7,18-19 in the Complete Jewish Bible (CJB). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: Isaiah 43:19 is of particular interest in today’s devotional.
I am doing something new;
it’s springing up — can’t you see it?
I am making a road in the desert,
rivers in the wasteland.
There are some pretty important things to note in this text. First, God is expressing His desire for us to understand that something new can still happen, and it can happen as a result of the handiwork of God. Creation was not a stagnant event but an ongoing relationship that God has with His people. God also has an unrelenting desire to save as many people as He can. This has a way of working itself out in the innovation of God as it relates to the needs of people throughout the ages.
And God wants us to see it. It is happening now, even now, as we live and breathe in the Kingdom of God.
Then He says that He is making a way (road) in the harsh places. (Deserts—and if you have ever lived in the desert you know what this means. There is a way to be sustained when there is no sustenance around. Deserts can be desolate places, especially if you don’t have a way through them.)
The last statement that is made in this text is perhaps the most interesting: [I am making] rivers in the wasteland. Why is this so interesting? It is interesting not because of what God can do—He made all of it, so making something is not new for us. But it is interesting because what He is providing in the wasteland is so much more than what we would have asked for. He is literally making a new way though the desolation. We only needed a spring or a stream to be sustained, but if you can’t use the road He makes, He will make a river to ride down.
This is the abundance of God recognized in His innovation for finding us a way out! How powerful is God to understand that we may need more than one way out (road, river) and that we need it to be new to understand it. This shows not only His innovation and creativity, but also His care for His creations.
Recalibrate: Where in your life has God created roads and rivers to travel down? What does the desert look like in your life? How can it be changed to become a highway to get you to where God wants you to go?
Respond: This is a text to pray over to ask for help to see where God is making rivers and roads for you! Take 30 minutes to reflect and listen to what God is innovating in your life today and this week.
Research: This is a good commentary on the book of Isaiah.
Remember: “Behold, I am doing a new thing” (Isaiah 43:19, ESV).
Dr. Timothy Gillespie is lead pastor of Crosswalk Church in Redlands, CA. He also teaches at several universities and consults on mission integration for Adventist Health.
Using regular bubble solution (either homemade or store-bought) blow bubbles with your little one. This is probably an activity you do a regular basis. Point out how the bubbles don’t last and pop easily. Next make unpoppable bubble mixture using six parts water, one part corn syrup and two parts dish soap. Explain to your child that trying something new, or even changing the way you do something slightly, can sometimes make it better.
Find someone who is very different from you.They might like books and you like sports. They might like quiet and you might like loud. You may already have someone in mind but if you don’t, maybe you could imagine who that person would be. Know that Jesus calls every type of person to be on Team Jesus. What are some good things about you and about the person who is the opposite of you?
I have some amazingly creative people in my life! People who could turn the most mundane objects into works of art. My sister is one of those people! She is a fashionista and a half— she has the ability to turn old material into the most beautiful outfits. Some clothes that I think have lived beyond their used by dates will appear on her or someone else that she has clothed as a whole new outfit, completely repurposed and made into a brand spanking new look.
You guys are living in one of the most exciting times in our world’s history, technologically speaking! You are seeing more changes now that I can remember seeing as I was growing up. You have access to information—and the world, for that matter—at your fingertips. I had no such thing when I was your age.
We are told that God is “doing a new thing.” That’s because God is God and He can do that, but here’s what’s even more amazing—God is doing a new thing through His created beings! You and I have an amazing opportunity to be part of what God is doing, especially in the recreation process of this world! We can be a part of the new thing that God is doing—both in our individual lives, and in our family, church, and the world. I mean, the sky’s the limit. (Or is it?) What do you think the new thing is God is doing in your life or in your family’s life? Can you name it? If you can’t see it or name it, my prayer for you today is for God to reveal what He is doing in your life— and the lives of those around you—that is new and renewing!
Verse 18 tells us to forget the former things and not think about the past so much. For some people, this is so easy. If you’re like me, you know this is the biggest struggle. I could sit and think about all the different things I could have said and done in a certain situation for a long time. While there is value in self-reflection, we can’t stay in the past. If we are going to grow and be molded by God, we need to be willing to change our current ways. How do you feel about change? Is it something you try to avoid? Something you enjoy? Do you feel like you’ve changed for the worse or for the better?
Verity Were is a registered nurse at the largest pediatric intensive care unit in Sydney, Australia. She attends Kellyville Adventist church with her husband and two toddlers.
Zan Long is GRC director for faith development for ages 0-17. She lives in Sydney, Australia, and serves at her local church in nearby Kellyville.
Moe Stiles is lead pastor at Oasis Church in Vancouver, WA. She is married to Adrian and is mother to Caleb and Johnny.
Vanessa Rivera is a therapist at a community mental health center in Denver, CO, and serves as the faith engagement pastor at Boulder Church.