By Ps. Mark Banyard
This new beginning which God wants to bring to us has to do with not just our thinking, but also our hearts. When God wants to bring us into a new season or a new beginning, it does not matter who is speaking from the pulpit because chances are, he will come with the same message. Isn’t it wonderful that God doesn’t give up, that He perseveres, that He keeps knocking on the door, so that He gets us to where He wants us to be not just for our benefit, but for His glory?
Deuteronomy 4 :32-35 reads, 32 “For ask now concerning the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created man on the earth, and ask from one end of heaven to the other
whether any great thing like this has happened, or anything like it has been heard. 33 Did any people ever hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and live? 34 Or did God ever try to go and take for Himself a nation from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, by wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? 35 To you it was shown, that you might know that the Lord Himself is God; there is none other besides Him.
Verse 35 tells us the reason why God did all these things – that you might know the Lord is God. In a new beginning, God will take us from one place to another or from one season to another. He always moves miraculously by His power so that when we reach the place that He wants us to go, we do not forget Him. When we become comfortable, there is a tendency for us to put our lives on cruise control and begin to think that somehow where we are today is due to our own power and strength. That is why God from generation to generation keeps renewing the stories so that each generation will have its own. When God moves in our generation, He moves in such a way that we carry a testimony, so that as we raise our children we can teach them of God’s love, His grace and His ways. The next generation in turn needs their own experiences with God so it becomes a living testimony for them to pass on.
Verses 36-38 continues, Out of heaven He let you hear His voice, that He might instruct you; on earth He showed you His great fire, and you heard His words out of the midst of the fire. 37 And because He loved your fathers, therefore He chose their descendants after them; and He brought you out of Egypt with His Presence, with His mighty power, 38 driving out from before you nations greater and mightier than you, to bring you in, to give you their land as an inheritance, as it is this day. It was God’s presence which delivered the Israelites out of Egypt, not Moses. How easy to remember the leader who led us out of a place rather than the God He represented. The Hebrews needed to leave Egypt in order to enter the Promised Land. We must be willing to leave in order to enter in.
Verse 39 says, Therefore know this day, and consider it in your heart, that the Lord Himself is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other. Our God is the only true and living God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. All other gods are idols created from the imagination and hands of man. Thus verse 40 tells us, You shall therefore keep His statutes and His commandments which I command you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which the Lord your God is giving you for all time.
God is leading His people to a new place. Sometimes He tells us where, at other times He does not. Abraham was called to leave the place where he had called home. He obeyed, stepped out in faith and left without knowing where he was going. Sometimes this is what God requires of us. Will you trust Him? Often His call is accompanied by a promise of a new beginning. In the last five months that I have been talking about the first steps in the beginning of new beginnings. God is saying, “Would you step out?” It is a process that has to be initiated. It took the Israelites more than forty years to arrive at Canaan. They had to leave Egypt not just physically, but their hearts had to be delivered from Egypt in order to move forward in trust and obedience to God. It was after forty years that they moved into the place of promise. Likewise, God has made a promise to you. Because He is faithful, you can begin to celebrate today the fulfillment of the promise even as you wait for it to be fulfilled. If we do not have a burning desire in our hearts to be in the place that God wants us to be, we will find something else that seems more exciting. Then we will give ourselves to that and find that we have actually established ourselves in the wilderness which was only a place that we were meant to pass through.
Let us review Isaiah 43:19, Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. God is always concerned that we pay attention to what He is doing. When God speaks to us about the beginning of new beginnings, the first part of it is the ‘seed period.’ It starts by hearing the word, then you receive it in faith and later God gives you little tiny seeds that you begin to plant or rather, He plants in you. If you expect a full garden or a full harvest the day that God promises you something, chances are you will be disappointed and you will not be able to endure the process of nurturing required for the seed to become the fruitful tree it was meant to be.
Whenever God calls us to leave from one place and go to another, it is the journey in between that prepares us to enter in. If we bypass it, then even when we get to the place we were meant to enter, we will not be able to possess it. We would have missed that which was meant to transform us, to enable us to fully appropriate and embrace the gift that God is giving us. Are you committed to the journey?