Rev. Dr. Ronald M. Braxton, Senior Pastor, Metropolitan AME Church
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Scripture Lesson Isaiah 43: 16-21: 16 This is what the LORD says— he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, 17 who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and reinforcements together, and they lay there, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick: 18 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. 20 The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, 21 the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.
Have you ever been in a situation in which you need to hear a good word? In the scripture, the Israelites found themselves in a bad way; they had lost everything. Their homes had been ravaged, families were broken up, their livelihoods were lost. Their worship and their faith had been put to the test and had come up short. Where was their God that had delivered them from Pharaoh’s Army? Where was their God who had spoken to Moses through the burning bush; who had parted the Red Sea; who had drawn water from a rock; who had provided manna from the sky for them to eat every day? Had God gone back on His word to be with them always?
The worst is when your faith and worship come up short; because that’s the only thing you have left to hold onto. Such was the crisis of the Israelites.
Change and transition in life can become most challenging. We get comfortable with things as they are. Here is some “breaking news” for you: Life has its own peculiar way of breaking up our “comfort levels”. Nothing can remain the same. Breaking up and breaking through is necessary to get to the next level. It’s painful; it’s not easy. Today, many are facing the challenges of the financial crisis, loss of a job, home foreclosure, a good marriage gone bad. Change and transition alone bring their own strife.
The scripture says at verse 19: “I am about to a new thing”. When God says that, you need to get ready to go through some stuff!
Everyone experiences transition, breaking up situations, life-altering moments. Then out of nowhere, a friend, a relative – or even a stranger – calls, with just the encouragement that you needed to hear at the right time. The right word at the right moment can make all the difference in your life; it can be your sunshine on a cloudy day, on a day when you wanted to just throw in the towel.
For the Israelites, they needed an encouraging word from God. Jesus went to the garden to experience a word from God before his Good Friday. He said: “Father, I need a word, a GOOD word, to get through this.”
Brothers and Sisters, the scripture today brings us a good word from God; a word of hope, encouragement, comfort, and joy.
1. God Cares about You! Verses 20 and 21 of the scripture says: 20 “The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, 21 the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.” Know that God personally cares for YOU; in His eyes, you are a winner – no matter what life throws in your path. Rest assured that you can say to yourself in worst of your crisis: “He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own!” You can cry out in the midst of it all: “Jesus love me, this I know!”
2. God is Able! One good word is that “God cares about you!” Another good word is: God is able! He makes a way out of no way; He brings chariots, armies, water, a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert. Verse 20 says: “The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen…” In the midst of all your challenges, the good word is that GOD IS ABLE to deliver you, to carry you through, to turn your darkness into light. When the doctor says he doesn’t know what to do, God is able. God makes your enemy your footstool; He is able to do what is impossible.
3. God is About to Do a NEW THING in you! Verse 18-19 says: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” Yesterday’s blessings are overshadowed by what God is doing in you today. There is no need for you to rely on your PAST. God says: “Don’t even remember the former things, because I am about to do a NEW THING in you”. Don’t consider what you did yesterday, don’t think about what your Momma did for you, what your Granddaddy did for you – God says: “I am about to do a NEW THING.” But you are going to have to go through some things to get there. It’s like when the dentist says: “This won’t hurt a bit…” you know to get ready for some pain!
When you hear God say: “I am about to do a new thing”, keep in mind these three words: Hold…Keep…Trust: HOLD on! KEEP faith in God. TRUST in the Lord.
No matter how heavy the burden – HOLD on! No matter how dark the moment –KEEP your faith in God! No matter that the bills are coming due and you don’t have the money in the bank – TRUST in the Lord!
This is a good word for you today:
Beams of heaven as I go,
through the wilderness below,
guide my feet in peaceful ways,
turn my midnights into days.
When in the darkness I would grope,
faith always sees a star of hope,
and soon from all life’s grief and danger
I shall be free someday.
I do not know how long ’twill be,
nor what the future holds for me,
but this I know: if Jesus leads me,
I shall get home someday.
By Charles Albert Tindlay
- Sermon Notes: When God Is Present
- Sermon Notes: Often Adrift, But Never Alone
- Sermon Notes: He'll Be Back
- Sermon Notes: When Mountains Loom Larger Than Faith
- Sermon Notes: Hope for Weeping Eyes