Can God, who never changes, also do a new thing? Although this is not a trick question, the answer initially may not be that obvious. Throughout Scripture, God reassures us that no matter what we do, He remains constant and changeless (Malachi 3:6-8). What He is telling us is that His essential nature never changes. We may fail Him, but He will never fail to keep His promises to us. He will always love us, deliver us from trouble and provide for our needs.
Although who He is and His purposes toward us never change, the ways He accomplishes His purposes can and do change. God works through His Spirit, frequently breaking out of old established patterns. For example, in Isaiah 43:15-21, God tells His people, “I am about to do a new thing. Now it springs forth. Do you not perceive it?”
When God pronounced this to Israel, they had been exiles in Babylon for decades. They were demoralized and had lost sight of their call to be God's chosen people. They remembered an earlier time in their history when they were in bondage in Egypt, and they longed for God to deliver them again in a mighty way. God was telling them, “Pay attention! I am going to do something new and do it in a very short time.”
God was about to deliver them in a way they never would have suspected. Instead of raising up a new Moses, He would act through a pagan ruler, Cyrus, the King of Persia, who would conquer Babylon and allow the Jewish people to return to their homeland. God was going to do something totally new, something His people had never experienced before. They would have to watch, be open and listen for it. They would need to be ready for the new way that God would act as His Spirit worked among them.
Another powerful example of God doing a new thing was seen in the ministry of Jesus Christ. The Pharisees were dedicated to keeping the Law and had developed a complex system of rules they thought helped them do this. But Jesus consistently violated their rules. The Pharisees were convinced that Jesus was breaking the Law, but He repeatedly told them, “I have not come to destroy (misinterpret) the Law, but to fulfill (correctly interpret) it” (Matthew 5:17). Jesus interpreted the Law to them, trying to help them understand that the essence of the Law was heart motivation, not a set of external behaviors (“You have heard it said, but I say to you…”).
The Pharisees never understood the new thing that God was doing in their midst through Jesus. In their blindness and inability to be open to God's Spirit, determined to maintain the status quo, they finally crucified Jesus, convinced that they were ridding themselves of a dangerous heretic.
When God does a new thing, it frequently catches people off guard and upsets them. But we must remain open to the move of His Spirit among us as He does something new. Two days ago, I sent a personal letter informing you of the transformation of HRock Church, HIM and WLI into Harvest Apostolic Center (HAC). This is much more than reorganization or a name change. God is doing something new in our midst, calling us into a new way of being His Church and bringing His Kingdom to the world.
In the weeks ahead, I will be explaining this new work of being an apostolic center and what God is calling you to as He does this new thing!
Come join us this Sunday at 9:30 a.m. or 11:30 a.m. I will be teaching on “The Harvest Is Young,” Part 2 of our current series on “Reaching the Harvest.”