George Methodist church
New beginnings and the Holy Spirit
With Peter Veysie
George Methodist Church
Sunday 4th October 2020
8am 10am and 6pm
I have been quite overwhelmed over this series to find that the Lord is directing me through my research and studies to a specific scripture each Sunday. I have found them to be really on point when it comes to the subject we are dealing with and today is no different.
I was deeply drawn to read Isaiah 43:1-21 within the context of the Holy Spirit promising us New Beginnings and I really have a sense that as much as we are going through difficult times, the Holy Spirit is busy.
I was with ministers on Thursday as I head up the George central fraternal and we spoke about a time of Harvest that the Lord is getting us ready for and that the way in which it would happen may be different to the way it has happened in the past, but certainly with the Lord Jesus Christ being at the centre. We heard from the Lord that he would use less likely people and that the revival would happen from within the community. Young people especially will be raised up to follow Christ.
The context of the scripture for today is as follows :
Chapters 40-55, the portion of the book of Isaiah that deals with the end of the Babylonian exile, is often referred to as Second Isaiah. It begins with the words, “Comfort, comfort my people,” says your God. “Speak comfortably to Jerusalem; and call out to her that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received of Yahweh’s hand double for all her sins” (40:1-2).
The penalty mentioned in these verses is the exile. Because the people of Jerusalem sinned, God allowed Babylonia to destroy their city and to take them into exile as slaves. The Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem in 587 B.C., and took its inhabitants into exile soon thereafter. It is now five decades later, near the end of the exile. Most of the exiled people have been born in captivity in Babylonia. During this period, they have done a good deal of soul-searching. They have asked themselves if Yahweh is truly God and, if so, why he allowed the Babylonians to destroy Yahweh’s temple and to exile Yahweh’s people.
In short, Isaiah prophesied trouble ahead for Jerusalem because of the failure of its people to be faithful to Yahweh. It is clear in chapters 1-39 that the blame for the exile lays squarely at the feet of the people of Jerusalem. They have played the whore. The exile is the punishment for their sins.
The mood shifts in chapters 40-55, written by Second Isaiah (probably a disciple of the original Isaiah). Written near the end of the exile, these chapters begin with words of comfort (40:1-2) and hold out the promise of return to Jerusalem. Chapters 40 through 42:20 continue in that hopeful vein. Then 42:21-25 (the verses leading up to the text that we are considering) speaks of Yahweh’s anger because of the sins of the people. But the tone shifts back to hope and reassurance with 43:1, which begins with the word “But” and then reaffirms Yahweh’s love for his people and his plans for their future.
The fulfillment of this prophecy came through Cyrus II of Persia, “the one from the east” (41:2), who defeated Babylonia in 539 B.C., establishing Persia as the dominant power. While the Babylonians treated the exiles as slaves, Cyrus will institute a very different policy. Not only will he allow the exiles to return to their homeland, but he will also provide financial assistance to allow them to rebuild (Ezra 1:2-4). But the prophet makes it clear that when that happens, Cyrus will be only the tool of Yahweh. It will not be Cyrus who will save the people, but Yahweh.
- He created you and formed you vs 1– this is the starting point of a dramatic relationship with the Lord – it’s when we get our shape that we can start to turn towards a new beginning in Christ. We cannot be defined by the world or what others have said about us. We are shaped and formed by the Lord for His purposes just as every other creature on earth is as well.
- Dealing with fear vs1 – We have come through a definite season of fear and worry in this COVID-19 time and it has been challenging. Some have lost loved ones and friends and it is difficult to not be weary of this disease. The Lord assures us of the fact that he has redeemed us – what does this mean for us was we look for a new beginning in the Spirit ?
- Not if but when you pass through the waters vs 2 -4 I will be with you( a possible reminder of their escape from slavery in Egypt) and now the hope of an escape from the Babylonians. Rivers will not sweep over you and you will not be burned by the flames.
- I am the Lord. When I read this line I really felt the Holy Spirit reminding and shouting this out to me. Don’t forget this.
- A new beginning in the Holy Spirit reminds us that we are precious and honoured in his sight.
- A promise for your children and their return from the North South East West. It’s been a time to sort things out. Psalm 115. I really believe that there is a new season coming for our children. God is beginning to stir their hearts and those who are far off will return authentically and with a real devotion to the Lord not because they are told to but because deep is calling to deep.We must fervently pray for our children and the children of this nation and the world – they deserve better than what we have offered them and it may mean that it is a time for repentance and real turning around as men and woman.
- Lead out the blind and the deaf verse 8. A new beginning means that deaf ears are opened to the cry and plea of the Lord. Blind eyes begin to see his love and mystery and call on their lives. We are called to lead but in such a way that others will follow. Humbly and with servant hearts and with deep love. Johan at woollies who fell and I helped him and prayed for him.
- The Holy Spirit has called us in this new season to be his witnesses verses 10 -13. Jesus is serious about this. We are too quiet with our stories and we need to tell them more. Highs and lows ups and downs,victories and challenges, not as super saints but as ones who have only made it but by the grace of God.
- Remember that Isaiah is prophesying to those who are in captivity and he then says in verse 18 – FORGET THE FORMER THINGS – DON’T DWELL ON THE PAST – As we move forward now we can literally move from captivity to freedom. We cannot be slaves to the past!!! We need to move on !!! The Holy Spirit is bringing us into a new beginning of triumph remembering who we are in HIM.
- IAM DOING A NEW THING(also Isaiah 52) – The new thing is the Hebrew word chadesh which means to restore, and renew. It is from an Akkadian word edesu for a city that was devastated by war until it was rebuilt it and modeled. The greek is equally powerful and is the word KAINOS and not NEOS – kainos is new like never before and neos is new like a new shirt. There are two Greek words kainos and neos translated in our New Testament by the word “new.” Kainos is new in kind and in contrast to what previously existed, so taking the place thereof. In that sense kainos looks backward, while its synonym neos looks forward. Kainos is equivalent to “not yet having been”: neos is “not having long been.” The conjunction of the two words occurs in Matt. 9:17. Luke 5:38, where new (neos) wine is put into new (kainos) skins and both are presented. Kainos looks backward (retrospective) in that the skins had never been used before, opposed to those which had lost their strength and elasticity through age: the new (neos) wine was of that vintage or harvest looking forward (prospective) for future use. In Luke 5:36 a new piece of cloth (kainos) is opposite to old garment. This receives emphasis in Mark 2:21 where the new unmilled piece of cloth was unsuited to patch the old, for even then the new by the grace of God was being wrought out; not for the old garment of a legal system or for the first man, but for those who by virtue of divine power were fitted to receive the blessing. In Matt. 27:60, the new (kainos) tomb had never been made ceremonially unclean by a dead body. It might have been hewn out of the rock years before, therefore it is not called neos. In Heb. 12:24, a new (neos) covenant is fresh and perennially new by virtue of the link with its mediator Jesus, looking forward it will retain eternally that youthful character. While kainos is the word mostly used for New Covenant, neos is the word here, but not in contrast to the old; it is not the old, but what God had recently given.Kainos is the typical word in the Revelation as in name, song, heaven, Jerusalem, etc., and finally “all things new.” The antithesis which kainos bears to the past is in evidence in Rev. 21:1. The new (kainos) heaven and earth supersede the first (protos), again Heb. 8:13, in saying new (kainos) covenant, he has made the first old (protos). On the other hand, neos does not express opposition to what already existed, so in Col. 3:10, having put on the new (neos) man, who is being renewed (anakainoo, compound of kainos), in the character and spirit of the ideal, i.e., according to the image of Him who created him thus excluding and supplanting the old. The compound ananeoo is simply to renew in youth; has nothing to do with the old (Eph. 4:23). Hence the same subject may be kainos or neos: if contemplated under aspects of time as recently given or inaugurated, it is neos: if contemplated as a new and specific kind in contrast to the old as outworn and effete and taking its place, it is kainos. In their derivatives and compounds as above, the same distinction is clear as in 1 Tim. 4:12. “Let no man despise thy youth” (neotees), but (kainotees) newness of life in Rom. 6:4, is newness as being entirely different according to the resurrection life in Christ thus supplanting the otherChadesh -suggests an excitement or anticipation on the part of God to restore us to His specifications. In this context God is restoring the former things to fit his plan and purpose, particularly in a new relationship with Him, There is a picture being drawn here and it is a picture of a bridegroom anticipating the fulfillment of his relationship with his bride. Just as the bridegroom proposes or accepts the arrangement of marriage with his bride, he declares “I am taking a bride.” He makes it clear and plans for everyone. Everyone celebrates and preparations for the wedding begin. The remaining chapter goes into detail about this new thing that God is going to do or the wedding plans and events that will unfold before the wedding actually takes place. Yet, it can all be summarized into the idea of God restoring chadesh his relationship with us. The thing that stands out in this is that it is not a picture of God pushing buttons and pulling levers to bring everything to a conclusion. It is more of a picture of a wonderful play that God has set up, with a beautiful storyline about the preparation for the wedding. Yet all the time there is this growing anticipation for the final moment when the groom finally comes for his bride and their marriage is consummated. Half the fun of a wedding is the preparation, the problems that are resolved, like the caterers getting something wrong, or the setbacks like a member of the bridal party’s plane being late. Yet all become precious memories after the marriage is finally consummated.
- NOW IT SPRINGS UP DO YOU NOT PERCEIVE IT – We have to sometimes look carefully to see what the Lord is up to. Examine, pray ,watch, observe with the Holy Spirit guiding you to see with new eyes and a new heart.“It springs forth now. Don’t you know it?” (v. 19b). This is the Lord’s way of saying, “Wake up, folks! Look around! Open your eyes! Something great is happening! Can’t you see it?”
- The Lord is aware of their wilderness experience in exile and ours in covid-19 and he promises to make a way through. We cannot live in fear but in hope of a new beginning. God is so busy and at work and we need to get with HIS program and not ours and so let’s pray for a new season, a new beginning for ourselves and others and an opportunity not only for us but for our children’s children. Amen and hallelujah.