But forget all that— it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. Isaiah 43:18–19 (NLT)
The message from God in this passage, even though the nation had turned away from Him, is that no matter how deep the apathy, failure, disobedience or oppression of His people, God remains faithful and promises full restoration! Although in this section of Isaiah God’s inditement of sinfulness and their failure to shine is clear, He promises deliverance, hope in His promises, a new exodus and ultimately a greater Servant who will never fail! The point? God is faithful and His promises are sure!
As Isaiah, inspired by the Holy Spirit, speaks hope to the nation and reminds them of God’s greatest moves in history, he says: ‘…forget all that, it is nothing compared to what I am going to do’. For I am about to do something new.’ Can you imagine this promise beginning to stir the people as they endured captivity? Can you grasp the impact this would have had on their morale? God was at work and the effects were all around for everyone to see with eyes of faith. He said: ‘See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?’
I have recently revisited prophesies given by Duncan Campbell about a move of God that would begin in the Republic of Ireland with small lights beginning to ignite and flicker across the island. After preaching at a convention in 1964 he took time aside to seek God for Ireland and later described what he felt would happen. Greg Gordon writes: ‘He described how God would visit the island through small bands of praying people in the country districts.’
In many ways, like Isaiah, we find ourselves in a land that has largely turned away from God. The evidence of this is all around us and has been affirmed further by multiple referenda. Nevertheless, it is at times like these that God loves to stir His people to have faith in His promises. No matter how deep the apathy, failure or disobedience in Irish society, God remains faithful and will outwork His purposes.
As I visit various parts of Ireland in these days, I can see little lights beginning to ignite and flicker across the island! In many virtually unreached parts of Ireland, people are coming to faith and small bands of praying people are interceding and rising up to meet the needs of their communities. These are days of fulfilment; these are the days of promise! We are living in a hugely significant cultural moment and the first shoots of God’s ‘New Thing’ are now breaking the surface.
Will you dare to believe? Will you pray in faith? Will you open your home for prayer gatherings? Will you begin to love and serve your families, neighbours, co-workers and enemies?
“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?”
Father give me eyes like the ‘sons of Issachar’ to understand the times and to know what to do. Lead me by Your Spirit to contribute to Your plan for Ireland and to help fan the flames of renewal! Cause my home to be a place of encounter for my community and deepen my passion for You as I lead and disciple others in Your ways. Come Holy Spirit and have Your way! Amen