The Lord is about to move among His people in new and unconventional ways. He is doing a "new thing" and ending "old things" (past seasons – namely barren wildernesses and dry desert seasons). As we stand on the cusp of the closing of this season, the Lord's exhortation to us is found in this passage of Scripture:
"Do not remember the former things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth; do you not perceive and know it and will you not give heed to it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert." (Isaiah 43:18-19 emphasis mine)
Making a Way in the Wilderness & Rivers in the Desert
Part of the new thing is making a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. The Lord is speaking into wilderness and desert seasons. When the Lord says that He will "make a way in the wilderness," He means He is giving navigational points to a season that seemed vast and never ending. There is now clear direction, fresh vision, new instruction, new assignments and promotion.
Many of you are now coming out of your wilderness season and God is birthing new things in your life. They will be new and will require you to not look at the "former" things.
In the wilderness, the children of Israel were only allowed to live with enough manna for the day. Sometimes when we go through wilderness seasons we are literally existing one day to the next. Our vision is cut short. We can be barren in dreaming and hoping and in vision. This isn't always a bad thing.
In the wilderness seasons we experience a stripping of our own ability so that when the wilderness is over, we are able to possess and inherit by His Spirit. We have learned to lean on our beloved. The striving has ended, our pursuits have been emptied out and we are unrecognizable. We do not look the same coming out as we did entering into the wilderness, hence the scripture in Song of Songs 8:5: "Who is this coming up from the wilderness leaning upon her beloved?..."
The question "Who is this?" is asked because she is now unrecognizable. When God is doing something new, there is a temptation to look back, because new is new. It's new to you. It's not been used, it's not been recycled; it's brand new. This challenges our comfort zones and our limited space of operation. There is a temptation to define the new by the past, but the Lord's instruction to us is to remember NOT the former things. DON'T LOOK BACK! (Photo via Stock Snap)
A Downpour of Promise
Another thing that is new is rivers being made to flow in the desert. The Hebrew root word for "desert" (yasham) means "to be desolate" and "to lie waste." When rivers flow, life springs forth. To have rivers flow in the desert, they don't just appear. No, you need a downpour, flooding rains, to come and create rivers to flow in a desert place. A desert is a desert because there isn't much rain or water. So for water to come to a desert, that is not the norm.
The rain is coming, and in Scripture, rain refers to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. When the river comes to your desert, do you put your toe in and say, "Hmm, what is the temperature of the water? Oh, I just washed my hair yesterday. Oh, I don't want to get my clothes wet, I'll look silly. What will people think of me?" No, you jump into that thing...headfirst, with no hesitation.
When God begins to pour out His Spirit, those who are still remembering the former things and not recognizing the new because it may not fit their current paradigm – they try to control it. And because they can't control it, they then attack and criticize it. Don't be deterred if you receive criticism for the new thing God is birthing.
God Is About to Perform Against the Norm
Get ready for God to begin to perform against the norm. God is about to disrupt your norm. If the desert has been your norm and you try and look back and remember it, it will hinder you from recognizing the "new thing." If your norm has been sickness and disease, God is saying today, "FORGET IT! It can't be part of your norm anymore, because I am doing a new thing. Where My river flows, healing can come."
It doesn't matter if it hasn't worked in the past. It doesn't matter if you have been prayed for 100 times and nothing has happened. FORGET IT; remember it no more, because it will hinder your new thing! There is a new thing springing forth. It's called the river of God invading your barren place. It's called vision and purpose in your wilderness, where you have been living day to day. It's called healing, deliverance, debt cancellation and prodigal children coming home. Forget the norm, because God is about to perform against the norm.
Stretching to Enter In
"Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; spare not; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes, for you will spread abroad to the right hand and to the left; and your offspring will possess the nations and make the desolate cities to be inhabited. Fear not, for you shall not be ashamed; neither be confounded and depressed, for you shall not be put to shame. For you shall forget the shame of your youth, and you shall not [seriously] remember the reproach of your widowhood any more." (Isaiah 54:2-4)
In verse 2, God now says to enlarge and be expanded, and He tells us how to expand. "Spare" in the Hebrew means: "restrain, refrain, reserve for, keep back, withhold, hold in check."
This is why you can't look back. Because it will affect your "sparing not" instruction. When God begins to do something new, we can be tempted to hesitate and hold back. We can operate according to the limitations of the past. But in order to be expanded, we can't hold back. To hold something in check means to control it. You can't control this new thing. You can't control the river.
Come on, we don't want to be like the Pharisees and call the "new thing" the works of Beelzebub. There is a strict warning from Jesus not to blaspheme the Holy Spirit. If you put this into context, the Pharisees were essentially saying that the Holy Spirit was doing the the work of satan (Matthew 22:32).
Moses Is Dead... Don't Look Back
The next instruction in this passage (Isaiah 54:3) is fear not.
Before Joshua led the children of Israel into the "new," that is, the Promised Land, the Lord said to him: "My servant Moses is dead. So now arise [take his place], go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land which I am giving to them, the Israelites" (Joshua 1:2). God announced the ending of the old season: Moses is dead. Don't look back. You are about to go forward and inherit! Moses represents the old way of doing things. (Photo via Flickr)
Further down in verses 6, 7 and 9, the Lord commands. Yes, that's right! It wasn't a suggestion; it was a command to be strong and of good courage. Why is that? Joshua wasn't afraid of a battle. In fact, Joshua was one of only 2 men, out of all Israel, who wasn't afraid to take down the giants when Moses sent in the 10 spies. He just wasn't afraid of the battle. Joshua needed courage in order to take the Promised Land God's way. Not by his own might or power, but by God's Spirit.
And so we know the story... the instruction came which many, perhaps, may have thought odd: March around the walls of Jericho, silent, for seven days, and on the seventh day, seven times, and on the seventh time, blow the trumpet and have all the people shout with a great shout (see Joshua 6).
Sometimes the ways which God uses to enter into the new and inherit the promises are odd to our natural way of thinking, but in order to flow with God, we must first understand that we can't look back. Moses is dead. The old way won't take us into the new, and we need courage to obey God in what may seem unconventional.
Courage is the ability to control fear in the midst of difficult, unpleasant and dangerous situations. Come on, we haven't endured the wilderness and come this far to balk at the promise.
REMEMBER NOT, SPARE NOT, FEAR NOT. GOD IS GOING TO PERFORM AGAINST YOUR NORM.
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Revival Flame Ministries
Motivated by an intense love for the Body of Christ,¬†Anita Alexander's¬†passion and compassion is to see the Church forsake religion and tradition, awaken to the Father's love, and arise and walk in the overcoming identity as sons and daughters of the Kingdom. Anita and her husband Dr. Sasha Alexander travel nationally and internationally ministering in revival fire that brings resurrection life, healing and awakening to the Body of Christ. Together, their passion is to impart, raise up and release a generation of sons and daughters who manifest the glorious victory of the finished work of the Cross. They are co-founders and senior ministers of Revival Flame Ministries, Golden City Church, and Kingdom Academy School of the Spirit Ministry Training School in Gold Coast, Australia.
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