A New Year With New Challenges And New Possibilities
It seems to me that about everybody loves new things. I know I do. I love to buy new shoes or get a new shirt. About two years ago, we got a new dog. It was a small, black Yorkie that we named Trixie, and we really enjoy her. My wife Donna loves to go shopping, especially if she has extra money to buy some clothes. No matter what, she loves new clothes. Her Saturday routine must include some time to shop to buy something new.
The great Psalmist David wrote, “Praise ye the LORD. Sing unto the LORD a new song” (Ps. 149:1).
Lamentations 3:23 speaks of God’s mercies, “They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”
Hebrews 8:8 reads, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.”
The risen Christ, in appearing to the apostle John on the Isle of Patmos, spoke these words to the church in Sardis, “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.”
The apostle Paul wrote in II Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
The apostle Peter wrote, “Nevertheless we, according to his promise look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (II Peter 3:13).
Our blessed God loves to create new things. Yes, and God has established the opportunity for a new year, 2022.
Many Old Testament scholars teach that the incredible prophet Isaiah was given by God the most comprehensive view of the coming of the Jewish Messiah. Isaiah lived about seven hundred years before Christ during the reign of King Uzziah. His writings of the sufferings of Christ found in Isaiah 53 are overwhelming. In Chapter 43:19, he wrote “Behold, I will do a new thing: now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.”
With the writing of Malachi, the era of the Old Testament was over. In history books, it is called, the intertestamental period. The greatly feared Babylonians had invaded Judah and Jerusalem for a third time in 586 BC and then destroyed the Jewish cities, tore down the Jewish temple, robbed the gold from the temple and literally wiped out the Jewish nation. Thousands of Jews were killed, exiled, and sold into slavery. About seventy years later, in 532 BC, the Babylonians fell to Cyrus the Great and the Medes and Persians. They ruled much of the known world for approximately two hundred years. History tells us that the Persian Empire fell to Alexander the Great, the young general and king of Greece, at about 332 BC. Israel and what is now—Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Iraq, and Egypt—were dominated by the former generals serving under Alexander the Great for many years.
In the intertestamental history books, you can read and study about the Maccabees, who were Jewish people governing Israel and Samaria and some of Jordan for about one hundred years, from 165 BC to about 60 BC. At about 60 BC, General Pompey of the Romans moved into Asia Minor and the region of Mesopotamia including Israel and Egypt and conquered all. Historians write that after a three-month siege, Jerusalem fell to Pompey. Twelve thousand Jews were killed.
Think about this: Isaiah prophesied about the coming Messiah around seven hundred years before Christ was born in that humble village of Bethlehem. During this seven hundred years, three great world powers had to come and go. The fierce Babylonians ruled and were vanquished. The Medes and Persians ruled, and they fell. The incredible Greeks conquered all, but their kingdom went down also. Alexander the Great, in his prime, got a disease and died at the age of thirty-three in Babylon. Eventually, the Jewish Maccabees overthrew the Syrian Greeks around 165 BC and they ruled for a hundred or so years. Finally, the huge Roman government with Pompey in 60 BC conquered Jerusalem and Egypt. In about 4 or 5 BC, when Augustus Caesar ruled Rome, Christ was born. His birth changed the world. God did a new thing.
At about 700 BC, the Jewish prophet prophesied, “Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.”
The birth of Christ ushered in a new opportunity for all of mankind. In 2022, lets sincerely believe God for new things for each of us personally and most of all for a worldwide revival beginning in America and spreading around the world. As we seek God fervently for revival, let’s not forget:
1. The awesome power of the cross and the blood of Jesus
2. The incredible power of the Holy Spirit
3. The never-failing power of the Word of God
Jesus said, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee” (Heb. 13:5). As we step into the year of 2022, let’s do it with faith, vigor, and determination. God is with us.