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Bible Study – April 2021

See, I am doing a new thing

The Lord likes to be involved in our lives. He has created us to be in relationship with him, yet he also values highly the freedom he has given us to choose, whether we will go our own way, away from him; or whether we will trust him and let him lead us into his best for us.

We are not robots. We freely receive from the Lord every day. He causes his sun to rise on all people, and sends rain on all (Matthew 5:44,45). He is concerned for all people, wanting all to be living in a right relationship with him (1 Timothy 2:4).

How do you feel about the Lord wanting to be involved in your life?

Tuning in to our feelings can help us recognise our thinking and attitudes, and anything that might need changing because it is working against us.

We have recently been on the journey through Lent and Easter. We were reminded that it cost Jesus everything to stand in the gap for us, on our behalf; that he has opened the way back into relationship with the Father, pouring out his Holy Spirit on us – all coming to us through Jesus.

Hope receives the “new thing”

During their seventy-year exile in Babylon, the Lord reminded his Old Testament people, Israel, that he knows where they are, and he has not forgotten them. He told them of the Servant of the Lord, referring to Christ Jesus who was, at that time, yet to come. Please read Isaiah 42:1-4.
What are some things the Servant of the Lord would do? How is this happening today?

He knows you by name

Do you realise that the Lord knows you by your name? As he spoke to his people Israel, he says to us also:
I have summoned you by name; you are mine. 

Please read Isaiah 43:1-3a. What do you hear the Lord saying through these verses to his people in exile in Babylon?

“Rivers”, “waters” and “fire” here may refer to crossing the Red Sea, the River Jordan, and Nebuchadnezzar’s “fiery furnace”. It can also refer to times of difficulty, fear, inundation and refining in our lives.

Re-read Isaiah 43:1-3a personally, put your name in the place of ‘Jacob’ and ‘Israel’.

What is the Lord saying to you here? Pause and ponder briefly and perhaps make some notes … (five minutes)

Then you are invited to share in twos or threes whatever has caught your attention.

Skip down and read Isaiah 43:10-13.

How do these verses depict the Lord?

What are some of ‘the foreign gods among us’ today?

In the Old Testament we see a repeated cycle of the Lord leading and blessing his people; after a while they become distracted and wander off trying to live life their own way. Life gets tougher, so they remember the Lord and call to him for help, and he mercifully answers them. Is this cycle any different today? In what ways?

“See, I am doing a new thing”

Now read Isaiah 43:18-21.

What catches your attention in these verses?

In order for us to be free to receive “a new thing”, what do we need to do with “the former things”? Why? How might giving and receiving forgiveness help that happen?

Has your life ever felt like “a desert” or “wasteland”? If so, what is something you learned through that time? Were you aware that the Lord was right there with you?

How might the Lord provide water for you there in the “desert”, “wasteland”, or dry place?
See also John 7:37-39.

Difficulties in life can drain us dry and suck the life out of us. Sometimes we learn lessons “after the fact”, in hindsight. We may realise there’s a better way to do things. That’s all part of learning coming out of that situation. Mistakes or difficulties are not failures unless we learn nothing from them!

Perhaps you are in such a place or situation currently, as it’s likely to happen a few times along the way because of what the Lord wants to build into us as we grow in trusting and knowing him.

The first few times it happened to me, I thought the Lord had rejected and abandoned me. But then I learned to take him at his word that he would never leave nor abandon me (Hebrews 13:5; Deuteronomy 31:6), and that he is with me not only in times of worship or prayer, but moment by moment! That was a revelation to my heart and renewed my thinking. Now, by God’s grace, I recognise such a time as an invitation to adventure with the Lord. (See Hosea 2:14).

At the time of writing this study, I am going through Peter Steicke’s book* “The Freedom Journey – discovering grace through the wilderness” (2020). When something catches my attention, or speaks to my heart, I don’t want to miss what the Lord has waiting for me there, so I take some journal time, writing down my reflections and prayers. It’s a great way to help us process, receive and digest something that needs some pondering or “chewing”.

The Lord has many new things waiting for each of his children to discover. The Holy Spirit lives in us, ready and waiting to help us, to give us insight, understanding and ideas to apply. We are never too old to learn! Can you think of it as an adventure?

Prayer: Abba Father, Lord Jesus, Holy Spirit, draw us into a deepening walk with you. Tune us in to your Presence, your Voice, and bring your Word alive in us as you continue to make all things new. Amen.

* The best way to access Peter’s book is through his website or phone him on 0458 190 869.

About the Author

Ruth Olsen

Together with Steen, Ruth is thoroughly enjoying retirement with its opportunities to do things there wasn’t time for earlier, including helping someone learn English, learning French (to practise with two of her grandchildren); and continuing many other activities such as being rostered as a singer in Sunday 10.00am worship bands, small groups, grandchildren, reading, journaling, caravanning – also interstate when borders allow etc. She has lived in Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, the ACT, New Zealand, and is now back in South Australia. There’s no time to be bored!

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