God is Doing A New Thing

God Is Doing A New Thing

Cheryl’s neurologist retired, and she had to find a new doctor. At first, she was upset by the change since she’d been seeing the same physician for years, and starting over with a new doctor when dealing with a chronic condition is difficult. But her husband encouraged her to keep an open mind and trust God’s leading. 

A friend sent her an inspirational card with the text from Isaiah ,

19“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:19) NIV

When the day came for the appointment, the new doctor listened to Cheryl’s symptoms carefully and made several notes. “I have something I want to try,” the doctor said. “It’s a medication, and some people find it helps with their muscle spasms.”

The nurse gave Cheryl the medication, and she was asked to continue waiting at the doctor’s office for the next several hours. To Cheryl’s amazement, her muscle spasms began to ease shortly after that first dose. 

When she asked the doctor about it, he explained. “You were misdiagnosed, so all of the medications you’ve tried over the years haven’t been very helpful. I treated you for the condition you actually have.”

Years of suffering and pain ended with the correct diagnosis. No longer was it difficult for Cheryl to do everyday things like drive, pick up her toddler, or cook a meal. Now she could move easily and joyfully through her days. 

“God is doing a new thing for me!” She proclaimed to the friend that sent her the card. “Getting the right diagnosis has changed everything in my life. I’m so thankful God did this.”

The Silent Years

The nation of Israel had been enslaved for four hundred years. Four hundred years of crying out to God as generation after generation hoped their children and grandchildren would one day know the sweet blessing of freedom.

Some scholars refer to this period in Israel’s history as “The Silent Years” because, from all appearances, God was silent during this time. Have you endured “the silent years” in your own life?

You prayed for your alcoholic husband. You searched and searched for your runaway child. You begged God to heal your suffering parent. You did everything you could to keep your business from going under. You asked for healing from the trauma that haunts you.

In this place, it’s easy to believe the enemy’s lies—that you are forgotten and abandoned. That your God has forsaken you and will no longer listen to your anguished prayers.

Oh, precious one, God has heard your cries just as He heard the cries of the Israelites.

The Lord said,

7“I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 8So, I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land…” (Exodus 3:7-8)

From Bad to Worse

Sometimes God moves, and a situation instantly improves. In these moments, it’s easy to rest assured that Jesus is on the scene. Like Cheryl, our faith is strengthened when we see fast results.

But what about when we don’t? What do we do when things seemingly go from bad to worse? Does it mean that God’s not at work or that His plans have somehow been thwarted by those around us?

The Israelite nation most likely asked these same questions. When Moses went to Pharaoh and relayed God’s message that the people should be set free, the wicked ruler grew angry. 

He said,

9“Make the work harder for the people so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies.” (Exodus 5:9)

Even Moses grew discouraged when he saw the increased workload placed on the nation of Israel. He cried out to God, saying,

23“Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble on this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.” (Exodus 5:23)

In these moments, it’s natural to wonder what’s going on. You question yourself—did you miss what God said? Did you fail to walk in His ways? Was your faith simply not enough to prompt Him to show up?

For His Glory

The truth is that sometimes God uses opposition to His will to further His glory. This is what it means when God responds to Moses. He says,

1“Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of my mighty hand he will let them go; because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country.” (Exodus 6:1)

So often, God turns a test of our faith into His testimony. He does this to honor His name and draw more people to Him.

But this doesn’t mean the road is easy or painless. What happened to the Israelites was degrading, unfair, and just plain cruel. Yet God never left the wheel. He still reigned on His throne, even as it looked like everything was spinning out of control.

Maybe you need that reminder today. A co-worker has slandered you to your boss. Your business partner disappeared with the profits. The spouse you loved ran away with your best friend. Your child turned on you, betraying you in a way that cut deeply.

Now you’re left with an ache you can’t even describe. With tears in your eyes, you can only say, “I thought You were doing a new thing. I thought things were about to get better, not worse.”

Divine Protection in the Chaos

After three plagues against both the Egyptians and Israelites, God makes a bold declaration to Pharaoh, saying, 

23“I will make a distinction between my people and your people.” (Exodus 8:23)

The Israelite nation is spared the remaining seven plagues. It’s a clear sign that God protects and defends His beloved people. While He doesn’t immediately take them out of the situation, He sends a clear message, “These people? They are mine, and they are precious to me.”

It’s the same thing God is saying over you. Yes, you may suffer as God works to set you free from that addiction or heal you from that trauma. You may ache as God restores your marriage or helps you recover from that natural disaster you lost everything in.

But don’t make the mistake of thinking the pain means God isn’t watching over you. Just as His eye is on the sparrow, it’s on you, too.

Leaving in Victory

When the final plague is delivered, Pharaoh sets the people free. God has done an amazing thing for the Israelites!

So, how do they leave? Do they cower and slink out the back door? Do they make a run for it and hope no one is paying attention?

Not for a second! The Israelites “plunder” the Egyptians. They are gladly given whatever they ask for as great fear has come upon the once haughty slave owners. 

In Exodus 12, the moment is described this way, 

36“The Lord had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians.” (Exodus 12:36)

When God fights your battles, you never have to skulk and hide. You don’t have to cower in front of your enemies. You don’t need to tremble or fear what others can do to you…because your God is on your side!

Perhaps the Psalmist was thinking of this moment in Israel’s history when he penned the words,

6“The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Psalm 118:6)

What Does Your Red Sea Look Like?

Picture of the Red Sea

Of course, the victory celebration doesn’t end with the Israelites merely leaving the land of Egypt. That would be a great, Hollywood-worthy ending complete with a young, chiseled Moses staring confidently into the sunset.

But once again, the Israelites are faced with a desperate situation as the Egyptians chase them in the wilderness. 

Ahead of them is the Red Sea, and the tiny nation has no boats, ships, or even floaties among them. Behind them is the life they once knew—cruel oppression and open hatred. 

If there were ever a moment to dig deep and try to muster some faith, this is it. Yet the Israelites respond the same way we do when faced with a crisis. 

They totally panic and forget everything God has done for them. The miracles that should have been fresh in their minds are not meditated on. Instead, they say to Moses, 

12“It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” (Exodus 14:12)

How Does God Respond in a Crisis?

How does God respond in the face of our weak-kneed faith and trembling hands? Does He grow angry when our once rock-solid faith suddenly shifts, and we can no longer sense His presence? Does He rebuke the weary or berate the weak?

Not for a moment! 

Listen to Moses’s reassurance over the humble nation,

13“Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:13-14)

The moment the nation cries out to God, He moves into action! He doesn’t need to pause and have a strategy session. He doesn’t need to take a moment and consult with His experts or ask the opinion of others. 

God already knows exactly what to do. Even though the nation hasn't seen it, he’s already prepared the way. 

As God’s beloved child, you can rest assured God has your pathway of deliverance marked. Before you even cry out, He knows exactly how He will redeem this situation you’re walking through. 

The Cloud & the Fire

As the Israelites had traveled from the land to their new home, God sent a cloud by day and a fire by night. These were very real symbols to the nation that God was leading them, and they represented three beautiful things for the Israelites. 

First, the cloud and the fire were God’s provision. The cloud gave shade to the tiny nation traveling through the harsh climate. The fire provided warmth during the cool desert nights.

Second, the cloud and the fire were God’s protection. In Exodus 14, God moves the cloud behind when the Egyptians come near them, 

20“Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long.” (Exodus 14:20)

Finally, the cloud and the fire were assurances of God’s presence. It can be scary when God is doing a new thing in our lives. While the Israelites were indeed thankful to be free, the idea of journeying to a new place had to be overwhelming at times. They were leaving everything they once knew and embracing the unfamiliar.

Working through the Night

God was at work while the tiny nation spent the long night fretting over what the morning would bring.

21“All that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land.” (Exodus 14:21)

Have you ever spent a sleepless night staring at the ceiling and worrying about the new day? Maybe you envisioned precisely how you’d confront that gossiping co-worker or what you’d say in the courtroom to defend your name.

These lonely nights can play tricks on you. They can convince you that God has brought you this far only to leave you, that He’s asleep at the wheel, and you’d better make plans to look out for yourself.

But take confidence from the Psalmists words, 

4“He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” (Psalm 121:4)

Just as God worked through the night for the good of Israel, He is working through the night on your behalf. He is setting a strong east wind in motion and turning your Red Sea into dry land even now.

Welcome to Dry Ground

As the Sea began to roll back and dry ground appeared, Moses motioned for the nation to follow him. Through the night, the weary group walked on. I'm sure little ones gasped at the walls of water. We can almost envision one tiny boy reaching into the sea and hesitantly petted a Spinner dolphin before his parents ushered him forward with nervous glances behind them.

The Egyptians continued to pursue the once enslaved nation, and God intervened. He threw the great army into confusion, broke down their chariots, and just as the last Israelite sandal crosses safely out of the Red Sea, God sent those waters crashing down again.

30“That day the Lord saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore.” (Exodus 14:30)

No longer do the Israelites have to fear. While they might have once worried about journeying to the Promised Land while being pursued, they now have relief. Their anxieties have been put to rest.

Celebration Time

31“And when the Israelites saw the mighty hand of the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.” (Exodus 14:31)

Now that the Israelites have been given relief from their enemies, their first act is to trust God. He is no longer a distant concept they cannot grasp. In their minds and hearts, He’s real. He’s their Protector and Provider.

So, what do the Israelites do? They begin singing a hymn of praise. Someone breaks out the musical instruments. The women start dancing, and everyone laughs during the joyous celebration. 

Note that the tiny nation still doesn’t know where they’re going. They still lack a GPS—but what they have now is a solid faith. So, they can confidently rejoice in the middle of their unknown!

As God is doing a new thing in your life, it’s time to break out the chips and dip. Throw a party. Praise His name. Invite family and friends to celebrate with you! Rejoice because the God who watched over the nation of Israel is watching over you!

Grace and  peace,

Alicia

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