Happy 2017! We’re here at last! If you were like me, you might have attended a Watchnight (New Year’s Eve) Service to witness the arrival of the New Year. At last night’s service this Scripture was read (and again at this morning’s service).
Here we see God’s promise to Israel that He/She was going to do something new in Israel. It was at this time that Israel was exiled to Babylon; her people was carried off after Babylon defeated her. Israel’s sin against God caused her eventual conquest and her peopled exiled to a foreign land. These Jews, away from home, feel as if they were separate from God-all alone. Tonight’s Scripture was a metaphor using “rivers in the desert” as the seemingly impossible to the Jews of that time: returning home to Israel from exile.
How many of us came into 2017 feeling exiled? Maybe somebody reading this post feels as if their sins, their issues, their whatever is keeping them exiled in the foreign land of separation from God. Who of us maybe feel that we’re exiled and will never be connected to the Divine?
However take comfort in knowing that God will still do a “new thing” – even today. God will do what we may think impossible for use in 2017: bring us out of exile. God will let refreshing streams of love, mercy, forgiveness, restoration, deliverance and renewal flow through the deserts of our lives. God will bring us back home to Him/Her; and not in some future “bye and bye,” but right now. Then we can walk into 2017 new and ready to engage whatever lies ahead of us empowered by God’s love.
Something new? Yes, I believe so. And it’s still available to us now, no matter how “impossible” it may seem.
(Image: Creek near Paradise Lake, Bushkill, PA. April 2015.)