“My soul, wait thou only upon God, for my expectation is from Him.”
Psalm 62:5 KJV
In this post I hope to raise our collective expectation of God’s “new thing” by taking a deeper look at God Himself and His (predictably) unpredictable ways. In Part 1, I began by discussing how we are in the beginning stages of an historic, global, “new thing” and how this world-wide crisis is forcing and even facilitating a radical “new thing” within the Church. I focused, specifically on what is needed in order for us to be inwardly prepared for the titanic global shifts and spiritual transformations that are now being precipitated.
Unless we have a deep understanding of “the GOD of the ‘new thing'”, however, we will not be expectant of nor seriously prepare for “the ‘NEW THING’ of God” that is coming. We must raise the level of our collective understanding and expectation, therefore, if we are to take preparation in this hour seriously. To help facilitate this, we can look to both the Divinely-created natural order and the Divinely-inspired Scriptures to lay a firm foundation on which our understanding and expectation of God’s “new thing” may be greatly raised and fully established.
Before we dive into looking at these two sources of revelation (“general” and “special”), however, let’s begin by taking a look at the word “expectation”. The Oxford American Dictionary defines it as:
“A strong belief that something will happen or be the case.”
To dig a little deeper, the root word of “expectation” comes from a Latin verb, “exspectare” which means “to look out”. The root word,“expect”, therefore, means to, “…look out for; desire, hope, long for, anticipate, look for with anticipation,” (Online Etymology Dictionary)
So if God is doing a “new thing”, do we have
a strong belief that [it] will happen and be the case???
looking out for it…
hoping for it…
longing for it…
looking for it with anticipation???
In other words, do we have an
of God’s “new thing”??
“The GOD of the NEW THING”
If we understand the very nature of God, we will understand why we ought to have a strong expectation that out from Him will continually come forth a “new thing.” God is essentially a God of eternal newness. “Newness” is an immutable attribute of His nature for He is transcendent of all that comprises or causes the attribute of “oldness”, even time itself. The I AM forever exists in the undiminished freshness of the eternal NOW. In fact, His “eternal NEWness”, is simply an inherent characteristic of His “eternal NOWness”.
Furthermore, if we look at the correlation between the words “new” and “now” as to their origins (“etymology”), we see that they are closely related at the root level and are believed to possibly have originally derived from the same root word.* It seems reasonable to conclude, then, that when God is doing a “NEW thing”, He is, likewise, doing a “NOW thing”, and when He is doing a “NOW thing”, He is, likewise, doing a “NEW thing”. In similar manner, when He calls for a “NEW song”, He is, in fact, calling for a “NOW song”; when He pours out His “NEW wine”, He is literally pouring out His “NOW wine.”; etc… ALL of God’s workings take place in that space of time we call, “NOW”, and, therefore, are not essentially “OLD THINGS”, or “FORMER THINGS” when they appear, but “NEW THINGS” and “NOW THINGS”!
Because God is “the GOD of the NOW THING”, He is, likewise, “the GOD of the NEW THING.”!
God is also a God of infinite creativity. He is unconstrained by the tyranny of the familiar, the dictatorship of the routine, and the confines of convention. His creativity is only “bounded” by His infinite genius, His limitless power, and His ineffable glory. His creative works express His glory and so His glory expresses His creative works.
In addition, He is a God who seeks deep relationship. He has created us in His image and likeness that we may ultimately be one with Him even as He, the Triune God, is one. He created us in His image as creatives, and has re-created us in His likeness as “new creations”. He is raising us as His sons and daughters to be led by His heavenly, free Spirit and is breaking us free as His adopted children from being led by our earthly, bound souls. He is training us to walk by faith, not sight, that we might become one with Him in His will, His works, and His ways which spring from His eternal newness and infinite creativity.
“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)
“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” (Romans 8:14)
“The NEW THINGS of God”
-The Natural Realm-
This eternal newness and infinite creativity of His Person naturally spill over into His works and ways. These are seen first in the natural, created realm. We could camp right here for a very long time and trace the unfathomable multiplicity of His creative, “new things” found in nature. May a simple “thought experiment” suffice, however, to help us begin to lay hold of the magnitude of God’s “new things” in this realm:
To begin with, let’s just take the city, town, or village in which you live and consider, simply within that geographical boundary, how many natural, unique, “new things” exist that God has created. First consider all of the vast diversity of living things currently habitating there: all humans, mammals, birds, fish, insects, microorganisms, vegetation, flora, and fungi. Consider how even within common genus/species of these categories, there is vast individualization, uniqueness, and diversity. [I.e. there are over 150 species alone of roses (genus=Rosa.*), let alone further uniqueness/diversity within each species.]
Now consider all the diversity and uniqueness of all Divinely-created non-living things within that same geographical boundary: rocks, soil, minerals, metals, liquids, and gasses. As you combine all of these together in your mind with all of the living “new things” within your city, town, or village, you are at the beginning of the beginning of grasping the multiplicity of God’s “new things” within the natural realm.
Now let’s expand that geographical boundary out a bit further, considering the same types of categories, to the entire state or region in which you live. Pause and think about that for a moment until it begins to really sink in!
Moving on from there, let’s push that boundary out further to encompass your entire country! How much biological, geological, hydrological, and atmospheric diversification, differentiation, and specialization exist within your country alone?!?
But we’re not done yet! Let’s go even further now and expand out from there to encompass the entire globe. To help with that, consider some of the following estimations concerning the biological diversity alone that exists within our world:
- Humans: 7.8 billion individuals (each genetically, physiologically, and psychologically unique.)
- Genera: 240,000 genus classifications within the animal kingdom. *
- Mammals: 6,500 species. *
- Birds: 18,000+ species. *
- Fish: 34,000 species. *
- Plants: 350,000 – 1,000,000 species. *
- Fungi: 2,000,000 – 3,800,000 species.*
- Insects: 1,000,000 – 10,000,000 species. (Approximately, 1.4 billion insects per person on planet earth, and weighing more than 70 times the weight of all human beings put together. *)
- Microorganisms: 1,000,000,000,000 species. * (I’m glad they are “micro-“!)
That represents merely the diversity of living “new things”, not taking into consideration the preponderance of non-living “new things” created by God that exist in our world as well!
Now if you don’t have a throbbing headache yet, consider further what creative “new things” we might find if we expanded our boundary out to encompass our solar system? (check out these incredible images of Jupiter, for instance.) … the Milky Way Galaxy? …the observable universe (with its estimated 1,000,000,000 – 2,000,000,000, galaxies? *)??? All of this is the product of the infinitely creative genius, limitless power, and ineffable glory of our Creator God!
Oh, but, wait….we’re still not done? So take two more Advil, and consider with me what Job said, “…these are but the outer fringe of his works; how faint the whisper we hear of him! Who then can understand the thunder of his power?” (Job 26:14NIV) Even after all that we’ve considered, this statement leads us to contemplate even further for we have one remaining boundary expansion to explore: the entire UNSEEN REALM of God’s creation! (Picture exploding head emoji here!)
~ ~ ~
Well, I’ve got good news for your cranium…
this thought-experiment is now over!
Please exit to the left!
(………or to the right, if you want to be like GOD and do a “new thing.” 🙂 )
~ ~ ~
-The Spiritual Realm-
The natural realm is only the first sphere of revelation concerning the “new things” of God, however. The Scriptures are the second. So we must briefly move on from the realm of “general revelation” to look at the realm of “special revelation” by considering the Scriptures in relation to the spiritual “new things” of God.
Here, then, is list of a number of “new things” that He has created, called for, and/or consecrated in the Scriptures:
- “the new moon” – 1 Chron. 23:31; Ezra 3:5; Neh. 10:33; etc.
- “a new grain offering” – Lev. 23:16; Num. 28:26; etc.
- “a new song” – Ps. 33:3; 40:3; 96:1; 98:1; 144:9; 149:1 Is. 42:10; Rev. 5:9; 14:3
- “a new name” – Is. 62:2; Rev. 2:17, 3:12;
- “mercies…new every morning” – Lam.3:23
- “a new covenant” – Jer. 31:31; Lk. 22:20; 1 Cor. 11:25; 2 Cor. 3:6; Heb. 8:6,8; 9:1
- “a new and living way” – Heb.10:20
- “a new spirit” – Ezek. 11:19; 36:26;
- “a new heart” – Ezek. 11:19; 36:26;
- “a new creation” – 2 Cor. 5:17
- “the new self” – Eph. 4:24; Col.3:10
- “one new man” – Eph. 2:15
- “new tongues” – Mark 16:17
- “new fruit” – Ezek. 47:12
- “new wine” – Neh. 10:39; Joel 3:18; Matt.9:17
- “new wineskins” – Matt. 9:17; Mk. 2:22
- “a new batch” (of dough) – 1 Cor. 5:7
- “a new commandment” – Jn. 13:34
- “the new Jerusalem” – Rev. 13:12; 21:2
- “new heaven and a new earth” – Is. 65:2; 66:22; 2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1
- “the renewal of all things” – Matt. 19:28
Beyond these sightings of the word “new” in Scripture, the entirety of the Bible is a perpetual testimony of God calling His people out of the old and familiar into the new and unknown. Consider just a few of these unprecedented, “new things” that God did in relation to His people:
- Adam and Eve – The first ever created beings made in God’s own image and likeness. (Gen. 1:26-27; 2:7)
- Enoch – a man who “…walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.” (Gen. 5:24) The first ever human to not see physical death.
- Noah and the flood – God sent a world-wide deluge to judge the existing world. (Gen. 6-8) The first and last time for planet earth.
- Tower of Babel – God confused the languages of all peoples. (Gen. 11) Unprecedented!
- Job – God allowed a righteous man to experience extreme tragedy, suffering, and loss for his ultimate good, God’s supreme glory, and Satan’s shameful demise. Utterly unexpected and unexplained!
- Abraham and Sarah – God called them out of a familiar land to go to an unfamiliar one that would later become their inheritance (Gen. 12); they gave birth to a son by the power of the Spirit when both of them were beyond their physical ability to procreate (Gen. 21); Abraham was tested by God to offer his son Isaac as a burnt offering on an altar, then God provided a ram in his place at the last minute. (Gen. 22) All firsts!
- Moses and the Israelites – Were delivered out of Egypt by Divinely-sent plagues (Ex. 7-12); were brought through the Red Sea by a mighty miracle (Ex. 14); were led by a cloud/pillar of fire through the wilderness (Ex. 13:21-22); received the Law, the pattern for the tabernacle, and the institution of the priesthood directly from God on Mt. Sinai (Ex. 20); were provided for with manna from heaven and water out of a rock (Ex. 16-17), were healed from poisonous snake bites by looking to a bronze serpent lifted up on a pole, to name a few. (Num. 21) Utterly unprecedented!
- Aaron – Had his staff bud, blossom, and produce almonds when placed before the Lord in the Tent of Meeting at God’s command. (Num. 17) A “new thing” for sure.
- Balaam’s donkey – Spoke. (Num. 22) Like…!
- Joshua and the Israelites -Saw the Jordan River stop flowing at flood stage when the ark of the covenant was carried into it and they crossed over into the land of Canaan on dry ground (Josh. 3); saw the walls of Jericho fall with a shout (Josh. 6); Joshua prayed and “the sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day” so he could win in battle (Josh. 10). Utterly unpredicted and unpredictable!
- ETC, ETC, ETC,… (the rest of the Bible!) The Book of God’s “new things!”
We’re only to the sixth book of the Old Testament and already we can see beyond a shadow of a doubt that God works over and over again in absolutely unprecedented, unpredictable, unexpected ways, perpetually doing a “new thing” in regards to His people. Time does not allow us to elaborate on Gideon, Samson, Samuel, David, Elijah, Elisha, Hezekiah, Esther, Nehemiah, Job, the prophets, and a host of others, to show further, innumerable examples.
Neither do God’s “new things” cease to be manifest when we come to the New Testament with John the Baptist, Jesus, the disciples/apostles, the Jews, the Gentiles, the Church, the entire world. In fact, to pretty much everyone recorded in Scripture, when God was working in their lives, to them His works were unpredicted, unpredicated, and unprecedented in relation to their prior experience. To them, He was continually doing a “new thing!”
Finally, the consummate expression of God’s “new thing” will be the universally-transformative creation of a “new heaven and a new earth” with a “new Jerusalem” coming down out of heaven to dwell upon the earth forever. (Rev. 21-22)
And so God’s final word in Scripture on this matter is simply and conclusively,
“BEHOLD, I MAKE ALL THINGS NEW.”
~ ~ ~
It is abundantly clear that in both the natural and the spiritual realm that God is revealed as “the GOD of the ‘new thing’.” And this is the very same GOD that you and I are in relationship with through Jesus Christ! We would be utterly blind and foolish, therefore, not to have the highest level of expectation that this same GOD is going to regularly do a “new thing” in our lives and within His Church! We ought, therefore to be…
looking out for it…
hoping for it…
longing for it…
looking for it with anticipation!!!
Our level of expectation will directly determine our level of diligence to be spiritually prepared for God’s “new thing” (as described in Part 1) and greatly affect our degree of watchfulness for and perception of the appearances of God’s “new things” as they begin to spring up, even as God says,
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?”
~ ~ ~
When God Does a New Thing – Part 1: Preparation (Previous post)
Centrality and Expectation (On our collective expectation when we gather in His Name)
“Wind Dies in a Box” (On our religious propensity to “box in” the Holy Spirit)