Happy New Year and welcome back. I trust all our listeners had a safe holiday.
According to my pastor, the top five New Year resolutions are:
- Exercise More
- Eat healthier
- Spend more time with family or friends
- Lose Weight
- Live more economically
What ever happened in 2021, we cannot rewrite the history for 2021 but as we transition into a new year, it gives us a chance to start with a clean slate. Maybe get a job, stop using drugs, stop drinking or maybe stop smoking. What is your New Year resolution?
Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. 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.
So, we have entered a new year, a time for a new beginning of sorts. A time to put away bad habits and start fresh, start new. Pick one and start fresh. Pick a couple and start being better. Pick a lot and you will become the better man. However, the more you pick, the harder you must work at them and the more chance you will have a slip up.
Today’s reading from the book of Isaiah. The 43rd chapter concentrates on the return of the exiles from all corners of the earth is promised, and the themes of creation, divine kinship, election, and the futility of idols are revisited as reassurance of Yahweh’s power to save.
You must not remember the former things. After evoking strong memories of the exodus event in Isa 43:16–17,
Thus, saith the Lord, which maketh a way in the sea, And a path in the mighty waters; which bringeth forth the chariot and horse, the army and the power; They shall lie down together, they shall not rise: They are extinct, they are quenched as tow.
Allusions to the exodus from Egypt inspire Israel to remember how Yahweh formerly accomplished their salvation with great power, especially as evidenced by the crossing of the Red Sea.
God instructs the exiles to stop dwelling on the past. The “former things” previously seemed to refer to the judgment against Israel predicted earlier in Isaiah, so the instruction may have two parts: stop dwelling on your punishment (exile) and don’t yearn for the former days of Israel’s power. Rather, attention should now be focused on God and His miraculous redemption.
I will make a way in the wilderness
The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: And the crooked shall be made straight, And the rough places plain:
In the wilderness, “Clear the way of” God will lead the remnant through the wilderness from Babylon to Zion, just like the exodus from Egypt.
This verse is quoted in all four Gospels in connection with John the Baptist, who prepares the way for Jesus. A different understanding of syntax (how the phrases were related) has led to the New Testament (and a Greek version of the Hebrew) understanding of “the voice of one crying in the wilderness” versus “in the wilderness prepare.” The Hebrew parallelism connects the phrase with “make straight in the desert.”
Make a Highway Smooth in the desert. Let’s look how the highway through the desert was described in Isaiah 35.
And a highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; The unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: The wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up there on, it shall not be found there; But the redeemed shall walk there: And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: They shall obtain joy and gladness, And sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
A highway shall be there. In keeping with the imagery that reverses the chaos and destruction of before, the highways were laid waste as outlined earlier in the book of Isaiah.
The highways lie waste, the wayfaring man ceaseth: He hath broken the covenant, He hath despised the cities, he regardeth no man.
The uncleaned shall not pass through. The highway was for the clean to pass through.
No lion shall be there. There was peace along this highway that accompanied the Messiah’s reign.
The ransom of Yahweh shall return. Illustrates the ultimate future triumph of Yahweh and the deliverance of His people through their return.
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, And the tongue of the dumb sing: For in the wilderness shall waters break out, And streams in the desert. And the parched ground shall become a pool, And the thirsty land springs of water: In the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes. And an highway shall be there, and a way, And it shall be called The way of holiness; The unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: The wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.
Shall be opened. Symbolizes the coming of God’s salvation—blind see, deaf hear, lame walk, and mute sing.
Then Jesus answering said unto them, go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.
Jesus is showing examples of His works instead of directly answering John’s questions posed by his messengers.
Streams in the desert. This is a reversal of what happened in Edom as told in Isaiah 34.
And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, And the dust thereof into brimstone, And the land thereof shall become burning pitch.
The thirst ground springs of water. The renewal of a desert into a waterway echoes the exodus events of water bursting from the desert rocks
A settlement of Jackals. what was a deserted wasteland left for animals becomes a well-watered oasis.
The moral here is to truly have a clean slate in 2022, you must have faith in our Savior.
Here are some resolutions God would love us to do. We borrowed these off “A Ranch Mom’s” webpage but very practical.
- Be a peacemaker.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
- Only do things that are pleasing to God.
As he spake these words, many believed on him.
- Always do the work of the Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:57-58
But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
- Triumph in Christ.
2 Corinthians 2:13
I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia.
- Die to self every day.
2 Corinthians 4:9-11
Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
- Walk by faith.
2 Corinthians 5:5-7
Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore, we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
- Always be rejoicing in the Lord.
2 Corinthians 6:9-011
As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things. O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged.
- Give thanks for everything.
Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
So, whatever your resolution may be, it needs to be a productive effort to better oneself. It needs to be one that may assist you in getting out of your current situation.
Maybe you need to get a job to start making money towards a place to stay. Or maybe you need identification, reach out to people that will assist you. We are here as well to assist in any way possible.
We close with the following tips:
- Whatever your resolution may be, you can’t do it alone – you need help from God.
- You need to give your life to God and put your faith into him.
- You need to build a relationship with God.
- You need to work your part.
- You need to ask others for help as well as keeping accountability
- You need to pray on every step of the way
According to a 2019 survey, 7% of survey participants stuck to all their resolutions in 2019, while 19% kept some but not all of their resolutions. 8% of participants failed to keep any resolutions. And 57% chose not to make a New Year’s resolution for 2019.
Are you going to be one of these statistics?
You can’t accomplish your New Years Resolution without God
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