Text: Isaiah 43:19
Different ministers of God have spoken at different times about a New Beginning. A lot of us are familiar with Isaiah 43:19 where God says behold I do a new thing. But the question is how many of us can say we have truly experienced a new beginning in our walk with God, family life, career and finances? Can we truly say we have experienced a new beginning in our church or in our nation?
There is a big difference between God saying He wants to do something and we actually experiencing what God says He wants to do. This is why today we want to look at the hindrances to a new beginning. So that we don’t just hear messages about a new beginning or a new thing like we have heard in previous years, but that we actually experience and testify of a new beginning this year.
In looking at the hindrances to a new beginning, we will take time to look at a people God desired a new beginning for; a people He told about a new beginning but who unfortunately never experienced the new beginning God had planned for them.
Exodus 1:8-14, Exodus 2:23-25 and Exodus 6:6-8 describe what the Israelites had been facing for many years:
•They had been slaves for many years.
•They had been under the yoke of the Egyptians for years.
•They had lived in a land that wasn’t theirs for years.
•They had been going through pain, oppression and severe hardship for so many years.
•Their lives had been bitter for years.
•They had lost their joy, weren’t happy and just used to cry and groan in their misery.
God saw all of this and wanted to give them a new beginning. He wanted to change their situation. He wanted to move them from the level they had been on for years to a better and more glorious level. Let’s take note that the situation or level the Israelites had been in which God wanted to change, wasn’t a situation or problem of 2 years, or 5 years, or 20 years. They had been in that situation or on that level for over 400 years. What this tells us is that there is no situation God can’t redeem, God can’t change. With God it’s never too late to start afresh. God can give you a new beginning at any age. God can give the worst of situations a new start, a new beginning.
So these were a people that God had remembered and wanted to change their story. He wanted to break every yoke in their lives and take them into their own promised land so they could have a new beginning. But of the over 600,000 people that left Egypt for the Promised Land (Exodus 12:37), just a few actually entered the Promised Land and experienced a new beginning (Numbers 14:21-24). My prayer is that whatever will keep us from experiencing a new beginning, God will remove from our lives.
Number 1 hindrance: Lack of available and willing vessels
In Exodus 3:9-10, God shared His vision and plan with Moses about the new beginning He wanted to give the Israelites. But for this new beginning to be actualized, Moses had a part to play. The vision or dream of a new beginning would be nothing but a dream or mere talk until someone could step in to do what was mindful and necessary for this new beginning to become a reality. Every new beginning whether in our personal lives, family, church or nation, requires a Moses; it requires people who are available and willing to pay the price that will bring about this new beginning. People who will do what is mindful and needful for there to be a new beginning.
We want many great things to happen in our lives, families, church and nation, but we are not ready to pay the price. Moses had to pay the price –
•He had to confront and challenge a very hard and cruel ruler like Pharaoh.
•He had to be willing to face resistance and opposition from even the people he had been sent to help.
A new beginning isn’t automatic. Something must be done for there to be a new beginning and somebody must be available and willing to do those things that will bring about a new beginning.
Are you a willing and available vessel? Am I a willing and available vessel? Can you pay the price that is needed for you to have a new beginning? Like the woman with the issue of blood, can you struggle your way through the crowd just to get to Jesus so you can touch the helm of His garment and be healed and have a new beginning (Mark 5:25-28)?
As Jesus was ministering on that day this woman received her healing, there were many people like her who needed a new beginning and who all they needed to do was touch the helm of Jesus garment and they would receive a new beginning. But some would have seen the crowd and said I don’t have the time and patience to pass through this crowd. Some would have said I am not a crowd person and not bother at all to get to Jesus. Yet, they were expecting a new beginning. Not only did the woman with the issue of blood have to pass through a large crowd to get to Jesus so she could receive a new beginning, she had to do something that wasn’t convenient or comfortable. This woman was bleeding on that day (Mark 5:29). This wasn’t a comfortable situation to be in. It wasn’t comfortable and convenient for her to leave her house that day in the condition she was in. It would have been so much easier for her to just sit at home that day and pray for a miracle. But she went out of her comfort zone. A new beginning will require you going out of your comfort zone to do something that is not convenient and comfortable.
It wasn’t convenient or comfortable for Moses and Aaron to keep approaching Pharaoh, performing such great wonders before him, yet each time he refused to let the people go. They went through all of that with Pharaoh because they were willing and available vessels.
What of in the church? Can we pay the price of the quantity and quality of praise, worship, prayers, evangelism, visitation, discipline, discipleship, financial commitments and sacrifices needed for the church to expand? The truth of the matter is that what a lot of us are expecting God to do is magic not a miracle. We don’t for instance tell anybody about our church or invite anyone to church, we don’t even live the life in our homes, offices, or schools that would attract people to our church, yet we want the church to expand. It is magic that can fill it without anything being done by anybody.
Moses would never have known what great things God could use Him to do if he just continued to sit down with his father-in-law tending flocks. It was by surrendering himself to God and being available and willing that He saw God move in a mighty way.
Number 2 Hindrance: Wrong Association
Exodus 12:38 tells us that when the Israelites left Egypt, they left with a mixed multitude. This mixed multitude had such a negative effect on the Israelites. In Numbers 11:4-6, we see the bad influence this mixed multitude had on the Israelites:
•They distracted their focus and attention from the Promised land and took their minds back to Egypt the land of slavery and captivity.
•They influenced them to start complaining and grumbling, something that greatly displeased God.
•And tragically, they were responsible for many not entering the Promised Land and experiencing the new beginning God wanted to give them. See the judgment of God that came on the Israelites who started craving other food besides what God had provided for them (Numbers 11:33-34).
So God may want to give you a new beginning, you may be also available and willing, but because of the people you are closely relating with, the people you are allowing to walk closely with you as you journey into your promised land, you could miss your new beginning. My prayer is that everyone who will not allow you get to where God wants you to get to, where God has destined for you, God will cut you off from such people. Everyone whose association is not helpful to you, God will cut you off from such people so you can truly experience a new beginning.
Number 3 Hindrance: Ingratitude
In Numbers 11:1-4, Numbers 12, Numbers 14:1-4, 11-12, 20-23 and Numbers 16, we see grumbling and complaining as the third thing that hindered the Israelites from entering the Promised Land and experiencing the new beginning God wanted to give them. God takes grumbling and complaining very seriously. Why? Why did the grumbling and complaining of the Israelites displease and make God angry?
It was a sign of lack of faith, trust and confidence in God. Despite everything God had done to show them how much He loved them, it was like they were saying they didn’t trust Him, they weren’t confident in decisions He had taken, or things He had done on their behalf, they didn’t believe in Him.
It showed how ungrateful they were. In Egypt they had to work extremely hard to have food to eat. Now, without doing any form of labour, God provided manna for them. He gave them food they didn’t have to pay for or work for, but they didn’t appreciate this and so God was angry at their ungratefulness.
I Corinthians 10:10 is a warning to us who want to experience a new beginning that we should avoid grumbling and complaining. Complaining doesn’t change anything, it doesn’t make things better. It didn’t make things better for the Israelites but worst. They saw one judgment of God after the other because of their complaints. But they didn’t learn. They grumbled and complained about the manna God gave them and the Lord sent fire to consume them. Yet they didn’t learn. Miriam and Aaron still went on to complain about Moses’ wife and ministry and Miriam became leprous. In spite of this, they still went on to complain about the land the spies had been sent out to see that there were giants in the land and God destroyed them. This was how they kept on grumbling and complaining till virtually all of them were destroyed in the wilderness. The Israelites were not wise and so didn’t learn anything from their mistakes. But we don’t have to be like them. In fact, their own error has been put down in the Bible for us so we don’t end up falling into the same error they did and miss the Promised Land and new beginning God wants to give us.
Ask yourself this question: since I’ve been complaining about my country, my church, my spouse, my boss, or my situation has it changed anything? If it hasn’t, then why are you still doing it?
Instead of spending time complaining, let’s make a conscious decision to be a people of thanksgiving. If we grumble and complain from now till tomorrow, nothing is going to change. If on the other hand, we spend quality time thanking God for what He has done in the past and what He is presently doing, things can change. Psalm 50:23 makes us understand that when you are thankful, you honour God and He visits you.
May the Lord visit you in a very powerful way as you thank Him every day of this year and do away with grumbling and complaining. I also pray for you that anything that can hinder you from experiencing a new beginning, may the wind of the Holy Spirit blow out of your life, in Jesus mighty name, AMEN!
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