The Lord is about to move among His people in new and unconventional ways. He is doing a “New Thing” and ending “old things” (past seasons – namely barren wildernesses and dry desert seasons). As we stand on the cusp of the closing of this season, the Lord’s exhortation to us is found in two passages of scripture.Isaiah 43:19 “Do not remember the former things of old, Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth; do you not perceive and know it and will you not give heed to it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Part of the new thing is making a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. The Lord is speaking into wilderness and desert seasons. When the Lord says he will make a “way” in the wilderness, He means He is giving navigational points to a season that seemed vast and never ending. There is now clear direction, fresh vision, new instruction, new assignments and promotion. Many of you are now coming out of your wilderness season and God is birthing new things in your life. They will be new and will require you to not look at the “former” things. In the wilderness the children of Israel were only allowed to live with enough manna for the day. Sometimes when we go through wilderness seasons we are literally existing one day to the next. Our vision is cut short we can be barren in dreaming and hoping and in vision. This isn’t always a bad thing. In the wilderness seasons we experience a stripping of our own ability so that when the wilderness is over we are able to possess and inherit by His Spirit. We have learnt to lean on our beloved. The striving has ended, our pursuits have been emptied out and we are unrecognisable. We do not look the same coming out as we did entering into the wilderness. Hence the scripture in Song of Songs 8:5 “Who is this coming out of the wilderness leaning upon her beloved”. The question asked is “who is it”, because she now is unrecognisable. When God is doing something new, there is a temptation to look back, because new is new. It’s new to you, it’s not been used, it’s not been recycled it’s brand new. This challenges our comfort zones and our limited space of operation. There is a temptation to define the new by the past but the Lord’s instruction to us is to remember NOT the former things. DON’T LOOK BACK! A NEW OUTPOURING IS TO BRING FORTH PROMISE Another thing that is new is making rivers flow in the Desert. Desert in the Hebrew means “desolate”, to lie waste, to be ruined, a place of being alone. When rivers flow life springs forth. To have rivers flow in the desert they don’t just appear. No you need downpour flooding rains to come and create rivers to flow in a desert place. A desert is a desert because there isn’t much rain or water. So for water to come to a desert that is not the norm. The rain is coming, and in scripture rain refers to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. When the river comes to your desert. Don’t you put your toe in and say, “hmm what is the temperature of the water? Oh I just washed my hair yesterday. Oh I don’t want to get my clothes wet. I’ll look silly, what will people think of me?” No you jump into that thing. Headfirst with no hesitation. When God begins to pour out His Spirit, those who are still remembering the former things, and not recognising the new because it may be out of their paradigm, try to control it. And because they can’t control it, they then attack and criticise it. Don’t be deterred if you receive criticism for the new thing God is birthing. Get ready for God to begin to perform against the norm. God is about to disrupt your norm. If the desert has been your norm and you try and look back and remember it, it will hinder you from recognising the “new thing”. If your norm has been sickness and disease, God is saying today, FORGET IT! It can’t be part of your norm anymore, because I am doing a new thing. Where my river flows healing can come. It doesn’t matter if it hasn’t worked in the past. It doesn’t matter if you have been prayed for 100 times and nothing has happened. FORGET IT! Remember it no more. Because it will hinder your new thing!! There is a new thing springing forth. It’s called the river of God invading your barren place. It’s called vision and purpose in your wilderness where you have been living day to day. It’s called healing, deliverance, debt cancellation, prodigal children coming home. Forget the norm, Forget the norm because God is about to perform against the norm. STRETCHING TO ENTER IN Isaiah 54:2-4 “Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; spare not; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes, For you will spread abroad to the right hand and to the left; and your offspring will possess the nations and make the desolate cities to be inhabited. Fear not, for you shall not be ashamed; neither be confounded and depressed, for you shall not be put to shame. For you shall forget the shame of your youth, and you shall not [seriously] remember the reproach of your widowhood any more.” Vs 2 Now God is saying to enlarge and be expanded. He tells us how to expand. Spare not in the Hebrew means to: restrain, refrain, reserved, keep back, withhold, hold in check. This is why you can’t look back. Because it will effect your “sparing not” instruction. When God begins to do something new, we can be tempted to hesitate and hold back. We can operate according to the limitations of the past. But in order to be expanded we can’t hold back. To hold something in check means to control it. You can’t control this new thing. You can’t control the river. Come on, we don’t want to be like the Pharisees and call the “new thing” the works of Beelzebub. There is a strict warning from Jesus not to blaspheme the Holy Spirit and if you look in context to what that is it is saying what the Holy spirit is doing is the work of Satan. (Matthew 22:32). Next instruction in this passage in Isaiah 54:3 is Fear Not. COURAGE FOR A NEW ASSIGNMENT In order for Joshua to lead the children of Israel into the “new”, that is, the promised land, the Lord said to him in Joshua 1:2 “My servant Moses is dead, now arise [take his place], go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land which I am giving to them, the Israelites”. He announced the ending of the old season. Moses is dead. Don’t look back. You are about to go forward and inherit! Moses represents the old way of doing it. Further down in verses 6,7 & 9 the Lord commands, yes that’s right it wasn’t a suggestion it was a command to be strong and of good courage. Why is that? Joshua wasn’t afraid of a battle. In fact Joshua was one of only 2 men out of all Israel who wasn’t afraid to take down the giants when Moses sent in the 10 spies. He wasn’t afraid of the battle. Joshua needed courage in order to take the promised land God’s way. Not by his own might or power but by God’s Spirit. And so we know the story the instruction came that to many may have been odd. March around the walls of Jericho silent for seven days and on the seventh day, seven times and on the seventh time blow the trumpet and have all the people shout with a great shout. Sometimes the ways of God to enter into the new, and inherit the promises are odd to the natural way of thinking but in order to flow with God we must first understand Don’t look back – Moses is dead – the old way won’t take you into the new, and we need courage to obey God in what may seem unconventional. Courage means the ability to control fear, in the midst of difficult, unpleasant and dangerous situations. Come on you haven’t endured the wilderness and come this far to bork at the promise. REMEMBER NOT, SPARE NOT, FEAR NOT. GOD IS GOING TO PERFORM AGAINST YOUR NORM.