But if the LORD make a new thing and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the LORD. Num. 16:30 (KJV)
It is human nature to resist doing new things even if new things offer more than the status quo. Our text takes us to the Book of Numbers where we observe the impact of a nation’s resistance to God and His divine purpose for their life. What should have been an eleven-day journey resulted in a forty year “funeral procession” (Num. 14:28-29; 32-35). Regardless of Israel’s opposition, God would show them a reason for His new thing.
From the time of their departure, Israel complained and was rebellious against not only the leadership of Moses and Aaron but also against God Himself. Israel had seen the many miracles of God yet “Israel had Egypt in their hearts, regardless of what God did for them even as they marched into the wilderness.”
Where is your heart? When God attempts to move you to your divine purpose, do you complain and murmur? Is your affection set on the things of this world when God’s plan offers much more? (Col. 3:2-4)
Motivated by jealousy and envy, Korah, Dathan, and Abiram attempted to seize the priesthood from Aaron and his sons. In so doing, they also challenged the sovereignty and authority of God. In the wilderness, God would teach Israel a painful lesson about the reason for “new things”—about sacrifice, authority, and responsibility. [Read Numbers 15:1-20:13] That “new thing” would come with a price—it would cost Korah, Dathan, and Abiram their life, their families’ lives plus the lives of 14,700 people within Israel’s camp.
One of the reasons for God’s severity in punishing Israel was to prepare the way for His new thing—a people who would accept the “new beginning” He had readied for them in the Promised Land. It would be there that Israel would experience new victories, a new priest (Eleazar), a new leader (Joshua), and a new generation.
How does God use “new things” in our life?
- God might need to reset or reboot our current efforts. Stalled plans, ungodly influences or fleshly lusts can often take us off the path God sovereignly chooses for us. God’s intervention will guarantee success. (Phil. 1:6)
- God may desire to take us out of our comfort zone. He may even allow “trials and tribulations” into our life to move us forward. In trusting and waiting on the Lord, we find courage to persevere as we pursue God’s plan for our life. (1 Pet. 1:6-7)
- God could choose to introduce us to an opportunity that may not have been on our radar screen. It is in those moments we can depend wholly on God to bring prospects into our life that will result in our good and His glory. (Matt. 7:11)
God always has a reason for introducing new things into our life. They may not be easy but they are always worth it. We may not understand “why” but we can trust “Who” (God).
In the past when faced with new things, I was like Israel, guilty of complaining and murmuring. Out of fear and frustration, I would cry, “Lord, why me?” I now choose God’s path for my life and when faced with “new things” I sigh in faith and confidence, “Lord, it’s YOU and me!”
 Wiersbe Bible Commentary