Isaiah 43:18-19, “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? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
Background: Babylonian captivity due to Hezekiah’s sin (Isaiah 20). The chapter provides the promise of God’s deliverance of Israel from Babylonian captivity. Context collapse: they were already exhausted of not seeing any progress, of being captured and conquered by different nations, and by being exiled from their own motherland.
Yet, here, God spoke some word that would give them hope and assurance that God has a future for his people. And like, us, UCBC, our prayer hope is the same. In this new season, may we all hope together, not criticize nor lambast one another, but instead grant one another compassion and grace.
Pause/ Stop: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past” – carrying the burden alone is difficult.
- We have the tendency to undervalue the present by comparing what yesterday’s state was.
- Parallel verses: Philippians 3:13, “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Prepare/ Look: “See, I am doing a new thing!” – A surprise of a new season
- See! Look. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-11, “11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
Proceed/ Go: “I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the land.” – Impossible things are possible/ seems like the splitting of the red sea
- Go, trust God. If it feels like everything does not make sense, trust the Holy Spirit. If you see no progress in your life, trust Jesus. If you cannot hear God’s calling, trust God. In everything else, trust Him. The Israelites took 70 years before they were freed from Babylonian captivity and had the opportunity to rebuild the temple. (We do not need to wait for 70 years.)
- The same power that made a way in the sea (v. 16) can make a way in the wilderness, and will force its passage through the greatest difficulties. (Matthew Henry)
- It increases faith-assurance that God will be with us and make a way (Isaiah 43:2-4).
- It springs forth joy and hope.
- It recalibrates your path to God’s will.
Conclusion: Where are you right now? Are you in the right season? Too late or too early? Pause, prepare, and proceed.
Rev. John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
April 30, 2023