Yesterday morning, I read on YouVersion Bible iPad application this MSG translation of Isaiah 43:18-19: “Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands.”
Last night, I came across an interesting Bible Study called “Heart’s Desire” by Sheri Rose Shepherd so I bought and downloaded Lesson 7. The central verse was the NIV translation of the same verse: “Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past. See I am doing a new thing!”
This morning when I looked for an index card to put some instructions on, on the top card of the stack was handwritten part of this same verse.
At times, God emphasizes His message through such repetition.
The immediately preceding verses in Isaiah 43:16-17 reminds us of God’s faithfulness and almighty power in delivering His people from what seemed to be an impossible situation. They thought they were doomed as Pharaoh and his reinforcements were closing in on them as they approached the impassable Red Sea, but the waters opened and God made a way for His people’s deliverance. The chariots and armies of Pharaoh would get swallowed up, never to rise again.
Isa 43:16 This is what the Lord says—
he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters,
17 who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and reinforcements together,
and they lay there, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:
Who He is and what He has done we must remember— not only delivered us from past troubles and provided for our needs but delivered us from our greatest trouble of dying as wages for our own sins and provided Jesus to die in our place that we may have eternal life in the future and in the present.
But the offenses of people, discouragement from circumstances, the stumbling by the enemy, our mistakes which God has forgiven— we must forget.
1Cor 13:5c Love…keeps no record of wrongs.
Dwelling on these opens doorways to sin. They can reawaken anger, unforgiveness, bitterness, and feelings of seeking vengeance. They can rob us of our joy of the present and our joy in God’s present of doing a new thing. Our focus can get stuck on the wrongs that have been done instead of what our holy, almighty God of Restoration and Redemption is doing. Focusing on what God is doing decreases the potential for grumbling and opens the path to praise. And God inhabits the praises of His people. In praise, the enemy is defeated.
Even as we acknowledge the reality of our pain, we do not have to be slaves of it. We can move beyond it and remember that as our Father works in all things for the good of His children, pain is one of the best training grounds for character to grow, and for us to minister to others who are in pain.
1Cor 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
May we stop being historical and do our proper spring cleaning to make way for the new thing that God is doing. May we not miss out on witnessing God doing what only He can do: make a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.