Is. 43:18 Do not remember the former things,
or consider the things of old.
Is. 43:19 I am about to do a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
God is speaking to his people who are being held in captivity. They are going to be set free, released from the power of those who are oppressing them. Of course the people recall the freedom brought about by their release from Egypt. This was to have been remembered year after year as they celebrated the passover. But now, God was wanting to do something new for his people. The freedom that they would experience in release from this exile would be even greater than what had been experienced when they were led out of Egypt. Something new was springing forth that would lead to a deliverance for God’s people, one which would be transformational in the lives of each and every person. Therefore it was time to move on and not to dwell on what had happened in the past. God was moving.
This scripture was about the present circumstance of the Israelites but it was also a foreshadowing of the arrival of the Messiah. God would make a way for the Israelites to go home. He would provide for them on the journey, leading through wilderness, providing in the desert. At the same time we see that the Lord is going to provide these resources for his people through his Son. His Son provides the river of living water that will provide for our needs as we travel through the wilderness and deserts of life. As he provides for our needs we are to move on and not dwell on the things of the past. Open our eyes, perceive what it is that he is doing and live in the abundance and overflow of his living stream.
How often to we spend time living in the doom and gloom of the past? We love to remember the things of the past and dig them up from time to time. My husband accuses me (and probably rightfully so) that I’m really good at remember little picky things from the past. It seems in the heat of the moment, when we may be a bit frustrated with one another, it’s easy to remind him about something he forgot to do twenty or thirty years ago. That really is ridiculous and the longer we’ve been married, the more the Lord has helped me with this. The fun of being married this long is that those little things that had once bothered you become a distant memory and instead fade into the patchwork quilt of life and become one of the pieces that create a beautiful picture. It’s a part of who we are and how our lives have been woven together. There is no need to focus on the former things because it’s too much fun participating in what God is doing in our relationship now.
The same is true in every facet of life. Why waste the time and energy digging up the past, instead we are to live in the anticipation of God’s new springing forth. For the Israelites they were going to experience freedom from exile. We have had the privilege as Christ followers to experience freedom from sin! And once we experience this freedom from sin we continue to press on, to move forward. John Wesley encouraged his followers to continually press on in their faith in anticipation of the next work that God wanted to do in their lives.
We must be willing to move on if we are to reach the way that he has prepared for us in the wilderness. We don’t find the way by sitting around, it takes a little action on our part but the way is there and it is the way out of the wilderness that life may have created. In the barrenness and desert of life he has also bought fresh water. His living water is there to sustain us and to lead us through victoriously to the new which he is preparing in advance for us all.
If we choose to live in the past and simply dwell there we will never find what he has for us. It’s time to move on. Don’t you perceive it? God is on the move, preparing the way out of our wilderness, if only we will leave the past behind and be willing to move on.
Lord, please help me to look in your direction, living and moving in you every day. Amen.