I enjoyed my first evening and morning in a new apartment. In three weeks time, my fiance joins me after our wedding. Something is definitely new for the both of us: married life. Until that day, there are other little things along the way, which emphasize the present newness of this season. After fourteen years of living west of the 110 freeway in Los Angeles, I will be living northeast of it in Pasadena. I welcome the change as this locale is one of my preferred spots outside of West LA.
There is an excitement over what will take place in the coming months. Part of this has to do with partnering alongside a wonderful woman. Whatever difficulties come my way, I will have someone at my side. The same is true for her. We will have each other during the rough and tumble times. Those may be brought about through character and personality differences. Another contributing factor is the spiritual side of things. The enemy has marked us for termination so to speak. We lack any endearing qualities from his perspective, but the feelings are mutual.
The reason for bringing this up today has to do with the following passage in the Old Testament: “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing 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” (Isaiah 43:18-19, ESV). In all honesty, I do not have any major fear or anxiety about the coming months of marriage. Neither do I see myself pining away over my former days living in West LA. That being said, these words in Isaiah still penetrate quite deep.
At this point, I think that it is important to realize that Isaiah recorded God’s prophetic word for the nation of Israel. Throughout the prophet’s entire book, there are prophecies of severe judgment and glorious blessing for the nation of Israel. In fact, the latter portion of the forty-third chapter serves as a reminder to Israel about its history beset by sin and rebellion (Isaiah 43:22-28, ESV). The God who delivered them from Egypt has promised to deliver them from their sin (Isaiah 43:1-5 & 25,ESV).
All throughout Isaiah 43, Israel’s past comes to the forefront as a contrast to future restoration. In effect, the Lord tells the nation of Israel that this is how you have been, but this is how you will be. The Lord does not tell his people to stop remembering what he has done in them, through them, and for them. Many Psalms express worship to the Lord by remembering past victories due to God’s mighty hand. It seems to me that the Lord desires Israel to stop dwelling on the past, which hampers them from expecting present and future victories. The same is true for me. When I look back on the past, I see how the Lord provided for me and delivered me in wondrous ways.
Do I believe and trust in the Lord for the present and future? Do I hear him telling me to stop dwelling on past failures and successes? If I remain preoccupied on the past, then I will not be able to hear his voice in the present. I will not be able to see the way that he has made for me. The Lord speaks the same words to me that he did to Israel: “Behold, I am doing 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” (Isaiah 43:19, ESV). A new thing springs up before me. It comes from the Lord. It is a gift to be received and cherished by faith; therefore, it must lived by faith, too.