Summary: After reminding us of His faithfulness in the PAST God encourages us with what He is doing NOW in our lives.
A New Thing
“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: 18 "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. 20 The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, 21 the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.”
At the time this prophecy was given Isaiah and the other Jews were captives in Babylon. They were living under a set of circumstances that were difficult for them. They longed to be back in Jerusalem—their homeland. At that time such a dream seemed like an absolute impossibility.
Through Isaiah God is speaking a word of assurance and encouragement to His people.
First, look with me at
I. God’s Reference to the PAST.
(1) He begins by reminding them of His past faithfulness.
verses 16 & 17 “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:”
This is not the first time God’s people had experienced hardship. While they were slaves in Egypt life was rough. The Egyptians were hard taskmasters. Listen to what God said to Moses when He met with him at the burning in Exodus 3:7 “ The LORD said, "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering.” When God’s people are hurting God sees it and God feels it. Hebrews 4:15 tells us that Jesus is a High Priest who is touched with the feelings of our infirmities. In Isa 63:9 the prophet talks about God’s heart toward His people, “In all their affliction He was afflicted, And the Angel of His Presence saved them; In His love and in His pity He redeemed them; And He bore them and carried them All the days of old.” NKJV If there is anybody hurting here this morning I want you to understand God’s heart toward you. He feels the pain you feel and He cares about what you are going through.
In our text, these people are not only being reminded that God cares but also that God is able. At the time of the Exodus Egypt was the most powerful nation on earth. There was no way that Israel could have risen up and broke free from their bondage. Egypt’s chariots and horses and army were there to insure nothing like that would ever happen. Humanly speaking it was a hopeless situation that God’s people were in. But God felt their pain and intervened in their behalf. Everything changed because God acted. There are times when we need to act in obedience to God’s directive. But their are times when God rises up and acts in behalf of His people. The prayer in Ps 119:126 cries out “It is time for you to act, O LORD...” When God lifted His arm in behalf of His people 10 Plagues feel on Egypt. God brought them out just as He said He would. When Pharaoh and his army tried to pursue them they were destroyed.
Ex 15:1-2 “Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the LORD, and spoke, saying: ‘I will sing to the LORD, For He has triumphed gloriously!
The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea!
2 The LORD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; My father’s God, and I will exalt Him.’” NKJV
The result of God’s work in behalf of His people was worship and praise. They rejoiced together in what God had done.
So, on the one hand, our text tells us to remember the past—remember it so that we know the faithfulness of God. He is from everlasting to everlasting. He changes not. The same God who delivered their forefathers can and will deliver them.
(2) But ironically, our text also tells us to forget about the past. Isa 43:18 "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.” It is a good thing to draw lessons from our past. We can learn from past experience. It is a good thing to encourage ourselves in the faithfulness of God by remembering what He’s done for us. But life is to be lived in the NOW! No matter how bad or how good things were in the past that is not where we are now. For these people they needed to embrace the hope God had set before them for the future. They were living in the past Exodus when God was about to give them a present Exodus.