Summary: If we want to let God make us a new creation, we must get out of the ruts and walk on the roadway God provides for us!
• SLIDE #1
• A few weeks ago Robyn and I decided to take her Toyota Highlander Hybrid up the mountain.
• I think we went to Ramsey Canyon road. Ok, we have a SUV; we can conquer the world with it even though it is a two-wheel drive and a Hybrid.
• We start up the mountain; all is well, well because the road is smooth. As we got high up, the road started to get rough and there were ruts in the road.
• I was trying to keep the SUV OUT of the ruts because I had this mental image of the rut tossing us off the mountain, that would not be good, but I saw enough roadrunner when I was a kid to know all would be ok.
• It was hard to navigate at times because the ruts seemingly tried to pull us into them.
• Then we got almost to the top and I got caught up in a rut and ALMOST got stuck. Well I did get a little stuck but my superior driving skills got us out of the rut. I did learn that a Hybrid is not much help when you get stuck by the way.
• We were enjoying the ride until the ruts in what was once a passable roadway for us ended our good time.
• Life can be that way, are you in a RUT right now? Have you been in a RUT before? Being in a rut is a bad feeling. When we get in the ruts of life, life just seems to lose its joy if we are not careful.
• The other thing about RUTS is they can pull you into them. Or people around you who are in a RUT can pull you into the RUT with them.
• God does not want you to be stuck in a rut; He wants you on the roadways He has prepared for you!
• Today as we continue our journey through the “New Year For A New You” series, we are going to explore some thoughts that will help keep us out of the ruts and keep us on the awesome roadways God has set before us.
• We are going to be in the book of Isaiah today in chapter 43, verses 18-20.
• I want to give you a very quick timeline of dates so you can see how incredible what Isaiah says really is.
• SLIDE #2 DATES
• Isaiah is a prophet from 739-685. BEFORE the Assyrians ended the Northern Kingdom in 722, Isaiah wrote about it. But that may not be as impressive as where we will be in scripture today.
• As a point of reference, Isaiah dies in 680 BC. In the chapter we are going to examine, Isaiah is make prophecies about how Babylon will one day fall. Remember Babylon will not take over Judah until 605 BC. So Isaiah predicts 75 years after he dies, Babylon will overtake Judah. Pretty impressive.
• SLIDE #3 LAST DATES
• THEN in Isaiah proceeds to tell the nation that one day the Babylonians will be taken down and the Jews will get to go home. Now mind you that this did not happen until 536 BC by the Persians some 144 years AFTER Isaiah dies.
• Now my last point of interest before we dig into the text.
• Not only does Isaiah predict the fall of Babylon, he also gives us the NAME of the leader who will take out the Babylonians in Isaiah 44:28
• SLIDE #4
• Isaiah 44:28 (ESV) who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd, and he shall fulfill all my purpose’; saying of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be built,’ and of the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid.’ ”
• In Isaiah 45 you will read more about Cyrus.
• Let’s begin by looking at Isaiah 43:18
• SLIDE #5
• Isaiah 43:18 (ESV) “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.
• SLIDE #6
I. Resist dwelling on and living in the ruts of the past.
• I talk about this a lot with folks; it is so easy to get in the trap of focusing in on the past, whether the past was glorious or hideous.
• Really the only reasons to spend time in the past other than to reminisce would be to learn a lesson or to see how God showed His presence in your life.
• The past is not meant to be lived in or chained to. In this passage Isaiah is telling his audience not to dwell in the past.
• It is interesting however; that in verses 16-17 God reminds the people that He delivered them from the Egyptians through the Red Sea.