Summary: Defines the grace of God as shown us by sending his Son
Isaiah 43:18-25 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 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. 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, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.
“Yet you have not called upon me, O Jacob, you have not wearied yourselves for me, O Israel. You have not brought me sheep for burnt offerings, nor honored me with your sacrifices. I have not burdened you with grain offerings nor wearied you with demands for incense. You have not bought any fragrant calamus for me, or lavished on me the fat of your sacrifices. But you have burdened me with your sins and wearied me with your offenses.
“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”
Theme: The Times Are Changing
Dear Friends In Christ,
Times are changing, and quickly. Some of you made have fought in a war 50 years ago in which a peace treaty was signed and a border established. Just this past week North Korea flew a war plane over that border. When you view that along with the nuclear buildup that has been taking place there, and their lack of diplomacy, and it almost seems they are challenging the United States to a war.
Then there is the challenge of Iraq. You begin to wonder, is our country the super power that it used to be? On September 11th, 2001 when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center, I would have agreed with the Japanese commander who said after the raid on Pearl Harbor, “I fear you have awakened a sleeping giant.” But now I’m not so sure. Less than two years ago, we were united under one flag, but now the news tells us that there is a suburb of Minneapolis which actually cut down an American flag, because it was hanging over a public street. Times certainly are changing.
Our text reports another change in times, one that is still taking place today. Like a good news report, it answers the important questions, What exactly is happening, how is it happening, and why?
At one time, the greatest proof of God’s love, and the greatest miracle that ever happened was when God, through Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt. Before Pharaoh would let them go, God displayed his power with ten different plagues. Then, even as they left, Pharaoh and the greatest army at that time pursued them. God actually opened the Red Sea, and allowed his people to walk across on dry land. When the Egyptians followed they were drowned. God continued to guide and protect them as they made their way through the desert. He provided these people with water where there was none. He gave them bread from heaven, and even quail to eat. Each year they remembered this sign of God’s love with the Feast of the Passover.
But times were changing. God will perform and even greater miracle to save his people. He says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 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. 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.” Do you perceive it? God is leading sinful people out of sin’s slavery. In essence he is leading them from the flames of hell. He has opened up the great to gulf between hell and heaven. He leads us his children through that gulf which is on our lives here on earth he gives us eternity in heaven.
He leads us into the green pastures of his word. He gives us living waters to drink. He treats us as sheep, and he is our good Shepherd. This miracle was even greater than the first Passover. God not only leads the Children of Israel out of certain death, he includes the rest of the world also.
Why does he do it? Why does he go to such great lengths to show his love? The answer is given in our text. “That the people I formed for myself may proclaim my praise.” Taking comfort in all that God has done for us should lead us to praise God. How could we keep ourselves from giving him the best of all he has given us? Think about he provides you with everything. You have nothing without him. But our human nature, that sin living in us, wants to take credit. You might think, I worked hard for all I have, and that may be true. But who gave you the ability to work? Somewhere in the back of your mind, you are worrying about how you will provide for yourself in the future, realize that you can’t. It is only by the grace of God that we continue to exist.