Saturday, January 7, 2012

New Year, New Thing



I've been caught up in a love affair since this past summer.

Now get your mind out of the gutter of reality television and back into the real world. Not a love affair with a man. (Although, I really do love you Anthony! Really, I do!)

Well, maybe the love affair is with a man -- or men. One small detail: these men died many, many years ago.

My love affair has been with the Old Testament prophets of the bible.

It all began when my bible study leader suggested the women of the church team up in groups of two or three to study one of the minor prophets over the summer. I thought it was a good idea since we weren't offering any formal bible studies during the summer break. I even named the study, "Two-by-Two," writing catchy little ads for it in our church announcements.

I had no idea what awaited me.

I, along with two church sisters (Mwah Karen and Julie!), chose Malachi. And he did not disappoint. I loved the urgency with which Malachi spoke, insisting the people repent from their sinful ways. My personal study times were deep, our regular discussions vibrant.

But studying Malachi fanned a flame that continues to grow today. That short study has begun a love affair in my heart that has taken me by surprise, quite frankly. I've developed a passion for the prophetic books of the bible. And I absolutely adore the minor prophets. But more about that in another blog post...

So it is with great joy that I present our next verses in our word study of the word "new" -- Isaiah 43:18-19:

"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See I am doing a new thing!"

Isaiah, whose name means "The LORD is salvation," definitely left his mark on the world. Born to a family of influence, he served as prophet to God's southern kingdom of Judah through the reigns of four kings. His last twenty-seven chapters foreshadow the coming of Jesus Christ, our Messiah, and his powerful words are repeated in the New Testament sixty-six times. 

Makes me wonder how people can read his words and still miss Him. 

By the time we reach Chapter 43, our prophet has foreshadowed Judah's future captivity by the Babylonians. He has warned them of their sins of idolatry and empty ritualism, sins that would propel them towards the upcoming captivity.

But now we see a softer side of Isaiah. He now offers words of comfort that they will need to cling to while in captivity.
"I am the LORD, your Holy One, Israel's Creator, your King. This is what the LORD says -- he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, 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..." (vs. 15-17)
Through Isaiah, the Lord reminds the people that He is the Lord, their Creator, their true King. He reminds them of their ancestors' salvation from Egyptian slavery. He reminds them of the parting of the Red Sea, "he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters." And He recounts the demise of their enemies who, "lay there, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick."



With this backdrop he tells them to "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past." Now let me be clear. Isaiah's not encouraging them to forget about the salvation of their forefathers. Far be it from him to suggest such a thing. Actually, a modern interpretation might read something like this: "So you think the parting of the Red Sea was something? Man, you ain't seen nothing yet!"

He encourages the children of God further, saying, "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... 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." (vs. 19, 20b-21)


The same God that transformed the floor of the Red Sea into dry ground would make the parched desert wet with nourishing water. God would protect and provide for His children during their exodus from Babylonian captivity, just as He had during their forefathers' exodus from Egypt. The Father has always been and always would be their Sustenance, their Source, their Salvation.

And He still is. He is our Sustenance, our Source, our Salvation. In Him we move and have our being. In Him we find new life, new meaning.

In Him we discover the promise of a new thing.

Carla

5 comments:

  1. Praise the Lord Carla...Now that's Good News!!! Thank you for sharing with us what God has placed on your heart. I too have been studying the book of Isaiah (and find it quiet fastenating). God chose Isaiah to record some of the most remarkble prophecies about Christ.

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  2. I know, Renita! Jesus is all over Isaiah, and much of the Old Testament. Thanks for stopping by and sharing here!

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  4. God will do a new thing here in our culture if we pray and seek His face. Pat Lee

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  5. Amen Pat Lee! And that call is to His children, so let's keep praying and seeking His face, Sister.

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