Join us on Facebook for more devotions and coloring pages:
Isaiah 43:18-19 New King James Version (NKJV)
18 “Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old. 19 Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert.
History Behind These Verses
Isaiah is a prophet. A prophet is a person who is given directions or wisdom directly from God to share with a specific group of people. Isaiah was called by God to be a messenger to the Israelites. He spent the majority of his adult life doing just this. When these verses were spoken by Isaiah, a large portion of God's children were being held captive for the second time. Years earlier the Israelites were held as slaves in Egypt, and now they were in bondage in Babylon.
Isaiah was sent to speak hope to God's people. He was sent to remind the Israelites of a few very important things. First, the children of God were to remember how God had earlier rescued them from their captivity in Egypt. Secondly, Isaiah was sent to warn the Israelites to not dwell on their past. These two instructions: to remember, and then do not dwell seem kind of contradictory. Let's take a couple of minutes to read some of the earlier verses found in Isaiah 43 so that we can get a clear picture of the exact message from God's prophet. You will notice in verses 16-17 that Isaiah is quoting events which happened years earlier. Verses 16-17 state some of the amazing events which took place during the Israelites' escape from Egypt.
Isaiah 43:14-17 New King James Version (NKJV)
14 Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, The Holy One of Israel: “For your sake I will send to Babylon, And bring them all down as fugitives— The Chaldeans, who rejoice in their ships. 15 I am the Lord, your Holy One, The Creator of Israel, your King.”
16 Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea And a path through the mighty waters, 17 Who brings forth the chariot and horse, The army and the power (They shall lie down together, they shall not rise; They are extinguished, they are quenched like a wick):
So, why is Isaiah first reminding the Israelites about their past to only later tell them to not remember it? After researching these verses, I discovered two reasons for this "double talk": first, the Israelites were allowed to be held captive both times as a direct consequence from the sins they were committing. God has forgiven them , and they must now forgive themselves and move forward in their relationship with God. God is wanting them to not dwell on their past sins.
Secondly, the Israelites should remember the great and miraculous acts God has done for them in their past. Although all of these acts of were incredible and definitely worth remembering, God does not want them to only dwell on them. Doing so could limit His children's future expectations. The Israelites had witnessed some incredibly amazing things during their release from Egypt. These miracles should not be forgotten, but the Israelites need to realize that these past miracles are nothing compared to the miracles still to come. God is wanting the Israelites to look to their future with new and open eyes! He wants them to realize that they are now free from their past sins! He desires for them to look with great anticipation to their future lives with HIM!
KJV Dictionary Definition: behold
1. To fix the eyes upon; to see with attention; to observe with care.
: recently born, built, or created
: not used by anyone else previously
To behold something takes ACTION on our part. We have control over where we ultimately aim our attention. We can either choose to FIX OUR EYES on God or we can choose to look away. In this verse, God is instructing us to focus our attention on HIM and to closely observe what He is going to do.
The "New" thing that God is referring to is JESUS!!!! Earlier in history, Our Heavenly Father rescued the Israelites from their captivity in Egypt, He is about to rescue them from their captivity in Babylon. These are both amazing acts, but neither of these rescue events was the "NEW" thing that God was referring to in this verse. The event that the Lord alludes to here is something special. It is something that we are instructed to BEHOLD! This "NEW" event is going to be even more magnificent than anything that our Lord has done for His children yet. This "NEW" thing is actually a NEW and ULTIMATE escape plan!!! With God's help, we will all have the chance to escape the bondage of SIN! The shedding of the Jesus' blood is the "New" thing! From the moment that Jesus gave His life for us, no child of God will ever be held in the captivity of SIN without having an escape plan!!!
Connection To Us
How different would our lives be if we each saw sin for what it truly is..... BONDAGE!!!!
God sent His only begotten son to earth to die so that we could be set free from sin, so why in the world do we sometimes choose to remain in our sin???? Literally we are choosing to not be rescued!!! We are in essence wanting to remain a slave!!!! This is CRAZY!!!!
My prayer for myself and all of us is this:
God, please open our eyes and allow us to see sin for what it truly is: bondage. Help us deepen our focus on YOU! Give us the strength that we need to turn away from the chains that Satan dangles in front of us. Give us wisdom to know the difference between genuine freedom in YOU and captivity in sin. Thank you for loving us enough to provide our rescue. Please forgive us for our transgressions. Help us turn from them and NEVER look back!!! In Jesus name, Amen!