Old Things and New Things
Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
Isaiah 43:18-19 ESV
The good old days. Do you remember them? I do. And, if I really think hard about them, they really weren’t any better than today . . . just different.
We often have a tendency to “look back” and see life in “snapshots”. These are isolated images of impacting instances that have made an impression on us. We end up seeing a single “frame” of our lives instead of the entire “movie”. In turn, we build a story of our lives on several images, instead of the whole. We end up living in “what if” as opposed to “what is”.
Robert C. Loveless wrote these well known lyrics, “Ev’ry day with Jesus Is sweeter than the day before.” Everyday with Him is better, sweeter, more wonderful than the previous day.
The children of Israel were in a difficult time. Even though they were God’s chosen nation, they continued to live independently from God and indifferent to His word. The prophet Isaiah delivers a message of healing and hope . . . a message of renewal and resurrection.
Escape The Old Thing. Isaiah writes, “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.” (Is 43:18 ESV). Too often, we become tied to our past and live in it’s success or sorrows. We may blame our present on our past . . . or bemoan that today is not as good as yesterday. Isaiah encourages the nation of Israel to get a new perspective by escaping the things that were holding them back. Paul writes to the Christ-followers in Rome, “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Rom 15:4) These were written for our learning, as well as our living. Our hope is not in what was, but in what is and what will be. This gives us the endurance and encouragement needed to embrace our eternal perspective.
Embrace The New Thing. Isaiah continues his encouragement, “Behold, I am doing a new thing.” (Is 43:19 ESV) With a burial of the old, there is a birth of the new. In The Message, Eugene Peterson captures this thought, “Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands.” (Is 43:18-19 MSG) Be alert . . . be attentive . . . be anticipating. God will bring a solution that can not be subdued. He will provide a way where there has been no way before. It will be brand new . . . it will be bursting out. Paul describes this working of God this way, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.” (Eph 3:20 ESV)
The apostle Paul gives us his own perspective of forgetting the past and forging in the present, “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:13-14 ESV)
One year has ended . . . and a new one is beginning. Forget what is behind and reach for what is before. Let your defining moments be in your potential, not in your past.
Press on to the new thing.