Based on Isaiah 43:18-21
The passage we are reading is quoted out of context quite often. I have heard well-meaning Christians say, “God says He will do a new thing… well this is it!” But what exactly is it that Isaiah is talking about? Remember that Isaiah very accurately prophesied of the Babylonian captivity to come. He gives the reasons, the indictments for which God is bringing the captivity as judgment.
What is the new thing that God will do? It’s a prophetic statement about the re-gathering together of Israel. Please don’t misunderstand the text, which was written with a direct application to the Jewish people. What is the principle we learn from it today? It gives us great insight into the character and heart of God. I believe we can learn some great lessons from God’s Word to Israel as we approach a new year…
I. We must forget that which is behind us. (v. 18)
God says that if we’re to move forward with the confidence of God, there are some things we need to completely forget but there are always things we must remember as well. Let’s sort it out.
A. What to carry.
1. The Word of God.
2. The work of God among His people.
3. The positive responses of God’s people.
2 Thess. 2:15 – “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.”
B. What to bury.
1. The sins of our past.
Ps. 103:12 – “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.”
2. The suffering of our past.
Here are two important questions for some self-evaluation as you start your new year:
1.) What do I need to bury from my past? What will hinder me from living for Jesus in ’06?
2.) What is something God has given me in 2005 that I need to carry with me?
II. We must face that which is before us. (vs. 19-20)
One of the most prominent ways we often face the new year is with fear and intimidation. We’re afraid of change, of the unknown, of the uncertainties of life. But God always gives us reason to “fear not.”[bcoxlike]
A. When we are lost, He has a map for us.
B. When we are thirsty, He has a river for us.
C. When we are afraid, He has a Word for us. (go back to verses 1-3a)
What are you facing in 2006 that you need to pray about today? What do you believe God is going to lead you to do this year that you need to be ready for?
III. We must foresee that which is beyond us. (v. 21)
Notice something about this statement. God makes it through a prophet to a people who are being very rebellious. Isaiah’s message has been one of judgment because the people are backslidden. But here God looks at His people and says, “They will show forth my praises.” God looks at Israel and He sees what they can become.
We can look forward to the ways in which God might use us this year if we are fully surrendered to His will. We can also look forward to the great worship service in the sky when all of God’s people will be gathered together.
Philip. 2:10-11 – “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Are you looking forward to 2006? If Jesus is in charge, then you can anticipate God being active in your life this year. What are you praying for God to do in your life this year? What kind of growth do you want to see?
Resolutions are faulty only because they are uttered by such weak lips. In reality, it’s good to make commitments to God periodically. Jonathan Edwards made some great resolutions at a very early age and one was to meditate more upon his own impending death. Another was to always be doing what he would want to be doing if he knew Jesus was going to come in the next hour.
What if Jesus came today? Are you prepared for His coming?