Text: Isaiah 43:18-21
We are entering into the New Year and this reminded me of reading some time ago in a newspaper of a reported suicide on the first day of a New Year. The victim was an eighteen-year-old girl. Before she took her life she left a note, which read, “I made an agreement with G-d that unless life was worth living I would quit living.” Here was a young lady who decided that she wanted life worth living, but on her own terms. But, she found “doing her own thing” was utterly dissatisfying and ultimately destroying.
By way of contrast, life is worth living for those who delight in YHVH Elohim—for He promises to satisfy the desire of every heart. He transforms despondency into expectancy. He says, “Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth.” This is a wonderful text for a New Year! In its sweep it offers:
1. The Promise of YHVH’s New Thing
2. The Purpose of YHVH’s New Thing
3. The prospect of YHVH’s New Thing
Let’s examine THE PROMISE OF YHVH’S NEW THING FIRST. Isaiah 43: 18-19 reads, “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth.” There is a divine seed of hope in these words, for YHVH is telling us that He is about to do a new thing. Indeed, He states His intention in terms of a promise.
1) G-d Promises to Transcend the Things that are Past
“Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old” (43:18). That statement may not grip us until we look into the context and find that the “former things” refer to the mighty works of YHVH Elohim, in the liberation, preservation and occupation of His people. He could say, “I am the YHVH [your] Elohim, the Holy One of Israel, [your] Savior; I gave Egypt for [your] ransom” (43:3). In that one phrase, “I gave Egypt for [your] ransom,” we have the whole story.
1. We are studying this story now in our Parasha. YHVH took Israel our of Egypt and thought they encountered set-backs, adversity, and tribulations He established them in the Land of Promise after 40 years. We too will encounter set-backs, adversity and tribulations but we can be assured on the Word Of YHVH Elohim that if we persevere we too shall come into the Promised Land. But we also have a hope for transformation now.
And 2) G-d Promises to Transform the Things that are Present
For we read in verses 14 through 17 these promises: Thus saith the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; For your sake I have sent to Babylon, and have brought down all their nobles, and the Chaldeans, whose cry is in the ships. I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King, thus saith the Lord, which bringeth forth the chariot and horse, the army and the power; they shall lie down together, they shall not rise: they are extinct, they are quenched as tow [or “as a wick”].
These verses go beyond the deliverance from Egypt to the future to the deliverance from Babylon. It’s sad to recognize that a nation that had proved YHVH Elohim in liberation, preservation and occupation should now find themselves captives once again in Babylon. But this is exactly what happened. Because of their backsliding and rebellion YHVH had to send them in judgment down into Babylon. We to if we are rebellious will experience set-backs and experience YHVH’s correction. We ourselves determine our progress on the road to the Promised Land here and now and there and then. But as YHVH is always conscious of His promises and in answer to the prayers of a faithful remnant was saved and a great deliverance was affected.
2. The context in these passages show us that through YHVH’s miraculous working there can be a life of Spontaneity- creativity and productivity for those that are faithful. In 43:19 it reads: “I will do a new thing now it shall spring (or sprout) forth” [a life of Spontaneity]. In 43:19 we read: “I will make a way in the wilderness” [a life of creativity] and in 43:20 “I will give waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” [a life of productivity.] and that brings us to the Second thing.
II. The Purpose of G-d’s New Thing
19-21 reads: “I will do a new thing, I [will]; give drink to my people, my chosen. This people have I formed for myself; they shall show forth my praise (43:19-21). In this prophetic language we have devotional truth. When YHVH redeems us it is for a purpose, and if we have eyes to see, that purpose becomes the supreme goal of our lives.
1) G-d’s Purpose is to satisfy His Own People
“I give waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert to give drink to my people” (43:20). YHVH’s greatest delight is to satisfy His people. He says: “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). G-d wants to do a new thing in our lives—spiritually, mentally, emotionally, volitionally, physically and vocationally.
3. In Psalms 37 we can illustrate this principal through David who exhorts us to patience and trust. It reads:
3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; so you will live in the land, and enjoy security.
4 Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.
6 He will make your vindication shine like the light, and the justice of your cause like the noonday.
7 Be still before the LORD, and wait patiently for him; do not fret over those who prosper in their way, over those who carry out evil devices.
And in verse 25 David give His reasoning why we should be patience and trusting. He says:
25 I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.
YHVH Elohim shall satisfy the longing heart for he adds in verse 37 through 40 these words:
37 Mark the blameless, and behold the upright, for there is posterity for the peaceable.
38 But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed; the posterity of the wicked shall be cut off.
39 The salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; he is their refuge in the time of trouble.
40 The LORD helps them and rescues them; he rescues them from the wicked, and saves them, because they take refuge in him.
2) It is also G-d’s Purpose is to Magnify His Own Person.
If we forget this and put our own desires first we steal away the power of YHVH’s promises. In 43:21 we read: “This people have I formed for myself; they shall show forth my praise.” From Genesis to Revelation this truth shines forth with increasing brilliance. Peter in 1 Peter 2:9 sums it up perfectly when he says that we are “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that [we] should show forth the praises of him who hath called [us] out of darkness into his marvelous light” Yahshua in Matthew 5:16 said the same thing when He said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify, your Father which is in heaven.” This is why YHVH Elohim says, twice over, in this very chapter, “Ye are my witnesses” (43:10, 12). Let us never forget that “man’s chief end is to glorify YHVH Elohim and to enjoy Him forever.” Then there is the prospect of G-d’s new thing.
III. The Prospect of G-d’s New Thing
In 43: 22-26 it reads: “But thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob; but thou hast been weary of me, O Israel. Thou hast not brought me the small cattle of thy burnt offerings Thou hast brought me no sweet cane with money, neither hast thou filled me with the fat of thy sacrifices.” And then He goes on to say in language that is music to the soul: “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified” (43:22-26). If we are to enter into the promise and purpose of G-d’s new thing in our lives then we must recognize certain facts. Indeed, there is no prospect of realizing G-d’s new thing without perceiving two things of utmost importance:
1) The Failure of Man to Cope
In verses 22, 24 it says: But thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob; but thou hast been weary of me, O Israel. Thou hast not brought me the small cattle of thy burnt offerings; neither hast thou honored me with thy sacrifices. I have not caused thee to serve with an offering, nor wearied thee with incense. Thou hast brought me no sweet cane with money, neither hast thou filled me with the fat of thy sacrifices; but thou hast made me to serve with thy sins (43:22, 24).
These verses make sad reading, but they are a true reflection of the failure of man to cope or come to terms with YHVH Elohim. In the final analysis, we have to recognize that YHVH can only expect utter failure from us.
4. Israel failed in intercessions-they did not call UPON YHVH. They trusted in their own devices. They mocked YHVH Elohim in their dedications and ministrations to HIM. YHVH had to say to them “Thou has made me to serve with thy sins, thou has wearied me with thine inquities (43:24). They did the form of worship but their heart was not in it for their heart was filled with inequity (sin). Then we have to consider the second thing.
2) The Nature of YHVH Elohim to Care for us
In verses 25 and 26 it reads: “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified” (43:25-26). In simple terms, this teaches us that YHVH is waiting to forgive our sins, to purge our iniquities, and to blot out our transgressions. But we must be truly repentant and turn back to Him. We cannot fool YHVH. But even more than that, if we truly repent and turn back to Him, He offers in their place a new faith. He says, “Put me in remembrance” (43:26). In the Hebrew, this literally means, “to bring back to mind the promises on which we can agree.”
5. From the life of Sha’ul we can recall times of crisis in his life when even friends forsook him, but Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:17 “Notwithstanding the Lord stood with [him]. We see the same Illustrations in Acts 23: 11; 27:23 and throughout Scripture. YHVH Elohim keeps his promises if we are steadfast in patience and trust.
Let us believe YHVH Elohim for His new thing in our lives, then go forth to prove His adequacy in the coming days. And let us remember that with YHVH the best is yet to be.