Rivers In the Desert

“Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. 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.”—Isaiah 43:18–19 (NKJV)

You don’t remember, but it was scary. You tightly gripped the finger that steadied you. 

A pause. 

Another pause. 

Then you let go. Your foot shot out instinctively; then the other. The room exploded in applause at your awkward, determined wobbling. Waiting arms stretched before you, calling you. Life had opened up in a way you had never experienced before, for once . . . you crawled, but now you walked. 

It’s interesting that once we learn to walk, we don’t want to go back to crawling. In fact, we do more. We run, we hop, we skip. But there are challenges in all of that. And we move forward without a real understanding of how God created and enabled us to do it all. 

If life begins with the idea of moving forward, why do so many of us, me included, stand at the threshold of what God has told us to behold with a firm grip on the past? Have we forgotten how God, in His faithfulness, not only led us, but used each former thing to enable us to embark on a new journey?

Yes, in the verses prior to today’s passage, God reminds the people of Israel how He led them through those tentative steps they took; how He made a way in the sea and a path through the mighty waters. It was a faith-building exercise, and God wants us to remember those times. 

But Solomon writes that true wisdom lies in not remaining there or longing to go back (Ecclesiastes 7:10). The new life of the Christian is constructed to walk in the ways God has prepared, empowered by His knowledge and grace. That is walking in Christ. Not as a child, but with child-like faith. 

Regarding wine skins, Jesus tells us that the old skin will not hold the new wine. Furthermore, He adds, after drinking the new wine no one wishes for old because he thinks the old is good enough (Luke 5:36–39). Jesus was referring to how grace cannot fit into the old forms of the law, but I think we can also apply it here and ask ourselves, “Is the old good enough?” How far can we move forward into a new understanding of life in Christ if we’re still holding on to past ways and past things? 

Dig: What do you cling to?

Discover: What new thing is Jesus calling you to behold?

Display: What promises has God fulfilled in your life that can help you move forward in faith?