Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
“I am doing a new thing” Isaiah 43:19 says. We don’t need to be around American Christianity long to hear that statement or to see the sentiments usually attached to it. Sadly, these interpretations often depart quite radically from what Isaiah was saying to the people of his time.
Notice, if you will, how verses 16-18 retell an event from the Exodus, when the way through the sea was suddenly blocked for the chariots and army of Egypt. The attempt to pursue God’s presence was stopped in a deadly manner. That was the old thing, the former way.
What is this new way God is proclaiming? Here he makes a way for all the wild things that could harm Israel to receive not only access to God but also access to water, that which gives earthly life. Where there is water, there will also be food. The Lord will provide for those formerly excluded and outcast. So far, so good. This is possibly consistent with what our contemporary versions of Christianity would say. Where’s the difference?
In Isaiah, the new thing provides access to the God who never changes. God is the one who calls all the shots. He is the one who defines the way of access. He gets to change the hearts of the wild beasts and of His people. We don’t see God and pursue Him in our own power and according to our desires. Rather, we see the way of salvation that God has made and prescribed, trusting in His grace which He presents as He wishes. The new thing is God’s plan, not ours. We see His character, His revelation, and His means of grace, and so we follow them, trusting in Him alone. God reaigns and calls us to his side, formerly impossible but not a completed event in Christ. He gathers His people and has them show His praise (v. 21).
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