Written By Ben Dankaka
Meditation – Isaiah 43: 18-19
Isaiah was one of the prophets who foretold the bondage that the people of Judah would go through in Babylon. Before they were expatriated to Babylon, he had warned his people they would suffer because of their disobedience to God. But he was not only a prophet of doom. After the Babylonian exile, Isaiah also gave the people hope. God had revealed to him that their kingdom will be restored. In passing this message across, he said, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past”. For the people of Judah, that was not an easy thing to do because they had gone through a lot of pain. These were people that had been banished from their kingdom and sent to Babylon as slaves. Many of them had lost their families, homes and businesses.
Also, the nations that had earlier admired them now despised and mocked them. These were bitter experiences that were unforgettable. If there was anything on their minds, it was revenge and compensation. Yet, God wanted them to forget and not dwell on the past. But God wasn’t just saying that because the punishment was over. He wanted the people to forget the past because that was the only way they could move forward. After telling the people to forget the past, God went on to say, “See, I am doing a new thing!”
When God is about to do a new thing in your life, He expects you to give up on the past. Because if you hold on to the past; you won’t see the future. God knew that if the people of Judah didn’t forget their pain, they wouldn’t be able to see the promise. If they don’t forget the past, they would carry along with them, the pain they had gone through and that would prevent them from experiencing the joy that God was about to bring into their lives.
Pain and joy are not bed fellows. They can’t be experienced at the same time. To experience the joy that God is about to bring into your life, you have to give up the pain you’ve been through. Recall what happened to the Israelites, after God saved them from Pharaoh, they were supposed to experience a new thing in their lives. But what kept them from experiencing that joy was their consistent reference to the past. As Moses tried to lead them to the promise land, they kept on recollecting their past life. In the end, most of them couldn’t see the promise land. The truth is, if you fill your mind with thoughts about Egypt, there’s no way you are going to see Canaan. One interesting thing about life is that you can’t move forward and backward at the same time. To enjoy the present, you must forget the former ways.
Prayer: Lord, give me the grace to forget the past so I can enjoy the new thing.
REFERENCES/FURTHER STUDY: Isaiah 43: 18-19
Unless otherwise stated all scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, New International Version.