Bible Study for September 2002:
WEEK 1: DIVINE PROMISE FOR A NEW ERA
Change is inevitable in human life but it is the last thing that anybody will want to face. We all love to remain in the status quo, feeling cosy in the smug security of the present than face even the most promising of changes. This fear and reluctance is a result of human experience that has taught us the hard realities of change and that change is not automatically synonymous with progress.
In our text, God was preparing Israel for change and backing it up with His promise. Isaiah here prophesied the dawn of a new era, certain to bring progress and prosperity because God spearheaded it. If God promised them a glorious future, it cannot be otherwise as long as they stay within divine orbits (2 Chronicles 26:5).
A NEEDED BEHEST (Isaiah 43:18)
Isaiah 65:16; Luke 9:62; Genesis. 19:17, 26; Luke 17:32; 2 Peter 2:20-22; 2 Timothy. 4:13; Jude 11; John 6:66-69; Numbers. 11:4-6, 31-35; Hebrews 11:15, 16; Philippians 3:13
The past is gone and cannot be changed but the future is yet to open for new possibilities. We do not have to live in the past and thereby embitter the present. We can learn from the mistakes of the past so as to avoid similar pitfalls in the present. We also can glean from the wisdom of the past in order to live better in the now. Both the failures and the successes of the past must be put behind us if we are to make new, giant strides in the present. "Remember ye not the former things..." is a much needed commandment in today's christendom when the victorious are already resting on their oars and those who have failed are suffocating in self-pity and discouragement. Paul's disposition befits us indeed: "forgetting those things which are behind" (Philippians 3:13).
A NEW BEGINNING (Isaiah 43:19)
Isaiah 42:9, 10; 48:6; 65:17; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Philippians 3:13, 14; Job 17:9; Psalm 84:7; 92:12; Proverbs 4:18; 2 Peter 1:5-10; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.
Israel was to look forward rather than backward. The new things, which God was in process of working out was to eclipse the old and therefore deserves a more undivided and prolonged attention. The old deliverance from Egypt as related in the book of Exodus will be nothing compared to the new.
Remembrance of old and satisfaction with former things makes us to undervalue the present things. Though former mercies must not be forgotten for gratitude befits us, yet fresh mercies and grace must be anticipated, expected and asked for. The wonder and worth of God's present mercies, grace and sustenance will make us to comparatively forget the past. Did you fail in the past? A new beginning awaits you! Were you bound by sin? You can commence the journey to victorious living today!
A NEW BLESSING (Isaiah 43:19-21)
Numbers. 23:19; Isaiah 41:18-20; 35:4-10; Ezekiel 37:1, 10; 36:33-38, 25-27; Jeremiah. 33:3; Ephesians. 1:3; 2 Peter. 1:3, 4; Jeremiah. 23:7, 8; Nehemiah. 12:27; Ezra 3:9-11
The new blessing enfolds a rich fullness of wonders. God transforms the pathless, waterless desert, that His chosen people, may be able to go through in safety without fainting. And the benefits of this miracle of divine grace reach the animal world as well, so that their joyful cries will be an unconscious praise of God. The restoration of Israel to their own land will cause them to glorify God with songs of praise and by a practical life in accordance with His laws.
The Believer is blessed with ALL spiritual blessings in heavenly places and has more than enough for this life. A new blessing from the Lord is bound to fill our mouths with a new song!
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