See, I am doing a new thing! . . . I am making . . . streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19
Farming is difficult in areas that lack fresh water. To help solve this problem, the Seawater Greenhouse company has created something new: “cooling houses” in Somaliland, Africa, and other countries with similar climates. Cooling houses use solar pumps to drizzle saltwater over walls made of corrugated cardboard. As the water moves down each panel, it leaves its salt behind. Much of the remaining fresh water evaporates inside the structure, which becomes a humid place where fruit and vegetable crops can flourish.
Through the prophet Isaiah, God promised to do a “new thing” as He provided “streams in the wasteland” for ancient Israel (Isaiah 43:19). This new thing contrasted with the old thing He had done to rescue His people from the Egyptian army. Remember the Red Sea account? God wanted His people to recall the past but not let it overshadow His current involvement in their lives (v. 18). He said, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness” (v. 19).
While looking to the past can bolster our faith in God’s provision, living in the past can blind us to all the fresh work of God’s Spirit today. We can ask God to show us how He’s currently moving—helping, remaking, and sustaining His people. May this awareness prompt us to partner with Him to meet the needs of others, both near and far.
What new thing is God doing in your life? How is He using you to touch others’ lives and help make the world a better place?
Dear God, I praise You as the living One who constantly does new things. Help me to trust You to meet my changing needs.
The first half of the book of Isaiah (chs. 1–39) predominantly focuses on God’s judgment of Israel, which was fulfilled by Assyria and then Babylon. In the second half (chs. 40–66), the book explores more fully God’s promised hope and restoration.
Isaiah 43:14–21 compares the coming restoration of God’s people in exile to their past deliverance from Egypt. However, although these verses show the parallels between this coming deliverance and the exodus (such as “making a way in the wilderness” v. 19), it also instructs the Israelites to “forget the former things” (v. 18). The “new thing” (v. 19) that God would do for them would be even more extraordinary than the first exodus.
To learn more about the book of Isaiah, visit ChristianUniversity.org/OT510.