[Feb 06]--The Forward Look

Isaiah 43:14-19

            As I’ve mentioned before, the last 27 chapters are mainly written to God’s people in exile, in order to give them hope in the midst of utter despair. He promises that he will pay the Babylonians back for what they’ve done, and he'll intervene at the promised time on their behalf.

            But in the context of this, he lays out an astonishing statement, which contains a great principle which we’d do well to heed.

            Let me ask you a question: What’s the greatest miracle that the Lord has ever performed? Or actually, let me rephrase that: What’s the most spectacular miracle that God has ever performed for a public audience? I mean, I'd submit that the Resurrection of Christ has the most far-reaching effects, and every person who’s saved is incredible work of God in the spiritual realm.

            But in the physical realm, you’d have to say it’s the parting of the Red Sea. The Ten Plagues were incredible, but someone could possibly chalk those up to a string of coincidences. Elijah did some incredible feats, but nothing on that scale. Our Lord raised Lazarus (and others, and himself) from the dead, but the witnesses to those events certainly didn’t number in the millions. I mean, you see an immense sea in front of you, and the Egyptian army behind. You see Moses raise his arms, and the Sea parts before you. You and your family and millions of others cross over on dry land—you don’t even get your feet wet! And then you cheer as the Army of Pharaoh tries to follow you and the grand climax.

            But what does God say about that here? “Fuggheddaboutit!!! You ain’t seen nothing yet! What I have planned for you in the future is so wonderful, so awe-inspiring, so grand and glorious, that the parting of the Red Sea doesn’t even deserve to be compared to it!”

            How do we interpret this?

            Well, as always we need to be careful to maintain balance. It is true that we tend to suffer from selective amnesia when it comes to God. Quite frankly, there were times in which the Israelites needed to be reminded of what the Lord had done for them in the past. He'd done so much for them, and they regularly spat in his face: complaining, arguing, accusing God and Moses of the worst of motives. Remembering how God has brought us thus far is a great cure for ingratitude, or at least it should be.

            But there are times in which we're so caught in what our Savior has done for us in the past that we totally miss what he’s going to do for us in the future, and what he’s doing for us right now, right this second. The writer of Lamentations told us that the demonstrations of his goodness and mercy and love are new every morning. We don’t have to look backwards to see his goodness. It’s right in front of us, and we can see it if we look.

            But there’s another principle to this which we need to let sink in: For God’s children, the best is yet to come. This is the exact opposite of Satan—he’ll offer his “best” up front, and it’s only later that you read the “fine print” which is not so appealing. But in stark contrast, our Father always saves his best for last. Just like with his Son, it’s only at the last part of the wedding that the best wine is brought out.

            Yes, we need to remember his goodness which he’s shown to us in the past. We always need to be grateful. And we need to recognize that if he never did another good thing for us ever, it'd be far better than we deserve. But we don’t need to hang on to the past. He has so much better in store for us. In fact, that’s an order. Not from me. From him.

Father, is this something we need to work on? Am I hanging on to what you’ve done for me in the past? Am I missing what you have for me right here and now?

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