Isaiah 43:18-19 says, “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” 

This is a chapter of comfort for the Lord’s people.  Here, we have assurances such as, “I have redeemed thee.” (Verse 1).  “I will be with thee.” (Verse 2).  “I have loved thee.” (Verse 4).  “I will even make a way in the wilderness.” (Verse 19).  Although these words were written specifically for Israel, all God’s people can lay claim to these blessed words of promise and assurance. Ultimately Israel will possess and enjoy these great blessings.

There are times when it is completely appropriate for us to dwell on the former things.  We read in Psalm 143:5, “I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands.”  The Lord will later declare later in this book, “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me.” (Isaiah 46:9).  Yet, at this moment in Isaiah 43, the Lord is telling His people that He is about to do such a marvelous work among them that the deliverances of the past will not even compare with what lies ahead for them.  Israel’s deliverance from Egypt was an incredible, miraculous event.  Israel’s deliverance from Babylon will be much greater! 

The Lord is about to do a NEW THING!  He is about to do unprecedented things among His people.  He had told them earlier in Isaiah 42:9, “Behold, the former things are come to pass, and NEW THINGS do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.”  Just as Israel in the wilderness, between the Red Sea and Canaan, was guided, and supplied with water by the Lord, the “NEW” deliverance will be accompanied with greater manifestations of God’s power and love…completely outshining the old deliverance. We read of such wondrous works in Isaiah 41:17-19, “When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together.”

The Lord was true to His word and set the Israelites free from their captivity in Babylon.  How precious it is for us to know that, as His children today, the Lord gives us nourishment in desert places.  He makes a way where there seems to be no way.  He assures us that, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also MAKE A WAY to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13).  He sets us free from the power of sin so that we might live for Him. 

There is yet a day ahead when this prophesy of Israel’s deliverance shall be completely fulfilled.  We read prophetically of such a day in Isaiah 35:1, “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.”  We also read in Isaiah 55:12, “For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”  During the Lord’s reign on the earth, the whole world will become a flourishing garden.  Great rejoicing will celebrate the transformation of the deserts into well irrigated fields.  (CC)  (496.2)