Let’s read that interesting verse: “Behold, I will do a NEW THING, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (NKJV). At this point in Israel’s history they were captives in Babylon but they were about to be restored to their land. God was going to demonstrate His power by destroying the Babylonian Empire and paving a way through the wilderness and desert as they made their way home. This is referred to as “a NEW THING” because it resembles what He had done for Israel when He brought them out of Egypt. At that time God destroyed Pharaoh and his armies in the Red Sea while He led Israel safely through on dry ground and then cared for them in the wilderness as they journeyed to the Promised Land. Yet this deliverance would be on a grander scale, as we see in verses 14-21:

“Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: ‘For your sake I will send to Babylon, and bring them all down as fugitives—the Chaldeans, who rejoice in their ships. I am the LORD, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King.’ Thus says the LORD, who makes a way in the sea and a path through the mighty waters, Who brings forth the chariot and horse, the army and the power (They shall lie down together, they shall not rise; they are extinguished, they are quenched like a wick): ‘Do not remember the FORMER THINGS, nor consider the THINGS OF OLD. Behold, I will do a NEW THING, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. The beast of the field will honor Me, the jackals and the ostriches, because I give waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to My people, My chosen. This people I have formed for Myself; they shall declare My praise.”

How this promise must have comforted the captives in Babylon who had suffered greatly for 70 years, all the while longing to return to Jerusalem and the land they loved. The prophet Daniel wrote of God’s promise of deliverance in Daniel 9:1-2, “In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus…I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the LORD through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish SEVENTY YEARS in the desolations of Jerusalem.” In mentioning Jeremiah he was thinking of Jeremiah 25:11-12, “And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon SEVENTY YEARS. ‘Then it shall come to pass, when seventy years are completed, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity,’ says the LORD; and I will make it a perpetual desolation.”

We know that God did exactly as He promised. He used a Persian King named Cyrus to destroy the Babylonians and then he issued a decree which allowed the Israelites to return home (see Isaiah 44:24-45:4). We have the actual history of Israel’s return home and the rebuilding of Jerusalem in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Yet it should be noted that there is another “New Thing” that is foreshadowed in this deliverance, for in a coming day the Lord Jesus Christ, Israel’s promised Messiah, will return to regather His people from the four corners of the world and establish His Millennial Kingdom on earth. This is hinted at in verses 5-6 of our chapter: “Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your descendants from the EAST, and gather you from the WEST; I will say to the NORTH, ‘Give them up!’ And to the SOUTH, ‘Do not keep them back!’ Bring My sons from afar, and My daughters from the ends of the earth.” It is what the Lord Jesus announced in Matthew 24:30-31, “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will GATHER TOGETHER HIS ELECT from the four winds, from one end of the heaven to the other.” What a glorious day that will be for redeemed Israel!  (416.1)  (DO)