Skip to main content

God is Not Nostalgic

"Nostalgia" by Jon Jaylo, CC BY-SA 3.0
This is what the Lord says— who makes a way in the sea, and a path through surging waters, who brings out the chariot and horse, the army and the mighty one together (they lie down, they do not rise again; they are extinguished, quenched like a wick)—

“Do not remember the past events, pay no attention to things of old.
Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. 
Do you not see it?
Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers (paths) in the desert. 

The animals of the field will honor Me, jackals and ostriches, because I provide water in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to My chosen people.  The people I formed for Myself will declare My praise.
-Isaiah 43:16-21 (HCSB)

God is not nostalgic.  He does not think about the past nostalgically.

 Nostalgia is defined as:
A sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.
Here, in Isaiah, God says,
“Do not remember the past events, pay no attention to things of old.
Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it?"
But, in the verses, just previous to this, God identified himself as the deliverer of the people, in the past (history):
This is what the Lord says— who makes a way in the sea, and a path through surging waters, who brings out the chariot and horse, the army and the mighty one together (they lie down, they do not rise again; they are extinguished, quenched like a wick)—
So, we have God identifying himself as the God of the Exodus, but then saying:
"Do not remember, pay no attention to things of old."  
This is a sort of paradox.

But, the next sentence clears up what God is saying:
"Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it?"
The point is this:  The past is not the template for the future.  God is always moving forward into the new order.  We stumble, like someone looking backwards, when we have difficulty moving from God's order into God's new order.

The same God who instituted the yearly Passover celebration, where they remembered the Exodus, says, "Do not remember".  Imagine all their Passover remembrances.  They are now told, "don't remember".

This is what J. Alec Motyer writes, in his IVP Isaiah commentary:
Isaiah derives his pictures from the Red Sea event (43:16-18; Ex. 14) and from the wonders of that earlier wilderness journey (19c-20; Ex. 15-17), but he issues an important reminder; the past can teach and illustrate but it must not bind (18-19b).  The Lord always has greater things in store; he is revealed in the past, but he is always more than the past revealed.  (emphasis mine)
We can become so nostalgic for 'the way it was', and so preoccupied with our longing to return, that we miss out on the, "spring forth"(KJV), or "sprout forth" (CEB), that God is doing now:
Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it?
  • "Look", is a call away from nostalgia. 
  • "Something new", describes it as something not like the old.
  • "Even now it is coming", means it's popping now.
  • "Do you see it?", means you have to crane your neck and train your eyes to see it, and it is visible!
The point is, that if we don't look, we don't see, and if we don't see, we don't experience it or let ourselves be blessed by what God is doing right now, that connects to the future.  God is on the move, but we have to turn to it and see it, for us to know it.

Then, we have the "Streams in the desert" word.
Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers (paths) in the desert. 
Imagine that you are in exile and if you are blessed to be freed to go home, there is a big patch of desert that you must cross.  God says that he will make streams in the desert.  He will make a path and provide sustenance.

God is a now God and deals with us "present - future".  God deals with our past sin and helps us deal with past sins against us.  But, God is present with us in the present and points to the future he has for us.

We need to get it that God is not nostalgic, but is "now and future" towards us.  Our pasts are our stories and our history, in which God saved us for today and tomorrow.  We are not in the past today and will not go back to the past in the future.

God is doing something now, related to your future.  We need to look and see what God is doing now.  And what God is doing now is what the future will be built upon, so we ought to pay attention and participate with what God is building now.

God is about to do something new.  I think God has been "about to do something new" since the first time Isaiah preached these words.  And God's new thing(s) have been continually springing, sprouting, and coming forth.  God is never "on a break", but is always working and bringing new things forth.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Two Disciples and The Two Donkeys

When they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus gave two disciples a task.  He said to them, “Go into the village over there. As soon as you enter, you will find a donkey tied up and a colt with it. Untie them and bring them to me.  If anybody says anything to you, say that the Lord needs it.” He sent them off right away.  Now this happened to fulfill what the prophet said,  Say to Daughter Zion, “Look, your king is coming to you, humble and riding on a donkey, and on a colt the donkey’s offspring.”  The disciples went and did just as Jesus had ordered them.  They brought the donkey and the colt and laid their clothes on them. Then he sat on them.
-Matthew 21:1-7

On what we call Palm Sunday, Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem. But, he had two disciples get two donkeys: a mother donkey and her colt. Jesus rode the young male who had never been ridden before. In his carefulness and perhaps kindness towards these two donkeys, he had th…

Teaching vs. Indoctrination

As usual, Paul went to the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days reasoned with them from the Scriptures.
-Acts 17:2

There is a difference between teaching and indoctrination.  Education is not indoctrination.  But some secular and christian education is indoctrination masquerading as education.

If you are a teacher, whether you homeschool your children, teach at the pro level or you teach in your church; it is good to know this difference between indoctrination and true teaching.  Many people are indoctrinated today, rather than taught.

What you might notice, is that when you preach, whether you preach to a crowd or a few, it is easy to be an indoctrinator rather than a true teacher.  True teachers ask people questions and expect them to challenge and debate them.


Teaching

Sharing ideas and conceptsTeaching is absorbed and integrated into one's own lifeConcepts or ideas are questioned and debatedMaterial is reflected uponStudents summarize back what's being learnedStudents thin…

God's Secret, Hidden People

(The children) of Elam 1,254.  -Ezra 2:7

Do you feel hidden?

The name Elam means secret or hidden.  Do you feel like you are on the shelf, not being used by God?  Maybe you are part of God's secret agents.

God has people who are in secret.

I have this idea that God has His attention on secret people.   I believe that God has rewards for secret people coming.  You may feel on the shelf, but you are actually hidden for a special purpose.  God has you in reserve.

The number one thousand, two-hundred, and fifty-four; tells us God's plan for his hidden, secret, and in reserve children

One thousand speaks of recompense.

Recompense means that you will be compensated or made amends to, due to harm or loss you suffered. In Genesis 20:16 is the story of Abimelech recompensing Abraham and Sarah.

Two speaks of fellowship, partnership, and co-laboring (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).

There are hidden people who have felt like they are "going it alone", who are about to be joined by someone.  …