Monday, May 23, 2011
Today’s Topic: Move On
Today’s Text: Isaiah 43:18-19 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”
Major League baseball season is under way, the Stanley Cup playoffs are in the semi-finals, and so are the NBA playoffs. Can anyone out there tell me who won the World Series last year? How about the Stanley Cup or the NBA Championship? Are any of those same teams in the running again this year?
Many people pride themselves on their past victories, and they have a right to. I have trophies in my office from days long past and skills long lost. But to dwell on the past and believe that there is nothing more to be done is to put ourselves on the road to a meaningless existence. Resting on past accomplishments minimizes the chance of any future ones.
Don’t get me wrong – God requires memorials of His past victories in our lives. He told the Israelites to set up memorials at key times of their history. But now He tells them to forget those things and press on to the new things that He is going to do.
This teaching of the Lord has a spiritual and a corporal application. From a personal perspective many people, especially those of us who have surpassed the age of fifty, tend to spend far more time looking backwards at what we did and how we did it than we do looking forward to the adventure that God has planned ahead. We get stuck in our ways, and then get critical and bitter towards new people doing new things. This must not be! God says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.”
It happens corporally in the church as well. Too many times we hear the phrase “But we’ve never done it that way before.” God says “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.”
Do you think for one iota of a nano-second that when God told the people to forget what He did at the crossing of the Red Sea that He was telling them to devalue it and consider it unimportant? No way! To do that He would have had to devalue Himself and admit He was wrong. God did what God did, and at that time it was great and good. But He would not do it that way again. He used part of the method the next time at the Jordan River, but not all of it. He adapted to new situations with new methods. That doesn’t mean the way He did it the first time was wrong. In fact, it was just the right way to do it for that time. Now it was a new time, and God was going to use new methods to reach His people.
This really speaks to me, both personally and pastorally. I need to meditate on this today and let the Lord show me if there is anything from the past that I am still holding on to because I believe for some reason it validates my life. I need to let the Holy Spirit tell me if there is any accomplishment or method from my past from which I receive my affirmation. Then I need to confess the idolatry of that, and surrender to the new things He wants to do in and through me.
Will you join me in that process of growth and healing today?