Remember to Forget: Reflections on Isaiah 43:16-21

God Invites Us to a Different Dance

To dwell only on what YHWH has done is possibly to cloud what YHWH can and will do. And so he says, "Observe! I am doing a new thing. It sprouts now; don't you see it? I will create a road through the wilderness, a river in the desert" (Is. 43:19).

Our God is the God of the new thing. If we expect this God always to act in the ways we expect, based on our memories, based on what we have experienced before, we run the terrible risk of missing what God is about now. "Don't we see it, this new thing of God?" pleads Isaiah. And too often we must answer, "No." We are too busy doing things in the old way, the tried and true way, the familiar way, the way we know and trust.

Our wildernesses are devoid of roads; our deserts are dry. We are like those who define madness; we do the same things again and again and expect different results. But the God of Isaiah pipes a different tune; the God of Easter calls a different dance. But if we are to sing anew and dance afresh, we must remember to forget. We must expect the new work of God, be alert for the new thing of YHWH. The promise for us this Lent and Easter is "water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert to give drink to my chosen people" (Is. 43:20). And like the woman at the well in the Gospel of John, we cry, "Give me some of that water, so that I may never thirst again."

3/10/2013 5:00:00 AM
  • Progressive Christian
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  • John Holbert
    About John Holbert
    John C. Holbert is the Lois Craddock Perkins Professor Emeritus of Homiletics at Perkins School of Theology in Dallas, TX.