Letting God Be Bigger Than What We Face
“Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “For your sake, I send to Babylon and bring them all down as fugitives, even the Chaldeans, in the ships in which they rejoice. I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King.” Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters, who brings forth chariot and horse, army and warrior; they lie down, they cannot rise, they are extinguished, quenched like a wick: “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”’ (Isaiah 43:14-19, ESV)
Yes, I’m still on my Isaiah 43 kick. I just can’t help it. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve just been sitting in it and really searching it. The things that the Lord has been teaching me and showing me have been so precious and refreshing to my heart.
Basically, the whole chapter is God proving Himself and reminding Israel who He is– reminding His people of their worth, reminding His people of how much He loves them, reminding them of His
absolute and sovereign power, and reminding them of what He’s done in the past in the name of that love.
See, it’s easy to read the Old Testament and think, “Man, those Israelites just couldn’t get with the program. How could they forget how God SAVED them? How could they doubt God or turn away from Him?” I know, I’ve thought the same thing. But at the same time, it’s a clear picture of how we forget about God’s love and ability to provide and protect.
Personally, I know about how God has had His hand on my life. He’s comforted me, matured me, and shielded me from so much. I’ve gone up against battle after battle in my life, from schoolyard bullies to anxiety, personal stresses to family struggles and isolation. And through it all, whether the adversary was a physical being or a battle of the mind and emotions, God has time and again given me the victory in His name.
And yet, I still forget. When I come up against some new attack or opponent, I am nervous about whether or not God will do it again. I pray over the battle but then worry over how He will pull it off. I tell Him I trust Him, but then obsess over how He will do it because I cannot see a clear path to victory. Or maybe I forget to turn to Him completely. Maybe I take the reins and try to force my own will, without ever involving God in the conversation.
Sounds familiar, right? So maybe I could have a little more grace for Israel…
That’s why I love today’s passage. Because God outlines just how faithful He is: past, present, and future.
Let’s break it down: In verses 14-15, the Lord is talking about Israel’s clear and present danger– the Babylonians. He talks about not just bringing down the Babylonians but sending out to have them brought down. Think about it: Israel’s greatest enemy thus far has stolen from and tormented them. They’ve bullied them. But God is unbothered by the threat they pose to Israel; so much so, that He doesn’t even need the Israelites to mobilize and build up their army to take out that threat. He doesn’t tell His people to get fired up for battle or to ready themselves for war. In fact, He tells them that he will “send to Babylon” for them to be brought down, meaning Israel doesn’t even have to waste the time or resources on trying to fight them. And not only that, but God says He will bring down the Chaldeans, another big rival for Israel, in their own ships.
That’s not just defeating an enemy. That’s flat out putting them to shame. But because humans are forgetful and our sin only exasperates that quality within us, they still need some reminding.
And God knows that, so in verses 16-17, God talks about how He made a pathway in the sea, brought forth chariots and horses, and extinguished Israel’s enemies like a wick. For me, there is only one thing comes to mind when I read this. God is talking about how He showed His power by leading the Israelites out of Egypt and then closing the Red Sea over the Egyptian army that was chasing them. For God’s people, this is a mind-boggling example of how crazy God’s power is, and just how amazingly He will display it when we need Him to. Just that moment alone should be enough to fearlessly lean on God through any situation.
So in just four verses, God basically says, “I got this. I will take care of the clear and present danger because I have done it before and I am unchanging; the One who created you and still loves you.”
But he doesn’t stop with the mission brief and the resumé to back Himself up. In fact, He shoots straight over it. My favorite part of this whole chapter is found in verses 18-19, where He looks straight to the future.
“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
So not only does your past victories qualify the proof for the victory that is manifesting in your struggle today, but God is promising that even now, He is already working on the adversary you will face tomorrow. The opponent you don’t even know exists yet.
Whatever you’re facing today: a new class schedule, a difficult coworker, an illness, depression, or any other thing that can try to stand against you, remember that God has defeated bigger threats in more miraculous ways. If you’re in the middle of it, it means that your miracle is on the way. Your victory is coming.
God never sleeps, friend. He’s already working and His resumé already speaks for Himself, so do you not perceive the new thing He’s already doing on your behalf?