Text: Isaiah 43:16-21
Do not remember
the former things,
or consider the things of old.
I am about to do a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not
Some interpreters suggest that in this passage, the Lord (through Isaiah) is calling on the Israelites to rethink how they tell the story of their founding. No longer are they to focus on the crossing of the Red Sea (who makes a way in the sea) and the defeat of Pharaoh’s army (chariot and horse, army and warrior). They are rather to recall the journey through the desert (a way in the wilderness).
For a people in exile in Babylonia, what difference might it make to refocus their national story from success in battle to sustenance on a wilderness way?
How do you or those around you tell your national story? What are the key events, the shared memories, the cherished figures? What might it mean to tell the national story in a different way? What might happen if we did not remember the former things? What new things might we be freed up to see?
– Andy Kille