“Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. 19 “Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.” – Isaiah 43:18-19
God is telling Isaiah “do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past.” He is literally saying that we are to receive God’s forgiveness and look ahead to our future.
We all have a past and some things are not so good, therefore we need to ask God for forgiveness, learn from our past mistakes, make amends if at all possible with the one we hurt and look forward to the new things the Lord will do in our lives.
When studying the Bible, we see that God used the least likely people to do some of the most amazing things for Him. He chose the adulterer, the murderer, the thief, and the prostitute. God used them as an example for us.
So if God used people like King David who was an adulterer and a murderer and Mary Magdalene who was a prostitute; why not us? Jesus died on the cross for us and once we accept Him as our Lord and Savior we are new creatures in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17). Galatians 2:20 tells us: “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
Believers need to quit living in the past because God wants us to focus on what is ahead of us and forget what happened yesterday or many years ago; since Jesus paid the price for us on the cross and blotted out all our sins. “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” Isaiah 43:25
We need to learn to put the past behind us. So we may ask: How could God ever forgive me? According to Lamentations 3:22-23, God’s mercy is new every morning, and the Lord tells Jeremiah that He will forgive their iniquity, and will remember their sins no more (Jeremiah 31:34). He told Isaiah: “Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool” (1:18).
God wants to heal everything that hurts us, but first we have to choose to let it go. Just like David we need to acknowledge our sin and ask God to forgive us. “I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”; and You forgave the guilt of my sin.” (Psalm 32:5)
After a strong exhortation to forget the former things, the Lord says, “See, I am doing a new thing! Do you not perceive it?” This question is vital to understanding how dwelling on the past affects us. The fact is, when we are caught up in the thoughts and events of the past, wallowing in the hurts and pain of yesterday, we become oblivious to the “new” things the Lord is doing all around us. That’s why God asks, “Do you not perceive it?” The perceptions of someone who struggles with letting go of the past literally become dulled—keeping them from “seeing” the good things the Lord is doing all around them.
We must get our eyes off the past and fasten them upon the power of the Lord. The writer of Hebrews tell us to: “…fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…” (Hebrews 12:2) This cannot be done when our eyes are fixed on our past.
While there is a place and time to recollect the events of the past to gain a heart of wisdom, there is also a time to just let it go—release it. The apostle Paul said: “Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12)
God does not want us to go through life looking in the rear view mirror. It’s time now to look ahead and focus on what’s before us. God wants to do a new thing in our lives. He wants us to rise up to our full potential in Him. The Lord has called us to do mighty things. He will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert for us.
We have to keep moving forward. It is only in moving forward that we ever accomplish what God has called us to. We cannot stay where we are, nor can we go backwards. The only direction we can go is forward. So let’s move on and keep our eyes focused on God and grow. Just as it is written: “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.”