Isaiah 43:16-21 ESV
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.
The wild beasts will honor me,
the jackals and the ostriches,
for I give water in the wilderness,
rivers in the desert,
to give drink to my chosen people,
the people whom I formed for myself
that they might declare my praise.”
Delivered from Captivity
The Israelites of Old Testament times had a period of about 400 years in which they were slaves in Egypt. So, God called Moses to go to Pharaoh, and to command him to let his people go. Pharaoh did not cooperate, though, even though God sent several plagues to convince him to let them go… that is until God sent the plague of the death of every firstborn in the land. Then, Pharaoh did let the children of Israel go.
But, then Pharaoh had second thoughts, and so he pursued them with his army in order to overtake them and to bring them back, but God rescued them out of the hands of their enemies. He took his people through the sea on dry land, and then when Pharaoh’s armies pursued them into the water, the Lord had the water come down over Pharaoh’s armies and drown them while his people escaped to safety on the other side of the sea.
But, back to the plague of the death of the firstborn… God had his people take a lamb for each household and to kill the lambs, and then to take some of the blood from each of the lambs and to put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they ate the lambs. And, that same night God passed through Egypt and he struck dead the firstborn in all the land except for the houses where he saw the blood. And, in this way, God saved his people, and he delivered them from their captivity in Egypt.
Slavery and Salvation
The Israelites and their slavery in Egypt, and their salvation (rescue) from that slavery, was a prefiguring of what Jesus Christ, our perfect Lamb of God, did for us in delivering us from our slavery (bondage) to sin.
For, we were born into this world with sin natures, separate from God, and unable in our own flesh to be acceptable to God or to be righteous before him. So, God the Son (Jesus) left his throne in heaven, came to earth, took on our humanity, and humbled himself to obedience to death on a cross.
He who knew no sin, in his death, became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God. Thus, in his death he put our sin to death, and in his resurrection he conquered sin, death, hell and Satan on our behalf.
But, God didn’t just do this for his people. He didn’t just say to them that he was going to kill all the firstborn of the land except for them and that he would then take them to safety and deliver them out of their slavery. He had a part that he had them do, too. And, what he had them do gives us a good picture of what it means to have faith in Jesus Christ.
For, they had to obey God and do what he told them to do, and they had to apply the blood to their doorposts, i.e. to their entry way into their homes. And, when God saw the blood applied to the entrance of their houses, he passed over them in judgment, and the firstborn in those homes were spared.
And, this is how faith works, too. We must apply to our lives (to our heart’s doors) what Jesus Christ did for us in shedding his blood on a cross so that we can be delivered from our slavery to sin. And, to apply it means to put it to use (practice) in our lives. And, this means that we, thus, by the Spirit, die with Christ to sin so that we might live to Christ and to his righteousness (Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
Former and New
Through his death and his resurrection, he made the way for us, not only to be delivered from our addiction to sin, like he delivered the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, but he asks us, too, to forget the former things, i.e. to put behind us our lives of sin, and to see the new life that he has for us to be lived to him and to his righteousness (See: Lu. 9:23-25).
He wants us to see that his salvation from sin, i.e. his deliverance for us from our slavery (addiction) to sin is so we will no longer cling to our past lives, but so we will now cling to our Lord in humble surrender and obedience to him.
He wants us to see that he is not just forgiving us our sins so we can go to heaven one day, but he is giving us new lives here on this earth to be lived to his honor, praise and glory.
So, we don’t add Jesus on to our old lives, in other words. He is not an “add-on.” He is a change agent, and he died to transform our hearts, minds and lives away from slavery to sin to living to him by the Spirit in holiness. It is out with the old life, and in with the new. Don’t we perceive it?
Water in the Wilderness
Through God-given faith in Jesus Christ, and in what he did for us on that cross, not only are we delivered from our slavery to sin, but we are rescued from the power and control sin and Satan once had over our lives. For, Jesus put our enemies to death on that cross, just like he drowned Israel’s enemies in the sea.
Through his death on a cross, he made that way for us, that way of escape from giving in to temptation to sin, so that we can live holy lives, pleasing to God. He made that way for us out from underneath that yoke of slavery so we could walk in freedom from the chains which once bound us. And, this is the GOOD NEWS!
He has now quenched our thirsts with his life-giving water, our eternal life with God, and life free from the weight of sin, and he has given us new lives to be lived for his glory and praise. And, he has given us the Holy Spirit to teach, counsel, lead, guide, empower, equip and strengthen us to walk in holiness and to no longer live to gratify the sinful cravings of the flesh.
And, there is no better life than this, I guarantee you! There is nothing on this earth like it, to be free from our chains and to have the peace of God in our hearts and to be living for our Lord and to be walking in harmony and in fellowship with him.
For, Jesus didn’t die just so we would be forgiven our sins. He died that we might be for his praise and glory. It is his will that we not only declare his praise with our lips, but that our lives, and how we live them, also declare his praise. For, we know that apart from God we cannot be saved. And, we know that apart from his power at work within us, we have no ability to live in victory over sin and Satan and to walk righteously before our God.
Thus, all the glory goes to God for what good is accomplished in and through our lives. For, we acknowledge that he is our sole source of salvation from sin, and it is him alone who has the power to give us eternal life with him, and that only through him can any of us walk in holiness.
An Original Work / April 15, 2012
Walking daily with my Savior
brings me joy.
Loving Father; precious Jesus;
He’s my Savior and my Lord.
Gently leads me; follow Him.
I’ve invited Him within.
Now abiding in His presence,
oh, what peace.
From my self-life
He has brought me,
By His mercy, full release.
Hope and comfort,
peace and safety Jesus brings
When I daily bow before Him;
Obey freely; do His will.
Follow Him where’er He leads.
Listen to Him; His words heed.
Now obeying his words fully,
oh, what love
That He gives me
By His Spirit, from above.
Loving Father; precious Jesus,
He’s my friend.
With my Savior, by His Spirit,
I will endure to the end.
Share the gospel, tell what’s true.
Witness daily; His will do.
Tell the world of how their Savior
bled and died.
On a cruel cross He suffered
So that we might be alive.
Tuesday, January 1, 2019