Year C – Lent 5 – Isaiah 43:16-21

Text –  Thus says the LORD, who makes a way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters, 17 who brings out chariot and horse, army and warrior; they lie down, they cannot rise, they are extinguished, quenched like a wick: 18 Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. 19 I am about to do 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. 20 The wild animals 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, 21 the people whom I formed for myself so that they might declare my praise.


Summary – The LORD here reminds his people, Israel of he is and what great work that he has done in their history. The LORD is the one who opened up the waters of the red sea and made a path for the Israelites to walk through. He is the one who drowned the Egyptian army when they tried to enter into that path. But the LORD tells them not to only look back at the past times, but rather to look forward to the new work he is about to do. This new work will be mightier and will be even better than the exodus. He describes this not as making a path through the sea, but rather making a path in the wilderness, and making rivers in the desert. The jackals and ostriches are desert animals, who will praise God for this work. 


Insight – Lent is a wilderness journey. It is a time when Christians disciplines themselves in the dry desert land. Often times in the Old Testament God’s people had times of wilderness, and exile. In these times they would remember how God worked in the exodus, how he delivered his people and killed pharaoh and his men. But God is telling them that the new work he would do, his work accomplished in Christ, would exceedingly better than his work in the Exodus. His people would receive true forgiveness and true life through the Holy Spirit. This work would take the wilderness places and turn it into rivers and Gardens and God’s people will be free to drink from the living waters. This is what we look forward to on Easter Sunday, we look for the life that we have through the resurrected Jesus Christ. 


Catechism – Why were Israelites not to dwell on their past? – Because God has done a greater and better thing in Jesus Christ. 


Question – Discuss what past events in your own life show a demonstration of God’s power and greatness.


Prayer – Heavenly Father, you are great and powerful to bring creation where there was none, and you bring life out of death. You can make the dry lands to become rivers and you can deliver your people from their enemies. But we most importantly thank you for sending your Son to rescue us from our sins. We ask that that you would make the wilderness journeys of our life into  a time of trusting in you. We ask this in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen. 


contributed by Jared McNabb


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