This is what the Lord says—he who made a way through
the sea, a path through the mighty waters…
This is a promise to us as parents and grandparents as well as for our prodigals. Isaiah was giving the same message of hope to the Israelites as he is giving to us today who have also been chosen. We were grafted in when Jesus died and rose again to bring us salvation.
Israel was in captivity. God had long ago predicted it and the people didn’t listen and it came to pass. But God had also told them it wouldn’t last forever. 70 years may seem like “forever” though and I can imagine the people were losing hope. God reintroduces Himself. He tells them He is the Lord, their Holy One, Israel’s Creator and King. He reminds them of a time when He had made a way in the past when the Israelites had no way to cross the Red Sea. He wants them to remember what happened to the Egyptians.
I am the Lord, your Holy One, Israel’s Creator and King.
I am the Lord, who opened a way through the water,
making a dry path through the sea. I called forth the mighty
army of Egypt with all its chariots and horses. I drew
them beneath the waves, and they drowned, their lives snuffed
out like a smoldering candlestick.
First He wants them to remember all this and then He tells them to forget it all—that this was nothing compared to what He was going to do. He is about to do something new. He is going to make a way again. Israel will be restored and refreshed. They will honor Him before the whole world. It didn’t mean they didn’t have to finish the 70 years of exile; but it did mean that they had something to look forward to. It would happen in their lifetime, not some distant future. God wanted them to know Him now, not just as a God who did miracles in the past, but as a God who is ever present with us and working now.
But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.
For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun!
Do you not see it? I will make a [pathway through the wilderness. I
will create rivers in the dry wasteland. The wild animals in the
fields will thank me, the jackals and owls too, for giving them water
in the desert. Yes, I will make rivers in the dry wasteland so My
chosen people can be refreshed. I have made Israel for myself, and they
will someday honor me before the whole world.
Being grafted in is a thing we can remember. Jesus dying on the cross and rising again is something we are told to remember. But I think Jesus is also saying that as important as this is to remember, don’t forget about the present. He says, “I am with you now. I am speaking now. I am doing a new thing now. I am making a way now. Do you perceive it? Yes there is a future hope, but I am doing a something now. Live in the present where I am.” This can pertain to any struggle we are going through, including the struggle to wait graciously for our prodigals to return; the struggle to persevere, to keep the faith, to not give in to discouragement. The struggle to keep our eyes on Jesus, and our struggle to believe that Jesus will make a way where there does not seem to be a way.
The following song speaks to this hope we can have and a reminder of what Jesus can do for our prodigals: You Make a Way by Desperation Band.