“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.” (Isaiah 43:19-21)
On the surface, our passage from Isaiah seems joyous and uplifting. In context, however, it is a warning to the people of Judah. Isaiah prophecies God’s judgement on the people because, with few exceptions, both the people and their leadership generally served as a poor witness for the glory of the Lord. The nation as a whole was rebellious, disobedient and idolatrous. The Lord through Isaiah reminded this rebellious people of His mighty acts such as the destruction of the armies of Egypt in the Red Sea. Such destruction awaits all those who oppose the Lord, including those who consider themselves the Chosen People. These people were far from perfect but considered themselves immune from the effects of sin because they were God’s chosen.
But the Lord promises here that He is going to do a new thing. Because those He had called His own continued to disobey He was going to provide spiritual wholeness to non Jews. He was going to pour out the water of His Holy Spirit on Gentiles, on those living in the desert of sin.
Like the ancient Jews, we believers are far from perfect. We are often rebellious, self-centered and unjust but the Lord loves us and still chooses to call us His chosen ones. The Lord has redeemed us for His own sake, for His own glory. We benefit from His acts and favor and this magnifies His glory for it shows how loving and kind He is. He forgives us our sins and forgets them. None of the gods of the world are this kind nor are human beings who seldom forget any sin. And so, if God forgives us so, how can we
withhold forgiveness from those who have wronged us? How can we withhold the gospel from them?