We all need a “way in the wilderness." But, to understand more fully what’s going on in these verses, let’s dig a little deeper into the theme of “wilderness” in the Bible. The biblical concept of wilderness really is predicated on the Exodus event in the Old Testament. You may remember the story of God rescuing his people out of slavery in Egypt, the ten fearsome plagues, and God parting the Red Sea. What follows this miraculous deliverance, however, is not the increased faithfulness of God’s people, as you might expect. We see, rather, quite the opposite response of faithlessness. This conflict, between God and his saved people, culminates with the Lord sending them to go “walk it off” for forty long years in…you guessed it: the wilderness. And, during these wanderings, they continue to act like rebellious teens: finding creative ways to complain, worshipping other gods, and even wishing they were back slaving for the Egyptians. (Really?!)
The Bible returns to this image of wandering in the wilderness to describe many other faithless times in the history of God’s people. In fact, God’s people (even today) find themselves wandering, without faith.The world tells us that the answer to our wandering problem is this: we just need to try harder next time, and the next, and the next... We try to make a way for ourselves: working harder, fighting harder, doing more. And yet, we are incapable of finally fixing our “wandering wilderness” problem. We need an answer, a way!
If we look more closely at our verses from Isaiah, we find our answer! Who is working in this verse? It’s not us! We aren’t making our own way. God is the one accomplishing the task at hand! He calls us to see what HE is doing. He’s the only one who can make a way in our wilderness! It’s not our job to make the way! How freeing is that?
Where are places in your life that you need to stop making your own way and trust that God is the one making a way for you?
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:18-19
Want to go deeper? Learn more about Isaiah 43:18-19.