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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, January 1, 2020  

Today’s Scripture Reading | Isaiah 43:16–21

Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters, who brings out chariot and horse, army and warrior; they lie down, they cannot rise, they are extinguished, quenched like a wick: Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. 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. 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, the people whom I formed for myself so that they might declare my praise. (NRSV)

Reflection
Sitting down to write this devotional, we are inspired knowing that the text comes from the Old Testament. Instantly, imagery of the stories of creation, Noah’s Ark, the Tower of Babel, Moses, and the exodus from Egypt come to mind. Excitedly, we open our Bible. “This is what the Lord says—he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and reinforcements together, and they lay there, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick” (Isaiah 43:16–17 NIV). Don’t laugh, but Charlton Heston in the movie The Ten Commandments comes to mind. Charlton Heston is playing Moses, and the Jewish people are racing between two walls of water to cross the Red Sea. As the last person crosses, the waves crash in, snuffing out the wick of the Egyptian army. Excitedly we read on.

“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 desert and streams in the wasteland.” Reading this, points us to the future. The past is what it is, the past. The future is here. In this wasteland of challenges, God provides a steam to be refreshed. Verse 21 ends with “proclaim my praise.” We do need to proclaim praise to God.

Personally, streams within the wasteland have given a perceived bright future. Negatives in the past have been snuffed out of consciousness. Thus, as life is going well, we must not forget to proclaim God’s praise.

Prayer
God, thank you for your streams that nourish us. Help us to stay close to your stream knowing it will never fade but spring us forward to be positive images of you. Amen.

Written by Emily and Steve Jurgens, Members of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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