Happy New Year! As you begin 2021, you might be looking forward to trying something new or meeting new people. And new is exciting!
In Isaiah 43, God tells his people that he is going to do something new...
I am the LORD, your Holy One,
Israel's Creator and King.
I am the LORD, who opened a way through the waters, 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 candlewick.
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.
God begins his announcement by reminding his people of what he has already done. He reminds them of how he led them out of Egypt and away from the people who had made them slaves.
And then, he tells them that what is going to do is even better...WAY better.
But maybe you're wondering...what makes rivers in the wilderness better than a dry path through the sea? What is God really talking about here?
Well, think about what God tells his people he has already done. He has led his people out of slavery in Egypt. Then, think about his description of the pathway through the wilderness...the rivers in a dry wasteland.
People can live in slavery. It might be awful, but they can live.
But people cannot live without water.
God had already saved his people from something terrible...from being slaves. But God was going to save his people from something even worse...from death.
The wilderness has a lot of significance in the Bible. It represents the place where God leads people to him. (You can read more about that in another 4Kids Devotion called In the Wilderness; just click here.) And the pathway through that wilderness? Well, it's Jesus, of course. He is the way...
I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.
The rivers? Well, they are rivers of living water, the kind of water only Jesus can give us.
If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water...those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.
John 4:10, 14
In other words, God is not just describing a pretty scene he is going to create. (He already made lots of pretty scenes when he created the world, right?). No, God's message here is that he is going to send Jesus. Jesus is going to be the pathway in the wilderness, the way to heaven from earth. And he is going to give us rivers of living water to sustain us, to give us life that lasts forever and ever.
That really is WAY better than anything else God has ever done or will ever do. It is something new worth celebrating no matter how old we become!
Read John 4:1-38
To whom does Jesus offer his living water?
Why is this interesting...and important?
What does it suggest about God's "chosen people" in Isaiah 43?
Create some visual art based on Isaiah 43. You can draw or paint, you can make a 3D sculpture out of clay or play doh, or you can create a scene using rocks, miniature toy animals and trees, and other similar supplies.
Take time to notice water this week. Each time you see or use it (in any way), say a quiet prayer thanking God for both the physical water you need and for the living water he uses to feed your soul.