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Sometimes we find ourselves in a wilderness in life; in a desert place. We live in such lush surroundings that maybe we don’t have that much familiarity with the harsh conditions of the desert like you would find out in Arizona.

But we know what a wilderness looks like in our life:

– A place of Wandering aimlessly – getting nowhere

– A place of Hunger and Thirst – no provisions

– A place of Isolation – no companionship or support

– A place of Sorrow and Defeat – no Joy and Victory

– A place of Pressure – no peace or relief

– A place of Hopelessness – no future prospects

[Short text this morning Isaiah 43:14-21 – the inspiration for the song by Don Moen]

Don Moen:

God will make a way

Where there seems to be no way

He works in ways we cannot see

He will make a way for me

He will be my guide

Hold me closely to His side

With love and strength

For each new day

He will make a way

He will make a way

By a roadway in the wilderness

He’ll lead me

And rivers in the desert will I see

Heaven and earth will fade

But His Word will still remain

He will do something new today



Context: The Babylonian Captivity will not be the end for the Jewish nation. Think about that … what other country gets completely taken over but ends up returning to their land. God will sovereignly raise up His servant King Cyrus of the Persian Empire to overthrow the Chaldean Empire and facilitate the Jews returning to repopulate and rebuild Jerusalem. We have been studied the fulfillment of that in the Book of Nehemiah. But that is not the only level of fulfillment in view.

4 Levels of deliverance and blessing in view:

– Exodus from Egypt – this is the only level that is past history; the rest point forward

– Return from Exile in Captivity as I just mentioned = the immediate historical context

– First Coming of the Messiah to accomplish the Redemption of which Exodus was a type and a shadow

– End Times Regathering of the Jews to usher in the Messianic Kingdom

Application to saints today in the church age who experience spiritual deliverance and blessing through entrance into the kingdom of the Messiah and His provision along our spiritual journey


A. Credentials

“Thus says the LORD your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel,”

Listening to the authoritative Voice of the Lord; we tend to just skip right over this short expression;

Do you even care what the Lord says? Is His message important to you?

Why should I listen to the what God has to say?

He gives some impressive credentials here to get our attention before He delivers His key message.

B. Calling on the Chaldeans to Perform Their Role

“For your sake I have sent to Babylon, And will bring them all down as fugitives,

Even the Chaldeans, into the ships in which they rejoice.”

C. Credentials

“I am the LORD, your Holy One, The Creator of Israel, your King.”


A. Impressive Deliverance of God’s People at the Parting of the Red Sea

“Who makes a way through the sea And a path through the mighty waters,”

Make no mistake – this was a big deal! God repeatedly brings this up to inspire faith and confidence in His people; Just like He wants us to look back to our redemption and new birth experience – now that we have become a child of God, how can we doubt that He will take care of us?

What were the Israelites to expect as they were backed up against the Red Sea? Not a very hopeful picture; no natural solution they could even imagine

Not just waters … but mighty waters; (strong, mighty, fierce) – not something you were going to swim across; raging waters

How well would you sleep that night knowing that the enemy troops were fast approaching?

God specializes in Transforming certain defeats into impressive victories

B. Impressive Destruction of God’s Enemies at the Same Point of Blessing

1. Sovereignty Demonstrated Over Impressive Enemy Forces

“Who brings forth the chariot and the horse, The army and the mighty man”

Strategic ambush; God is shown as sovereign over the path that our enemies take; these enemies had the most advanced weaponry and military equipment of their day; they were a well-trained force accustomed to winning military victories; advantage of numbers; no contest they thought;

Egyptians over-extended themselves – presumptuous to think that the blessing God had provided of safe passage through the Red Sea would be extended to them as well; in their pride and self-confidence, they thought too highly of themselves; were not living a life of dependence upon the Lord

2. Severity Demonstrated in Finality of Destruction

“(They will lie down together and not rise again;”

Can you put yourselves in the sandals of these Israelites who had just safely passed through the Red Sea and now look back and see the Egyptians following the same course? What a scene when God unleashed that huge wall of water and created His own tsunami of destruction;

Picture Niagara Falls being poured out on the enemy;

“Finish them off!” – God knows how to finish off the wicked;

No Triumphant Resurrection for the Wicked; just being raised up to bow the knee in submission before entering into eternal torment and judgment

3. Strength Demonstrated in Effortless Breath of God

“They have been quenched and extinguished like a wick)”

Physical Demonstration / object lesson

Neh 9:11 “You divided the sea before them, so they passed through the midst of the sea on dry ground; and their pursuers You hurled into the depths, like a stone into raging waters.”

“dry ground” – God never does just some type of half-way, miserly miracle

Must remember that this demonstration did not benefit those who actually witnessed this impressive display of God’s power, of God’s deliverance for His people, of God’s judgment on His enemies.

Heb. 3:12 – 4:13 Disobedience and unbelief ruled instead; we must embrace God’s message by faith

Remember different audiences: All Jews – but in different spiritual states:

MacArthur: I. Hebrew Christians – in danger of going back into the standards and patterns of Judaism – not of losing their salvation but of getting hung up on OT tradition; Importance of perseverance; II. Hebrew Non-Christians who were at the point of intellectually acknowledging the truth about Christ but had not committed to fully embracing Christ; III. Hebrew Non-Christians who still needed to be convinced of the truth of the gospel and the superiority of Jesus Christ

Look at your life and how God has delivered you from your lost condition – How impressive has that been! That should inspire faith in His providential care regarding whatever wilderness challenges face you today


A. The Past is not the Standard by Which to Measure the Future

“Do not call to mind the former things, Or ponder things of the past.”

This is a surprising statement –

First must decide: Is God talking about our former failures or about His former gracious dealings with us? True that we can’t dwell on our failures in the past and allow them to paralyze us in the future … but that is not the context here;

God has just spoken of His powerful deliverance at the point of the Exodus … now He says in surprising fashion: Don’t limit your thinking to that!

– Not saying that we should not learn lessons from history;

– Not saying that we should not praise the Lord for His past acts of faithfulness in delivering and blessing His people

[cf. sermon on Memory Markers I am preparing]

But we should not limit our expectations of what God can do in the future to our experience of what God has done for us in the past;

look at the sin of idolatry that Isaiah spoke against as He predicted the coming Captivity; would be easy for the people to imagine that God had written them off; no hope for the future; no way for them to imagine how God will fulfill all of those national promises He had made to Abraham; they seem doomed

B. The Future Will Showcase God’s Spectacular Creativity and Power

“Behold, I will do something new,”

Quite something for God to say that – this is the God who created the world and all that is in it

Israelites could have said: “Boy, I’d be happy right now just for another Red Sea miracle!”

God has something much bigger in mind.

1. Will be something accomplished By God – not by our works

Message of Eccles. = “Nothing new under the sun” . . . Man unable to do something new in the sense in which God speaks here; but God is able to do something New and Spectacular —

We are unable to change our lives and make something new out of our heart – just as we cannot change the spots on the leopard; but God is the Creator and the giver of life

Jeremiah 13:23 “Can the Ethiopian change his skin Or the leopard his spots? Then you also can do good Who are accustomed to doing evil.”

2. Will be something new:

hv’d’x] — new, fresh —

Isaiah 65:17 “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind.”

Jeremiah 31:31 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,”

Ezekiel 11:19 “And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh,”

Ezekiel 18:31 “Cast away from you all your transgressions which you have committed and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! For why will you die, O house of Israel?”

Ezekiel 36:26 “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”

2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”

Galatians 6:15 “For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.”

Ephesians 4:24 “and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”

Colossians 3:10 “and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him –“

Revelation 21:5 “And He who sits on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ And He said, ‘Write, for these words are faithful and true.’”

3. Will be something beyond comparison:

Rom. 8:18 “For I consider that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us”

What has God been doing in your life in terms of maturing you into His new creation? He already made you new … now He wants you to act in a way consistent with your new nature.

Do you have the expectation today that God can do something new in your life and in your circumstances?

When we think of the future blessings of the Millennial kingdom and of eternity in heaven … do we have a low level of expectation or are we excited about the new things that God will show us; new experiences of joy and delight that are unimaginable – can’t even compare our present experience to what that will be like


A. (:19B) Future Blessings Come About Unexpectedly

“Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert.”

How can something so incredible just “spring forth”? The humanist and the evolutionist would have all sorts of convoluted scientific explanations of what took place over eons and eons of time … but they would be wrong. God is able to simply speak into existence new things ex nihilo – out of nothing; look at what God is doing to transform lives today when those lives are submitted to Him

How can you miss such a message? But the vast majority of people are not aware of what God is doing

Not talking about a little trail in the woods that is difficult to follow . . . but a roadway in the wilderness.

Not talking about a little trickle of water – for which you would be abundantly grateful because of the desert conditions . . . but rivers in the desert – abundant blessing

B. (:20A) Future Blessings Glorify God

“The beasts of the field will glorify Me, The jackals and the ostriches,”

Jackals: translated dragons in KJV – (one letter off from sea serpents – but here it lives in the field, not in the sea); some type of howling creature that lives in places of devastation, howling mournfully in waste places

Ostriches: Unclean bird; perhaps extinct now; “daughters of the owl” – “daughter of howling”

Micah 1:8 “Because of this I must lament and wail, I must go barefoot and naked; I must make a lament like the jackals and a mourning like the ostriches”

Job 30:29 “I have become a brother to jackals, and a companion of ostriches.”

Jeremiah 51:37 “Babylon will become a heap of ruins, a haunt of jackals, An object of horror and hissing, without inhabitants.”

Remember animal blessings in the Messianic Age — 11:6-9; 30:23-24; 35:7; 65:25

You cannot picture a more radical reversal than animals who symbolize mourning and howling in the most devastated of circumstances now glorifying and praising God with great joy for His blessings

How can humans be more blind and foolish than animals in terms of recognizing God’s worth and returning to Him the praise and worship due to Him?

C. (:20B) Future Blessings Meet the Deepest Needs of God’s People

“Because I have given waters in the wilderness And rivers in the desert, To give drink to My chosen people.”

(35:6-7; 41:18; 44:3-4)

Edward Young: It is not a contrast between the redemption from Egypt and the deliverance from Babylon, but between the redemption from Egypt and the redemption that the servant will perform. Inasmuch as God had once done the seemingly impossible in making a path through the sea, so in the future He will deliver His people from the spiritual bondage in which they find themselves.

Connection between water and life – message sprinkled throughout the Gospel of John as Jesus presents Himself as the Son of God, the great I AM, the one who is the giver of eternal life

Isaiah 44:3-5

John 4:13-14 “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life”


A. Lesson From Creation: It’s Not All About Us

“The people whom I formed for Myself”

Why did God create us? For His glory

Isaiah 43:7 “Everyone who is called by My name, and whom I have created for My glory, whom I have formed, even whom I have made.”

Should the pot turn around and complain to the potter, why did you make me like this?

Isaiah 45:9-10 “Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker – an earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?’ Or the thing you are making say, ‘He has no hands?’ Woe to him who says to a father, ‘What are you begetting?’ Or to a woman, ‘To what are you giving birth.’”

God accomplishes His sovereign purposes — Isaiah 46:9-13 King Cyrus was a man whom God had formed for Himself to carry out His purposes; the Lord will save His people – the nation of Israel

Psalm 103:14 “For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.”

B. Application to Worship: It’s All About Praising God

“Will declare My praise.”

How are we doing in carrying out our most basic function in life? What type of praise are we offering up to our God?

This is part of our witnessing function – telling others about what God has made new in our lives.

How was Stephen able to praise the Lord as he was being stoned to death as the first Christian martyr? (Acts 7)

How were the Apostle Paul and Silas able to praise the Lord from the shackles of prison? Acts 16:25 “But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God”


1) Have we listened to the voice of God regarding His past displays of mercy and judgment?

2) Do we believe God when He promises that He is able to do something new in our life and experience?

3) Do we understand that God can surpass all of our expectations – whatever the wilderness of our current life situation, God can make a way for us – a roadway in the wilderness; rivers of water in the desert

4) How are we doing in our central mission – the reason God created us for Himself – that we would be a people who belong to Him and offer up praise continually?

Chris Tomlin:


From the highest of heights to the depths of the sea

Creation’s revealing Your majesty

From the colors of fall to the fragrance of spring

Every creature unique in the song that it sings

All exclaiming

Indescribable, uncontainable,

You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.

You are amazing God

All powerful, untameable,

Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim

You are amazing God

Who has told every lightning bolt where it should go

Or seen heavenly storehouses laden with snow

Who imagined the sun and gives source to its light

Yet conceals it to bring us the coolness of night

None can fathom

Indescribable, uncontainable,

You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name

You are amazing God

All powerful, untameable,

Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim

You are amazing God

You are amazing God

Indescribable, uncontainable,

You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.

You are amazing God

All powerful, untameable,

Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim

You are amazing God

Indescribable, uncontainable,

You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.

You are amazing God

Incomparable, unchangeable

You see the depths of my heart and You love me the same

You are amazing God

You are amazing God