God used the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 43:18–19 to ask the Israelites a question. That question was, “Do you not perceive it? What is it that they were to perceive?
There were Israelites who were in captivity and in exile in Babylon. Isaiah prophesied that this powerful nation was about to be brought low by God. Yes, the prophesy was speaking of the fall of Babylon who was believed to be too mighty to crumble. This would not be the first time God humbled a great nation. He did the same when He drowned the powerful army of the Egyptians in the Red Sea during the first exodus. Now God was doing a new thing and announcing a new future exodus. The previous exodus made a way through the sea, but now the future exodus would be making rivers in the desert. Who associates rivers with the desert? That was the problem. Could they perceive what was being prophesied? The bottom line was could they believe what God was saying?
Here are some synonyms for the word perceive: to discern, realize, observe, identify, recognize, grasp or distinguish. Now here are some antonyms or opposites for the word perceive: disbelief, disregard, ignore, neglect, overlook, misunderstand, avoid, or misinterpret. So when we perceive something, we become aware of or identify it. Sometimes we perceive things by using our senses of sight, hearing, and smell. Or we can use our mind to perceive things, which means that we are able to recognize or understand them.
Perception is Key!
Here are some things they were to perceive and things we should perceive going into a new year:
1. God’s power supersedes any person or nation. No matter what may have held you hostage in the past, God is mightier and able to deliver you (read 2 Chronicles 20:6).
2. God was letting them know that He would make a pathway for them through the desert as they returned to Jerusalem from their captivity in Babylon. What He did in the past was splendid, but this time it was going to be even greater. God is more than able to demonstrate His power to those who believe (read Ephesians 1:19-23).
3. God would not only make a pathway in the desert, but would miraculously provide plenty of water too. In other words, He would provide for them along the way even when it seemed impossible. Your ultimate dependence should be upon God and not on other people or things (read 2 Corinthians 9:8).
4. God wanted them to perceive the new thing He was about to do for them. Not all the exiles returned to Jerusalem, but some stayed stuck in Babylon. They could or would not perceive what God was saying through Isaiah. God has given you a new year and wants you to perceive the new thing He is about to do. If you stay stuck in discouragement, anger, hopelessness, past failures, fears, hurts, or any sin, it will keep you from recognizing the new thing God wants to do in your life.
Please read and meditate upon Isaiah 43:18-19 in these two translations below, and then pray them over your life in faith. In faith you will not doubt God’s ability to work in your life as well; you will not worry over the details of its fulfillment; you will trust for strength to deal with any obstacles or distractions; and you will step out even though you do not perceive the whole picture.
Reading, Meditating, and Praying
“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 desert
and streams in the wasteland. NIV
“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. NLT
After praying, now the question is, “Do YOU not perceive it?”
I am doing a new thing in February by conducting a one-day masterclass to help all live more spiritually and powerfully in the new year and beyond. If you are interested in attending and want more details, click here to send me a note that you would like to attend. SPACE IS LIMITED.