Summary: Past experiences can help us look forward the future with hope. But dwelling on the past can hinder us from following God into the new things that He will do in the future. Jesus, and the refreshment, renewal and life that He gives us, are what help us to follow Him through whatever challenge or transition the future may bring to us.
Big Idea: The new thing God did in sending Jesus to be our Savior encourages us to follow Jesus into the new things of the future.
Ice-breaker question: Would you classify yourself as someone who welcomes change or do you find change difficult? What are some possible reasons for how you feel about change?
Read: Isaiah 43:16-21
- As the Lord begins speaking to the people through the prophet Isaiah, He refers to something that He did in the past. What event did He refer to and why is it significant for the Israelites?
- Why would God’s action in the past, during a time of great challenge and transition, help the people to trust in Him more fully as they face times of challenge and transition in the future?
- Describe a past experience where God helped you in a significant way.
- How does that past action of God help you to trust Him more as you go into the future?
- In verse 18, God said, “Forget the former things; do not dwell in the past.” What can happen to our faith, vitality of spirit and direction in life when we dwell in the past?
- How is dwelling in the past different from drawing on the past to face the future with confidence?
- In verse 19, God said, “See, I am doing a new thing.” He then paints a word picture of streams of water bringing forth life to plants and animals in the desert, something which would have been familiar to the Israelites, who lived in an arid land. God is telling us that the new thing that He is promising to do will bring restoration, rejuvenation and life to the parched, barren lives of His people. What may have caused the lives of God’s people to become parched and barren?
- Have there been times when your life was parched, barren and lacking life? What might have been some contributing factors?
Read: John 4:4-14
- God did a new thing in the person of Jesus by coming to earth and becoming human to be our Savior and bring us into the family of God. How does Jesus refresh and renew you from within like “…a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (verse 14)?
- Looking again at Isaiah 43, in verses 20-21, God said that He was going “…to give drink to my people… that they may proclaim My praise.” What are some things that you want to praise God for today?
This Bible Study focuses on the same passage as the sermon on July 15/18 from Walnut Grove Lutheran Church, Langley BC.