The scripture above has for a long time been significant for me, not so much as a divine direction or instruction, but really just in that it has always felt familiar. I can’t remember the first time I heard the words,
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert. (Isaiah 43:19)
But, when the ‘way’ first opened for me to work with a university in southern Israel which is located well within the desert of which this scripture speaks, I began to take notice.
For someone who may have stumbled across this page in the endless availability that is the internet, I am a Christian. I was brought up in a home that valued the truth that everything I have as a Christian, and the very constitutional foundation of my nation as a UK citizen, has passed to me through one unique and remarkable people; Israel. My whole ethical code and system of values began to be birthed when the Creator spoke to one man living in southern Iraq and told him to go to the desert. When Abraham became God’s friend, did he know that God would use him and his family to show who He was to the whole world? I believe God still wants to do that.
In the verses that follow Isaiah 43:19, God repeats His statement but adds something special:
…for I give water in the wilderness,
rivers in the desert,
to GIVE DRINK to MY CHOSEN PEOPLE,
21 the people whom I FORMED FOR MYSELF
that they might declare my praise. (Isaiah 43:20-21, emphasis added)
When God asked Abraham to be His friend, and to come with Him to the desert, He created a nation. He separated Abraham and his family to Himself by showing them Who He was. This family that became the nation of Israel experienced an intimacy with God that no other family had access to. In the prophet Jeremiah, it actually says that God ‘married’ Israel around the time that He gave Moses the ten commandments. He became united with this nation in a way He never has with any other; and it all started with friendship. Ultimately, God sealed His commitment to this nation by becoming personally part of it in Jesus. Do you know that Jesus has a nationality? Some Christians think that when Jesus came, it meant that God had finished with Israel as a nation; their purpose was accomplished and now He could move on to everybody else. I think exactly the opposite. When God became part of Abraham’s family personally, He committed to them in an astounding and unprecedented way. It is a miracle and a mystery that through the cross and through personal identification with Jesus I can become part of that family too as an adopted child, but I am certain that God’s plan is still to ‘give drink’ to His natural family in Jesus.
So in this space you will probably hear some news updates, maybe even some archaeology for the geek followers. I will probably talk about God a lot and share some of the things He has shown me about Israel. For now, thanks for getting this far – hope to see you again some time soon.