Old-Fashioned Or Vintage?

May 27, 2018
by Diane Eaton

Isaiah 43:18 – Forget the former things … (NIV)
Isaiah 46:9 – Remember the former things … (NIV)

I enjoy challenges posed by seemingly contrary bits of Scripture like the ones above. They make me scratch my head. These Isaiah texts get me thinking about our own "former things" — items from past eras — like that 80s dress or that ornate mirror. How shall we view them? Old-fashioned or vintage? Useless or useful? Outdated clutter or treasures for future blessing? How we view our "former things" determines how we treat them: We'll ditch them, or we'll keep them. We'll forget about them, or we'll cherish them.

Such decisions require thought — and possibly some advice. That's so we won't mistakenly trash treasures and hoard junk or remember what should be forgotten and forget what should be remembered.

Isaiah could see that his people were trashing vintage treasure while hoarding useless junk. They were forgetting God and clinging to dead idols. God had become merely old-fashioned, so they saw no need to remember the vintage truths of God — like His promises, deeds, blessings, and judgments. The people preferred their religious icons which could do nothing that God could do. The time had come for serious reflection. So, through Isaiah, God called for a national review:

Isaiah 43:26a – Review the past for me, let us argue the matter together. (NIV)

Surely that invitation still applies. We, too, must evaluate our "former things". We, too, must choose what to forget and what to remember from our spiritual heritage. Former blessings may have become useless idols, if they now hold us in a nostalgic past while the living God becomes "old-fashioned".

Ancient Israel needed to leave behind former things like their humiliating history of idolatry and demise. God wasn't holding them there: "I am he who … remembers your sins no more" (Isaiah 43:25 NIV). He said, "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past." (Isaiah 43:18 NIV)

However, they were to remember something else — the very "former things" that we ourselves must never forget:

Isaiah 46:9 – Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. (NIV)

In other words, cherish the living God in your hearts and lives! That same God who rose above the dead gods of ancient Babylon now rises above the dead gods of western civilization. Modern idols of material things and human achievement cannot do what God has done. Never forget the God of those "former things" recorded in Scripture. Remember that the God of yesterday is the God of today and tomorrow — the One who can carry us forward with fresh new blessings:

Isaiah 43:19a – See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? (NIV)

Prayer: Dear God, empower us with courage to relinquish those useless "former things" so that we may wholeheartedly embrace the living and eternal God — for who You are and what You do — still today. Amen.

About the author:

Diane Eaton <d.eaton@bmts.com>
Paisley, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Good one. Thank you.


    A great challenge, Diane.


    A good one Diane. Thank you.


    Yes, Diane, let’s dwell on what’s truly important and good. Let’s focus upon God. Thanks for sharing. Blessings.


    Thank you for your thoughtful words and divine encouragement. Excellent use for today of the prophet Isaiah’s “vintage” words.


    Thank you for your devotional they really make me concentrate and think as our minister says read them once then read them out loud if possible then read it again.
    (ON)


    Hi Diane,
    What a great reflection. You don’t often see exegesis on opposing/conflicting parts of a text. I find it fascinating that they both come from Isaiah. Today’s devotion explains it in a satisfying way.
    I wonder if there are other books in Scripture where such opposing bits are so near together.
    Thanks,
    (Ontario)


    Of course, I know that our dear Father has all of us in mind when he inspires wisdom in a writer like you. Thank you so much for these truths from Isaiah at a time when I feel God talking to me about how to go about writing a memoir.
    I know the time has come to share about this hard time while keeping the focus on what it is to be a child of God. I have always carefully left the working of God in my life out of my writing even though I saw His hand and was grateful. I Up till now I felt that my faith was something personal and private, rather than a joy to be shared with the world. As you have done in this great devotional (and in previous ones from you, I have read) your devotional calls me to account and I am grateful.


    I loved today’s devotional. Thank you for writing it! Such an interesting and useful perspective.
    Blessings.


    Hi Diane,
    Good devotional. We tend to hang on to things of the past, physical as well as mental. The scripture passages were so appropriate.
    Thanks for writing.

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