What is the meaning of Isaiah 43:19?
In the major and minor prophets repeatedly God warned the nation of Israel that He would punish them if they did not stop sinning and worshiping other gods. Sadly, the northern and southern kingdoms of Israel and Judah did not repent. In response, God announced judgment upon them, but He also comforted them with a promise of the Messiah and the future messianic kingdom. One such passage is Isaiah 43:19. The purpose of this study is to explain the meaning of Isaiah 43:19 when it reads, “I will do something new.”
Context of Isaiah 43:19
In verses 14-15, which occur before Isaiah 43:19, God informed Israel that He would punish the Babylonian empire. God does not give His reason for this action. But we can find His reason in Jeremiah 25:12-14, which says that the Babylonian empire had been overly abusive to the Jewish people. Later in Isaiah 45:1-5, God tells them that He would use Cyrus, the king of the Medo-Persian empire, to accomplish this. In verse 15 God reminded Israel that He is their King, even though they had asked for a different king (1 Samuel 8:4-18; Hosea 13:11). He will do this because He is their King.
I am the LORD, your Holy One,
the Creator of Israel, your King.
Isaiah 43:15 (NASB)
Then in verses 16-17, God reminds Israel that He had rescued them from Egypt by parting the Red Sea (Exodus 14:1-31). Israel fled from the Egyptian army by walking on the dry sea bed while the water of the Red Sea stood like a wall (Exodus 14:22). That is the meaning of what God said in verses 16-17.
Thus says the LORD,
Who makes a way through the sea
And a path through the mighty waters,
Who brings forth the chariot and the horse,
The army and the mighty man
(They will lie down together and not rise again;
They have been quenched and extinguished like a wick):
Isaiah 43:16-17 (NASB)
This should have reminded Israel that God can rescue Israel from their enemies. He is their King of kings. As their Messiah, Christ will eventually defeat their enemies and reign as their King.
I Will Do Something New
At this point, Israel probably wondered how God would accomplish this? Therefore, God announced that they should not reflect on what God had done in the past (Isaiah 43:18). Why? Because God said, “I will do something new.”
Behold, I will do something new,
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.
Isaiah 43:19 (NASB)
What is the “something new”? God explains that He will make roads in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. The message is that the desert will become lush. Consequently, the animals will multiply and people will not thirst. God seems to imply that the animals will thank God.
The wild beasts will honor me,
the jackals and the ostriches,
for I give water in the wilderness,
rivers in the desert,
to give drink to my chosen people,
the people whom I formed for myself
that they might declare my praise.
Isaiah 43:20-21 (NASB)
Thus God will prove Himself faithful to His chosen people.
This message is also repeated in other passages of Scripture. Here are just three passages.
Then you will know that I am the LORD your God,
Dwelling in Zion, My holy mountain.
So Jerusalem will be holy,
And strangers will pass through it no more.
And in that day
The mountains will drip with sweet wine,
And the hills will flow with milk,
And all the brooks of Judah will flow with water;
And a spring will go out from the house of the LORD
To water the valley of Shittim.
Joel 3:17-18 (NASB)
“Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD,
“When the plowman will overtake the reaper
And the treader of grapes him who sows seed;
When the mountains will drip sweet wine
And all the hills will be dissolved.
Also I will restore the captivity of My people Israel,
And they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them;
They will also plant vineyards and drink their wine,
And make gardens and eat their fruit.”
Amos 9:13-14 (NASB)
And in that day living waters will flow out of Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and the other half toward the western sea; it will be in summer as well as in winter. And the LORD will be king over all the earth; in that day the LORD will be the only one, and His name the only one. All the land will be changed into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem; but Jerusalem will rise and remain on its site from Benjamin’s Gate as far as the place of the First Gate to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king’s wine presses. People will live in it, and there will no longer be a curse, for Jerusalem will dwell in security.
Zechariah 14:8-11 (NASB)
All of these passages describe the conditions that will exist during Christ’s millennial kingdom as He reigns as king. Truly, Christ ruling the entire world from Jerusalem and the promised living conditions that will be enjoyed by those living in the kingdom will be something new!
God repeatedly reminded Israel that some day He would rescue them from their enemies and reign as their King. Since Micah 5:2-3 is a clear prophecy about the Messiah that points to Jesus Christ, this confirms again that Christ is our God. He will rule and establish a kingdom for Israel and reign as their King in fulfillment of all of His promises! Isaiah 43:14-21 is a promise of future things. Even while He disciplined them for their rebellion, God punished and yet encouraged them at the same time. We have a loving God who seeks our holiness! God has promised to do something new. It will happen. Come quickly Lord Jesus!
Suggested Links:Where does the Bible say that we should support Israel? — Abrahamic Covenant
Jerusalem – The Focus of the World
God’s Timeline For The Future
Seven Signs of Christ’s Second Coming
Who is a Jew according to the Bible?
Where is the scriptural support that says Jesus will reign on earth?