“For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind.” (Isaiah 65:17)
My memory is an interesting construct. Many things I do not remember well – to my regret. But I make lists and make notes, so I do okay. Some things I remember well, and well enough. But somethings I remember vividly; when I remember them, they splash across my mind, and I feel the exact same emotions I did when the event first happened. Having such a vivid memory is not necessarily and advantage. Sometimes it seems like no time has past since the memory was made; whether that be a memory of many years ago, a memory of yesterday, or a memory that I cannot place but I know it happened!
There are some things I wish I would not remember – some unpleasant things. But it seems like the unpleasantness and the feelings/emotions are burned into my memory. And some things I do not want to forget – ever.
So, we come to the first verse of this passage, and God stating that the Divine is creating new-ness. And I have to pause, wonder and consider . . . am I willing to release the memories I have in order to be a part of this new heaven and new earth?
“But be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight. I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and delight in my people; no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it, or the cry of distress. No more shall there be in it an infant that lives but a few days, or an old person who does not live out a lifetime; for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth, and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed. They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labor in vain, or bear children for calamity; for they shall be offspring blessed by the LORD– and their descendants as well. Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear.” (Verses 18 – 24)
You may say, beloved reader, I would be a fool not to give up my former memories in favor of this. But who of us, beloved reader, would gladly leave this earth for the live to come? Who wants to be shed of these earthly and experiences and memories in favor of the eternity beyond? Are there not many people who cling to life, squeezing every second for that it holds? Is not living many decades a goal of so many?
Now, you may interpret this passage from Isaiah as being things on earth, in this world. But where are such things happening? Where is there joy and delight as the writer of Isaiah describes it? In what day and age did such things occur? For all the “utopia” that is recorded in human history, it did not last. This is our future, beloved reader, as sure a description of the new heaven and new earth that the return of the Lord will usher in. The question is often asked, will you be ready? What I am asking is, will you be ready to let go of this world?
“The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox; but the serpent–its food shall be dust! They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain, says the LORD. “ (Verse 25)
Who are we to be worthy of the Lord’s holy mountain? Who are we to insist on remaining in this world? We live between two realities beloved reader. The sweetness that we do find in this life. And the promise that is yet to come. If I must make the leap from one world to the next, I need to remember clearly why that leap is worthwhile and what I must do to earn it. Selah!