Edwards Challenges West to New Vision
‘See! I am doing a new thing’
Isaiah 43: 19
Forget the former things: do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
–Isaiah 43: 18,19
Commissioner David Edwards drew on the writing of the prophet Isaiah to reveal the depth and intensity of his continuing commitment to MISSION2000 and the process of growth he seeks to stimulate through the new millennium and into the next century.
He reminded the assembled delegates of the MISSION2000 Expansion Council that the people of Israel have never allowed themselves to forget the great exodus from Egypt as God, working through Moses, led millions through the Red Sea and provided them an escape from slavery.
“It was the exodus which made them uniquely the people of God. It was that which confirmed their special relationship with Yahweh. It is this most important event in Israel’s history to which Isaiah refers,” Edwards said.
He emphasized that Isaiah’s directive to forget the former things; do not dwell on the past “… must not be regarded as a command to get rid of the former things, to dispense with the past, to throw out the traditions, to destroy their heritage, to forget their history. God does not wish his people to get rid of that which has contributed to making them uniquely his.” He reminded the delegates that a people without a past are a people without a future. “History plays a significant role in determining both the present and the future–in other words, who we are, what we are doing, and where we are going.
“The problem,” Edwards stated, “is that we can allow the past to prevent us becoming all that we can be and to get in the way of the future. God’s challenge to you and me is the same as that which he gave through his prophet Isaiah. Do no dwell on the past. See I am doing a new thing.
“We Salvationists are a unique people–even peculiar. What with our uniforms, our military style and language, our position on the sacraments, our bands and songsters, our focus on the mercy seat, our emphasis on the doctrine of holiness and living lives of holiness. We are a unique people raised up by God for a special purpose. God’s challenge to us is to not allow the things of the past to blind us to the possibilities of the present, or to dull our expectations for a greater tomorrow.
“The past provides us with the evidence upon which our ‘faith for greater things must be based.’ This is what Isaiah was saying to the people. If they thought that (what God had done previously) was great, then they should look and see what more God had in store for them.
“God is always doing something new. It was General Paul Rader who once said: ‘God does not do encores. He is into doing something new.’ Open your eyes. There is something more glorious and far greater than we have ever seen before which awaits us just over the horizon. Let us have faith for greater things.”