“We Shape Our Future”

Isaiah 65:17-25


God continues His discourse from last week, however today He is providing a revelation. It’s important to remember that we are reading Scripture in context. We need to keep in mind the culture in which the Hebrews were living. 

They were surrounded by people who believed:

Which meant,

With that type of thinking, the majority of people believed:

  • that humans had no real choices, 
  • their actions were not their own, 
  • their actions were merely a response 
  • to the actions of the gods. 

There are cultures today with similar beliefs. With this mindset, we can understand why one would give offerings or do certain worship practices, in order to appease the gods to insure they would act kindly to them.  


God was trying to remind the Hebrews that the thinking of the majority was simply NOT TRUE. 


We live in a real world, 

humans have real choices, 

and the choices we make can and do have 

cosmic consequences. 


Yet, God also wants to inform us that this world is not all there is to reality. God is letting the Hebrews in on what is to come. 

And in doing so, He wants them to comprehend that all the effects of human choices are not experienced in this life. Those on earth do not receive all the rewards or all the punishments they deserve in their earthly lifetime. If we go back to verses 13-16, of this chapter, where God says that His servants will eat and not go hungry, will drink and not go thirsty, and realize that was not occurring at the time it was said, we would have to say either God is a liar, or this world is not all there is to reality. Today’s verses tell us that the latter is the case. 


Today God tells us about a “new” heaven and earth. The newness of this heaven and earth are described as being without the tragic realities of this world. 




Verse 18 & 19 describe a place where we will experience the reality of joy without the reality of weeping and crying. 


Verse 20, says we will experience the delight of birth without the despair of death. 


Verses 21-23 our satisfaction of building will not be met with the fear of destruction and conquest. 


God states His plan is 

  • to bless those who believe His word, 
  • who obey Him and 
  • live the life He has called them to live. 


God is letting His people know that there are consequences to the choices they make. Those consequences begin on earth and will carry over in the coming days. The message in verse 25 is similar to what was written in chapter 11, and is messianic in nature, a prediction of real events that will happen in the future. 

We may think that our way of thinking has developed and become more sophisticated than the dualism and fatalism of paganism in Isaiah’s day. Unfortunately, that is not the case. The concept of good and evil is a prime example. Many today think that sin is in the world today because of Satan. You know the idea that God is the good god and Satan is the bad god and us humans are stuck in the middle. Something like a giant cosmic computer war game and we are being manipulated to act a certain way. You’ve all heard the saying, “The devil made me do it,” or  seen a bumper sticker that reads, “Born to be Bad.”


But that is not what the Bible says. If you check it out, back in Genesis, sin exists today because of one thing, human choice. Nowhere do you read that Satan made Eve sin and if you read closely you will discover there is no mention of the tempter being “evil.” He is called more “subtle” than any other creature. Satan’s choices had no effect on the choices Eve and Adam made. The Garden of Eden was pure, even though Satan was in it. 

Suffice it to say, had our first two parents made better choices, we would still be in Eden today. 


I don’t know the reason why God gave us the ability to make choices, but He did. Which means, it is our human choice that determines the shape of reality, not some cosmic reality shaping human choice. 


Putting this all together, when we read of God’s new heaven and new earth, just because they are coming, does not mean we are automatically “in.” Reality in the new world will be a reflection of the choices we make in this world. We shape our future.  


Oh, dear. That means the reality I experience in the days to come will be shaped by the choices I make now. That means my choices are rather critical. This message is not new. Growing up, our parents have been telling us this message. We as parents say this to our children. You reap what you sow. 

The difficult part God is trying to get across is that those consequences, good or bad, don’t always manifest themselves in our earthly lifetime. They extend into the new heaven and the new earth. When put into that perspective, realizing we have the possibility of shaping the reality of our future by the choices we make now, it becomes a bit sobering. 


Paul put it like this in Titus 2:11-14


For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.


It is by God’s grace we even have a new world coming. 


And we celebrate that grace today at the Lord’s Supper.