There are people who love change and innovation. Some of our country’s most successful entrepreneurs and business people have been excellent practitioners of this process. They can see what people might need years ahead of the rest of us and what they accomplish can be of great benefit for us all.
Sometimes, though, these pioneers were not recognised for what they were worth to society at the time. What did Jonathan Fletcher a lecturer at the University of Stirling invent in 1993? The internet search engine! Here is the link to the detailed story on the BBC News website. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-23945326 If you search the internet for details of his work it is far less prominent than later innovators in this field.
Yet in 1993, in a computer lab at the University of Stirling in Scotland, Mr Fletcher invented the world’s first web-crawling search engine – the very technology that powers Google, Bing, Yahoo and all the major search tools on the web today. Google’s founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page are household names in this field yet their pioneering work appeared a full five years later in 1998. Sadly what Jonathan Fletcher was doing at the University of Stirling was not recognised for the remarkable achievement it was that changed all our lives for good.
Our verses for today come from Isaiah 43:16-19: This is what the Lord says – He who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters,17 who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and reinforcements together, and they lay there, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:18 ‘Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
It was a time of crisis and had the appearance of being an absolute disaster for the Jewish people. They could not see any hope for the future. So how did Isaiah the prophet convince them in this message from God to have confidence in God to give them hope in the months and years to come?
Look back first to past blessings (Isaiah 43:16-17) This is what the Lord says – He who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters,17 who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and reinforcements together, and they lay there, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:
This is a reference to the Israelites under Moses coming to freedom from enslavement in Egypt and God’s miraculous provision of a pathway through the Red Sea to enable their escape. The mighty Egyptian army cavalry regiment sent to slaughter them was destroyed (See Exodus 14). God found a way through the crisis and delivered them. God has not changed, says Isaiah, God is a Way-maker through the most unlikely situations.
What past answered prayers so encouraged you? Take a few moments today to thank God for these blessings. Declare your conviction that God is still the same today and can be a Way-maker at this time in history as well.
Look forward by faith to future blessings (Isaiah 43:18-19)‘Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
Is this a prophetic word for our generation? Does this time of crisis in 2020 seem like a wilderness or a wasteland? What hope do we have of things turning out well? If the church leaders I have spoken to are representative of what happened yesterday in our land then more people engaged with acts of worship in faith communities than in the previous week.
There are serious challenges to come in our land –we must not minimise it. However, it is not the whole story. I believe God is saying to His Church to rise up by faith with confidence in Him to serve their communities with genuine expectancy of the transforming power of God at work in this land and other countries in the coming days.
I think this is something that can give us a quiet confidence – Our God reigns! Amen