I'm sure that you hear it sometimes on the elevator. At other times if you're waiting in a doctor's office, you hear it. If you're shopping in the mall, you hear it. More and more in different ways and in different places you hear sounds, rhythms, melodies, songs of yesterday, songs that oftentimes are referred to as golden oldies. The frequent occurrence of these songs is the result of a very profitable area of the music industry: the nostalgia craze. Specialized stations have developed that are totally devoted to playing what they call "the songs of your life." What's fascinating is that these stations capitalize on a hunger for nostalgia, and so they wrap precious memories in melodies and phrases of the old songs.
This modem mania for nostalgia is confronted and challenged by a scripture in the Book of Isaiah. Isaiah chapter 43, verse 18: "Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old." At first glance this passage appears to be a contradiction, for in the early part of the chapter, Israel has been reminded of its history. It doesn't really seem to make sense. I thought to myself, Perhaps what verse 18 means is that Israel must refuse to be prisoners of a negative past, that Israel is being called on to forget the failures and the disappointments, the guilt, the shame, the hypocrisy of the past. There's no question that Israel had a past to forget. Israel had a sad past, a checkered past, like a roller coaster past, sometimes up and sometimes down, a past that could only be described in Scripture as a wandering in the wilderness, as a blindness.
Is the prophet warning us not to be prisoners of a negative past?
It appears logical that what this passage is saying is that Israel must forget the negative ...
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