“For thus says the high and exalted One, who lives forever, whose name is Holy …” (Isaiah 57:15)
This is one of a number of verses in Isaiah in which God reveals something of His glory to His people Israel — and through His word, to us as His people today. And what He reveals of Himself here should give us confidence in Him as we move forward into a “new year.”
The phrase which the New American Standard Bible translates “lives forever” is in Hebrew “shocen ad”: BDB tells us that shocen” means “dwells, abides”, and “ad” is a noun meaning “perpetuity” or eternity. So God is telling His people here that He “inhabits eternity.” (In fact, this is how the old King James translates it: “inhabiteth eternity.”)
The important point that God is communicating with us is that He does not live in our little world of time; He inhabits eternity. Dwelling in eternity, God is not bound or limited by time as we are. He surrounds time, as the ocean surrounds an island — or better, as it completely immerses a fish or something else found within it.
Thus as we humans face 2016, we need to understand that this is not a “new year” to God. He completely surrounds this year. He was before it; He is in it now; and He will be after it. There is nothing “new” in it to Him at all; no “surprises”; nothing He will “learn.” He has plans and purposes for us in it, which He wants to accomplish through us, and for which we need to seek His power and direction to fulfill. But our comfort as we approach this year is that He will be with us there. In fact, He is already there ahead of us — and beyond. He “inhabits eternity”!