Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. Isaiah 43:1-7
The prophet Isaiah had to mete out many words of judgment to God’s people (especially in the first two-thirds of his book), but in the last third, his message changes to promises of hope, redemption, and love. God may have been angry with his people, but he will not give up on them. He wants to save them from their lives of sin and separation from him.
Though our passage for this week was written thousands of years ago, yet it speaks today of God’s loving mercy. Often when I am praying with people, we pray these words back to God as a way of setting their truth into our lives. If one of us is experiencing something that is particularly difficult, we ask God to help us push back our fears through these affirmations. For we know that God has created us, knows us by name and that we are his (v.1). We might feel that the waters are creeping over our heads, yet we know that with God’s help we won’t become submerged (v.2). Or that the flames that seem to be snapping at our feet won’t burn us (v.2). For we are precious and honored in God’s sight, and he loves us (v.4).
God’s word is rich and deep; I love how it speaks into our situations and those of so many years ago. For instance, verse 2 about passing through a river might refer to when Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt through the parting of the Red Sea. And the flames that don’t burn (also in verse 2) could hearken back to the days of Daniel, when Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace.
Truly our God is a God who saves. Never shall we fear.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, you were there with Daniel’s friends amid the flames. When I feel their heat encroaching on me, please save me and help me.