“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”
Isaiah 43: 2
Isaiah 43: 1-7
Loneliness, isolation and separation can be immensely hard. We’ve just learnt that the restrictions placed upon us will extend through Christmas and into the New Year. This is tough and will upset many if not all; we are not used to nor like our freedoms curtailed. I would, however, like to encourage you this day. As we know that the restrictions are working for the good of society and communities we can know that God will work for our good in this situation. He will bring us through this time, He WILL sustain us.
The people of Israel had a time of exile in Babylon far from their home. They faced this plight because they had gone their own way and abandoned God. Through the prophet Isaiah God encouraged them, this would not last forever, He had not deserted them and He would sustain them. The beautiful verse recorded above is a message of assurance and hope. Though they, and we today, may go through trials, God was going to be with them and will be with us; He is the sustainer God. Notice the words ‘pass through’ and ‘walk through.’ We may wade through depths of despair, cross a raging challenge and deal with a fiery trial but we will get to the other side. The waters will not sweep over us nor will the flames set us ablaze because God will be with us.
This is a time to bear our souls to God, to ask why, to lament, to raise petitions in serious, genuine and honest prayer. We are to wait on God and not force ourselves through this time or even try to hasten its end to get back to ‘normal.’ We need to hear what God has to say to us, to heed His direction. If we give our cares to God and humble ourselves before Him, He will raise us up in due course (1 Peter 5: 6-7). The Psalmist assures us that affliction has a purpose. It leads us back to God and teaches us His ways where His Words sustain and save us (Psalm 119: 67, 71, 75 & 92).
Why can we have this confidence, because of God, where can we get the strength to endure, in God! Look at the words of assurance and encouragement in this passage (Isaiah 43: 1-7), God: has made us; He will redeem us; He calls us by name; we belong to Him; He is our God; we are precious to Him and He loves us.
This may not be a pleasant time (to say the least!) but we are not alone in it. God loves us deeply and will be with us, sustaining us. Be encouraged; be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer (Romans 12: 12). Overcome by the blood of the lamb, Jesus Christ and the word of your testimony (faith) (Revelation 12: 11).
To Ponder: Consider what Jesus Christ went through and overcame for us: trials, temptations, hatred, opposition and death to name but a few of His trials. If Christ is in you what can you overcome?
Pray: Stir up your power, O God and come among us. Walk with us through the depths, through the fire and heal our wounds, calm our fears and give us peace. Call us back to you and show us the way to go so we may live to your glory. Help us overcome by the power of the Lord Jesus and our words of faith; in your grace we ask. Amen
Praise: How Firm a Foundation, ye Saints of the Lord from ‘Together for the Gospel live’ Sovereign Grace Music
Overcome by Jeremy Camp
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.