walk in the word
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (Isaiah 43:2–3a, ESV).
In Isaiah’s description, the waters symbolize a trial. Some trials can be likened to walking through a valley, while others can feel like facing a flash flood in that valley. The water level rises rapidly. Deep waters assail, currents swirling, and you may fear going under.
Notice it’s when this happens, not if. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.” The waters will come, but you won’t be by yourself. Though the waters get deep, it will not overwhelm you. The greatest treasure in this verse is the promise of His presence. He is with you in three places: through the waters, the rivers, and the fire. God leads us into difficult circumstances, but He brings us through them. We emerge on the other side.
Too often we’re searching for ways around deep waters and dangerous fires rather than through them. Have you ever experienced this? Have you tried to avoid a trial, only to have it move directly in front of you again? God is checking you, heading you off at the pass. He wants you to go through it. Some people go into trials but never come out. Not us! God leads us into difficulties and brings us through them.
It’s tempting to think, I can’t take much more of this! I’ve been treading water for so long. I’m tired and afraid I might sink. Hear this: Whatever you’re facing, you will get through it. You will not drown or be swept away. Yes, the water will feel deep, the fire will feel hot, but it won’t be too deep, too hot, or last too long.
Sometimes the Bible offers the best illustrations of its own message. Remember Daniel’s three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, featured in Daniel 3? They stood for God in a very bleak time. They refused to bow and worship the golden image that the cranky, wicked King Nebuchadnezzar set up of himself. While they showed respect toward the king, they were unbending in their ultimate allegiance to God. The consequence? Nebuchadnezzar was furious and commanded that they “be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands” (Daniel 3:15)?
When they responded with calm confidence in God’s ability to deliver them, Nebuchadnezzar was enraged all the more. “Filled with fury . . . he ordered the furnace heated seven times more than it was usually heated” (3:19). Soldiers bound the three friends, cast them into the fiery furnace, and were themselves burned to death. God could have stopped those murderers from going forward with the king’s order, but He didn’t. Instead of making a way around, He made a way through.
“Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, ‘Did we not cast three men bound into the fire? . . . But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods’” (3:24–25). What an awesome scene! Jesus Christ, the pre-incarnate second person of the Trinity, was in the fire with them—just as He had promised.
That promise holds for you too. At this moment, God is watching your life, and at some point in this trial, He will say, “Enough.” You don’t need to falter. God’s hand is on the thermostat of your trial; the fire will not get too hot. He is watching the depth gauge of your flood; the waters will not get too deep. God actively controls the severity of everything you face.
And He is with you through it.
When in your life have you faced deep waters or scorching fires—trials that feel overwhelming to you?
As you meditate on God’s promises in Isaiah 43, what fills your heart with faith?
Lord God, I am Yours. When I pass through the flood waters, You will not let me drown. When the rivers rage, they won’t drag me under. When I walk through the fire, I will not be burned—because You are with me. God, I choose to believe this precious truth, and I preach it to my own weary heart. God, You are with me, so I will keep going. I hold onto You and Your Word. I will not avoid or escape my trial, but by faith and with You, I will go through it and emerge whole on the other side. Please use the trials in my life for my good and for Your glory. To the glory of Your Son alone, King Jesus, I pray, amen.
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