“But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in your place. Since you were precious in My sight, You have been honored, And I have loved you; Therefore I will give men for you, And people for your life. Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your descendants from the east, And gather you from the west;”
Isaiah 43:1-5 NKJV
When one spends time reading and studying Scripture, one can get a sense of the bigness of God. I don’t mean His size, but the shear breadth of His sovereign concern. When I read through the Old Testament, I am reminded of His heart for the Nation Israel and each and every one of the people. From that, I know that the same God, in the fullness of time, sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, to live a sinless life, and die for my sins.
In my insignificance, I am made significant, as one saved by Jesus.
I spent some time in Isaiah this morning, as I read through the Bible. Coincidentally, the verse of the day was in chapter 43. It is another of those passages, well worn, that I have gone to repeatedly as I have faced struggles. By way of application, this type and shadow has great significance for the New Testament believer.
I am reminded that I belong to God, and that He is with me in the fire and the flood. In prayer, I am very much aware of the struggles that many of us are going through. There are rising Covid cases, newly diagnosed cancers, marriages falling apart, jobs lost, and so many other things. There are many who are bearing the burden of depression, as the hopelessness of the world creeps into our combined psyches. I am sure that there are many people who feel as if the Lord is far away. I can tell you that He is near. Very near.
He has given me the gift of many trials, that I be a witness to His faithfulness. He has given me voice and opportunity to proclaim His name too the congregation and the world.
“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.””
Deuteronomy 31:6 NKJV
The children of Israel faced many known and unknown enemies and the Lord assured them that He would be with them. Most of us are not surrounded by people seeking to kill us, at least not yet, but we face still daunting enemies, some of them within our own bodies.
Do not be afraid.
Brothers and sisters, we serve a God who is real and near, and is acquainted with every aspect of you. I remember my own battle with cancer so many years ago. I felt the presence of the Lord through every moment, as He filled me with His peace. He also made me leaky, as many could sense that something was different. I used every available moment to tell someone about Jesus.
If you are entering a fire, know that the Lord is with you, like the youths cast into the fiery furnace in Daniel, you too can know that there is One like the Son of God with you in the flames.
“And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.””
Daniel 3:23-25 NKJV
The men were delivered through the trial.
From trial to trial, I have learned that His mercy and His concern are ever present, and I have never felt abandoned. I have also learned that there is no downside, as I know that the same God that has delivered me back to health in every trial I have had, can deliver me to Heaven if that be His will. What a day that will be!
Rest in the knowledge that there is no downside, that Heaven awaits. Cast all of your cares on the One who cares for you!
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”
I Peter 5:6-7 NKJV
“But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
I Peter 5:10-11 NKJV