“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.”
I could see the next shelter as I descended the hiking trail, but a swollen creek crossed my path, and there wasn’t a bridge. Seeing no other option, I stepped into the stream and waded carefully across without slipping. It wasn’t my first water crossing along the Appalachian Trail, and it wouldn’t be my last. Wading through moving water can be dangerous.
In this passage from Isaiah, God assures his people of his presence and protection. When the challenges and crises of life stand in their way like a rushing river, says the Lord, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” Using the imagery of surging waters and raging fire, God promises that his people will not be overwhelmed. Later in this chapter, God recounts how he kept Israel safe from the deep waters and the army of Pharaoh when they crossed the Red Sea (see Exodus 14). God also promises to protect his people from the surging destruction of their own sins. He promises to blot those sins out and to remember them no more.
God, who created us and knows our weaknesses, promises to love us and protect us from dangers both outside and within our own hearts. We see God’s faithfulness to his people and, above all, in his Son, Jesus, who fulfills all of God’s promises.
Lord Jesus, you protect and provide for us. Help us to trust you in all things and to serve you wherever we are. Amen.
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