"Stand Firm When the River Rises" - Sunday, January 20, 2019 - by Dianne Prince
When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. Isaiah 43:2 (NLT)
In our scripture today, God’s children are divided into the Northern (Israel) and Southern Kingdoms (Judah). Judah is in a downward spiritual spiral. Isaiah challenges Judah to turn away from their sinful condition and back to God. He told them although God would punish them for their apostasy, He would eventually restore them from Babylonian captivity back to their rightful position. God was saying to His children, "You may be cast down, but I will not allow you to be destroyed.” Why? They would not be destroyed because of God’s promise to their ancestor, Abraham.
Isaiah 43:1-2 reassured Judah that although they were living in captivity, they had no need to fear because they were God’s chosen people. The Lord tells them through Isaiah, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you.” Israel need not fear in the midst of their discomfort and their uncertainty because God created them, and He cares for and sustains all He created. God will chastise you in order to get you back on the right track, but He is caring for you even in the heat of chastisement. And, as you come to your spiritual senses and return to Him, He delivers on all the promises He made to you.
Isaiah tells Judah there no need to be fearful during adversity because of the special love God had for them. God tells them, “Since you are precious in My sight, Since you are honored and I love you, I will give other men in your place and other peoples in exchange for your life.” (Isaiah 43:4) How awesome is that? Who else would do that but God? God loved Judah not because they were good, but “just because” they were His children. They were living outside of His will, but He loved them nevertheless. And like a good father, He would do what was necessary to get them back in right relationship with Him. And, He would preserve their life as they walked through the process. Where can you find such protection other than God?
There was also no need to fear because God was with Judah and He would eventually return them to their land and restore unto them their passion for Him and also He would restore all their goods. God, in Isaiah 43:5-6 promises them, “Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, And gather you from the west. “I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ And to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring My sons from afar And My daughters from the ends of the earth.” God is a God of restoration. He specializes in giving back to you that which the enemy has stolen. He will not only restore you, but He will restore your offspring as well.
The good news for you today is because you are in covenant relationship with God, He knows you by name. Because God created you, He will sustain you and everything about you. Because God redeemed you, there are limits on how far the enemy can go in “messing” with you, your mind, your spirit, and your stuff. And, because God has cared for you up to this point, He will continue to protect you.
Waters, rivers, fire and flame all denote difficult times. In trouble, be encouraged, God is with you. He hears you when you cry. He will allow you to be cast down, but He will not permit you to be destroyed. Why? God has invested too much in you to allow you to be snatched out of His hand. John 10:29 says, “My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”
The river will rise. The floods will come. The water will ascend. Nevertheless, you just swim. Swim and keep swimming. God will not let you drown. The flames will kindle. The fire will burn. The blaze will get too close for comfort. Nevertheless, you just stand. And, keep standing. Because God will not allow you to be consumed.
You are the apple of God’s eye. You are special in His sight. God will gather up all the enemy has taken—your joy, your peace, your spiritual excitement, your mental and physical health, your money, your backslidden offspring, your mistreatment, and your job that slipped away. You name it and God will gather up all of it and restore it to you in abundance.
Keep praying. Keep the faith. Stay hopeful. Persevere. Endure, Why? God will sustain you, your goods, and everything that concerns you. He will hold you above the raging waters. He will not allow you to be destroyed.
Additional daily inspirations are available in the book Stronger and Wiser by Dianne Prince.