Great Promises of the Bible: Isaiah 43:1-2
Great Promises of the Bible:
Lt. Colonel Allen Satterlee
“But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, ‘Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are Mine. 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. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.’”
Floundering instead of Faithful
In spite of God’s miraculous deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt and His equipping them to conquer the Promised Land, the Israelites floundered spiritually. As the history of Israel unfolded, great apostasy was interrupted by periods of revival. Just when it seemed the Israelites got things right, they fell back into the idolatrous worship of the nations that surrounded them. Those faithful to God feared He would abandon them. Indeed, they were warned of a judgment that would befall the nation. But in the midst of this, God wanted those people faithful to Him to know that He loved and provided for them.
God refers to His people by two names: Jacob and Israel. The name of Jacob reminded them of their humble beginnings. But Israel, the name given to Jacob after a heavenly encounter (Genesis 32:22-30), was the name of promise. It was God’s reminder of both what they came from and what He intended them to be. God further comforts them by reminding them of His involvement with them throughout their existence. He says He,
- Created you: He knew we would be from the never beginning beginning of time. Although we have earthly parents, we are here by His intention
- Formed you: In the womb as a blob of cells developed into a human being, God worked to make us. Even what might appear to some to be handicaps are the means of His grace in that life.
- Redeemed you: Born as sinners and then choosing to sin, we have taken a damaged soul and dented it some more. Our only hope is His intervention to redeem us.
- Called you: No life is without a purpose. God’s call through salvation and the blessing of holiness is not only to become all we can be but better than we could have imagined.
- You are mine: We are not our own nor are we the possession of another person. His claim includes the welcoming arms of a Father who in love enfolds His daughters and sons.
These assurances are important because the life we live is fraught with danger and afflictions. All the parental love in the world cannot protect a child from scraping a knee or suffering a broken heart. Bad things happen. While joy may not be universal, suffering certainly is. Beyond that, even the most mundane tasks have an element of danger. Every set of steps can send up tumbling. Every car in the other lane can cross into our path. If we overthink this it can paralyze us into inaction. Yet if we occasionally have days of dread it is not because there isn’t reason to feel fear or to have anxiety. Knowing this, the Lord comforts us with pledges of His faithfulness.
First mentioned among the hazards are deep waters. The ancient Israelites had a cultural dread of the sea. They knew that a person could venture out on calm water but in no time the seas could be churning, threatening to swallow them without leaving a trace behind. Many dangers we face are as forbidding as the sea, as we realize that this one great obstacle or problem is life threatening. What is the Father’s response? “I will be with you.” That doesn’t mean that He will necessarily take the danger away. In fact, some dangers do kill people. But if that thing takes us, we will not be going through it alone. And if we make it safe to shore, we will realize that it is because the hand of the Lord lifted us above the waves as surely as Jesus lifted Peter out of the waters (Matthew 14:22-32).
Next, we face the rivers whose flooding can sweep us away as we helplessly try to swim against them. In the days when this was written, no bridges existed in that part of the world. When the rivers were encountered, they simply had to be forged. That could be difficult enough on a good day but when the rivers were at flood stage, it was hopeless to try to cross them. There are troubles that can carry us away – an addiction, a habit, a particular temptation that we might be able to handle well enough on a good day. But then one comes like a flood, our feet give way, the currents pull us downward, ever downward. What does the Lord promise to those who rely on Him? “You will not drown.” What is impossible in that moment for us to overcome is His opportunity to show us that He can sustain us, rescue us and deliver us in the angry rivers of life.
Finally, there is the threat of fire. Where we might be able to fight against the ocean’s waves for a few minutes or manage to keep our heads above water for a while in the river current, we cannot sustain the burning of our flesh for even a few seconds. The flames create a sharp, intense pain causing every nerve and effort of our body to move away and seek immediate cooling. Some afflictions come suddenly, intensely so that we cannot think of tomorrow, cannot consider what our plans had been for that day. The fire must be quenched, the burn wounds instantly treated. And these afflictions leave scars. Despite what these fierce afflictions can do, God assures the believer that “you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” In our greatest trials, our most painful moments God shows His most tender mercies.
The old chorus says,
Got any rivers you think are uncrossable?
Got any mountains you can’t tunnel through?
God specializes in things thought impossible
And He can do what no other power can do.
Our Corporate Prayer
Dear Heavenly Father, I don't know what is in my future. I'm glad I don't know. I hope it will be happy and that things will go well but I know that somewhere and at sometime they won't. I take this promise for that time and in that place. I need to know that when the deep waters come, You will be with me. When the floods threaten to sweep me away, You will take my hand. When the fire would consume me, that Your great hand would protect me. I have no hope outside of You but You are enough. You are enough. You are enough. I trust You. In Jesus' might name I commit myself to You again. Amen.
Our Worldwide Prayer Meeting
Reaching Out to Others
Who do you know that is facing a difficult time in their lives? Maybe it is a rebellious child or a serious illness. Perhaps someone is going through a time of grief or has lost a job. Uphold that person or those people in prayer right now. And then do what God tells you to do. Don't settle for good intentions. Act on it.
No miser ever loved his gold; no patriot ever loved his country; no mother ever loved her baby; no father ever loved his boy; no bridegroom ever loved his bride; no, not all the love of all the created beings on this earth put together would equal the love which God bears to you. - William Booth
A modern classic by Don Moon reminds us that "God will make a way."
Col 3 content area
We would appreciate any feedback and/or suggestions on how to improve these devotionals. Please email comments to: SpiritualLifeDevelopment@uss.salvationarmy.org or by going to our website: https://southernusa.salvationarmy.org/uss/spiritual-life-development.
We would love to hear from you.
Lt. Colonel Allen Satterlee
Territorial Spiritual Life Development Officer/THQ Chaplain
USA Southern Territory