I Will Be With You
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Isaiah 43:2
Isaiah, the great prophet of God, had a message from God to deliver to the people. God had rebuked Israel for their wickedness. He had brought judgments on them to discipline and bring them back to a correct walk. They had ignored much of what God had done in their lives and were bent on destruction. The prophet heralds for reminders and encouraging words to get the people back on track. He informs them of the upcoming judgments upon them if they do not listen. He struggles on.
In pouring His heart out to the people, God reminds them, through the words of Isaiah, “You can do this. I will be with you.”
God wanted a people who loved Him as much as He loved them. They were hard and difficult. Like many of us, they wanted what they wanted and it did not matter to them what God wanted.
“I know it is a struggle,” God pleads, “but you must know that I will be with you all the way. I will not leave you. I will help you. Come, my people. Come back to me.”
Some years ago I was in an accident in my shop. I was building a trailer and needed to finish a little bit of welding before I quit for the day. I dragged the cutting torch to the area I needed to cut, fired it off and began cutting the metal. All of a sudden, I found myself inside a giant fireball. I was actually looking through the flames that surrounded me. It was only seconds, but seemed like an eternity. I exhaled, backed up out of it, but the damage was done. Later, I was flown to the burn unit and treated and lived to tell the story.
But, though it was only seconds, in that fireball, helpless and hopeless, I had the most terrifying feeling of my life. It seemed like an eternity, as if time stood still. For that brief moment, I felt as though I was the only person on the planet. I felt completely alone. The burns and the pain that followed were horrible, but nothing compared to the feeling of being alone. In shocking recognition, I realized that I was not alone, for God was with me.
Israel had planned and plotted their own path and the path they chose was out of the will of God. They were operating on their own steam and were completely helpless and hopeless. God told them in chapter one that they were as desolate as a tent in a cucumber patch.
To come back to God and walk with Him, they needed to hear these words. They needed to know from the mouth of God, “I will be with you.” Now, to tell you the truth, we need to hear the same words!