“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.
“For I am the Lord your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
Isaiah 43:1b-3a NASB
I am reveling in these verses this morning. In the greater context, they are for Israel. Israel would be going through their time of captivity and would become discouraged and disheartened. They would feel abandoned and broken. But God promised to be with them. God would walk through it with them. It would not overwhelm them because He would be there to sustain them.
As I read these words this morning, the phrase “When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched,” really caught my attention, reminding me about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And then it hit me. Isaiah was written before the book of Daniel, before Judah was taken into captivity. Were these young men thinking about this verse as they defied Nebuchadnezzar? When I consider the heroes of the faith in the Old Testament, I don’t think of them having “the Bible” to use as support for them. But these men had much of the Old Testament, including the Psalms that would encourage them in their stand for the Living God.
The phrase “Nor will the flame burn you,” in the ESV reads “and the flame shall not consume you.” I like that word better. It won’t consume me. I won’t totally be destroyed because God is with me. I was reminded of another verse that has been a favorite of mine. Job 23 :10 ““But He knows the way I take; When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Every fiery trial that God allows in our lives is not purposeless or meaningless. He knows where we are. He knows what we are going through because He is right there walking through it with us. And when we come through on the other side by His grace, we will be more like Him, reflecting more of Him. A little bit purer – like gold.