“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.” Isaiah 43:1-2.
In Isaiah 43, God talks to His people, the Israelites, as they begin a journey. After years in captivity, they rejoiced at the freedom to return to their homeland. But to get there, they would have to travel a long distance. Their travel would look quite different from ours — no plane to catch and no trailer to haul their stuff. So you can imagine the challenge this nation would face when they found themselves standing in front of deep waters or difficult rivers. Men, women, children, livestock, and all their belongings would have to find a way through these physical obstacles.
Though we may not come upon an actual river or fire, we will likely encounter obstacles in 2023. Notice how Isaiah says, “When you go through deep waters … When you go through rivers of difficulty … When you walk through the fire of oppression.” The water, river, and fire represent the afflictions, trials, and difficulties we face. The Bible makes it clear that it is a question of when not if. The nation of Israel encountered these difficulties on its journey, and I think we can count on it too.
Thankfully, God is with us in our most troubling times. He is constantly working all things out for His will. And He has compassion for us. When everything else is uncertain, there is one thing that you can depend on — the promises of God.
The Bible is filled with the promises of God. From Genesis to Revelation we read of normal people that received the promises of God. When God makes a promise to His people, it will come to pass. What is a promise? A promise is a covenant or declaration that one will do exactly what one says or something will happen just as pledged.
As we get ready for 2023, spend some time simply meditating on the promises of God. You might try focusing on one each week. Take a deeper look at God’s character and what He promises to those who believe in Him. Because no matter how prepared we feel, we’ll never be able to conquer our troubles alone. God didn’t just warn of potential problems ahead, He included promises to stand on in the midst of them.
As we head into a new year, let’s start 2023 prepared, so that when we face the trials of life we will stand. Undaunted by deep waters. Ready for rivers of difficulty. Fearless in the face of the fire.
- God wants believers to know they are loved so much that they need not live in fear. Yet, this love relationship does not eliminate all fearful things in our lives. What are the things you fear in 2023?
- How does God eliminate these fears?