From “Candles in the Dark” by David Adam
But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “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 shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour. I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you. Because you are precious in my sight and honoured, and I love you, I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life. Do not fear, for I am with you.( Isaiah 43:1–5a )
The prophet Isaiah is seeking to encourage his people, offering them strength for the new freedom that is being held out to them. Many of these people had been born into captivity and did not know what freedom was. They had dreamed of returning to their homeland, but in reality, a good few would rather not make the perilous journey. They had food and security where they were and were now being asked to venture into the unknown. Were they strong enough to travel? Were they willing to sacrifice the present comfort for the desert and the difficulties that lay ahead? It was the prophet's task to offer them the strength of their God and his calling to his people. This was like the Exodus all over again. Freed from captivity, they would be marching to the Promised Land. This was not a simple journey, there was the river Euphrates to cross and, beyond that, the desert.
The prophet declares to the people, “God is with you; you are not going in your own strength but in the strength of God. As God was with the children of Israel at the waters of the Red Sea, he will be with you. As he was with Moses in the burning heat of the Negeb desert he will be with you. Do not be afraid, for the Lord is with you. God has chosen you.”
As ever, God is calling and the people are stalling. They are asked to see that they are not going in their own strength but in the power and presence of God. Do not fear, God is near!
God is with you today as you venture into the unknown, God is with you in your joys and in your sorrows. You are not alone in your journey. You are not forsaken in trial or tribulation, for God is ever with you.
How often have you failed to venture because you felt alone and called to act in your strength alone?
Know that you are not alone and God is calling you to a more wonderful freedom and life than you ever dreamed of. Not only are you called by God, but he knows you and your needs. He will bring his strength to your weakness, and dispel your fear with his presence.
Know that God wants us to seek newness in his world, to discover new insights and to learn new things. God speaks to us through the discoveries that are made, as they help us to extend our way of thinking and not live with a closed-circuit mind. We should seek to discover something new each day and to give thanks to God for it.