This is one of the verses that God uses in the scripture to comfort His people.
He knows that in this world we will face many trials and temptations and these tests of life do not have a timetable. A close companion with the God that never lose any battle is what guarantees our triumphant living as Christians.
The people of Israel faced so many sufferings when they were in captivity in Babylon. A lot of them even rejected God in the midst of the afflictions which provoked God’s anger.
Despite this past history of waywardness, God tells His people that they should not fear because He has redeemed them.
He said specifically to them to forget the former times and the thing past,
Isaiah 43 verses 18 and 19 say,
“Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
God’s general promise is never to leave nor forsake them, no matter what they pass through. We are redeemed by the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We have been bought with a price, we belong to the Father, and His favour is upon all His children. He has promised to cover us with His gentle calm and protect us with His perfect peace when our hearts rest in Him.
Who wrote Isaiah 43:2 and when was it written?
Isaiah 43:2 was written by Prophet Isaiah. It was written during the eighth century BC.
Generally, there are speculations about the authorship of the entire book of Isaiah which is due to the timeline between when some parts of it were written.
Most scholars agree that the prophet Isaiah likely only wrote a portion of the book, but recent studies reveal that the portions he didn’t physically write all originated from him.
What is the context of Isaiah 43?
The context of Isaiah 43 is about God’s promises to the Israelites and His plead with the unfaithful ones among them.
In the preceding chapter ( Isaiah 42 ), the children of Israel passed through a serious punishment for their disobedience. God wrath His anger upon them because of their sins. He neglected them and they became prey to their enemies.
Isaiah 42 verses 24 and 25,
“Who gave Jacob for plunder, and Israel to the robbers? Was it not the Lord,
He against whom we have sinned? For they would not walk in His ways,
Nor were they obedient to His law. Therefore He has poured on him the fury of His anger And the strength of battle; It has set him on fire all around,
Yet he did not know, And it burned him, Yet he did not take it to heart. ”
It is like a father that chastises his son to train him on the way of the Lord. God also chastises His children. He does this in love so we will not depart from His laws.
And whenever this is done, God in His infinite mercy and love always reminds us of how precious we are in His sight.
This is exactly what happened in this chapter, God reassured them of protection and deliverance in their afflictions.
There was a clarion call to the nations.
Bring out the blind people who have eyes, and the deaf who have ears.
Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled.
Who among them can declare this, and show us former things? Let them bring out their witnesses, that they may be justified; (Isaiah 43 verses 8 to 9)
Those who worship foreign god were said to lack common sense. They were asked to come to the open and defend their gods. It was a challenge for those idols to compete with the living God.
Psalms 135 verses 15 to 18 says,
“The idols of the nations are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands.
They have mouths, but they do not speak; Eyes they have, but they do not see; they have ears, but they do not hear; nor is there any breath in their mouths. Those who make them are like them; so is everyone who trusts in them.”
The chapter went further to encourage the people to hope for their deliverance out of Babylon and finally talked about those who neglect to call upon God and are weary of Him.
He reminded them of their evil ways by which they had provoked God to send them into captivity and admonished them to repent and seek God’s forgiveness.
What is the message of Isaiah 43:2?
The message of Isaiah 43:2 talks about the presence of God with believers in the midst of challenges.
The presence of God is a spiritual virtue that puts true believers in command. Nothing can stand in the ways of God. If God is with you or for you nothing can be against you.
Anything that cannot stop God cannot stop the one that carries His presence.
God said clearly to the people of Israel that He will be with them in the midst of their trials and temptations, giving them the courage needed and sufficient strength to overcome.
The biblical texts in Psalms 114 verses 1 to 8 gave us a good picture of the presence of God,
When Israel went out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language, Judah became His sanctuary, And Israel His dominion. The sea saw it and fled; Jordan turned back. The mountains skipped like rams, the little hills like lambs. What ails you, O sea that you fled? O Jordan that you turned back? O mountains that you skipped like rams? O little hills, like lambs? Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob, Who turned the rock into a pool of water, The flint into a fountain of waters.”
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you,” meaning
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you,” means when you are faced with troubles, God is right there with you to save you.
The world that we live in is warfare and not a funfair. Challenges will surely come. The word says when you pass through the waters not if you pass through the waters.
We cannot escape trials and suffering but one thing is sure. The presence of God makes the difference.
In all situations, God is always near to protect His children.
Jesus said in John 16 verse 33,
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
God’s word is true. If He says I will be with you, He is rightly available to give you peace like a river in the midst of your worries.
“And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you” meaning
“And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you” means if your trials get tougher they will not overcome you.
Sometimes we feel alone when our hard times are getting harder and we expect an improvement. The faith of most believers is greatly affected at this point.
God works in ways that we do not understand. At times He takes us through that rough and farther road for a purpose. One thing is sure, He will make available the required strength in the middle of the hard seasons.
David said in Psalm 23 verse 4,
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
The above verse is one of the promises of abundant comfort in the old testament.
Your flesh and your heart may fail, but God is the strength of your heart and your portion forever. The LORD gives strength to His people; and will bless them with His peace.
2 Corinthians 4 verses 8 to 9 says,
We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroy.
The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all. It does not matter how hard it is, there is light at the end of the tunnel. God must show up at the end.
“When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you” meaning
“When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you” means the battle may be so hot but you will not be consumed.
Fire is destructive. It burns its victims leaving no trace. This statement is talking about special troubles or the highest degree of trouble that poses some forms of danger. This is when you feel the challenges will take your life.
At this point, human beings are helpless. Your only help is in God. He will give you the courage and strength to walk through the trials without any hurt.
When it seems you are about to be consumed, God makes a way of escape. He said I will envelope you with my presence and nothing shall come near you.
This is what Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego experienced in the fiery furnace. They were thrown in a furnace, seven times hotter, because of refusing to worship an idol set up by Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon.
These three Hebrew boys were bound in their coats, trousers, turbans, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
Three men were thrown into the fire but King Nebuchadnezzar looked and saw four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.
( Daniel 3 verses 21 to 25 ). They were not burnt nor did the flame scorch them because God was with them.
What is the difference in biblical translations of Isaiah 43:2 (NKJV, KJV, NIV & ESV)?
Isaiah 43:2 NKJV biblical translation “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.”
Isaiah 43:2 KJV biblical translation “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”
Isaiah 43:2 NIV biblical translation “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 ESV biblical translation “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,”
There is not much difference between the NKJV and KJV translations.
Scorch in NKJV is replaced kindle in KJV. Scorch means burning the surface of something while kindle means setting something on fire. Both of them mean the early part of the burning.
Sweep over you in NIV is replaced overwhelm you in ESV. Both means to overcome or empower.
Set you ablaze in NIV is replaced consume you in ESV. Ablaze means serious burning or ignition which means to engulf.
The four translations have the same meaning.
How do I apply Isaiah 43:2 to my life?
Applying Isaiah 43:2 to my life is to have confidence in God in the midst of difficulties.
Sometimes in our lifetime, life becomes unbearable. You move from one trial to another and it seems it will never end. Some believers will even ask if God still exists.
They will be wondering why God will allow such to happen to them at the same time.
I have a piece of good news for you. God has promised never to leave us nor forsake us no matter how tough the situation we find ourselves in. You will surely break forth on every side.
Isaiah 41 verse 10 confirms this assurance,
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’”
We are redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. God says fear not and gave the reasons for saying that.
God said in the scripture above that He is with us, and He will strengthen us in the midst of the turmoil so that we don’t break up. He will hold you tight during that dangerous journey so that you don’t go astray. What other assurance do you need?
The wider scope study of the phrase, fear not, reveals it was mentioned 365 times in the entire bible. This is a good guide to our daily living. One Fear not is enough for the day.
Which is more than enough to take from your own land which is dry land to the promised land. Cast out those anxious fears but see the eternal glory that awaits you at the end.
What is Isaiah 43:2 prayer?
Father, I trust in your power and might to deliver me from every trouble. Help me to stand in total dependence upon you when the storms of life are enraged, when my foes seem to multiply every passing day and there seems to be nowhere to turn. Help me to be still, knowing that you are God. You have promised never to leave me nor forsake me. May I draw closer to you daily and abide under the shadow of your protective wings of love, this I pray in Jesus’ name. AMEN
The challenges of life are in stages.
According to the new living translation,
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.
We face waters which may be deep waters sometimes, sometimes rivers, and sometimes fire. These might be rough waters or mighty waters which are likened to waters of the red sea.
It can also be rivers of difficulty or fire of oppression and various others. Floods overwhelm but fires consume. Passing through the waters is when believers started to pass through challenges and weariness sets in.
God is right there with you. And when it seems the waters of life become the rivers, He is right there to save you. This is the point at which the situation appears to overwhelm you.
1 Corinthians 10 verse 13 says,
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. ”
When all hope is lost and you come to the end of the road, He will make a way.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
We have an assurance that His protection and help are available for those who trust in Him. He keeps us from all harm, He watches over your life.