God Leads Us Along (Isaiah 43:2)
Isaiah 43:2, “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.”
Robert Morrison was the first Protestant missionary to China, sent out by the London Missionary Society in 1807. Arriving in Canton, he moved into a cellar and was rarely seen in public, pouring himself into a study of the language. He made such good progress that he was hired by the East India Company as an interpreter and spent the next 25 years thus employed. This arrangement allowed him the opportunity of translating the Bible, tracts, hymnbooks, and prayer books from English into Chinese. He prepared an Anglo-Chinese dictionary and a Chinese grammar book. During his lifetime, Morrison saw but three or four conversions, but his work paved the way for all the missionaries who followed.
He found Isaiah 43:2 as a young man on a voyage from Newcastle to London. He was on his way to school, and the seas were rough. Morrison suffered a bout of seasickness, but he nonetheless managed his daily intake of Scripture. He wrote his father: “I was happily surprised, when lying sick in the state room, by hearing a number of persons sing psalms in the cabin; and every night when the weather would permit, we had prayers and reading of Scriptures. The passage was very rough, in some parts of it; one night they let the ship drive, and another night pitched away her bowsprit, which last occurrence was very serious, as it endangered the loss of our masts. I mention these circumstances to excite thankfulness to God, who brought us safely through. I pleaded the promise, in its literal sense, ‘When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee,’ and blessed by God, it was fulfilled. It was a promise he was to claim many times to come.”
In shady, green pastures, so rich and so sweet,
God leads His dear children along;
Where the water's cool flow bathes the weary one's feet,
God leads His dear children along.
Some through the waters, some through the flood,
Some through the fire, but all through the blood;
Some through great sorrow, but God gives a song,
In the night season and all the day long.
In Isaiah’s description, the waters symbolize a trial. Some trials can be likened to walking through a valley, while others can feel like facing a flash flood in that valley. The water level rises rapidly. Deep waters assail, currents swirling, and you may fear going under.
God has not promised to keep our lives free from times of distress, but He has promised to be with us through them and to use them to bring about our ultimate sanctification.
PRAYER: Father, I am Yours. I choose to believe this powerful truth. You are with me, so I will keep going. I hold onto You and Your Word. I will not avoid or escape my trial, but by faith and with You, I will go through it and come across on the other side. Please use the trials in my life for my good and for Your glory. In Jesus name, I pray, Amen.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.