But now, this is what the Lord says - he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. 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.
This is part of a very long set of songs in which Isaiah prophesies the love of God for his wayward children, Israel. He comforts them with the capacity of God to carry his people through all kinds of troubles.
‘Passing through waters’, is symbolic of passing through all things deathly, including death itself. To pass through sickness and disease. To pass through demonic trials and temptations as well as those of unhealthy human desire. To pass through the hardship of relationship crises, and finally, to pass through death itself.
There are two kinds of death. The major and the minor but they may not be as you expect. In the proactive remembrance of our baptism, we learn daily to die to our old nature and to be raised up, alive, into Christ. This is the major death, the death of self as the centre of all things. This is the major death because it threatens our eternal life. It takes an intimate relationship with Jesus and its resultant faith, to die daily to ourselves and trust that God is raising us up today and always by his power and strength not our own. He keeps us buoyant as we pass through all these waters, never letting us out of his hands.
Once we learn to trust Jesus daily for life, in and through this gift of baptism, then the minor death is merely a transition from this life into eternal life with God and all the angels and archangels and all the company of heaven. Do not fear, He has redeemed you!
Teach me not to fear death nor the deathly things of this life. Expand my faith and trust in the saving grace of my Lord Jesus. Pass me through today’s waters and every day, one day at a time. When, by your great power and loving kindness, I come to my end, Lord Jesus take me to the promised land. Amen.
Todays devotion provided by David Schuppan, LifeWay Illawarra Site Pastor