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Was Isaiah speaking about literal waters, rivers and fire? (Isaiah 43:2)

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 - 2 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.

Clarify Share Report Asked June 05 2019 My picture Jack Gutknecht

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
From the similarity of the verse cited in the question to verses elsewhere in the Bible (such as Psalm 66:12) that are more clearly using fire and water not in a literal sense, but as metaphors (fire because it consumes, and water because it overwhelms) representing the full range of dangers and perils that can befall humans, I would say that the same metaphorical interpretation is to be applied here also, and that the verse is referring to God being capable of delivering from any type of disaster -- even ones that might seem hopeless in human terms.

(However, the verse may have also been intended to evoke in the memories of readers past incidents from Israel's history where God literally demonstrated such power, as in parting the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21-29), and in not allowing Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to be harmed when they were thrown into the fire by Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 3).)

June 06 2019 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Img 5726 Leslie Coutinho
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.

Isaiah the prophet was being told by the Lord that every child of God who passes through the water of the rivers will face a storm, but they should have faith in God who will always be with them. However, there may be a time when we may lose our faith in God, just like the disciples, when they sailed out in the water with our Lord Jesus in a boat and faced a storm. They asked Jesus, "Master, carest thou not that we perish?" Then, Jesus rose from the pillow and commanded the sea, saying, "Peace, be still!" The wind ceased and there was a great calm over them. (Mark 4:38-39)

In this literal water, every child who is redeemed and called by God the Father will face a storm in life. As the scriptures reveal unto us the reason for the great wind that blows today in life is because grievous wolves entering among us not sparing the flock.” (Acts 20:29) However, we should not be afraid, for it is God who leads us in faith through a storm to the other side, even when we are tossed by waves and the wind is contrary to us. For Peter, who was being bid to come and walk over the water, walked and then lost his faith; Lord Jesus then stretched forth His hand and lifted him from the waters of the sea. (Mat 14:24,29,31)

At times having faith in God the Father, you may have to face difficulties and trials that test your faith. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew that they would be cast into a burning fiery furnace if they refused to bow down and worship the image that was set up by Nebuchadnezzar. Even though they did not bow down, those who cast them in were killed by the flames. Later, Nebuchadnezzar was told and he saw four men walking in the fire, and he saw the Son of God with them. (Dan 3:21-25) For this are the literal waters of the river and fires that Isaiah was being revealed.

Luke 24:44: And he said unto them, "These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me."

May 03 2024 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

My picture Jack Gutknecht ABC/DTS graduate, guitar music ministry Baptist church
Note the following comment on the verb, “pass.”
When you pass through the waters, I am with you; when you pass 1 through the streams ["Rivers"--KJV], they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not harm 2 you.

NET © Notes	1 tn The verb is understood by ellipsis (note the preceding line).
2 tn Heb “burn” (so NASB); NAB, NRSV, NLT “consume”; NIV “set you ablaze.”

The late Dr. Warren Wendel Wiersbe (May 16, 1929 – May 2, 2019) in his wonderful book, Index of Biblical Images sees “River” as symbolic of “Trials (Isa. 43:2”), and it is the only verse he lists.

"Though we pass through tribulation,
All will be well;
Ours is such a full salvation;
All, all is well.
Happy still in God confiding,
Fruitful, if in Christ abiding,
Holy through the Spirit’s guiding,
All must be well."

--from a hymn by Mary Peters (1847)

June 07 2019 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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