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Isaiah 43:1bff-“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. 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. 3  For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead. 4  Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give men in exchange for you, and people in exchange for your life. 5  Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. 6  I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’


Verse 10:  10  “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. 11  I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior. 12  I have revealed and saved and proclaimed– I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “that I am God.


Verse 16:  16  This is what the LORD says– he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, 17  who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and reinforcements together, and they lay there, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:

18  “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 19  See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.


Silent Prayer
The writer in this passage gives us a very colorful, very vivid picture of how difficult life can get and how good God is.  How many of you know this morning that it is often when life does get difficult that we are able to more clearly see how good God is.  What a paradox, but what a blessing!  This passage not only shows us how good God is, but it reveals what we mean to Him.  God is not shy about telling us how precious and priceless we are to Him.  He goes to great lengths to tell us and to show us.  Words only carry so much weight, but in this passage we see the action of God backing up His words.  If you would like to follow the sermon outline and take some notes you will find it located in the inside of your bulletin.  First of all, I see this passage tells us that:


  1. God is our Protector. Because He is our Protector we don’t have to be afraid.


The opening verse of our text says “Fear not.”  Verse 5 says, “Don’t be afraid.”  God is our Heavenly Father, and He is perfect.  Whether you have had a good earthly father or not, God is the kind of Father who will protect you when the storms of life come.  If you are living in fear this morning, perhaps it isn’t the circumstances of your life that explain that fear.  Maybe the problem is connected to the relationship or lack of relationship you have with God as your Heavenly Father.  What I mean by that is if we aren’t trusting God to protect us we won’t rest in Him and His strength.  We will try to keep our heads above water in our own strength, and it will be exhausting.  God is there to help, but are we allowing Him to?  If you are afraid this morning could it be that you are trusting in yourself instead of God to protect you?  If so, perhaps your attention shouldn’t be on trying to fix your circumstances but on trying to fix you relationship with God.


Maybe we aren’t even aware that there is an issue in our relationship with God.  Maybe we just know we are afraid.  Could fear be the symptom of a bigger issue?  This morning as you assess the connectedness you have with God, could it be you need to admit that you aren’t relating with your Heavenly Father in a way that allows Him to be your protection?


He says He has redeemed you.  He says He has called you by name.  He says you belong to Him, but just as in an earthly relationship where we can rebel against our parents and distance ourselves from our parents and disobey our parents and disrespect that relationship that is meant to protect us, we can make those same choices with God.


I have met many people who are angry with God, who blame God for major messes in their lives that could never be God’s fault.  They were messes of their own making because of choices they have made to live outside of God’s protection.  Maybe instead of saying that God is our Protector I should have said, “God wants to be our Protector, but we have to allow Him to be.”  Life is going to have enough deep water and hot fire simply because of the fallen world in which we live that we don’t need to add other crises to our lives simply because we won’t allow God to care for us the way He desires to.


If God has called you by name and you are His, are you calling on His name and is He yours?  Is He the ONE you look to for protection and deliverance?  Is God your Father in name only or do you have a real relationship with Him?


When David talked about God as his Protector in II Samuel 22 it was clear that there was an intimate and real relationship with God as his Heavenly Father.  2 Samuel 22:2-7 2  He said: “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; 3  my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior– from violent men you save me. 4  I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies. 5  “The waves of death swirled about me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. 6  The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. 7  In my distress I called to the LORD; I called out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears.


If God is there in the high water and God is there in the fire what good does it do for Him to be there if we ignore Him or worse yet, fight against Him?  Did you notice how many times David said, “my?”  God is my rock, my fortress, my deliverer, my stronghold, my refuge, my savior.  David hadn’t just known of God from a distance.  He hadn’t just experienced God intellectually.  He knew His Heavenly Father was available, compassionate, responsive and strong!


God wants to protect us, but we need to acknowledge Him.  We need to walk with Him.

We need to be inside His love.  How is your relationship with the One who wants to rescue you from the floods and the fires of life?  That takes me to my next point:

God is a Personal Savior.


Look back at Isaiah 43:3-4: 3  For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead. 4  Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give men in exchange for you, and people in exchange for your life.


I said this passage reveals not only who God is but it displays how He feels about us.  Whether we can wrap our heads around the nation of Israel being blessed at the expense of other nations being invaded or not, the picture is that of One who is willing to do anything to secure His chosen people.  God offered a ransom of sorts to Persia, a reward for releasing the Jewish captives.  God helped Persia conquer Egypt, Cush, all of Sudan, northern Ethiopia and part of southern Arabia and blessed Israel in the process.  Heathen nations were sacrificed during the times when the safety of Israel required it.  Israel, remember, represents the people who belong to God.


If you are in Christ, you are part of what the NT calls the New Israel.  You are precious to God.  You are priceless to God.  God loves you.  These are foundational but life-changing principles if you will embrace them this morning.  God was willing to do anything to redeem you.  He gave His own Son’s blood as a ransom for you.  What an incredible concept!  He was willing to do whatever it took to make sure He could protect you and always be with you.  If you had been the only one that needed to be saved, God would still have sent Jesus to die for you.


Not only does He offer a personal salvation, but He is with you in a personal way throughout your life.  God is always lining up things in your life to help you succeed.  He puts people in your path, He moves and shifts appointments around, He orders your steps in terms of what kinds of life opportunities and circumstances can help you grow and help you show others who He is.  He gives you favor with people to help you advance and walk through doors that seem closed in the natural.  He knows your anxieties and fears and places reminders of His love and presence in your life along the way to keep you connected to His peace.


He knows my schedule.  He knows my needs.  He knows my weaknesses and limitations.  He knows my thoughts.  He knows my insecurities.  He sends words of encouragement, providing diversions when I don’t need to dwell on something and is directing me to victory.  He is a personal God.


I can’t tell you how many of you leave the sanctuary week after week only to tell me that God spoke directly to you through the message.  I give one message and 500 people hear it differently.  Why?  Because God is personal.


Maybe you are heartbroken this morning because of a break up. You want to know why that relationship ended though it was painful?  Because God knows it wasn’t the right fit for you.  You want to know why you didn’t make the team this year?  It’s because God has something else that needs a chunk of your time and attention.  You want to know why you didn’t get the job you had been dreaming about?  Because God knew if you did it would distract you from the priority of your family or that it would create too many temptations at once into your life.  These are the kind of personal intervention things God does in the lives of people who are surrendered to and who are seeking His perfect will and presence in their lives.


A few weeks ago I spoke to someone who told me he was on his way to becoming the youngest Vice-president in the history of a corporation.  He had made it all the way to the final interview and had already been told that basically the job was his.  When he got into the room to hear the good news about his promotion, the boss over him said, “I’m sorry, but even though the job is yours I can’t give it to you.  God told me last night that He had something bigger and better for you, and I can’t stand in His way.”  Though that made NO sense in the moment, the next day this individual was offered a job in ministry, and he knew he needed to walk through that door.  God was personally involved in rerouting him from a corporate job to a ministry job.


God is so personal that He speaks to other people about you.  Other people are told how they can help you, encourage you, resource you, and pray for you.  You heard it here, folks.  God is talking about you behind your back, and be thankful He is because He is using people and circumstances to guide your life under His Sovereign hand.


Well, third:


God is a Pioneer of Pathways.


Look again at verse 16:  16  This is what the LORD says– he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, 17  who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and reinforcements together, and they lay there, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:


God literally parted an entire sea for 2 million people to be able to pass through on dry ground, and He even did it under pressure with an enemy army coming after them to try to take them out.


If you are a sincere Christ-follower you are never between a rock and a hard place without hope.  You are never out of options because God is a Way-maker.  Have you ever met people who were “way-makers?”  I have known people who wouldn’t take “no” for an answer and as they persevered the way was opened.  I have seen people cut through red tape, get a discount, and get bumped up on waiting lists when there should have been no possible way for any of it to happen.  Now if we know human beings who have that kind of tenacity, ingenuity, spunk, creativity, and fortitude, how much more should we believe that God who gives tenacity, ingenuity, spunk, creativity, and fortitude could make a way where there seems to be no way?


My dad had that kind of way-making personality.  He took our youth group to a Sandi Patty concert in Ft. Wayne, IN when I was in high school.  When we got there the concert was sold out and people were being turned away.  My dad had the mindset that we had driven an hour to Ft. Wayne with a bus load of kids and we weren’t leaving without seeing Sandi Patty in concert.  You’ll never guess where we viewed the concert that night.  From the choir loft on the platform behind Sandi Patty.  J  My dad was a way-maker for sure!


I have come to rely on this way-making characteristic of God and have come to expect Him to do something out of the box.


I left two Sundays ago right after I preached.  I was headed for Northwest Ohio where I needed to be to preach that evening at 7 pm.  When I got to Gallipolis I decided to grab some lunch and gas up.  I went to a drive-thru, ordered my meal, and when I went to retrieve my wallet out of my purse it wasn’t there.  I had a second of “Oh no, kind of panic” because I knew I didn’t have time to turn around, go home, get the wallet and make the meeting on time.  And then I just said to myself, “This is going to make for a good story when I get there” because I could just picture that God was going to make a way for me to have enough gas in my tank to make it.


I pulled up from the drive-thru and did a quick search of the car, and sure enough, my wallet had fallen out of my purse when I had retrieved it from the back seat.  It was so

comforting to be to the place in my relationship with God that although I didn’t need His supernatural provision in that moment, I knew He could and would provide for me had I needed Him to do so.


Listen, God has ways we don’t know about.  When you don’t see a way, you can look to God and ask Him to show you the way He is preparing because I guarantee if you are in a tight spot God was at work before you got there to create breathing room and a way out.




God is a Preparer of new and greater things.  Look at your neighbor and say, “God is never status quo.” He is not predictable for sure!


18  “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 19  See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.

Streams in the desert.  Hmm. That would be a new thing, right?  That would be an out of the box kind of deal.  God is creative.  He is THE Creator.  He didn’t just create everything in the beginning and then hang up His inventor’s hat and say, “I’m done.”  He is constantly working on something new in your life, your family’s life, in our church, our community and world.  Let’s not resist what God may want to do, but let’s participate in it with enthusiasm.

If God is removing something from your life it is because He is bringing something new into your life.  And if God is removing you from a place or a relationship or a life-experience it is because He wants to do something new in your life.


God is about abundant life and blessing and miracles beyond what we can even conjure up in our imaginations.  “No eye has seen.  No ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.” (I Corinthians 2:9).

Look at verse 19:  “SEE, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?”  God is saying, “Can’t you see what I am up to?”  We need to be people who look through eyes of faith and not eyes of fear.  Next month we are going to start talking about our new building and the 3.6 millionish dollars needed to build it!  Let’s start believing this new thing God wants to do will be funded in new and creative ways!

If God is our Protector, our Savior, and is the Pioneer of Pathways, we need to look for Him.  We need to see Him when we need rescue.  We need to look to Him for salvation, and we need to believe He is up to something new that can be celebrated and told to future generations for the building up of their faith when they go through the water and through the fire.

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