When I write about scripture, I’ll quote the passage in its entirety.
Now this is what the Lord says–the One who created you, Jacob, and the One who formed you, Israel–Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. I will be with You when you pass through the waters, and when you pass through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. You will not be scorched when you walk through the fire, and the flame will not burn you. For I the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, and your Savior, give egypt as a ransom for you, Cush and Seba in your place. Because you are precious in my sight, and I love you, I will give human beings in your place, and peoples in place of your life.
This passage is good news for Christians and bad news for those who oppose Christianity. Emperor Nero zealously and joyfully persecuted Christians after the fire of Rome, and yet the fledgling new religion exploded in popularity. The Chinese government, in our own day, has tied to outlaw Christianity, yet with my own eyes, I have seen a house church with believers hanging out the windows, hungry to hear the Word of God. The communists, tried to stamp out all forms of Christianity, but as their sytem crumbled, they called a group of evangelicals to the Kremlin to advice them on how to revive Christianity in their country. There is an element in our country that wishes Christianity would just disappear. They work actively against our interests and believe they will eventually eradicate Christianity. They may temporarily suceed in eliminating religion, but they will never erase Christianity.
Whne we read this passage from Isaiah, we should all be comforted, and maybe even laugh a little at the futile attempts to stamp out Christianity, and here’s why:
1. We’re expecting their attacks Accoring to this passage, we will walk through the fire. Isaiah writes, “when you walk through the fire” not “if you walk through the fire”. The opponents of Christianity do not understand this, or they have not paid attention to history. Christians have always had to walk through the fire, and when we have to walk through the fire or pass through the waters, we have always come out stronger on the other side. We don’t WANT to walk through the fire, but we’ve been promised that we will.
2. We’re forced to walk closer to God Yes, we should always stay close to God, but historically, when we’re not passing through the waters of tribulation, we tend to drift away from God. What our critics do not understand, yet again, is that by their attacks, they are forcing us to walk closer to the One who has called us by our name. They are driving us back to where we need to be in the first place.
3. they are making us stronger This one makes me laugh, and I think it makes God laugh too. the Psalmist, in Psalm 2 writes, “The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord ridicules them”. When we’re pushed closer to God, we are always made stronger. the opponents of Christianity think they’re doing a great job of curtailing Christianity, and of lessening its influence, but what they’re actually doing is making true committed Christians stronger. If another great revival comes to America, it will be because of non-Christians, who through their effotrs strengthened the church.
there was a TV show in the late 90s which featured demons and how they worked in various areas of the earth. the demon in charge of North maerica was sitting at a bar when one of his friends entered and asked him about his secret. He responded that he had no secret, but that he just simply had to sit back, do nothing, and leave human beings to their own devices. He said the worst thing he could do was to incite persecution.
When we find ourselves worrying about the moral drift i nour country, take comfort in knowing that God is laughing at those who oppose us, and God is using those same people to strengthen His church.