Isaiah 43:2 Meaning of When You Pass Through the Waters, I Will Be With You

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.”

Explanation and Commentary on Isaiah 43:2

In this verse, God is telling the Jewish people that He will be with them in their most troubling times, supporting them through them, giving them the strength to move beyond them and delivering them out of danger without harm.

The Jewish people were in captivity in Babylon. They faced many afflictions and were persecuted by men, represented by the waters, rivers, and fire. Some of the Jewish people had rejected God and provoked His wrath. For these people, the metaphor represents the temptations of Satan that rapidly came over them and overwhelmed them into a disastrous state of separation from God.

In spite of their disobedience to Him, God tells His people that they should not fear because He has redeemed them. God will continue his love and care for them. His people are God’s workmanship, created by him unto good works (Esp. 2:10), and He will not forsake the work of His hands.

Breaking Down the Key Parts of Isaiah 43:2

#1 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;…”
God opened the Red Sea for miles to allow the Israelites to walk on dry land through the sea (Exodus 14:21-22). Then God let the walls of the sea close and destroy Israel’s enemies. He did this to encourage the unbelieving Israelites to trust in Him in their difficulties and show them that those who hurt God’s people will be ruined.

#2 “…and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.”
God suddenly dried up the Jordan river as a band of priests carrying the ark of the covenant stood at the river’s edge (Joshua 3:14-17). It was during the time of harvest in springtime when the Jordan would typically overflow all its banks from melting snow coming in from Lebanon. The ark represented the presence of God. God piled up the water to reveal a dry riverbed so that His people could walk into Canaan and end their long, tiring wanderings in the wilderness. The journey from the wilderness into Canaan represents the believer’s passage from a sinful world, through death and into heaven.

#3 “When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”
God protected Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Nebuchadnezzar had his soldiers throw them into a furnace after they refused to worship any god but the Father. The furnace was so hot that the soldiers who threw them into the furnace were killed from the flames of the fire. Yet Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego emerged from the furnace completely unsinged (Daniel 3), and because of this miracle were promoted in the province of Babylon.

Expert Overview of Isaiah 40-66

Biblical Translations of Isaiah 43:2

NIV
“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.”

NLT
“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.”

ESV
“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.”

KJV
“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.”

NKJV
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.”

Isaiah 43:2 Meaning

Author Bio
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Masters Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years. If you would like to reach out to contact Natalie, then go here to send her a message.