Scripture for this Hymn Study – ISAIAH 43:1-3, PSALM 66:8-12, DEUTERONOMY 31:1-8
How Firm a Foundation – Fernando Ortega – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvM1Cl4t1ZE
How Firm a Foundation – Sovereign Grace Music – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTqRiP2w0_8
Isaiah 43:1-3(ESV) –
43 But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
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.
3 For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
Psalm 66:8-12 (ESV)
8 Bless our God, O peoples;
let the sound of his praise be heard,
9 who has kept our soul among the living
and has not let our feet slip.
10 For you, O God, have tested us;
you have tried us as silver is tried.
11 You brought us into the net;
you laid a crushing burden on our backs;
12 you let men ride over our heads;
we went through fire and through water;
yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.
Deuteronomy 31:1-8 (ESV) – 31 So Moses continued to speak these words to all Israel. 2 And he said to them, “I am 120 years old today. I am no longer able to go out and come in. The Lord has said to me, ‘You shall not go over this Jordan.’ 3 The Lord your God himself will go over before you. He will destroy these nations before you, so that you shall dispossess them, and Joshua will go over at your head, as the Lord has spoken. 4 And the Lord will do to them as he did to Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites, and to their land, when he destroyed them. 5 And the Lord will give them over to you, and you shall do to them according to the whole commandment that I have commanded you. 6 Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
7 Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land that the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall put them in possession of it. 8 It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
Scripture Reflections –
Isaiah reminds me that God, the God who created me (Psalm 139), tells me not to be afraid, not to fear, as “I have redeemed you – I have called you by name.” Karen. Karen Ingrid. He is calling me and telling me, “Karen, you are MINE.” I close my eyes and bask in that – I belong to HIM! But it goes further than that – He will be WITH me – through the waters, the fire, the deeper rivers of life. “I will be with you, they shall not overwhelm you, the flame will not consume you.” How many times have I been overwhelmed, simply for my lack of trust in Him, and His perfect ways? I can rest in Him, and His love – as He promised “You are mine.” YOU are MINE!
The Psalmist calls us to praise God – our keeper, our protector. He has “kept our soul among the living and has not let our feet slip.” I have not “fallen.” He lifts me up, holds my hand, and keeps me in His care. That is not to say that we have not been through challenging times! The Psalmist goes through his history with God – testing, tried as silver, in the net, a crushing burden, through fire and water. YET – God has “brought us out to a place of abundance!” From trials to abundance! That is exactly where I feel that I am right now. Through abandonment, divorce, loss of my dad, loss of a job I loved – to the new life with Paul in marriage and partnership in life and ministry. Yes, a place of abundance!
Moses’ farewell speech to the Israelites recalls God’s history of salvation. He reminds them that God will go BEFORE them to the Promised Land – and will keep HIS promises. Therefore – they could be strong and courageous for “It is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you!” I can attest to that. He has NEVER left me. Through years of single parenting, through times of great loss, through those desert places, HE was with me. Through years of waiting, He was with me. Through challenges in job seeking after the Christian School closed, He was with me. He walked with me. From the desert to the “place of abundance.”
HOW FIRM A FOUNDATION
Robert Keene, 18th century
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?
How firm a foundation is laid for my faith in His excellent Word! – God’s word has everything that I need to cling to, to build upon, to strengthen my faith. His promises do not fail. God has ALREADY carried out His promises – what else does He need to do for me to trust Him? Do I put all my trust in Him? I CAN!
In every condition, in sickness, in health;
In poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth;
At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea,
As thy days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.
No matter the challenge – my health, my financial state, wherever I may be or travel to, WHATEVER circumstances I am in, or what life brings me – my strength will be what it needs to be! As my days demand – so shall my strength ever be! God gives me what I need to get through my days – when I need it. That has been SO TRUE in my life. He has given the strength I needed WHEN I needed it – not before, or after, but DURING.
Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.
I don’t need to be afraid – God has promised (“I will never leave thee or forsake thee”) to be with me. HE is GOD. I am not. HE is my God – He promised to strengthen and help me – to cause me to stand. (“has not let our feet slip” Ps. 66). I am held by His Hand – just like a parent holds a little child’s hand.
When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.
Even through the dark places of my life, God is with me. I will not be overcome – He is with me. My troubles to bless? Yes, God has used those trials in life to strengthen me, to cause me to trust Him, and yes, to sanctify me. Oh, may God use those times to bless others!
When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.
My trials have been sources of God’s grace. Even through the dark days after my parents’ accident, it was almost a physical presence of God that carried me through those days of hospital visits, Dad’s funeral, closing his business, moving into my parents’ home, and learning a new way of life without him. Yes, His grace was present. After the closing of the school, He carried me then as well. A year of unemployment, but my needs were met. And, then a job with the school system opened, in the school in front of our neighborhood! What a blessing to work in my community! Those times of waiting did refine me, and teach me to “actively wait” on Him!
Even down to old age all My people shall prove
My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs they shall still in My bosom be borne.
The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.
Oh¸ in the end, may I be able to say that I will not, I HAVE NOT, forsaken my Lord. I rest on Him today, knowing that He is ever present. If I rest on Him, no matter what I encounter, I know that He will never leave or forsake me. May I never forsake Him. Father God, keep me close to Yourself. Hold me in Your hand when I am shaken. Help me to remember that I am YOURS. Refine me so that I am fit for Your use today.