Isaiah Chapter 43: God will make a way!
by I Gordon
Isa 43:16 Thus says the LORD, Who makes a way through the sea And a
path through the mighty waters...
From the passage above we see that God introduces Himself as the God
who makes a way. He will make a way! This is a very special verse for me because God gave
it to me during a very difficult time. So the whole focus of this study
is to simply say what the Lord emphasised to me during that time - and
that is that despite the difficulty of a situation and despite the
options that look limited in the natural, God is a God who makes a way.
He makes a way. I'll probably use a few words to say the same thing, but
if you leave this study stronger in your faith that God 'makes a way',
and can do it for you,
then I'll be content for that is all you really need to know.
So let's start with the context of the passage before moving on to what
it means for you and me.
A brief background to the passage
"I am the LORD, your Holy One, The Creator of Israel, your King." Thus
says the LORD, Who makes a way through the sea and a path through the
mighty waters... (Isaiah 43:15-16)
In many prophetic passages in Isaiah, the prophet foresaw a time of
great difficulty for the Israelites - a time when they would be
captives to their enemies. It would be a time when they were taken from
the homeland and exiled in foreign countries. Historically we know and
see the fulfillment of such passages in the Babylonian exile in 586 BC.
With their home and temple destroyed, and as the years in exile became
many decades, the great question that burned in the hearts of the
Israelites was 'is the situation hopeless?' 'Is there a way out of this
impossible and difficult time?' 'Is there a way home?' It was to people
feeling completely hopeless whose faith was reaching breaking point
that God stepped in and spoke.
And as He did so, it was like He had to re-introduce Himself again to
His people and remind them once again of His character. He starts in
verse 15 by saying 'I am the LORD, your Holy One, the Creator of
Israel, your King.' He begins by reminding them that He is YAHWEH - the
great I AM! The self existent, active, ever present God. Maybe you have
been feeling like the Israelites were? Maybe you have
taken your eyes off the Lord and onto your situation? Maybe the
difficulty of what you face has clouded out the thought and presence of
He who is for you? Maybe you have forgotten that the one who is on your
side is the eternal, all-powerful, ever present God 'who makes a way'?
Israel sure had. And I had when God reminded me of this scripture. So
maybe you have as well. Unfortunately it is something that our nature
finds all too easy to do. So what else did God remind them in this
little re-introduction about Himself? Well, He reminded them that He is
the Creator of Israel. Israel, God's people, didn't come into being by
accident. It was through the plan and purpose of the eternal God. So
the Lord was saying to them in so many words 'I created you. You are
mine. Do you really think that I am going to forget you or let you go?'
And finally God reminds His people that he is the King with a capital
'K'. Israel was in exile and suffering under the king of Babylon, but
they were not to fear this earthly 'king'. The real King was still
overlooking all that occurred.
He who makes a way through the sea...
'...Who makes a way through the sea And a path through the mighty
In verse 16, God reminded the people that He makes a way through the
sea. What was God doing here do you think? What has the 'sea' got to do
with their current predicament? What He is doing is reminding them of
and in particular of a time when there previously seemed like there was
no way forward. It was the time of the exodus from Egypt when the
Israelites faced certain death! Now, I know you are a
so let me just give you the quick executive summary of that time as a
When the Israelites began their journey, God specifically lead them
in a path where they would avoid trouble and confrontation.
Exodus 13:17-18 tells us 'When Pharaoh let the people go, God
did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country,
though that was shorter. For God said, "If they face war, they
might change their minds and return to Egypt." So God led the
people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The
Israelites went up out of Egypt armed for battle.'
This is what the Christian would call the 'honeymoon phase'. Did
you experience something of this when you began your journey with
God? Did you notice that God made things easy for you when you were
It is often the way as we take our first steps in the Lord. As God
did for the nation of Israel as a whole, so He does for His people
As Israel's journey continues, their God ordained path became more
difficult and culminated in a good old fashioned dead end with the
sea in front of them and the armies of Egypt behind them! Yet this
was all part of the plan of God for He said to Moses
'Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp near Pi Hahiroth,
between Migdol and the sea. They are to encamp by the sea,
directly opposite Baal Zephon. Pharaoh will think, 'The
Israelites are wandering around the land in confusion, hemmed
in by the desert.' (Exod 14:1-3)
Your journey also will lead to some over-whelming situations where
there is no hope - save the action of God. It's all part of the
With no way back and no way forward, God does what God does best -
The impossible. He made a way where, naturally speaking, there was
no way. '
Moses answered the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and
you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The
Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will
fight for you; you need only to be still."... Then Moses
stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the
LORD drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it
into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went
through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their
right and on their left.' (Exodus 14:13-14, 21-22)
So this is what God wanted the people of Israel in the days of Isaiah
to remember. He is STILL the God who makes a way through the sea. Let's
break this thought down a bit further.
The Path of God leads to the Waters
From what we have been looking at, it is clear that you can be
following the God designed path for your life and it can lead straight
to mighty waters. This is especially so if God desires to use you to
help others. He won't have pretenders. If you are to comfort others you
first must have been comforted yourself. (2 Cor 1:3-4). All of us
will face the waters at some stage. The verse earlier on in Isaiah
chapter 43:2 says
'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.'
Note how it doesn't say 'if you pass through the waters...' It's not a
matter of 'if' but 'when'. It also doesn't say 'when others pass
through the waters' but 'when you pass through...' It will happen. But
praise God that He also adds that 'I will be with you!' That makes all
A quick look at 'through' - the good and the bad!
Thank God that He is able to make a way when no way naturally exists.
He makes a way through. Now, this has positive and negative aspects
does it not? Let's start with the negative and then end on a high!
The negative aspect of this word 'through' is that we have to go
'through'. I'm not sure about you but I would have preferred some other
words here. Um, something like 'around' or 'over' possibly. 'He makes a
way around the difficulty'. Yeah, that sounds better. I would have even
accepted 'over'. 'He makes a way over the sea'. That at least gives the
impression that we are lifted above it and don't really experience all
of the trouble. Yep, I would have accepted that. But going 'through' is
what the scripture and experience tells us is the truth.
The positive aspect of this word 'through' is that we get through. The
period of difficulty is not forever and there is no need to setup camp
in the middle of the waters thinking that that is your lot in life for
all time. No, Israel had to walk through the waters but they kept
walking. They kept progressing forward. And when the mighty waters rise
in your life, you too will get through because God is the one who gets
And let me say one last positive aspect: you will be changed for the
better having gone through it!
Don't remember the past???
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 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. (Isaiah 43:18-19)
Straight after saying the He will make a way, God instructs His people
to forget the former things and not to dwell on the past. Now why would
He say this? Especially after just reminding them of a past event!
Normally God wants us to remember the past so that we can bring to mind
the previous deliverances and learn from our former mistakes. Now He
says 'don't'. He says 'forget the former things'. Why is that do you think?
I believe there is a tendency to think of the Lord as the God who was and the God
who will be, but not as the God who is. That is, we remember great
things that God once did and rejoice in them... we look forward to what
God has promised He will do when He returns and gain hope from that.
But what about now? What about the great 'I AM' - the God of the
present tense? That is what God wanted His people to avoid. He was
telling them that He is going to do something new and amazing for them
in their day. No longer would the children of Israel just have to look
back to the stories they had heard from their youth of God's
deliverance during the exodus from Egypt. No. They were going to
experience something amazing themselves. He would make a way so that
they could return from their exile and provide streams even in the
desert. God is alive and interested in the lives of His people - then
As I mentioned at the start of this study, this verse is special to me
for God gave it to me at a difficult time in my life. And He did
provide and make a way for me as well in honouring and fulfilling His
word. The scripture in Isaiah goes on to say that he does this so that
His people may 'may proclaim my praise.' You may be
in the place right now where you can see the mighty waters rising
around you. The trials and difficulties of this life may be coming
against you in way that seems like there is no way out. If that is so
then please remember that God is One who 'makes a way'. May you too
proclaim His praise as you trust Him once again.
The following are the lyrics to a song by Don Moen taken from this
God will make a way
Where there seems to be no way
He works in ways we cannot see
He will make a way for me
He will be my guide
Hold me closely to His side
With love and strength
For each new day
He will make a way
He will make a way
By a roadway in the wilderness
He'll lead me
And rivers in the desert will I see
Heaven and earth will fade
But His Word will still remain
He will do something new today