Ken Fish, Founder of Orvis Ministries, is an honors graduate of Princeton University. He has also earned an MDiv from Fuller Theological Seminary and an MBA from UCLA's Anderson Graduate School of Management. Formerly a colleague of John Wimber, the late leader of the Vineyard Movement, Ken brings more than 30 years of academic study and practical experience to ministry.
Hi friends. This is Ken Fish checking in. I'm the leader of Orbis Ministries, and I am here to talk to you today about challenges and difficulties in the Christian life. I'm going to read a passage from Isaiah 43:1-2,
"But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel,
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name; you are Mine!
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched,
Nor will the flame burn you.
“For I am the Lord your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I have given Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in your place."
Well, in this passage, God is telling His people—in this case, his Old Testament people—that He is with them, that He is their God.
This passage reminds me a lot of what Jesus told His disciples. He said, "In this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world." And in this passage, God is saying the same thing. He's saying, "You will pass through raging waters. You will pass through burning fires. But don't worry about that, because the rivers will not overflow you and the fires will not scorch you. I am the Lord your Savior"—the same word that we use for Jesus. And he goes on to say, "I have given whole nations"—In this case, Egypt and then Cush and Seba—"for your ransom." Well, Egypt, we know where that is. Cush is the area of Ethiopia, so we would say south of Egypt, so deeper into the central part of Africa. And then Seba, this is the land on the Arabian peninsula.
God is saying, "I favor my own. I actually do choose sides. Those who are my covenant people, I give them something that I don't give to other people." And so in a time of difficulty, in a time of uncertainty, in a time of fear and, well, fear of loss, in all of these things, we can be confident: God has given His word that He will stand beside us. And so with that, I want to encourage you to take heart in what God said to His covenant people in the Old Testament.
And remember this, that in the New Testament, in the new covenant, we have well, a better covenant. And that's because it's rooted in the blood of Jesus and what He did for us. Whether you're an old covenant believer or a new covenant believer, God says, "You will have hardship in this world," but we should not be discouraged by that. He has overcome and he is with us in it all.
Father, I thank you that you are in fact with Your people at all times. I pray you would give us confidence and courage in all that, and that You would take us through the difficulties of this life, including the plague of COVID-19. In Jesus' name, amen.