|Messages By Ovid Need|
Wait - Isaiah 40:31
I really had no intention on doing a message along this line, but circumstances kind of forced it upon me. Even though I have several things on my mind to preach and teach, I felt that this verse would be good to cover.
This verse came across my desk in January from someone as a gift for our 8th anniversary here. Then a couple of months ago, after my ear problem developed, someone sent me a card with a beautiful eagle upon it, with this verse. Then last week, I received another card from a pastor on our mailing list with this verse on it.
This has long been a favorite verse of mine, and I have fled to it many times. Maybe I can share a little of it with you.
V. 31 goes with vs. 28- 30, and to get a little better understanding of these, we need to look at the context of the chapter.
Vs. 1, 2 right off we are given the reason for this chapter. It is for comfort for the people of God in the midst of their difficulties. They are seen here as captive in Babylon, on the verge of being returned to their land. Jerusalem is seen as in ruins, the land is waste and desolate, the city and temple destroyed. The captivity is about to end, the people about to be restored to their own land.
The prophet is told to speak comforting words to the people who had long been in captivity and were about to be restored and their capital city, Jerusalem, rebuilt.
It is significant that these comforting words do not even refer to their surrounding circumstances, because they are still in captivity in Babylon. Instead, as we see in v. 3, they look ahead over 500 years to the coming Prince of Peace, the Messiah.
In other words, these comforting words are words of prophecy, prophecy regarding the Saviour and the prospect of rest and peace and salvation in Him.
Now, let's consider some of these words of comfort which were to renew their strength.
1. v.2, their sin is pardoned. The price has been paid, double in fact. They are going to be released from captivity and can now go back and rebuild Jerusalem.
2. v. 3, they are returning that they might prepare the way for the Messiah to come establish His kingdom. All four gospels quote this passage, pointing out that John the Baptist was this messenger. Luke's account is the closest to the context of Isaiah here. Luke 3:4-6 As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
The Messiah is coming, make way for Him. Within a few days after John spoke this, the Saviour appeared. I think that it is significant that the preparation for the Saviour to be revealed and to set up His Kingdom, was the preaching of repentance of sin. If there is sin there must be confrontation with personal sin and repentance before there can be any hope restored.
3. v. 5, the glory of the Father was revealed for all to see in Jesus. This is what was said in Luke 3:6, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God. John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
4. Vs. 6-8, the weakness of the flesh; It is no better than grass. All of the goodness which the natural man can do is only as the flowers which are very soon gone. But, the word of our God shall stand for ever.
And we need to mention that He knows our weaknesses, Ps. 69:5, O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee. Therefore, the best thing that we can do is to face up to them, confess them to the Lord, then claim His grace and strength to overcome those hidden sins.
When His people are willing to face facts, look at the hope that they have!...
5. V. 9-11, the angles told the shepherds which were abiding in the field, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
Notice v. 9, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; tell everyone that God is with us in Christ Jesus.
v. 10, the Lord is against the strong (marg reading for with strong hand). God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble. The ones who feel they can handle life's situations on their own, will be allowed to try. Destruction will be the result.
v. 11, the Lord lovingly cares for His own, as a shepherd gathering the lambs in his arm, and carrying them in his bosom, and gently leading those who are not able to travel quickly. This is the description of the Great Shepherd, John 10. He gave His life for the sheep, surely He will protect and guide them.
Who are the ones who qualify for this loving care? The ones of vs. 6-8; those who accept what the word of God has to say about themselves, and then they flee to Him in their weakness.
6. vs. 12-17, Isaiah points out the sovereignty of God over all events, whether on the individual level, national level, or world-wide. No one advises Him, no one tells Him what to do or how to do it. All the nations together are less than nothing, and He doeth whatsoever He will in the kingdom of men.
7. Vs. 18-20, what will He be compared to or with? No matter what we might try to compare Him to, it will be the work of some man's hands.
This brings us v. 21. These people had known all of these things. They had been obvious from the beginning. Isaiah says with amazement, "Why are you overlooking these things now?"
8. Vs. 22-26, he sums up what he has told them. The inhabitants of the earth are as grasshoppers in His sight, compared to the heights of the heavens.
The princes and rulers among the kingdoms of men are nothing. The rulers and judges can huff and puff against the King and His Kingdom, but it is like a grasshopper spiting toward the farthest star. They are as vanity.
These mighty men (in their own eyes) can take every step to establish themselves in the earth, but he shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble. All their roots which have been established through wicked means, will be no more than wheat chaff in a tornado.
There is no comparison, who would we compare the Creator with? Look at the heavens, which are the work of His hands. Look at the stars! Name them if you can. Maybe we can name a couple. Maybe the wisest of men can name a few hundred. But all? Not only did this Creator name them all, He created them all and established their order. Not only did He establish them, He keeps them all in their place by the word of His mouth.
Hebrews 1:1-3, God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:
Furthermore, Hebrews 1:10-12, And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.
Then Hebrews 2:10, For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
9. Isa. 40:27, Isaiah then asks a question of the sons of Jacob, the child of God.
"Why do you say that the Lord does not know what is going on? Why do you say that the Lord does not know what is happening in your life? Why are you saying to yourself, 'Why God?'"
V. 28, gives us Isaiah's second statement of amazement! He is amazed at their discouragement over their circumstances because these people knew all of this.
There are many points which we can make about this passage. Let me try to give some of them in some kind of order.
A. It is a natural course for even God's people to become discouraged, to grow weary and faint. All flesh is grass. All our best efforts are only as the flower of the field. The wind blows upon it and it is gone.
If our goal is not the advancement of the Kingdom of God, if we are not doing all things for His glory, and doing all we can to advance His cause, discouragement will set in.
And, even when we are trying to be faithful, there will be times when anyone would grow faint and weary in well doing.
B. Therefore, every one needs words of comfort at times. Even Elijah, who James identifies as the man with so much faith that his prayers shut up heaven for three years and gave rain again, had to be encouraged as he fled from Jezebel. He had to have angel's food because the journey was too great for him, 1 Kings 19:7.
The journey is too great for us to make it on our own. It takes manna from heaven, manna from the word of God, to make it through this life.
C. Things will not go as we planed them, sometimes there is a tremendous deviation from our plans. In other words, the Lord does not take our advise nor does He seek it. Things just do not work out as we plan, unless our plans are completely in line with His.
It is His advice and direction that we are to seek. This is one of the reasons for prayer. To find out the Lord's plans for our lives, then claim the power to work those plans.
D. There will be a great many things happen that we just will not understand.
Maybe they will come about because of sin. If so, we need to seek the Lord's face so we can confess that sin.
Maybe they came about for a trial of our faith, a testing as we mentioned with Abraham and his son, Isaac.
Maybe we had our love, attention and expectation on the wrong thing.
Maybe we had it all planed out for the Lord, then when He didn't follow our plan, we become discouraged.
Or maybe, as James warns us about, we made too many plans for tomorrow, plans which did not hinge upon the will of God.
Isa. 40:28, 29, indicate that if we try to figure out the Lord and His workings, other than what we are clearly told in His revelation, we will grow faint and weary.
E. Isaiah gives the answer to the discouragement here. It is found in the remembering of the Lord and who He is. It is found in his word. Faith for the faint comes from the word of God. Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.
Bringing us to Vs. 28-31.
V. 27, the question would appear to be asked by the people: "Lord, have you forgotten us? Don't you know Lord what I am having to go through?" The result is that they feel that the Lord has forsaken them, that they have been left out in the cold by the Lord.
Then, with amazement, Isaiah asks them twice, "Why are you saying such a thing?" Vs. 21, 28.
Isaiah speaks to the people of God who are faint, they are discouraged and wondering if it is all worth the trouble. Notice what he says in v. 28. "Don't you know? Haven't you heard?" Then he takes for granted that they know that the Lord is the everlasting God, He is the Creator of the ends of the earth. Then he speaks in amazement as asks them, "Don't you know, this Lord, this Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? Don't you realize that you cannot search or understand His ways."
The impression is, "Why are you discouraged, why are you doubting His working? Why are you questioning His wisdom in all things? Why are you upset that you cannot understand what He is doing? WHY ARE YOU GROWING FAINT?"
Faint... It means weariness, exhaustion. It would probably include the desire to give up and quit.
Isa. 44:12 This speaks of weariness after hard work.
Jer. 51:58 speaks of labour in vain. Get tired of trying with no visible results.
Hab. 2:12-14, we might point out that labour not according to the principles of God's word, is vain, fruitless and wearisome with no relief. It will be wearisome to anyone because it is pointless.
Isaiah 50:4, one of the things we should desire of the Lord is to be able to recognize those who are faint, and then have the needed words of encouragement to speak them.
V. 29 He giveth.. He does not sell nor lend, nor do we earn it. He is the great giver. Do we want to be like the Most High? We need to learn to give of ourselves, our time, our abilities and talents in to the kingdom work of our God.
power.. Isaiah has just explained this power. He is all power, and all power has been given to our Lord Jesus Christ. That power is available for His people to equip them to do what He desired for them to do. It is not available to enable us to carry out our plans, but for us to carry out his plans. Many times we spend all our energy perusing our own plans and grow weary. Then we complain against God. His power is to carry out His plan for our lives.
to the faint.. We are in a fierce battle for our daily bread. Our Lord told us to ask for our daily bread, but that did not mean that it would be given to us without a fight. It is to be obtained according to the principles of His word; hard work, integrity and faithfulness.
This battle is especially strong against the Christian business man. It is so tempting to meet the ungodly on their own grounds and slay them with their own weapons of lying and cheating.
The desire of any Christian who is trying to remain faithful to the word of God, is to join in with the activities of the ungodly as we see them prosper in their evil ways.
Are any faint in their daily life today. If so, then we qualify for the Power of God.
I have 11 short points about this faint. These are not necessarily in order.
1.) This does not give up permission to give up, and enter into a life of ease as a child of God. Rather, just the opposite. Faintness is a call to cast ourselves upon the Lord for His might. The faint child of God is called upon to now claim the very power of God.
2.) Which gives us the next point, which appears quite strange to the natural man. Faintness increases our responsibility, because faintness is the path to more grace and power and might from God.
The power that the Lord is willing to give, increases our responsibility. The Lord has told the faint, "Ask and it shall be given..." Thus, if we parish, it is like a man starving to death at the banquet table.
3.) Nor does faintless give us an excuse for sin. "Well, I grew weary and faint, therefore, I fell back into my old ways."
No! Faintness is a call to look unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. It is a call to claim His strength for the faint. It is a call to become more determined to remain faithful to the principles of God's word. Faintless gives us access to the very power and might of the sovereign and almighty God of all creation.
4.) God does not give more power than is needed at the time. It will be just enough at the right time.
5.) God does not give the power until it is needed. We do not have the grace to live tomorrow, today. He will give it to the faint when the time comes. If we try to live tomorrow before it gets here, we will worry ourselves to death. We do not have the strength today to do what will be required of us tomorrow. Worry is trying to live tomorrow with the strength we have been given for today. It will not work.
6.) God does not give power to the ones who are not faint. Faintness is the condition upon which He shows Himself strong. He specializes in bringing life out of death, bringing hope to the hopeless, bringing strength to the faint. The ones with youthful might and exuberance, will grow faint and weary, and fall. They that are faint and must wait on the Lord, will receive His strength. Faintness brings glory to His name.
7.) We grow through faintness. Sitting still when we are faint, will only make us more faint.
Illustration: The first time I went to the specialist in Indianapolis, he told me of a man who had the same problem. The man found that the more he moved around, the worse it was, so he sat up in a chair at nights for two months. But, that didn't help matters any. The doctor told him to get back with it, and do all he could. He could not get over it unless he moved.
Faintness is the same way. If we sit still when we are faint because we are faint, we will grow weaker. Now, I am sure there are exceptions, but everyone that I know of who grew faint in the faint and fell away, stayed away.
(Dobson's interview with the preacher. How he reasoned his own way through it. Not how he followed God's word. Builds self-esteem, not godly faith.)
8.) This faintness teaches humility, and dependance upon the Lord. I wonder if this is not a reason that so many young people get into so much difficulties. V. 30, indicates that the young feel their self-confidence, self esteem, they feel they are strong and can approach anything in their own might. The result? they fail of the strength of God to see them through.
9.) Another thing here. No matter how far gone we might feel, faintness implies life. Maybe not much, but life. As the saying goes, As long as there is life, there is hope. Such is the case here. The faintest child of God has more life and hope than the youth of this world who has no life, who is unsaved.
10.) God's promise of strength to the faint, shows His loving care for His own. When we get faint or fail in the world, the world will turn its back upon us. Very seldom will man show compassion and concern for those who are unable to measure up to their standards. Now, as long as you are a success in their eyes, they will fall at your feet. But, let that strength turn into faintness, and they will be gone.
Worse than that, if the wicked see a sign of weakness in us, they will turn on us like a vulture rushing to a dead animal. But, the Lord gives power to the faint, and when they cast themselves upon Him, He becomes their rock and their shield.
V. 31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Job 17:9 The righteous also shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger.
Lam 3:25, 26 The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.
2 Cor 4:8-18 (Look up if have time.)
11.) Last of all, faintness keeps us dependant upon the Lord, therefore, we should rejoice in our weakness, This rejoicing is by faith, because the faint sure don't feel like rejoicing, 2 Cor. 12:8-10. It is through the faintness and weakness of His people that God receives His glory as they continue on anyway.
The promise is that no matter how faint we might become, how hopeless or useless the whole situation might appear, if we will keep on following the word of God and doing what is right regardless, we will inherit the strength of the Lord.
Vs. 29-31 should be an encouragement to the child of God like nothing else. Isaiah had reminded them Who it was that gave this promise of strength. It is the One in V. 22.
Again, V. 27, Isaiah said, "Don't you think the Lord knows what is going on?."
Then: Why are you faint? Why are you depressed? Why are you discouraged? Don't you know about the God of Jacob? The one who remembers the God of the Scriptures and commune with Him will have more strength to carry on than do the youths of this world.
(We still did not cover this verse, 31, like I wanted to. Maybe we'll cover it another day.)
['Messages'] ['The Biblical Examiner'] ['Home Page']