Isaiah 40 v 28-31
Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of his understanding.
He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
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.
These verses describe a truth which is at first not apparent. The speaker asks us if we know that the Lord never faints and never grows weary.
He has an abundance of strength and power which he gives to the weary, to the weak, to the powerless.
Without these free gifts young men, who are full of vitality and natural strength, shall utterly fail.
Have we not been in these places? Places where we are weary and prepared to give up and give in to life’s pressures, where we are afflicted and powerless to defend ourselves against the evil one, where our faith fails us in the moment of personal crisis and despair, and then we feel hopeless. The speaker says we can call upon a faithful God who will rescue us in times of trouble. He has an abundance of strength, He fulfills our hopes, He stands firm when our faith in Him falters, and He snatches us out of the storm with His outstretched arm.
We could be forgiven for missing the nugget of gold hidden in verse 31 that is at first unseen, buried just below the surface. We have to dig a little, to discover how we are to renew our strength, to mount up on wings as eagles, to run like Olympians, to walk a hundred marathons and not faint from exhaustion.
In this passage there is a little word that holds a wonderful secret. “Wait.”
The speaker exhorts us to wait upon the Lord. In the original Hebrew, the word wait inherently has, within its meaning, a sense of meditation. Go to your private place, meditate upon the Lord. Think about Him, quietly, passively even, and wait. Ponder thoughtfully on the Lord’s wonderful nature; His love, His grace, His mercy, His forgiveness, His eternal limitless power that created all things, including us.
In the Hebrew, wait is a picture word. Many words in the Bible had powerful, visual meanings that have today become abstract and one-dimensional, so much so that when we read them, they have only a shadow of their former power. In the days of Isaiah (eighth century B.C), a person listening to the prophet speak would have heard the word and seen a picture in his mind’s eye. It would have resonated strongly with day-to-day experiences.
This is one such example.
Today, wait means, well…waiting for something to turn up, sticking around for something to happen. It even has a negative connotation. “Wait here and someone will see you soon…and wait…and wait…” Waiting implies impatience leading to frustration, anger, and even rage.
But in verse 31, God Himself asks us to wait. He has a perfect purpose in mind. The outcome for those who wait upon the Lord is mind-blowing, miraculous. The picture hidden in this word is the interweaving of the strands of a rope. What does this mean? It speaks of intimate communion, the intertwining of God’s Holy Spirit with us. Amazing! Our fragile and frail, weary and hopelessly weak strands are made strong when the Holy Spirit combines His unfailing, unbreakable strength with our own.
Ecclesiastes 4:12 says this: “And a threefold cord is not easily broken.”
What have we done to be worthy of this blessing?
Nothing! Except this, taken Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour.
It is by God’s grace and Jesus’s sacrifice upon the cross that we are re-united with the Lord.
The dynamic of verse 31 is an act of unreserved, unconditional commingling of God with us. Emmanuel.