The Bare Soul - December 19, 2010
Waiting Upon the Lord, Part II

Isaiah 40:31 - Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles. They will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.

What does it mean to wait upon the Lord? For many this might imply inactivity or even a pious solemnity typified by a cloistered monk. These assumptions are far from what Isaiah meant when he penned the words of our lead verse through the leading of the Holy Spirit. While this passage is one of the most quoted Old Testament scriptures, one must read it in context with the previous verses that lead up to this climactic end of the chapter. In so doing, one will understand the writer's intent. In the preceding verses, Isaiah attempts to reason with wayward Israel regarding the strength of Yahweh compared to that of feeble man. The prophet knows that God's people have lost their understanding regarding God's omnipresence, omniscience, and omnipotence. Throughout chapter 40, Isaiah attempts to teach Israel, once again, the great God who has called their nation His own.

In Isaiah 40:12, the prophet first declares: Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, and marked off the heavens by the span, and calculated the dust of the earth by the measure, and weighed the mountains in a balance and the hills in a pair of scales? The seer has seen with God's eyes and knows that the Lord is everywhere and and that He is omnipresent in all of His creation. Isaiah, like his predecessor David, knew that there was no place one can flee from God's presence (Psalm 139:7-8). As in ancient Israel, many today believe that God is not concerned with the minutia of a solitary life -- that God has more important things to do than to concern Himself with an individual's thoughts, attitudes, or actions. Isaiah might tell us, as he might have told his congregation, that to think in this regard is to limit God and his omnipresence within His own creation. The limitlessness of God allows Him to be in earnest concerning every molecule of the universe. His eternality commends His ability to master everything in our time-bound space.

In the next two verses, Isaiah lays out in God's defense His eternal knowledge. In Isaiah 40:13-14 he states: Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, or as His counselor has informed Him? With whom did He consult and who gave Him understanding? And who taught Him in the path of justice and taught Him knowledge and informed Him of the way of understanding? The Lord as speaking through the prophet tells us that there were none before Yahweh and there will be none after. His knowledge, wisdom, and understanding is inscrutable and without human definition. God has put within the heart of man to know that there is an eternity, yet man's feeble attempts to explain it with a finite mind creates an enigmatic dilemma of trying to discern something he has never experienced (Ecclesiastes 3:11). And, that is the wisdom of God. For as time-bound creatures we should be in awe of a Creator that holds everything together by His word (Colossians 1:17). As David wrote: Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it (Psalm 139:6).

Finally, Isaiah speaks about God's awesome power or His omnipotence. In verse 14 he states: Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales; Behold, He lifts up the islands like fine dust. The prophet might very well have said to his people as well as us today: "If God can lift the islands like fine dust, then why would he not lift the burdens that we carry day to day needlessly?" The Lord wants to shoulder our anxieties and trials because He is not only all-powerful but he is also all-seeing and all-knowing regarding every circumstance we are going through. Through these and subsequent verses leading up to verse 31, Isaiah has laid the groundwork to say that it is foolish to attempt to save oneself from life's calamities. The sin that would so easily beset us is something that Christ carried to the cross in His body to crucify forever. Through Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection we have become partakers of the divine nature and the power thereof. Isaiah has set us up for the glorious revelation, proclaiming: Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles. They will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.

Beloved, God has laid out His defense in Isaiah the 40th chapter, proclaiming to us His rest if we will but wait for Him and His strength. He has proved to us by His words that he is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent in all His ways. Does it not seem ridiculous to trust in our own self and our own powers to deliver when He is ever-present to intercede on our behalf? He has promised us that if we would but wait on His deliverance, that He would imbue us with strength and power to soar above our problems on eagle wings. He has vowed that if we trust in Him, that He will give us legs to run the race before us without faltering. And, he has covenanted with His people to always walk with them with a promise of reaching our eternal destination. This is the God whom we serve -- The Almighty who will give us His divine strength if we will but only wait on Him.

Lord God Almighty, we thank you that You are the One who holds the universe in Your hand. So why should we not allow You to hold our lives in Your hand also? We yield to You and wait for You to work in our hearts the way that You will. We thank You and bless You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

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