New Strength is Coming!

CC BY-NC, theothernate, Flickr
CC BY-NC, theothernate, Flickr

Isaiah begins his 40th chapter with prophetic words of comfort detailing the deliverance of God’s people from impending captivity. “The Sovereign Lord is coming in power,” he says; then he transitions into a marvelous exposition on God’s omnipotence.

Starting with nature, he compares the greatness of God and the weakness of humans—“Who has measured off the heavens with his fingers?” (v. 12, NLT). “Has the Lord ever needed anyone’s advice?” (v. 14).

The nations are nothing to God, for he can lift the earth like a grain of sand. His worth is incalculable: “All the wood in Lebanon’s forests and all Lebanon’s animals would not be enough to make a burnt offering worthy of our God” (v. 16).

Idols are laughable and only speak to the foolishness of human hearts—“at least choose wood that won’t decay and a skilled craftsman to carve an image that won’t fall down!” (v. 20).

For the Lord sits atop the earth as upon a throne, the King of every king.

A Sobering Indictment

After this illustrious oration, Isaiah directs a pointed question to God’s people: “O Jacob, how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles? O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights?”

It is the prophet bringing correction: “You’ve stood in awe of this boundless God, but you have not understood him.”

Do we not act the same way when our cares have us submitted and down for the count? We feel the Lord doesn’t see. In our dark moments we miss God’s intentions with our trials and sometimes forget that he is for us. But he never forgets us.

Strength to Run

What comes next is truly grand:

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (vs. 28-40, NKJV).

Isn’t this moving?

We get excited about the “they that wait” part. But the really exciting truth is why those who wait renew their strength—ever stop to consider that? Is it merely because they…wait? We find it at the start of the passage: “Did you not hear or know that the Lord doesn’t faint or get weary?” When I finally saw this—WHAM!

Our strength can be renewed because his strength never fails.

I realized how I could wait on God through trials completely confident of his onrushing aid.

The visual is easy: if you and a friend are holding candles and yours goes out, you will relight your candle with the one that still burns. Well God’s fire never goes out! There’s no good or logical comparison for God—match-to-Sun?—but you get the picture.

Perhaps you’re waiting on God right now with every ounce of your strength. You’re fainting or have fallen to a knee; your flame has gone out. I want to assure you that your renewed strength is guaranteed and imminent because the One you trust never loses his strength.

Put another way—God’s coming to light your fire!

More on this topic: God of the Process and God, You’re Killing Me!

15 thoughts on “New Strength is Coming!

  1. Back in my running days, I had a pair of Asics on which I had written Isaiah 40:31, and during the most difficult parts of my run I would remember the verse and push myself just that little bit more. So yes, Isaiah 40 has special meaning for me.

    I also like this statement you make “You’ve stood in awe of this boundless God but you have not understood him.” That is so true and so many people struggle with it. And yet, verses 1-26 describes the character of our God in detail.

    What a great reminder of an awesome encouragement!

    Oh, regarding verse 31 “those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength;” I’d like to offer a different angle if you don’t mind. I look at the words “wait on the Lord” and I don’t see it as “waiting FOR the Lord”, more of “to wait on Him” like a waiter or server in a restaurant.

    That puts verse 31 in a whole different light. We don’t gain new strength by sitting patiently while waiting for God to do something miraculous. Instead we gain strength by waiting on Him, carrying out his orders and asking “what else do you need Lord?”

    I see this in Paul’s touching letter to his friend Timothy (2 Tim 4:17) where, despite being abandoned by his friends, Paul continued to preach the gospel because the Lord stood with him and STRENGTHENED him.

    …end of preaching !

    Do share your thoughts on this 🙂

    • We risk not understanding God’s infinite resource for us if we don’t constantly renew our faith in his own words and revelation to us. I have to make an effort to do this in my tough places. And I have heard people teach waiting on God as serving his needs. It’s a wonderful devotional concept, although it is not the context of this verse and chapter. We should always be eagerly ready to attend to the Lord’s needs and affairs. Thanks for reading! (Great to see you again! How have you been?)

  2. “Our strength can be renewed because his strength never fails.” Wow. This is something that needs to be written above every door post in my house. Awesome insight THANK YOU!

  3. One of my favorite passages of scripture. I think of it every time I see bald eagles soaring over head where I live. I like what you said, “I realized how I could wait on God through trials completely confident of his onrushing aid.” Amen. He often doesn’t make the circumstances go away, as we wait He empowers us to soar like the eagles over them.

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