They who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles.( Isaiah 40:31)
Our waiting on God will depend greatly on our faith’s understanding of who He is.
In Isaiah 40:31, we have the close of a passage in which God reveals Himself as the everlasting and almighty One. As that revelation enters into our soul, the waiting will become the spontaneous expression of what we know Him to be- a God altogether most worthy to be waited upon.
Listen to the words: “Why sayest thou, O Jacob…..My way is hid from the Lord……? 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?”(Isaiah 40:27-28) So far from it: “He giveth power to the faint, and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint…..and the young men shall utterly fall”(verses 29-30) And consider that “the glory of young men is their strength”(Proverbs 20:29) All that is deemed strong with man shall come to nothing. “But they that wait upon the Lord,” on the Everlasting One, who does not faint, and is not weary, they “shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run”- listen now, for they shall be strong with the strength of God, and even as He, “they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and” even as He- “not faint”.(Isaiah 40:31)
Yes, “they shall mount up with wings as eagles.” You know what this means. The eagle is the king of birds; it soars the highest into the heavens. Believers are to live a heavenly life, in the very presence and love and joy of God. They are to live where God lives; they need God’s strength to rise there. And it will be given to them that wait on Him.
As I understand the Hebrew word that is translated “wait” in this verse, it means something different than what we think of when we speak of waiting. I’m sure that we all have experienced what it means to wait. When you’re waiting on something or someone, it seems like it takes forever. Remember as a child waiting on Christmas to come or waiting to turn 18? How about if you’ve ever gone with a shopaholic and you were waiting on them? Maybe as a parent you’ve waited for your child to come home. So for the most part, waiting is seen as something that tries our patience and stresses our soul. Even as I write this, I’m aware that the reader may be waiting for something. Maybe it’s a medical test result or a job interview or waiting to hear from a loved one. I know most are waiting for the pandemic to be over, the election results known and for life to settle down back into its norm. This kind of waiting produces anxiety and worry and even fear. This is not what the Hebrew in Isaiah 40 means. As I understand it, this word means to intertwine, to wrap around so as to become inseparable much like a vine does a tree. Vines have no strength to grow upward. Left to themselves, they tend to creep along the ground. But once they make contact with that sturdy tree, they attach themselves to it and use its strength to grow upward. I’ve seen vines grow 40 and 50 feet into the air.
In like manner, “those that wait upon the Lord, shall renew their strength”. As we seek the presence of God, sit at His feet and commune with Him, we draw from His strength.
Further we “mount up with wings as eagles.” The eagle soars high above the earth. Often it soars above the storm that is raging beneath it and uses the winds of that storm to lift. It spreads its wings to catch the updraft. The eagle has no ability to soar to these heights by its own strength but uses the wind beneath its wings to rise up. On the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the believers in the upper room, Acts records, “and there came a sound as of a rushing mighty wind and it filled the house”. O church how we need this wind beneath our wings especially in these times.
I urge us to “wait” upon the Lord, taking time to consciously enter His presence. As we gather in what ever form that is in the future, whether in person, in or outdoors, virtually or otherwise, let us wait for the presence of the Lord. For it is in His presence we will find the strength and hope to continue to “run and not grow weary, to walk and not faint.” Are you tired, weary, exhausted from the daily struggle of life? Is anxiety, fear, worry or depression dogging your steps? Then run to Him as a child to a father in a time of danger. Wrap your soul around that mighty tree of God’s strength and power. Feel the lift of the wind of the Holy Spirit lifting your soul above the storm and soar on wings of faith that God is with you and for you and you will come through this present storm.
The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous runs to it and is safe and set on high [far above evil].”
“I love You [fervently and devotedly], O Lord, my strength.” The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and the One who rescues me; My God, my rock and strength in whom I trust and take refuge; My shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower—my stronghold. In my distress [when I seemed surrounded] I called upon the Lord And cried to my God for help; He heard my voice from His temple, And my cry for help came before Him, into His very ears. He reached from on high, He took me; He drew me out of many waters. He rescued me from my strong enemy, And from those who hated me, for they were too strong for me. He brought me out into a broad place; He rescued me because He was pleased with me and delighted in me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord, And have not wickedly departed from my God. With the kind (merciful, faithful, loyal) You show Yourself kind, With the blameless You show Yourself blameless, With the pure You show Yourself pure, And with the crooked You show Yourself astute. For You save an afflicted and humble people, But bring down those [arrogant fools] with haughty eyes. For You cause my lamp to be lighted and to shine; The Lord my God illumines my darkness. As for God, His way is blameless. The word of the Lord is tested [it is perfect, it is faultless]; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him. For who is God, but the Lord? Or who is a rock, except our God, The God who encircles me with strength And makes my way blameless? He makes my feet like hinds’ feet [able to stand firmly and tread safely on paths of testing and trouble]; He sets me [securely] upon my high places. You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, And Your right hand upholds and sustains me; Your gentleness [Your gracious response when I pray] makes me great. You enlarge the path beneath me and make my steps secure, So that my feet will not slip. For You have encircled me with strength for the battle; You have subdued under me those who rose up against me. You have also made my enemies turn their backs to me [in defeat], And I silenced and destroyed those who hated me. The Lord lives, blessed be my rock; And may the God of my salvation be exalted, He rescues me from my enemies; Yes, You lift me up above those who rise up against me; You deliver me from the man of violence. Therefore will I give thanks and praise You, O Lord, among the nations, And sing praises to Your name.”
“And He raised us up together with Him [when we believed], and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, [because we are] in Christ Jesus, [and He did this] so that in the ages to come He might [clearly] show the immeasurable and unsurpassed riches of His grace in [His] kindness toward us in Christ Jesus [by providing for our redemption].”
“Then Ezra said to them, “Go [your way], eat the rich festival food, drink the sweet drink, and send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be worried, for the joy of the Lord is your strength and your stronghold.”
So then let us wait before God and upon Him and see the “glory of His salvation” in us and around us.
Dr. John Thompson