We all go through times when we feel tired or worn out. We have no strength or drive and maybe we even feel a little apathetic. It’s impossible to live life and not get drained from time to time. With all the house projects that we have going on, I've felt a little worn out this past week. It’s in these moments when I look to the Lord even more. We are not quite done with the projects yet, but I know I need to turn my attention on my spiritual health and my relationship with the Lord a little more. A familiar passage came to me a couple of days ago from the 40th chapter of Isaiah. I would like to share some insight on this passage with you this morning. If you are feeling drained like me, I hope you will leave this place strengthened in the Lord.
I. Shout out the Good News
Israel and Judah had been walking in disobedience and had given themselves over to pagan worship. God had brought judgement on them and they were led into captivity. The first 39 chapters of Isaiah deal with the judgement of God. Chapter 40 is the turning point for the nation of Israel. There is a message of hope for them as Isaiah prophesies about their future.
Isaiah 40:9-11: O Zion, messenger of good news, shout from the mountaintops! Shout it louder, O Jerusalem. Shout, and do not be afraid. Tell the towns of Judah, “Your God is coming!” Yes, the Sovereign Lord is coming in power. He will rule with a powerful arm. See, he brings his reward with him as he comes. He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.
God’s people had been in a dark place for a long time. It was their own actions that had gotten them there, but things are about to change because the King is coming soon.
He is powerful and will push back the enemy. He is tenderhearted like a shepherd, holding them close to His heart, feeding them and leading them.
Isaiah says it best. Shout it out and don’t be afraid. Your life just changed in a moment. Now go and tell everyone that the King is here and He wants to bring hope and life to you!
What did the woman at the well do when she met the Messiah? She went into town and told everyone the Good News and brought them to meet Jesus!
II. The Lord has no equal
Isaiah 40:12-17: Who else has held the oceans in his hand? Who has measured off the heavens with his fingers? Who else knows the weight of the earth or has weighed the mountains and hills on a scale? Who is able to advise the Spirit of the Lord? Who knows enough to give him advice or teach him? Has the Lord ever needed anyone’s advice? Does he need instruction about what is good? Did someone teach him what is right or show him the path of justice? No, for all the nations of the world are but a drop in the bucket. They are nothing more than dust on the scales. He picks up the whole earth as though it were a grain of sand. 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. The nations of the world are worth nothing to him. In his eyes they count for less than nothing—mere emptiness and froth.
I love the questions in verse 14:
Has the Lord ever needed anyone’s advice?
Does he need instruction about what is good?
Have you ever tried to give God advice on how to work in your life? How did that go for you? He doesn't need our advice - His ways are always better than ours.
Isaiah 40:18-20: To whom can you compare God? What image can you find to resemble him? Can he be compared to an idol formed in a mold, overlaid with gold, and decorated with silver chains? Or if people are too poor for that, they might at least choose wood that won’t decay and a skilled craftsman to carve an image that won’t fall down!
When we don’t like who God really is, we customize and make God how we want Him to be. That is why people pick and choose which parts of the Bible they will follow and which parts they will ignore.
Some people want God, but they want Him on their terms. God sets them straight with the next few verses.
Isaiah 40:21-26: Haven’t you heard? Don’t you understand? Are you deaf to the words of God—the words he gave before the world began? Are you so ignorant? God sits above the circle of the earth. The people below seem like grasshoppers to him! He spreads out the heavens like a curtain and makes his tent from them. He judges the great people of the world and brings them all to nothing. They hardly get started, barely taking root, when he blows on them and they wither. The wind carries them off like chaff. “To whom will you compare me? Who is my equal?” asks the Holy One. Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of his great power and incomparable strength,
not a single one is missing.
God sits above the circle of the earth. We are like grasshoppers to Him, frail and weak. He is powerful beyond our understanding.
God wants us to have a clear picture of how big and powerful He is. He is the God of the impossible and there is no situation that we will face in this life too difficult for Him to handle.
III. God gives strength to those who wait on Him
Isaiah 40:27-31 (NKJV): Why do you say, O Jacob, And speak, O Israel: “My way is hidden from the Lord, And my just claim is passed over by my God”? 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.
We we go through trials or seasons that seem long and treacherous. We sometimes wonder where God is. Have we been abandoned?
God was not just trying to prove a point that He is far greater than us grasshoppers. He was also telling us this big Creator God wants to be with us. He longs for intimacy with us.
Think about that - He calls us His children and has adopted us into His family. We are heirs to all that He owns and He has given us His authority. He never grows faint nor weary. There are a lot of people in this world and God has enough power and energy to take care of everyone's needs.
He gives power to the weak and strength to those with no might. Every one of us is going to feel weak at times. We may even fall. It’s going to happen throughout our lives over and over again.
The good news:
Isaiah 40:31: 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.
You may have had the idea that waiting on the Lord meant being quiet for Him, or maybe you had the picture of time just passing by until God was ready to move.
Here is what waiting means:
Wait on the Lord means to go about the routines of life with a fervent patient hope that He will consummate His rule in His time. He will deal with evil. Such an inner attitude gives one strength to mount up above the moment with vigor to go on.
There is a confident trust that comes with waiting on the Lord. We expect God to move when we wait on Him. We allow Him to have free reign to do what ever he wants to do in that moment.
When we learn to wait upon Him, He strength comes every time. He will empower to do things He has called us to do.
I leave you with a passage in lamentations:
Lamentations 3:21-26 (NKJV): This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!” The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly For the salvation of the Lord.
God is our portion. He is our inheritance. Understanding this changes everything.