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The book of Isaiah is divided into two parts. The first 39 chapters deal with impending judgment, and the second part deals with forgiveness and deliverance. The first 39 chapters deal with sin, but the last 27 chapters deal with a Savior 66 chapters in all. Many people see Isaiah as a small Bible, for there are 39 chapters in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament 66 books in all.

 

The Old Testament often deals with the sin of the people of Israel, and the New Testament deals with the Savior which came from Israel. There is a distinctly different tone and message beginning here in chapter 40. The first 39 chapters had warned of the destruction of the nation and the deportment of the people to foreign lands.

 

The people had abandoned their God and he would now abandon them. The first part of the book is heavy and plodding, but beginning with chapter 40 the language soars with majestic eloquence and wondrous hope. As Isaiah wrote the first part of his book, disaster had not yet come to the nation. People had grown tired of Isaiahs warnings and his constant talk of their need of repentance and a return to God.

 

But Isaiah wrote the second half of his book to the people of Israel and Judah who would be in exile they would be taken away to Babylon. He was prophesying about a time that was yet to come when the nation would be destroyed. Jerusalem and its beautiful temple would be lying in ruins, and the people would be in captivity. In captivity they would not need to hear about pending judgment, because they would be living it. They would not need to be reminded of their sins; they would be experiencing the consequences of them on a daily basis. (Rodney Buchanan)

 

Let me read the words preceding our text today. . .  Isaiah 40:26-31

 

26 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. 27 O Jacob, how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles? O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights? 28 Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. 29 He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. 30 Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. 
Isaiah 40:26-30 NLT

31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 NLT

This passage is directed toward the nation of Israel. They would be weary and on the brink of being overcome by the captivity they would experience. Verses 26-29 are a bit of a chastisement or correction for the weakness and lack of faith they had demonstrated that had landed them in captivity. They were tired of the challenges. They were convinced they were reaching the end of their own strength. In this chapter they are reminded to live and move in the confidence found in God. A strong faith in God will allow them to find strength and endurance.

We can learn from this lesson to not give up. All of us have some kind of a challenge in our life. Some are more intense than others but we can relate at some level. By accepting this word as Gods word we can apply this truth to our own circumstances. We will find the strength to overcome even the biggest obstacle.

 

It is easy to live for God and trust in Him when all is going well. It is not so easy to do so when the weight of the whole world is upon our shoulders. Too many Christians bail out on God as soon as the storms of life get rough.

If your life is in the middle of turmoil and the waves of trial or even temptation are about to overwhelm you, look up and put your trust in God for that is the moment that He is really putting your faith to the test to see if you will pass or fail. That is the moment when your trust is built. That is the moment that your relationship with God will really show its true depth. That is when you find His strength to be perfect for your weakness. 

Have you heard about the "gator aid" that was given to enlisted men in a Florida training camp during World War II? The daily training for those soldiers included a run through an obstacle course. On the final stretch of the endurance test, they had to grab a rope and swing across a broad, shallow pool.


Under the blazing southern sun the water looked so inviting to the men that most of them soon developed a habit of making it only halfway across the pond--that is, until an enterprising lieutenant made it the new home for a large alligator. From that day on, the recruits left the ground 15 feet from the waters edge and fell sprawling in the dust on the other side.


Likewise, our behavior as Christians must sometimes be shaped by the "encouragement" of the danger of unfavorable circumstances.

 

The point of todays message is to simply remind you that you can make it. I realize that some of you are caring things that others may not even have a clue about. You smile and press on as though nothing were wrong but inside you are hurting and maybe even afraid.

 

This message is for you. I want to remind you of a strength that you have that is greater than you and is promised to all who turn to God.


31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.
 Isaiah 40:31 NLT

Lets look at this verse together and do what we can to remember and make it a part of our life. Lets make it a part of our problems.

 


The sufficiency of this strength:   


 

God never promised that we wouldnt have hard times. He never promised that we would sail through life without troubles. What He did promise is that He will never leave us nor forsake us. He promised that He would supply our every need. He promised in Psalms 55:22, "Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you: he will never suffer the righteous to be moved."

In the passage above, Israel had become discouraged so God had to remind them of just Who He Is. God is still in control and those who would place their trust in Him would be renewed in their strength.

I dont know about you, but there are times when my strength fails. When we find ourselves in a vulnerable position we often ask others for prayer and while there is nothing wrong with that we should discipline ourselves to trust God when things are falling apart.

 

We must realize who God is and what He is doing for us right now. 

To you, the trial you are facing is very personal and it seems that no one else can relate or understand but you have to realize that multitudes of people have faced and are facing the same situations that you are. Your circumstances are no surprise to God. Your troubles dont move God. He knew what was coming and He already has an answer for every one of them. We will only see victory if we do it Gods way.

God is God and He is all-powerful. There is no limit to His ability to meet your need. There is no limit to His deliverance and provision for whatever you need. God never gets tired, never grows weary, and is always listening for the prayers of His children to rush to their aid.

 

The strength we find in God is sufficient because it allows us to do three things: 

Soar:    Escape danger

 

We soar with God above the danger that lurks around us. Like an eagle taking flight. Sparrows fly but generally its from tree to tree or tree to ground. Other birds fly in the same manner but Eagles soar high above the turmoil and trauma on the ground.

 

Run:    Endure the distance

 

We are promised that we can run and not grow weary. You can endure the distance of this trial that you are going through. Some of us in this room are in the middle of what seems like a never ending circumstance. Maybe it is an illness or the loss of a job or grief over losing a loved one but regardless of what it is God promises us the strength to run the distance.

 

Walk:   Everyday drama

 

All of us occasionally have drama in our lives. Most generally this is family related but not always. Most of time we dont need strength to soar or run. Most of the time it is not that big of a deal. It is the daily plodding and slogging along through life that can take its toll on us. It is the monotony of our daily routine that can sometimes discourage us the most.

 

God promises us perseverance to get through the mundane drama of everyday life. How does this happen?  Who is the source of this strength?


31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.
 Isaiah 40:31 NLT

 


The source of this strength:                        . . .the Lord. . .


He is the God of inexhaustible power. In verse 28 of this chapter I read these words to you:

28 Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. 29 He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.

He is everlasting. He is eternal and that is a show of strength like no other. He is the Creator of all things. The God who unchangeably exists and endlessly creates is a reservoir of inexhaustible power and strength!  Verse 29 reminds us that He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.

Let me give you the secret of this strength. Here is what you and I are called to do.

31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 NLT


The secret of this strength:                         But those who trust. . .


Another word for trust is wait or waiting. Other translations use the word wait as in those who wait on the Lord.  Waiting is both active and passive. It is passive in the sense that we are waiting with expectancy, obedience and trust.

It is active in the sense that we dont sit around waiting but we wait by being faithful. We trust God by staying engaged. We pray. We read the Word of God. We live in community with the body of Christ. We reach out to others with the love of Christ. We never quit believing.

Can you trust God today with your life?

Can you trust Him with your circumstances? Are you willing to listen for His voice and allow Him to empower you or are you or are you going to do it all on your own?

I read about a young boy who spent the summer with his grandfather. As he and his grandfather were out in the field one day they found a small bird. It was strange looking and they didnt know what it was at first. They named him Ernie and took him home to show to grandma. Grandma put him with a mother hen and her brood of chicks. As it turned out, Ernie was an Eaglet. It wasnt long until Ernie was larger than the chickens, and it was apparent he was different even though he had picked up some of the mannerisms of the chickens. But one sunny afternoon the father eagle saw Ernie eating corn down on the farm with some strange white birds. The father eagle began to soar in circles above the farm, and then began to spiral downward while calling out for Ernie. Ernies head lifted as he heard something that resonated deep within him. Instinctively he began to spread his wings. Suddenly he was flying, and he began to soar in response to his fathers call. Ernie had within him the spirit of an eagle. The chicks heard the father eagles call as well, but they only chirped in response and continued to eat their corn on the ground. But Ernie had a higher calling. He was destined to soar. 

Chickens and turkeys can fly, but they rarely do because they are most comfortable on the ground. Sparrows and other small birds fly, but they mostly use their wings to get from one tree to another. But eagles soar. They have great power and freedom. They are destined for the skies.

 

Like them, we have a different Spirit in us than those who are content to be ground dwellers. We have a higher calling. We are destined for the skies. Gods Spirit is in us and he is calling to us to soar with him. Just because we are Christians does not mean we are using our wings. We may still be more comfortable on the ground than soaring in the sky. We may even flit from one place to another, but God is calling us to soar. We do so by waiting on him. Responding to his call. Trusting him. Spreading our wings and using the strength he has given us.

 

Though many of us have seen pictures of a huge eagles nest high in the branches of a tree or in the crag of a cliff, few of us have gotten a glimpse inside. When a mother eagle builds her nest she starts with thorns, broken branches, sharp rocks, and a number of other items that seem entirely unsuitable for the project. But then she lines the nest with a thick padding of wool, feathers, and fur from animals she has killed, making it soft and comfortable for the eggs. By the time the growing birds reach flying age, the comfort of the nest and the luxury of free meals make them quite reluctant to leave. Thats when the mother eagle begins "stirring up the nest." With her strong talons she begins pulling up the thick carpet of fur and feathers, bringing the sharp rocks and branches to the surface. As more of the bedding gets plucked up, the nest becomes more uncomfortable for the young eagles. Eventually, this and other urgings prompt the growing eagles to leave their once-comfortable abode and move on to more mature behavior.

What will we do with the challenges that face us? 

Will we turn to our own devices and make decisions that will cause us to have less time for God, for the church, or even for our families? 
Will we forget the Word of God and become depressed because we dont have the faith that everything will really do as Paul said that it would do in Romans 8:28, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." 
Will we abandon our promises made in the moments of triumph? 
Will we forget our commitments to Christ that were made when all was going well? 
Will we forget the times in the past that God has brought us through some rough times? Will we forget the blessings, the healings, the miracles and every good thing that God has done? 
Will we overlook the fact that God has always been and will always be faithful to His promises in the Word of God? What will we do now that things are not perfect anymore?

The story is told of a ten-year-old boy who decided to study judo. The problem was he had been in a car accident and had lost his left arm. So he started the lessons and was doing well but he couldnt understand why after 3 months of lessons that his coach had only taught him one move. 

So he said to him, "Sensei, shouldnt I be learning more moves?"

The coach replied, "This is the only move you know, but this is the only move you will ever need to know."

The boy didnt understand but he kept training. Several months later the coach took the boy to his first tournament. To his surprise, he won the first two matches. The third match was more difficult, but eventually his opponent got impatient and charged him, and when he did the boy used his one move and he won the match. 

Now he was in the finals. His opponent was bigger, stronger, more experienced. For a few moments he seemed to be outmatched. His opponent was hitting hard. The referee was afraid the boy might get hurt, so he called a time-out. His coach stepped in and said to let him continue. In a few moments after they started back his opponent made a critical mistake; he dropped his guard and the boy used his one move to pin him down. So the boy was declared the champion. 

On the way home the boy and his coach reviewed every move in each of the matches. Then the boy got up enough courage to ask his coach, "How did I win the tournament with just one move?"

He said "Well, you won for two reasons: (1) You mastered one of the most difficult moves in all of Judo. (2) The only known defense for that move is for your opponent to grab your left arm."

His biggest weakness had become his greatest strength. This will only happen when you learn to sink your roots deep. The reason so many believers lose the battle when they face trials is that they have a shallow root system. Paul prayed that the church in Ephesus would be rooted and established in love. A shallow believer cannot survive when trials come and trials will come. You need to plow the soil. You need to put down roots.

Today I am asking you to consider a time of prayer before you leave. During this song would you like to pray before you go home? I invite you to come and kneel or sit/stand at down here at the altar and spend some time with God. Let Him remind you of who He is while you are reminded of your need to trust Him.

Our response: 4 Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow. 5 Lead me by Your truth and teach me, for You are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in You. Psalm 25:4-5 NLT