but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up on wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31
(Photo credit goes to my brother, Matthew. He and his wife Jenny spotted a bald eagle together, a rare sighting).
“God helps those who cannot help themselves.” - Charles Spurgeon
Have You Not Heard?
During the time of Isaiah, Israel suffered a period of great political oppression as the Assyrians invaded and conquered their lands. Isaiah chapters 40-48 proclaim God’s promises of redemption and deliverance from their enemies. And they all begin with the word, comfort. “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God...that her iniquity is pardoned (Isaiah 40:1-2).
Israel almost gave up all hope, thinking God had abandoned them to their enemy. But that was certainly not the case! Isaiah writes,
“Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, ‘My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God’? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to Him who has no might He increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up on wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not be faint (Isaiah 40:27-31).
We are comforted when we trust in God’s unwavering character. We are comforted when we think of His mercy, saving grace, and the forgiveness of our sins. We are comforted when we trust in His promise of eternal life through faith in Christ. And He strengthens us when we wait patiently for Him.
In Ancient Hebrew culture, eagles were depicted as powerful warriors who were also very protective of their young. Eagles are known for their strength and courage, soaring above stormy clouds and guarding their eaglets from all sorts of predators. In Scripture, the term eagles’ wings is commonly used to describe one who possesses the great characteristics of the eagle. In Exodus, we also find the term eagles’ wings in how God faithfully delivered Israel out of Egypt. “You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. Now if you obey Me fully and keep My covenant, then out of all nations you will be My treasured possession (19:4-5). We prove to be the children of God when we lovingly obey Him and keep His Word. We don’t obey God to be saved. We obey Him because we already are. It's God who puts His Spirit in us and causes us to walk in His ways (Ezekiel 36:27), and keeps us forever. We obey Him because He's carried us on eagles' wings and brought us to Himself. We obey Him because we belong to Him and we trust Him. He is our Father, and we are His children; His treasured possession. Isaiah ascribes the phrase wings like eagles to those who remain faithful to God; to those who obey Him from the heart, by His grace.
The phrase, mount up in Hebrew means to go up, to ascend, to rise over a boundary. Isaiah writes that the Lord will provide renewed strength and confidence to overcome all obstacles. If only Israel would wait for the LORD; if only they would trust in His sovereignty; if only they would be patient in His timing, they will mount up on wings like eagles. And like an eagle to its young, the Lord protects and preserves His own. They will never perish. No one can snatch them out of His hand (John 10:28).
More Than Conquerors
It's simple (yet not always easy). When we trust in the Lord and wait for Him, we are comforted and strengthened. When we trust in Jesus and wait for the One who defeated death on our behalf and accomplished our salvation through His life, death, and resurrection, He will comfort us through our earthly trials and give us strength to overcome them all. What we cannot do for ourselves, Christ has already done for us, namely our salvation. The Lord comforts us and renews our strength when we’re feeling weary or faint by reminding us of who He is and what He’s already accomplished for us on the cross. May we continuously be reminded that He has forgiven us all our iniquities and saved us from the horrible reality of hell. May we continuously be reminded that we have eternal life, through faith in Christ. May we continuously be reminded that we are the children of God, and we will never perish. What could be a more comforting and empowering reality than all those things?!
When we make it a daily habit to meditate on the Gospel and set our minds on things above, it will be a continuous reminder of God’s mercy and glorious grace. Keeping an eternal perspective like that will change the way we see our earthly circumstances, big or small. As believers, we know if His grace is sufficient to save us, His grace is sufficient to carry us safely through all life’s temptations and trials to our heavenly home. When we wait for the Lord, He will cause us to mount up on wings like eagles, and we shall run without weariness in the soul and walk without being faint of heart. What could give us more comfort, strength, and joy than knowing that Jesus died for our sins, rose again, and granted us eternal life in Him, by grace through faith? Jesus paid it all! We know that in all things, including death itself, we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us (Rom 8:37).
Dear Heavenly Father,
I praise You for who You are. Lord, You are my comfort and my strength. I know I can’t help myself. My help comes from You alone. Lord, help me to not grow weary in doing well, for in due time I will reap a harvest, if I do not give up (Gal 6:9). Lord, help me trust in You and wait patiently for You, in all things. Lord, help me to be a comfort to other Christians in their own unique walk with Jesus by reminding them of the ultimate - You have forgiven all our iniquities, and we have eternal life in Him. May I encourage them to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of Your might (Eph 6:11), through all earthly trials knowing that we have overcome the world, through faith in Christ (1 John 5:4-5). (By the gift of Your grace)! May the Gospel soften our hearts.
All glory belongs to Jesus, our Lord and Savior!
I pray all of this in Jesus' name. Amen.
that according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. Eph 3:16-17
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 1 Corinthians 1:3-4
Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 2 Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. Psalm 32:1-2
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:2
“I’m sure of my salvation because I am sure of my Savior.” - RC Sproul