THEY THAT WAIT UPON THE LORD
By John C. Carpenter
 
The prophet Isaiah prophesied, To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him? The workman melteth a graven image, and the goldsmith spreadeth it over with gold, and casteth silver chains. He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation chooseth a tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to prepare a graven image, that shall not be moved. Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in: That bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity. Yea, they shall not be planted; yea, they shall not be sown: yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth: and he shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble. To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth. Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the LORD, and my judgment is passed over from my God? 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? There is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint (Isa 40:18-31).
 
Although the book of Isaiah was a vision given by God to the prophet,Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah (Isa 1:1), the book of Isaiah has many things to teach us. However, as the subject of this article, I want to mention only three simple points which are applicable to all believers: God is strong, man is weak, and man can become strong only by relationship with God the Father.
 
IT IS HE THAT SITTETH UPON THE CIRCLE OF THE EARTH
 
First, the prophet, Isaiah, makes it abundantly clear that he believes and undertands that God is all knowing and all powerful. Regarding the prophetic future of God's power and strength, God commands Isaiah to proclaim to Israel [and all believers] Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD'S hand double for all her sins. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it (Isa 40:1-5). Isaiah continues, O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding? (Isa 40:9-14). To these last questions posed by Isaiah, the obvious answer is that no one has counseled or instructed God, or taught Him about judgment, taught Him knowledge, or showed Him what understanding is.
 
In continuing to explain God's greatness, Isaiah poses a question to Israel, but also a question which can be posed to believers and non-believers alike: To whom then will ye liken [compare, resemble, be like] God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him? (Isa 40:28), meaning God cannot be compared to anything or anyone, and no one is or can be like Him. He is separate, distinct, incomparable to anything man has to offer. Isaiah explains in detail that God created, dwells in, and rules over all of the earth, and that He stretched out the heavens like a curtain, and spread them out like a tent to dwell in (Isa 40:22). God causes the honorable to become a non-entity, insignificant, and those who rule with power and authority a waste, vain, and worthless (Isa 40:23). Isaiah adds that Yea, they shall not be planted [fix in position, given the opportunity to live and bear fruit]; yea, they shall not [even] be sown [disseminated]: yea, their stock [stem or trunk] shall not take root in the earth: and he shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither [become ashamed, confused, disappointed, dry up, fail], and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble [dry, dead, and waste] (Isa 40:24). Isaiah describes God as the all wise, all knowing, and all powerful creator of all, and whose intelligence, glory, strength, and wisdom cannot possibly be comprehended by man (Isa 40:28).
 
ALL NATIONS BEFORE HIM ARE AS NOTHING
 
Secondly, Isaiah recognizes and understands that man is weak, rebellious, and sinful. He begins by noting the vision given to him by God, a prophesy which is directed specifically to Judah and Jerusalem, but which is equally applicable to believers [and unbelievers as well] today. Isaiah instructs us, Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider [God and His ways]. Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward. Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick [diseased, grievous], and the whole heart faint [troubled]. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness [wholesomeness] in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment. Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers. And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city (Isa 1:2-8).
 
The prophet quickly adds, Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it (Isa 1:16-20). Specifically referring to the weakness of mankind, God says to Isaiah, The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh [bodies, people] is grass [green beauty of a courtyard], and all the goodliness [beauty, worthiness] thereof is as the flower [blossom, flower] of the field: The grass withereth [becomes ashamed, confused, and disappointing], the flower fadeth [faints, fails, dies]: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass (Isa 40:6-7). God continues speaking to Isaiah regarding man: Behold, the nations [heathens, masses, people] are as a drop [a small and bitter amount] of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust [counted as beaten small] of the balance [when considering all of creation]: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing [crushed, small in value]. And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering. All nations before him are as nothing [a non-entity, nothing significant]; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity [a waste, a desolation, worthless] (Isa 40:15-17). We see, early in creation, a similar reaction from God. Scriptures teach us: And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD [sighed and was sorry] that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved [angered, displeased, hurt, worried] him at his heart [in His deepest parts] (Gen 6:5-6).
 
From God's viewpoint, man is rebellious, does not know Him, is full of sin and iniquity, evil, grievous, troubled and troubling, wounded, bruised, full of sores, shameful, disappointing, insignificant, crushed, desolate, worthless, and, of course, weak. Wow. What a indictment. Clearly, the only possible remedy for God's attitude towards man was and is the advent of Jesus Christ, and his gospel of salvation through faith in Christ.
 
THE CREATOR OF THE ENDS OF THE EARTH, FAINTETH NOT, NEITHER IS WEARY
 
Finally, the prophet Isaiah gives us God the Father's solution to the sin and weakness of mankind: Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting [there from the beginning, always there, continual] God, the LORD, the Creator [the beginner who provides life, growth, and strength] of the ends [from end to end, i.e., the entirety] of the earth, fainteth [tires, bceome weary] not, neither is weary [becomes exhausted from labor]? There is no searching [finding out, human comprehension] of his understanding [discretion, reason, skilfulness, understanding, wisdom]. He giveth power [ability, vigor, might, strength] to the faint [those exhausted from labor and gasping for breath]; and to them that have no might [ability, strength, substance] he increaseth [enlarges, makes full, gives more] strength [abundant, numerous, powerful]. Even the youths [young, active, and strong] shall faint [those who are tired and weary] and be weary [exhausted from labor], and the young men [acceptable, chosen, excellent] shall utterly fall [be cast down, be decayed, fail, fall down, become feeble, ruined, overthrown]: But they that wait upon [bind together (perhaps by twisting), collect, expect, gather together, look, tarry, wait for, wait on] the LORD shall renew [alter, go on forward, pass through, spring up, sprout] their strength [capacity, force, means, ability might, power, strength, substance, vigor]; they shall mount up [arise, ascend, recover] with wings as eagles; they shall run [rush, stretch out, strive], and not be weary [gasp, exhaust, faint, be laboured]; and they shall walk [struggle, live], and not faint [tire, faint, be weary] (Isa 40:28-31).
 
Isaiah makes it abundantly clear that God is strong, and that man is weak. Are you physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually tired, weary, or exhausted? Are you gasping for breath due to effort and fatigue, do you feel like you have no ability power, vigor, or strength? Are you feeling fearful, overwhelmed, anxious, or depressed in your circumstances? We all feel these ways from time to time. Do not despair, because God has the answer. God instructs us to“wait upon the Lord.” The words 'wait upon' are translated from the Hebrew word “qavah,” which means to “gather together, bind together by twisting, collect, expect, tarry, or wait on.”
 
In this context, waiting upon the Lord does not mean just to wait in the sense of allowing time to pass by, although this is often necessary. Waiting upon the Lord more accurately suggests that we should bind and intertwine ourselves to and with the Lord [as two ropes intertwined closely] in a quiet relationship of worship, thankfulness, fellowship, meditation, petition, and prayer. It simply refers to spending quality, personal time with God the Father, His son Jesus Christ, and His Holy Spirit. It is not primarily waiting on time to pass by that gives us strength, but by spending time with God the Father. When we wait upon the Lord by spending quality, alone time with Him, God makes us a definite promise: the LORD shall renew [alter, go on forward, pass through, spring up, sprout] their [our] strength [capacity, force, means, ability might, power, strength, substance, vigor]; they shall mount up [arise, ascend, recover] with wings as eagles; they shall run [rush, stretch out, strive], and not be weary [gasp, exhaust, faint, be laboured]; and they shall walk [struggle, live], and not faint [tire, faint, be weary] (Isa 40:31).
 
When we wait upon the Lord by spending quality time with Him, God promises that He will sprout new capacity, ability, strength and vigor in us, and that we shall recover our strength and ascend with wings as eagles. He further promises that we shall energetically rush forward with life and not be labored, exhausted, and that we shall overcome the challenges and struggles in our lives without tiring, becoming weary, or fainting. When we spend time with God, our weaknesses are turned into strengths, not because of our efforts, but because of God's mercy, grace, and strength. As Isaiah so appropriately questioned us all, 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? We must wait upon God, and He will renew our strength. This is His promise, and His promises never fail. AMEN.
 

 


 


 
 
 
THE CHRISTIAN HERALD
                                                           A Judeo-Christian Bible Study
 
"Hereby perceive
we the love
of God, because
he laid down
his life for us:
and we ought
to lay down
our lives for
the brethren"
(1 John 3:16)


 
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