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
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).
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
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).
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.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO...
GOD IS ALL KNOWING – He knows what is best for you!
And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and
with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts:
if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever (1 Chron 28:9).
Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him which is perfect
in knowledge? (Job 37:16).
O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his
judgments, and his ways past finding out! (Rom 11:33).
But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than
many sparrows (Luke 12:7).
For the word [Greek is logos; i.e., Jesus Christ] of God is quick, and powerful,
and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and
of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any
creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked [revealed] and opened unto the eyes
of him with whom we have to do (Heb 4:12-13).
GOD IS ALL POWERFUL – God can do anything, even that which seems impossible to you!
But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things
are possible (Mat 19:26).
I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee (Job 42:2).
For with God nothing shall be impossible (Luke 1:37).
Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me? (Jer 32:27).
SEEK THE GUIDANCE AND WILL OF GOD – Since God knows what is best for you, and
can do anything, why not ask him what He thinks you should do?
Lead me, O LORD, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before
my face (Psa 5:8).
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it
shall be given him (James 1:5).
To the chief Musician upon Neginah, A Psalm of David. Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.
From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is
higher than I (Psa 61:1-2).
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways
acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in the way. The meek will he guide in judgment:
and the meek will he teach his way (Psa 25:8-9).
Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep,
through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working
in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever.
Amen (Heb 13:20-21).
And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart (Jer 29:13).
And keep the charge of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments,
and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all
that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself (1 Kings 2:3).
DO WHAT GOD TELLS YOU TO DO:
His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it (John 2:5).
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient [did not his own will, but
did the will of the Heavenly Father] unto death, even the death of the cross (Php 2:8).
Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him. For to this end also did I write, that
I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things (2 Cor 2:8-9).
It is the spirit that quickeneth [brings strength and life]; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak
unto you, they are spirit, and they are [result in life] life (John 6:63).
It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are [the speaking
of the Holy] spirit, and they are [result in] life (John 6:63).
DO NOT BE AFRAID, BE STRONG IN FOLLOWING GOD'S WILL FOR YOU:
In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me (Psa 56:11).
Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that
doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee (Deu 31:6).
Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed:
for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest (Jos 1:9).
Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace [the unmerited favor that God has given you] that is in
Christ Jesus (2 Tim 2:1).