There is the soaring Godward, and there is the common drudgery of daily walk and conversation, the practical common life. None had such joy as Christ. Thus it is often observed that the second part of the book of Isaiah begins here in chapter 40, and it was intended to give this assurance to the faithful, in view of the approach of 70 years of captivity in Babylon. There are various reasons why we should constantly apply to God for a renewal of our spiritual strength. "He shall mount up." "Wait on the Lord," says Solomon, "and He shall save thee." That’s a contrast that the text brings out. Who, of all men who ever lived upon the earth, was the One who had the sorrow of the world nearest to His heart? God never expects more from us than He has already given. A. We know how it is with children. For the old, for the young, for the sick and infirm, and even for such as may be tottering into the grave, he writes for them, and all he says is true and needful for their case. 1. We start going in the wrong direction. "They shall run, and not be weary." A. The figure of one flying through the heavens, coupled strangely with the promise of running without being wearied, represents the godly man as ever having courage to entertain great hopes. Our whole future is mapped out with tests and trials, but we need not be afraid of these things if we are in the stream of the Divine supply. They are both to be censured and pitied.4. To "look off" unto the eternal, to get behind the veil into the realm of true being is the need of the fevered and exhausted soul. The whole air rings with His name. There are two wings in our spiritual ascent — faith and obedience. But all forms of waiting on the Lord involve the personal, conscious, voluntary act of the mind or soul within us, for which no mere ceremony or ritual can be a substitute. It is not only an act, but a gracious habit of mind (Psalm 25:5).4. To wait on the Lord is the drawing nigh unto Him, to pour out our wants before Him, though He knows them so well, to plead the necessities arising out of our own ignorance, waywardness, and poverty of soul, to ask for His light to shine in our darkness, to clear our minds of the mists and fogs of native prejudice and of traditional error, to make plain before us our path of duty, and to keep our feet steadfast therein, to take into His loving hands the discipline and correction of our hearts, and to make us willing to undergo it, to keep us from all vanity and lies, and from every form of subtle self-deception, so that we may ever be true to Him and to ourselves. 4. But is not waiting for God cowardly indolence and fatalistic apathy? Love your Bible and fill your heart with it, but let God apply it in your daily life. But all forms of waiting on the Lord involve the personal, conscious, voluntary act of the mind or soul within us, for which no mere ceremony or ritual can be a substitute. It is not only an act, but a gracious habit of mind (Psalm 25:5).4. If we try to rise by means of faith alone we shall be like a bird with one wing. When by faith the regenerated soul draws near to God, the earth appears to recede; all its objects are seen to be diminutive; and the realities of the heavenly state are perceived, and operate with power on the susceptible mind. Horton, D. D.)Waiting upon the LordJ. Holy joy is an element of strength. The Divine Spirit comes into the hearts of men in ways that are inexplicable to the lower understanding, and that, therefore, men who are on the lower plane of life do not comprehend. Heavenly-mindedness. Is this the same as saying that we shall have the power of steady perseverance, of patient endurance under protracted trial? They shall grow more steady and established in religion. One man's desires, and therefore his hopes, will go forth in the direction of the pleasures of sense. There must be a regular feeding on God's Word and promises.III. How shall we avoid it? Then I have a question to ask. HOW SPIRITUAL STRENGTH MAY BE ACQUIRED; AND HOW RENEWED, WHEN IT HAS BEEN IMPAIRED. When love to God is ardent and constant in its exercise, then there is real strength. They earnestly desire the enjoyment of His favour.2. He stopped running because he was tired. Zeal fills the soul with courage to encounter enemies and surmount obstacles.II. Jones. It is better not to seek to produce ecstatic experiences in anticipation of the normal methods.3. All things are possible to him that believeth. The soil is ready for the vitalising shower. --------------------
These two things seem very far away: man with his faintness, God with His eternity and inexhaustible omnipotence. He stopped running because he was tired. "They that wait," etc. Alexander, D. D.)Condition and conductEvan H. Hopkins, B. A.Every river needs a channel; and the wider and deeper the channel the fuller and more copious the stream, provided the waters are inexhaustible. Paul had had his eagle "flights," but he did not make much of them. When you go into your closet for your morning devotions, do not, as is very often done, read the Bible and think about it and pray about it, and then get up and go. As the result of a whole life of education and practice in Divine duties men may come, at last, into that state in which the Spirit of God shines with a steadfast lustre upon them. Child of God, that is to be your position. V. But we have good reason to believe that the prophet drew his imagery from familiar objects in the land of exile. There are conflicts to be endured with our spiritual foes, within our own hearts; we live in a world that is lying in wickedness; we have to do with matters concerning the present life that are often very trying and perplexing in their nature, and often is our courage likely to fail. An engine came down and gave them a push, sending them towards the stationary carriages at such a rate that it seemed as though they would crash into the train with violence. WHAT IS THIS WAITING?1. "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength," they are coupled up to the source of power without, and being coupled to the power without, the effect of every throb of the engine is communicated to the carriages, and the love of every beat of the heart of God comes down to the Church of the living God.(F. THE SEVERAL BRANCHES OF THE PROMISE.(S. Experience has proved that, to a great many souls, public worship is the greatest help they ever get, that it gives wings to their holiest prayers and brightness to their gladdest songs of praise, and that it does bring them nearer to God than any other external agency that they know of. THE INTERESTING EFFECTS OF ITS BRING SO RENOVATED OR INCREASED. "THEY SHALL MOUNT UP WITH WINGS AS EAGLES." They are not. That is the time when we are spiritually aggressive, when we count as an active force in the world.3. Waiting, in Scripture language, is a term used to denote dependence. Let me translate that last word again, translate it by a word that is about as wide in its English significance as the word used by the prophet in his own time, "They shall mount up, they shall run, they shall go." Waiting on God not only gives strength, it gives inspiration. To me it's no problem for God gives the strength. Another sense in which the word "waiting" occurs in Scripture is, a willingness to be directed by the person waited upon. Major Prophets
"They shall mount up," etc.(T. The highest point in his destiny is to be conformed to the image of the Son of God. We must renew our strength, for it is for our honour, comfort, and safety.4. And when He Calls us home, He who sits upon the circle of the heavens, and sees all the sorrow of this world as you and I can never see it, bids us "Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." In common daily duty we are to run in the ways of God's commandments; but the word is more frequently employed to denote some direct obedience to some special command. It is a grand thing that there is one time in our lives when we have wings. 2. But the margin speaks of this renewal as a change of strength, as if it would remind us of the mansidedness of the grace of God, and its perfect adaptability to our everchanging needs.II. Youth is full of impulses, full of excesses, full of exaggerations. It is far easier for some of us to run than to walk. Cultivate also the habit of waiting for orders. This seems to be the proper sense and meaning. He receives strength to confess his sins to the God of truth from the hope of pardon founded on God's merciful promise.2. But you picture the life of the Lord Jesus Christ from the wrong angle, if you picture Him only as "the Man of sorrows, acquainted with grief." "Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart." "Mount up with wings as eagles.". A sense of our own weakness, and our need of Divine help.2. THE SEVERAL BRANCHES OF THE PROMISE.(S. They will run nimbly enough after pleasure, wealth and fame, but not after the things which God bids them run after. But without God, without true hope.(W. It is often found in persons of weak understanding, and in minds not highly cultivated by refined education.3. Waiting upon God is a duty very frequently enforced in Scripture, and to which the highest blessings are annexed. Because they are imperfect.3. Clear and comprehensive views of the truth of God. --------------------
If we take the running of the text to mean the rendering of active public service to God, and the walking to mean steadfast advance in character, the Christian requires the strength needed for both in the approach to God. The river is God's infinite power; the channel is our conscious weakness. This sounds as if they were in danger of becoming weary and faint in their minds. "Wait on the Lord," says Solomon, "and He shall save thee." who can bring life out of decay? Indeed I think we poor walkers sometimes make the most progress, for we lean more entirely on God and draw more constant supplies of His grace.(C. He outflies many of the petty vexations and grovelling desires that drag a worldling down into the mire. RENEWAL OF STRENGTH MEANS A RENEWAL OF ACTIVITY. Some carriages standing on the middle line of rails were to be attached to our train. There is the strength of custom, and religious education. What is the reason of all this? And God, in His omnipotence and faithfulness, is willing to work in my heart every moment of the day.2. One part was taken on by the engine to the higher end of the platform, the other and hinder remained where it was. The truth lies the other way! These loftier moods have sometimes come even when you least expected them! "In quietness and confidence shall be your strength." We like a little bit of excitement or emotion. Good Christians shall through God's grace grow stronger and stronger. As we read his words the image they call up is of three modes of motion, three rates of progression — the flight of the eagle, the swift foot of the deer, and the ordinary pace of man. There are amateur and spasmodic philanthropists who dabble occasionally with the great social problems, and they feel their weight and cry out in despair. I took a great deal away. And so a human heart which is constantly looking to God will be much more susceptible of all influences that come from God. Those who have not eagle's wings still have some power of motion, they can run on the earth and in the path of God's commandments. All strength apart from God is derived strength, and is consequently measurable, and must come to an end. There are many who run, but run themselves out of breath (Galatians 5:7). (2) While only the few can thus fly, many can only run. For the less strength we feel we have, the more we shall need and ask from Him. A. We are shown the infinite powers that He concealed in the heart of a solitary man of faith. In rapturous contemplation of the things of God. They shall "mount up," etc.(J. The least that.it can mean is they shall stand their ground.3. As bodily health is only found in a well-balanced and healthy state of the corporeal functions, so spiritual strength can only be found in souls into which new life has been infused, and is in vigorous exercise. How is this renewing influence, then, to be obtained? Our natural strength requires constant renovation by the food that is convenient for us. "Mount up with wings as eagles."1. It seemed impossible that these few exiles could escape from those nations, and go back to their own land and restore their institutions, but they did. )Exhaustion and recoverySunday School Chronicle.1. "(1) Thus moved, the believer strives above all things, and in all things, after perfect likeness to his Saviour in personal character. Once more, the Christian is prompted to strenuous and persevering action by the appeal made to his desires. 5. We must not be biassed by any theory of Church or ordinances, nor by any preaching, to suppose that we are shut up to the dealings of God with us through these channels. WHAT IS MEANT BY WAITING UPON THE LORD? There must be a regular feeding on God's Word and promises.III. The prophet is not speaking of three rates of motion, but he is rather speaking of the active motion and then onward continuance. He who said this, knew but little of the courage which the grace of God communicates to the minds of the most timid of the disciples of Jesus. It is because we do not constantly wait upon the Lord.(J. This is the mainspring of all spiritual exercises. This is not genuine strength, but real disease. This is not the strength spoken of here. Horton, D. D.)Waiting upon the LordJ. It is very easy to misunderstand this word "wait," and regard it as meaning inactive passivity. Whether it be philanthropic, political, social, or religious, that seems to be tram. All outward observances, whether private or public, have no meaning, and can have no avail without that conscious voluntary movement of the soul towards God. (Sunday School Chronicle. Halsey.The spiritual teaching of this verse is, that for all the stages and moods of our life-pilgrimage Heaven's grace is available and sufficient.(J. This sense of the word gives us another part of the character of those that wait upon the Lord. Howells.I. In point of ease. It pleases God to make the spiritual development of men depend on time-growth. There is the strength of custom, and religious education. What did your man of the natural order stop running for? This strength is that qualification of mind by which the followers of Christ are enabled to endure trials and bear the cross.5. It is better not to seek to produce ecstatic experiences in anticipation of the normal methods.3. They could not suggest to the prophet his religious thought, but his inspired genius laid them under tribute to assist the utterance of a thought of higher inspiration. That the principles of the spiritual life within them shall be gradually strengthened and increased.2. (1) The eagle is an emblem of strength renewed (Psalm 103:5). The man of God, the man who waits on God, is equal to any emergency, is equal to any strength. (2) Keeping this high mark ever in view, he becomes strong enough to regulate by it all his social action. Strength for to-day does not insure strength for to-morrow. When love to God is ardent and constant in its exercise, then there is real strength. WE SEE WHAT THE LORD'S WAITING PEOPLE NEED. And away went those weary, dilatory carriages as fast as the rest. The sails are unfurled to catch the heavenly breeze. That is a very lame finish. (1) The motion itself. Thomas, D. D.There are three blessings suggested as consequent upon this waiting —I. "They shall mount up," etc.(T. We are rich and strong, not by the things which we possess, but by the amount of true manhood which is developed in us.5. Zeal fills the soul with courage to encounter enemies and surmount obstacles.II. If you are to wait aright upon the Lord, you must learn to know Him, you must turn away your thoughts and eyes and heart and trust from everything, and set them upon God alone, My conduct in waiting for a man, or waiting on him, will depend entirely upon what I think of him. In the power to endure it. HOW SPIRITUAL STRENGTH MAY BE ACQUIRED; AND HOW RENEWED, WHEN IT HAS BEEN IMPAIRED. But I believe that the preaching of the high ideal, divorced from the preaching of its attainment by the power of the Lord Jesus Christ, is the reason for more than one-half the cynicism that you find amongst men from thirty-five to forty at the present day. To "look off" unto the eternal, to get behind the veil into the realm of true being is the need of the fevered and exhausted soul. range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed
He has powers adapted to this exercise — powers with which he can glorify his Maker; and he must not point those eagle faculties to the dust, but let them take wing and rise. "I can do all things," said Paul, "through Christ which strengtheneth me." And I am bound to say that those who find the least pleasure and the least benefit from public worship are those who do not wait on the Lord in private. The highest strength is not physical nor intellectual, but moral. Clearer vision.3. The soil is ready for the vitalising shower. (a)Because he has a great way to go, much ground to be despatched; therefore there is need of speed for the passing over it. Halsey. (4) The many businesses in religion — so much work to be performed. He points us also to the condition on which this Divine energy is to be recovered: "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength."1. Voysey, B. "Waiting" denotes a habit of mind-a devout habit that loves to call on God, a submissive habit that is ready to receive just what God sees fit to send, an obedient habit that is glad to do just what God commands, a stalwart habit of carrying such loads as duty lays upon our backs. On the other hand, Divine strength never fails. Thomas, D. D.I. But, for the most part, these exhaustive pleasures rapidly fret away that on which they depend. L. Cuyler, D. D.This passage has the ring of an Alpine horn. )Renewal of strengthT. But the prophet has a deeper thought than this. Wesley fashioned modern England by faith. Not new faculties of body or of mind; not new opportunities for action, or new fields of enterprise; not so much new knowledge either; not even new desires and affections; but "new strength" — fresh inspiration. There is a vast deal of verve in the original Hebrew; it signifies to be strong enough to hold out. It is the posture of expectancy for every blessing of which we stand in need, temporal and spiritual.II. Grace and strength came by the prophets and by prayer in unbroken continuity, and fresh gifts of power and light and zeal and joy enlarged and enriched their lives. "Caught up into the third heaven" he had seen "visions and revelations"; but he does not appeal to them as any sign of special grace. Wrong may prosper for a time. It is an expression peculiar to the Old Testament; but in the New Testament the same duty is repeatedly inculcated, though in different language. What do you say, Christian tradesman — you upon whom God hath laid the responsibilities of home and family — you Christian citizen-you whom the arrows of affliction have wounded — you proclaimer of the Lord's message?2. Luther changed the course of the centuries by faith. THE TEMPER AND FRAME OF MIND INVOLVED IN THE EXPRESSION, WAITING UPON GOD.1. Wait for the power of the Holy Spirit every day. Halsey.We find the same idea also in the New Testament with spiritual applications. 2. They are said, in our text, "to mount up on wings as eagles." The most vigorous pinion will never reach the sun, but yet it may reach so high that earth-bound creatures shall fail to track its flight, and lose it in the glare of the excellent glory. He who looks only at the burden of the world, and only sees its sorrow and shame, has not got to the last analysis of its meaning; he has not touched the Rock, is floundering in the mud. Zeal fills the soul with courage to encounter enemies and surmount obstacles.II. Purer air.2. It is well to rise up on wings of eagles, but now and then we must come to the level of our fellow-creatures, and in their service we are to run and not be weary. A. He gains wide outlooks; he breathes a clear and crystalline atmosphere. The boy who never knew what it was to be fagged out at school is not worth much. This is not arbitrary, but necessary. In rapturous contemplation of the things of God. How far this strength shall operate, and what noble effects it shall produce, may be seen by the following words.III. There is a type of soul which soars like the eagle, its daring eye not flinching from the dazzling sun itself but drawn by it higher and higher with steadfast gaze till it is lost to sight of those on earth below. By waiting upon the Lord. THE NATURE OF THIS GREAT BLESSING WHICH GOD HAS ASSURED TO ALL THAT WAIT UPON HIM. Harwood. THIS STRENGTH REQUIRES TO BE RENEWED. When, again, we think of those whose pleasures are more purely intellectual, we know that an enfeebled memory puts an effectual check on the acquisition of knowledge.3. They shall walk and not faint — words which seem to denote consistency in common daily life. When we have done flying, we go on running. THIS STRENGTH REQUIRES TO BE RENEWED.1. 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