Isaiah 40:31 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.
Few Old Testament books are quoted in the New Testament as often as Isaiah, and chapter 40 is uniquely recognized. That repository of prophetic insights depict the day when the irremovable, irremediable burdens of mankind would be unilaterally disposed of by the Lord Jesus Christ himself.
And for grace to reign thru Christ as the prophet declared it would be, any and all confidence in natural strength had to unequivocally be exposed as inept and futile. The preeminent powers and strengths heretofore trusted had to be dethroned and crushed.
And, boy, oh boy, did Isaiah take that assignment to heart!
Verse after verse, the Holy Spirit disrobed the self-righteousness of the religious proud! Line after line the haughtiness of natural thinking was condemned! Powerful nations and entrenched kingdoms were made insignificant in light of the coming King! No worldly wisdom, no governmental system, no multitude of people, and no idol would be able to compete or compare with the coming kingdom!
This coming King would have no rival, and the inhabitants of earth would soon have a Leader worthy of eternal love and trust. For this Burden-bearer would shoulder the heavy penalty of humanity’s sin, and through His death and resurrection free those perpetually enslaved and hopelessly imprisoned.
Such was Isaiah’s perspective that there’d soon be a people unwearied of mortality, unshackled from fear, and unbounded by perplexing circumstances! There’d soon be a people sustained freely by an unseen hand; and there’d soon be a people held, guided, and protected by the very God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob!
Thus, the eagle was used by the prophet to demonstrate the way of the Spirit regarding today’s believer. To the nescient and unschooled, the eagle is admired for what is visible: his vision, wing span, impressively heavy physique, and his inimitable strength of talons and beak. But to the erudite and spiritual, what’s added to the eagle’s physicality is his unseen, but undeniably necessary, acuteness and sensitivity to wind currents and rising warm air thermals.
Boast in the eagle’s measurements and crushing strength if you’d like, but without the “elevator” currents of the thermals, that eagle would have a very short life span! It’s the eagle’s uncanny adeptness at recognizing wind currents that the eagle is able to soar at all.
Beating the air with his extraordinary wings is not the eagle’s strong suit; for he wasn’t created to soar to the heavens on his strength, but to soar with outstretched wings through the strength of One who makes the wind to blow. And from creation, it’s from superior heights that eagles build its nests and spies out its prey, as its very life is sustained only by ascending high above the elements of earth.
Maybe we all should take a breather from stressing ourselves about God’s expectations of us – and even more so, those highly visible images of culture and the many self-imposed goals that condemn us.
Maybe this is the moment we begin to rest in the One who called us, knowing that He who began a good work in us, well, He’ll be able to finish what He started!
Maybe today we take to heart once and for all the words of Jesus, “for without me you can do nothing”! And from those words learn to lean on His everlasting arms in everything!
And maybe we could glean from Pastor Jason’s sermon yesterday (if you haven’t gotten the recent messages of Jude, you should!), and soar now as if we were already there – “Now unto Him who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.”