A Promise for StrengthHow strong are you? That's a pretty
ambiguous question, isn't it? In fact you need more
criteria and other questions answered before you can
Do you mean in how many pounds can one bench press? Or,
how many miles one can run without giving out. Maybe it
doesn't deal with physical exertion. How much pain can
one tolerate and retain consciousness? Are you talking
about how many pressures in your life you can bear at
any one time?
In one sense the question, how strong are you, is too
broad a question to answer. But in another sense, it's
a very easy question to answer. The answer is: not very
I don't really care what criteria you're talking about.
If you're talking about pounds to be lifted, about
miles to be run, pain to be endured, hardships or
burdens to be born, the best of us are not very
Now when we act like we are or when we say we are. It
is either our pride coming out, or else we're making
those statements in light of or in comparison to some
other people. I may say I'm stronger than he is, I'm
stronger than she is or I may say I'm stronger than
most of the people I know in a particular criteria. But
let's get real.
In light of all the pounds that could be lifted, miles
to be run, pain to endure in a lifetime or burdens that
need to be born, none of us are very strong. In fact we
are not strong enough to get out of this world alive.
Let "Father-Time" work on you a few days and he'll show
you just how "un-strong" you are. I need the strength
of God to make it through life.
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the
everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and his under-standing
no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and
increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired
and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those
who have hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and
not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
It's so beautiful in its entirety, I hate to try and
break it down and dissect it but there are four key
God is. There was a little girl one time who was
scared of going into a room because it was dark, and
that was where her bed was, she needed to sleep there.
Her parents finally told her, they said, "Now look
honey, don't you be afraid to go in that room because
God's there, and he won't leave you alone." Well
finally that gave her enough courage to slip into that
dark room and to crawl up into bed. But she thought
about that promise a little bit, and she said, "God, if
you are here, don't say anything because it will scare
me to death." It would me too, wouldn't it you?
What about God? Who is God? Isaiah, the prophet, tells
us, the three omni (meaning all or completely)
characteristics of God:
a. "The Lord is the
everlasting God." (verse 28) That tells us that
he's omnipresent with respect to time. There's
never been a time when he wasn't. There will never
be a time when he isn't. In fact, time is
absolutely nothing to God. He's not bound by it, he
doesn't even measure things by it, and you and I
can't even begin to comprehend that be-cause
everything we do is measured by time. God doesn't
deal with time. Jesus said and God said, "I am that
I am. I always have been, and I always will
Next the verse says,
"He is the Creator of the ends of the earth..."
There's never been a place that he wasn't. He put
it there. There's never been a place that he isn't.
Our God is omnipresent. He is everywhere. You don't
leave his presence.
b. He is omnipotent.
He is all powerful. Not only did he create the ends
of the earth, but "He will not grow tired or
weary..." His strength, his power, his energy, all
of those things are absolutely limitless.
c. He is omniscient.
He knows absolutely everything "...and his
understanding no one can fathom." Put simply, he
knows it all. He knows everything. Nothing gets by
him. He is absolutely all-wise.
You and I are most
ill-equipped to embrace the concept of God. Like
Moses, I so desperately want to look on his face.
But also just like Moses, I have nowhere near a
fraction of the capacity to do that.
The greatest thing about heaven in my humble estimation
is that all Christians, are going to look on the face
of God. I'm not all that excited about the street of
gold. Oh, I might want to see it especially when
Revelation said it would be as "transparent as glass"
or the gates made out of pearl, but they are only
figurative expressions to show the grandeur of Heaven.
I am excited about the reunion I'll have with loved
ones and saints who've gone on before, that grand
re-union of all the redeemed.
The thing I want most of all from heaven is to be able
to look on the face of God Almighty. You and I here
cannot men-tally embrace him, he is completely
sovereign. He is transcendent. He is beyond
comprehension. In fact, have you ever noticed in
Scripture, the reaction of people who some-how were
given that gift of God just to take a glimpse of him
one way or the other?
God told Moses "You can't look on my face and live. I'm
just going to put you there on the rock and let you
view the back side." When Moses went up on the mountain
and received the law, the Ten Commandments, he came
down without seeing God face to face. But God spoke to
him and when he came down from the mountain, his face
was so radiant, everybody was afraid of him. He put a
veil on because his presence literally glowed.
When Job was in the presence of God, and God was asking
him questions face to face, Job bowed down on his face
and said, "I am unworthy, how can I reply to you? I put
my hand over my mouth." (Job 40:4)
"I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the
sound. Decay crept into my bones, and my legs
trembled." (Habakkuk 3:16) When Isaiah glanced into the
throne room, instead of saying, "Hallelujah, isn't it
great to see God." He said, "Woe to me! ... I am
ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips." (Isaiah 6:5)
John, the apostle, said "When I saw him, I fell at his
feet as though dead." (Revelation 1:17) There's nothing
I want more than to see the face of God, but if I were
to look upon it, it would kill me.
What I'm trying to get across to all of us is that
we've got a God who is far beyond our comprehension. J.
B. Phillips wrote a book many years ago entitled Your
God is Too Small, and the title says it all. I want to
tell you something about your view of God. It's too
small. You say, you don't even know how I view God. I
don't care how you view God, it's too small. Take your
view of God and multiply it a mil-lion times, it's
still too small. What Isaiah wants to make sure that we
understand is, if we are going to embrace this promise
for strength, we need to understand that we have a God
who is able to back it up.
we are. The second facet of the promise is
trying to understand who we are. That's easier to do.
"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power
of the weak." (Isaiah 40:29). Do you see those two "w"
words that describe us: weary and weak. That's who we
"Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men
stumble and fall." The prophet wants to make sure that
the young men who hear these words or read these words
understand that principle. Do you know why he wanted to
make sure of that? Because young men think they are
invincible, and so do young women.
When I was between 18 and 25 years old my whole life
was in front of me. Every now and then, one of my
friends would have an accident, somebody would die, but
that wasn't going to happen to me. I was invincible,
and I was strong. Oh but God has a way of teaching us,
doesn't he? I'm grateful that I've learned a
I was reminded of it the other day because I'm a
runner. Let me rephrase that. I'm a very part-time
runner. I hadn't run in about three weeks, and I began
to feel a little guilty because my waistband began to
get a little tight and my caloric intake was getting a
little large. I decided I would catch up all in one
day. I took out one afternoon and decided to run 5.2
miles. I walked 2.6 of it. I languished on that sofa
grasping for breath for the next five hours. I thought
back, there was a day when I could run five miles and
come home and be ready to play basketball. That day is
gone. We are weak and weary people. Don't let your
pride tell you otherwise.
All right, we've got a God who's bigger, broader,
stronger, more powerful and wiser than we can imagine
and we are just weak and weary people.
will renew your strength. "Those who wait upon
the Lord will renew their strength." Now the word,
"wait," doesn't mean idleness. It doesn't mean just
sitting around saying, "Okay God, zap me, hit me!"
Don't misunderstand, there is a time to just "be still
and know that I am God". There's a time in all our
frenzy and rat race when we do need to just be quiet
and let God speak to us, meditate upon him, read his
word, and pray to him. That's not really the context
The idea here is to wait upon the Lord which would be
something like a cabinet member waiting upon the
President of the United States. What does it mean to
wait upon him? It means to serve him, to tend to him,
to help him. A better illustration would be a "waiter,"
in a fine restaurant. What does a waiter at a really
nice restaurant do? Well if you're at his table, he is
so focused on you, he is tending to you.
About a year ago, I took my wife out on our anniversary
to this really, really nice restaurant. It set me back
a bundle to be honest. It was a nicer place than we're
accustomed to taking the family. In fact the kids
didn't go with us. I was amazed because I couldn't get
my water a half inch down, fingers were being snapped,
and that water was refilled. I bet he refilled my water
20 times that night. When I spilled some bread crumbs
in front of me, all of a sudden here he was with a
little knife scraping it all off into a little plate.
He picked my napkin up and put it right there over my
lap. If I ever just so much as looked up he was waiting
on me, total attention. Now listen, when I sense my
weariness, my weakness, and my strength zapping, what
do I do? I wait upon the Lord. My total attention is
given to him. He is my focus. If I will wait upon him
like that fellow waited upon me, he will "renew my
I find that people who grow weary, discouraged and
tired do one or two things generally, and I'm talking
about Christian people. One thing is they forget God.
Some Christians just forget him. They worry so much
about their own zapped strength, their own apathy, and
their own trials that they put God on a shelf and try
to fix all this themselves. The other people in the
midst of weariness, trial and zapping of strength begin
to focus upon the Lord. They really focus upon the Lord
asking Him to "renew me," and He does.
God does. "The Lord will renew their
strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they
will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be
faint." (verse 31)
I love the illustration of the eagle, the most majestic
of all birds, the one that soars higher than any
others. It's not the first time God used that analogy.
In Exodus 19:4, he was talking to the children of
Israel who were now about to wander. He said, "You
yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I
carried you out on eagles' wings..."
Part of the reason is for protection against prey. But
part of the reason is because to assist in teaching an
eaglet, a baby eagle, to fly. When the time comes for
the little eagle chick to fly, it is nestled out of the
nest and begins to free fall to see if those wings are
ready to work. The mother eagle is peering with intent
and an accurate eye. If her little eaglet can't begin
to fly, the mother eagle swoops down and flies
underneath and catches it on her back. If she can't get
it on her back, she gets it with her beak and soars up
Folks, that's what our God does for us. When I wait
upon him in my weariness and my weakness, he will watch
me with that keen eye and as he sees me fall, he will
swoop under me. "They shall mount up with wings as
eagles" not be-cause I'm strong, but because I've got a
God who put the stars in their place, and who loved me
enough to die for me.
I know you know the old song. "What a friend we have in
Jesus, all our sins and grief's to bear! What a
privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer!"
Listen to the third verse. "Are we weak and heavy
laden, cumbered with a load of care? Precious Savior,
still our refuge, take it to the Lord in prayer. Do thy
friends despise, forsake thee? Take it to the Lord in
prayer? In his arms he'll take and shield thee, thou
wilt find a solace there." That's true. That's the
promise. That is indeed one of those precious promises
that get us through this life. Adapted from Amazing Grace #1167 -
Steve Flatt, July 10, 1994