Sunday, June 19, 2022

Eagles Wings

 


When I was a kid I had one of those cloth Bible covers with the zipper, the kind that could hold pens and highlighters, and in my case, candy for church. The front cover was embroidered with a picture of an eagle in flight, and these familiar words from Isaiah 40:31:

“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Those words greeted me every Sunday morning when I unzipped my Bible at church, and I know many people have found comfort in that passage. 

That was Isaiah’s purpose, after all, to bring comfort. The chapter opens with the words, “Comfort, yes comfort my people!” That word comfort invited a remarkable shift in mood, as the first thirty-nine chapters dealt primarily with judgment. Because of years of idolatry and rejecting of their Lord, the southern kingdom of Israel was about to be conquered by Babylon and taken into captivity. That was the prophet’s message. But the captivity would not last forever; God was not giving up on His people. Chapter forty opens with a message of comfort that God would end the captivity and let them return to the promised land. 

But the Jews would be weak and weary. After seventy years of slavery they would be physically drained, and the journey home would be no Sunday afternoon stroll. As the crow flies, the distance from Babylon (modern Iraq) to Jerusalem was between 400-500 miles, but following the river stretched the trek into 900 miles. Their slow moving caravan would spend four months on this route. How many times would their children ask if they were there yet? They were probably tired just thinking about it. 

But “the everlasting God, the Lord…neither faints nor grows weary (v.28).” When we grow weary we can wait on the Lord and allow Him to renew our strength. Waiting does not mean we sit idly by; the word is packed with action. We are not mannequins that God poses while He works. Waiting means to hope and expect. We trust that the Lord will keep His promises. We do not go in our own natural strength, but in a renewed strength. 

‭‭‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬To renew means to exchange. This is like changing clothes: you take off what you were wearing, but you replace those clothes with something new. In this instance, the captive Jews would change their strength like it was laundry. They would disrobe from their depleted, physical energy, and then dress themselves with the fresh, clean linens of God’s strength. 

Maybe you need a new wardrobe. You have been wearing that same outfit for far too long; it is faded, dirty, and threadbare, symbolic of your weakened condition. You are worn out, mentally and emotionally exhausted, but the Lord offers you something new off the rack. 

You will then ascend on high like eagles. You will run and not grow weary; you will walk and not faint. One would think that after flying we would be exhausted, but no, we will still find the energy to run. Even after we run there will still be enough gas in the tank to walk. So exchange your strength for His by waiting on the Lord. Keep hoping and trusting in Him, and you will soar to new heights. 


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