January 7, 2009
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 understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
What we have heard with our ears and have known in our minds needs to be embraced through faith in our hearts, that God shares his strength with us when we are weary and weak. Faith is the vehicle through which we receive the blessings of God, blessings of strength and power that our loving, wise, gracious, ever-faithful, and All-powerful God desires to give to us.
Faith is essential, but let’s keep it in perspective, for faith merely invests in who God is and what He has promised. Faith does not create these blessings, nor earn them; God’s strength is not something we conjure up in our minds and thereby bring into our circumstances through merely envisioning positive thoughts. Isaiah has spent most of this chapter explaining to us the objective existence of God’s wisdom, power, and majesty. God as a Person and these attributes of his are things we are incapable of just imagining in our minds. God is real! And all that God does in our lives is based upon his grace, not our works and not really upon our faith. Faith receives what God in his grace has created and sustains.
Isaiah’s original readers had endured a long spiritual drought, and this led to the neglect of this special piece of knowledge – the difference faith makes. Their generations of disobedience and doubt that led to this drought and their despair had been so profound, it was as if they had never heard of the greatness of God, had never considered his majesty and wisdom. Of course, they had heard of these things, only they had not made the connection of how these facts would impact their lives. It was as though they had not heard that God gives strength to the weary and weak.
But there is a powerful point made here in his rebuke to his first hearers, one that fits us as well. We will not experience the blessings of God’s strength until we believe in him and through faith receive these blessings. These are two basic aspects of faith, that God is and that he blesses, as we read in Hebrews 11:6:
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
God’s existence and his love are explained to us in this generation in terms of Christ Jesus’ sinless life, sacrificial death, and glorious resurrection. But you and I must trust that “he rewards those who earnestly seek him,” providing not only the second aspect of faith – namely faith in the reward – but also providing us further insight into the nature of faith. Faith is not so much as seeking his blessings as it is seeking Him, not seeking his hand so much as seeking his face, and believing that he rewards the sincere seeker.
John Bisagno in his book, “The Power of Positive Praying,” told about the time he promised to build a playhouse in their back yard for one of his children. Shortly later he noticed the child in utter trust of his father and in expectation of the playhouse being completed soon, piling toys for where the playhouse would be. Of course, Bisagno had not even begun construction on it, but he was impressed by the simplicity of this childlike faith and put down what he was doing and went to work immediately to build that playhouse. In similar fashion God is looking for our faith and is ready to fulfill his promises when we believe.
So, do you believe that God indeed gives strength to the weary? Do you believe that God gives power to the weak? Do you believe that God will do this in your heart today? Do you focus in your faith upon him? You have heard these things, but do you believe them? You may be weary and weak, many of us are, but you will not receive the greater measure of God’s provision of strength until in humility and faith you believe that God will give these to you.
We cannot miss the point that the promises here are not the removal of burdens or a change in outward circumstances, but a deep change in our inward spiritual condition – not the removal of problems but the bestowing of power. Isaiah has pointed to the creation and beauty of the heavens to describe the power and knowledge of God, but it is clear that a more profound display of God’s strength is seen in the changing of the human heart, the renewal of the human spirit, the conversion of the human mind.
God, of course, often does change circumstances, and we should not hesitate to ask for deliverance and help. Yet here it is clearly explained that more often God’s way of changing circumstances is through changing people and then sending them out into a fallen world as his representatives.
Weary and weak? Then take the step of faith and believe in God and that he desires to reward with divine strength and incredible power the one who sincerely seeks him. And who knows what God will do through you to touch others?
Lord, so often we can become discouraged through the challenges we face, even driven to the point of despair. Let us learn to believe in you and to grow in this faith. Give us a divine vision by your word and through your Spirit that we may know you have spoken to us. Lift the circumstances that trouble us, provide our daily bread, but give us your strength and power as well. Grant us the courage to follow you with hope regardless of the challenges we face. Above all let us seek your face, Lord, more than your hand. Amen