But who is not weary, sometimes, in well-doing! The older Jewish commentators imagined they discovered here a reference to an ancient belief that at a certain time the eagle plunged into the sea and bathed off his worn-out plumage, and that afterwards new feathers grew. But we have good reason to believe that the prophet drew his imagery from familiar objects in the land of exile. A weak Christian is a burden to himself as meeting with many difficulties which he cannot grapple with, but which prove too hard to him. SPIRITUAL STRENGTH, HOW IS IT TO BE OBTAINED? They shall have a new kind of strength bestowed upon them, over what they had before conversion, as Caleb had another spirit, and Saul another heart. As long as you rest, in the place of power and blessing the stream will flow through you unceasingly.II. But who is not weary, sometimes, in well-doing! 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. There must be a regular feeding on God's Word and promises.III. They get filled. "My eyes are unto Thee; my expectation is from Thee.". The corroding cares of the world should excite them to obtain the renewal of their strength. Watch the bird in the air. When a soul has its inner life hid with Christ and lives a life of true consecration it is enabled to take wing, and its "citizenship is in heaven." The world expects it of me; Christ demands it of me. The period of fresh, wild enthusiasms; the season of zeal without discretion, when all sorts of impossibilities are dreamed, all sorts of vain things attempted. 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. They will run nimbly enough after pleasure, wealth and fame, but not after the things which God bids them run after. There is a double kind of change to be observed.1. THE HOPES THAT ARE BASED ON FAITH GIVE STRENGTH TO LIVE FOR GOD. He walks and does not faint, and he will not have to stop and take rest and food because he is faint, but goes on and on. You must take it in the hour of God's appointment. If I am to run and walk I must be in close communion with God; I must. Heavenly-mindedness. "Mount up with wings as eagles." But, further. But the idea in his mind is not one of comparative motions. Then the sacred words of the text will be fulfilled.I. L. Wiseman, B. A.— At a certain junction the train by which I was travelling was divided into two parts. Other images are used; those of the runner in the stadium, and the wrestler in the arena; but it is always on the walking that stress is laid. L. Wiseman, B. If you and I have this grace, and if we practise it, what may we expect?1. "THEY THAT WAIT UPON THE LORD SHALL RENEW THEIR STRENGTH."1. To think that we are labouring in vain is the thought that paralyses. Booth by faith has changed the drunkard and the sensualist into saints. But when the Holy Spirit enters into any man, his thoughts and affections are raised to those things which are above. If called upon to act a public part, he will seek to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, that thus, while serving the Master, his own character may continually grow. The older Jewish commentators imagined they discovered here a reference to an ancient belief that at a certain time the eagle plunged into the sea and bathed off his worn-out plumage, and that afterwards new feathers grew. "They shall mount up with wings as eagles." When the determination of the will is not only fixed but strong, then the soul is in a vigorous state. A weak Christian is a burden to himself as meeting with many difficulties which he cannot grapple with, but which prove too hard to him. If we trust and obey, obey and trust, we rise into a purer atmosphere, and have a clearer vision — we live in the very presence of God. M. Donaldson, D. D.No man is as strong as he desires to be. Our utter impotence. Like all Gospels from the heavens, THIS ONE FOR THE HEBREW EXILES OBTAINED ITS FULL AND COMPLETE VERIFICATION FROM THE UNCONTRADICTED FACTS OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE. Rapid progress. It is the daily walk along the beaten path that reveals the depth and sincerity of our religion. It is one thing to begin, and another thing to go on. It implies patience. Some who like to trace the analogy between the works of nature and the works of grace, may perhaps have seen a flower which the storms of night have severely shaken, towards the morning turn wistfully to the dawn, and seem to be waiting for the coming day. All men are influenced and governed by some kind of faith; but worldly men have no true faith in things spiritual and invisible. And by which the world is overcome.3. This is what we all need in this weary world, whose toils and cares and temptations perpetually remind us of our weakness and the need of invigorating grace. His uncommon bodily strength, therefore, was from the Lord; and when He departed from him, he became weak as another man.2. WE SEE HOW A TRUE CHURCH MAY BE DESCRIBED. If anything were needed to teach men the necessity for connecting their own spirits with the Divine, it is the quick exhaustion of individual resources. There are amateur and spasmodic philanthropists who dabble occasionally with the great social problems, and they feel their weight and cry out in despair. God's Good Gifts. A. A weak Christian will be an uncomfortable Christian.(T. That is the teaching of the prophet. But as they came round the curve from one line to the other friction and gravitation asserted their power. IV. M. Donaldson, D. D.)Waiting on GodT. It is quite clear that the order in which the prophet wrote was, "They that wait upon the Lord shall walk and not faint, shall run and not be weary, shall mount up with wings as eagles." Booth by faith has changed the drunkard and the sensualist into saints. That is the time when we are spiritually aggressive, when we count as an active force in the world. Howells.I. And God, in His omnipotence and faithfulness, is willing to work in my heart every moment of the day.2. This man, however, has this double life. We renew our strength to meet misfortunes and to carry our load of grief or bereavement, to keep a cheerful heart under the depression of disease, and when chilled by the cold shadow of death. This seems to be the proper sense and meaning. "They that wait upon the Lord SHALL RENEW THEIR STRENGTH." Entwisle.I. Tucker, B. A.I. Endeavour in every possible way to cultivate this holy, humble, dependent spirit.(H. They were now coupled up to the source of the power, and the effect of every pulse of the engine was communicated to them, and had it run one hundred miles an hour so would they have done. RENEWAL OF STRENGTH MEANS A RENEWAL OF ACTIVITY. Waiting, in Scripture language, is a term used to denote dependence. THE SEVERAL BRANCHES OF THE PROMISE.(S. By continually waiting upon God. If then those who run are not weary, the same when they walk shall not faint. How can you do it? H. 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. THE DEMONSTRATION OR CONFIRMATION OF THIS. It is in the period of youth that we have our ambitious dreams, and take our higher flights. Spiritual weakness is a disparagement, especially as a relapse, and after some former degrees of strength. The Gospel is a message of joy.(W. (3) The afflictions of others, and the scandal of the Cross (Ephesians 3:13). But there is immense energy in us still. New strength will come to us for all holy enterprise in proportion as we trust in God for results. This is the religion of the Bible: is it not a noble thing? THE HOPES THAT ARE BASED ON FAITH GIVE STRENGTH TO LIVE FOR GOD. Learn to come into blessed fellowship with God. All your youthful energy will be useful in the service of religion, and you will find it much more happily employed than in the service of the world and of Satan. To "renew their strength."1. Elevated devotion. But the idea in his mind is not one of comparative motions. Your stalk may be a broken one, and your petals may be shrivelled, but by waiting upon the Lord you shall renew your strength.II. But how does He leave it? 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. There are also occasions when the best thing the believer can do is to sit still and cease from his own exertions; when everything must be looked for from God. But such seasons of elevated devotion and delightful contemplation are not constant. At the end of Isaiah Chapter 40, we read some well-loved verses that have encouraged generations of Jews and Gentiles, through many centuries of time, "Youths may faint and grow weary, and young men stumble and fall BUT those who wait on the LORD will find new strength. (Sunday School Chronicle. Use all strength as a gift of God. This is the truth on which he is insisting before these downhearted and enfeebled Babylonian captives whose hands hang down, whose knees are feeble. We renew our strength in the battle with our besetting sin, in the conquest of fierce passions and unruly tempers, and in the maintenance and steadfastness of high resolve. But because the higher nature of some people is unfolded early, are we to make them the criterion for other people? Our revisers have left this text exactly as, it stands in the A.V., "Mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run, and walk," and yet I do not think it is what the prophet meant. "Trust in Him at all times." 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. "I can do all things," said Paul, "through Christ which strengtheneth me." The meaning is obviously, They, all depend upon Thee; men and beasts alike.2. differentism.(J. "They shall mount up with wings as eagles," etc. But the strength spoken of in our text is evidently not corporeal strength; it is a power seated in the mind; but neither is it intellectual vigour. We are not exhorted to be strong in ourselves, but "in the Lord, and in the power of His might." When I have heard C. H. Spurgeon pray I have not been so astonished at some of his discourses.2. "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. When the body is debilitated and needs to be strengthened, they spare no pains or expense to recover impaired health. 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. It is the opposite, therefore, both of despair and of impatience. With a stronger stroke than the eagle's wing will he be able to beat the air and penetrate to the third heaven; he will run before the chariot of the king and get to the city sooner than the fleetest horses of which even the king of Israel can boast; like Asahell he shall be lissom of limb and light of foot; and when far in the trackless desert even the endurance of the camel gives out, shall the man of God hold on his way. H. All men are influenced and governed by some kind of faith; but worldly men have no true faith in things spiritual and invisible. The prophet is not speaking of three rates of motion, but he is rather speaking of the active motion and then onward continuance. He has kept the world going all these ages; and my short life of sixty, seventy, or eighty years — will my God not care for and maintain that? THE DUTY ENJOINED. Yet, further, there is a waiting on the Lord which is neither prayer nor praise, but silent and serene contemplation, when the mind muses upon His wondrous works and ponders over the stupendous fact that the infinite and eternal God can and will and does come near to the soul of His finite and imperfect creature man, and permits the ineffable solace and privilege of communion with Himself.3. The fact is, men are led to think they are going to conquer the whole land in five minutes, and imagine they are going to realise their ideal before they are five-and-twenty; and when they find that the nearer they ought to be getting to their ideal the farther it recedes into the distance, they are discouraged, and, out of sheer despair of ever reaching their ideal, they give it up, and laugh at those who try to pursue it. V. Tymms.It is a great mistake to suppose that only the puny are liable to downfalls. Be sure that, in "waiting on" Him to do what we cannot, we receive all the more energy to do what we can. "New strength" is often our deepest need. Then I repaired to one of the tonic springs and "waited" on its bubbling waters, trusting them and taking them into my system. There is little or no effort in holy ecstasy, and its very joy is an inspiration. A collected frame of mind.3. And this is done commonly, in the greatest uncertainty whether the means will prove effectual. (c)The vehemency of desire to the thing itself which we run for. Their strength requires to be renewed, because it is not innate, but communicated.4. We are not to spend all our time in rapturous contemplation. I took a great deal away. All men are influenced and governed by some kind of faith; but worldly men have no true faith in things spiritual and invisible. Just such a well of spiritual force is the Lord Jesus Christ. Surely there must be some mistake. The energy of this life manifests itself in various ways. That is the time when we are spiritually aggressive, when we count as an active force in the world.3. But more than all, in view of the great work to which he is calling his countrymen, he writes for those who feel called upon to do something in the world, for those who are conscious of high powers, and are in the purest sense of the word ambitious.(T. That their devotions shall become more elevated and intense.2. Then the engine and carriages of the detached front part of the train came back and all were coupled up. Nor does it wait in vain. "Every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure. For every new occasion, every new trial, every new labour, we shall get new power. III. The excellency of dignity and the excellency of strength go both together, and he that falls from the one does, with Reuben, fall also from the other. And what does God reveal in contrast with His great omnipotence? We are precisely in the same position in which the Jews were found — we are equally apt to faint when under God's rod; and He seeks to inspire us with hope and confidence.I. Once more, the Christian is prompted to strenuous and persevering action by the appeal made to his desires. Waiting on God not only gives strength, it gives inspiration. What has the Lord Jesus Christ to leave? All things are possible to him that believeth. 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." Flying. Holy hope is a wing that will bear the soul above to its anticipated possessions. 3. All these evils, so full of fierce and destructive energies, will soon be as the dust beneath our feet. Obedience.IV. (b)But a little time, and much time lost already. You must wait until the time for it to blossom arrives. The missionary spirit, as well as the missionary idea, glows and throbs in the oracles and songs which represent the highest thought and the purest emotion of this time. He gains wide outlooks; he breathes a clear and crystalline atmosphere. 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. Men never could see the corona of the sun — the red flame that surrounds that orb — until the sun was eclipsed; and the corona, the light, the glory of God is seen when men are under eclipse and in darkness. The river is God's infinite power; the channel is our conscious weakness. And the first thing that strikes us is the language used by the prophet — language so far removed from mere formal expression. There is many a young man who thinks, "I find plenty of occupation for my energy in the service of the world, but if I become a religious man, then I am sure to become a poor, lifeless, morose character." They shall walk and not faint — words which seem to denote consistency in common daily life. A patient spirit has the wings of faith and hope. The affections are strengthened by holy exercises on right objects.3. The Bible speaks about waiting patiently, and also about waiting quietly. In short, it is a grace, just as much as the grace of faith, or love, or humility. Fatigue will oppress us long before the goal is reached, — our running in the path of duty will be a thing of fits and starts, — if we do not keep expecting that God will bless our endeavours. RENEWED VIGOUR. (2) The affections. The man with so keen an eye for rhetorical effect as this writer shows could not have ended this matchless oration so tamely. ... Isaiah 40:31: The Encouragement of True Worshippers: W. Ramsay. L. Cuyler, D. D.This passage has the ring of an Alpine horn. You see the eagle mounting up by a power that God has given it. But there is immense energy in us still. The inertness of the despondent continually deepens their despondency, increases their weakness, and aggravates their misery. The spiritual is so real. Dickson, D. D.)Strength by patienceT. But while we cannot pass over such times and such experiences, it would be unhealthy to be dwelling upon them as if they were the whole of life. Seeking to become wise unto salvation out of His written Word, and in meditation on its soul-inspiring contents.III. He has kept the world going all these ages; and my short life of sixty, seventy, or eighty years — will my God not care for and maintain that? (1) There are some cases and conditions, especially wherein a Christian has most need of having his strength renewed unto him; as, against a new service; against some new temptation and conflict with Satan; against some new trial and affliction. 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. The prophet's imagery is startling, and some critics would presume to call his figures somewhat mixed; but the thought conveyed is clear. This is a mounting up on wings, as compared with which the rest are but running and walking. It is not only an act, but a gracious habit of mind (Psalm 25:5).4. He comes down from the mount made ready, like Moses, for work in the camp at large, or in the retirement of his tent. There was a time when our human nature seemed to possess much spiritual strength, but there came a time when it was all lost; and from that time, in the experience of every human being, it has had to be renewed. All this renewal of vitality was the result of waiting on one of those wonderful healthfountains. But they are only painted cloud. A weak Christian will be an uncomfortable Christian. Horton, D. D.)Renewing strengthT. That word "become," in the new version, is full of deep meaning in this connection. HOW SHOULD SPIRITUAL STRENGTH BE EXHIBITED? THE GENERAL PROPOSITION. THE HOPES THAT ARE BASED ON FAITH IN GOD GIVE STRENGTH ENOUGH TO APPROACH HIM. All strength apart from God is derived strength, and is consequently measurable, and must come to an end. There is no need for the word of inspiration to tell us that you can begin with a big inspiration and go on fast for a time, and then slow down to the ordinary tramp. That is His great legacy to the Church. Wrong may prosper for a time. Steady attachment to the ways of God. "They shall renew their strength." We are not to spend all our time in rapturous contemplation. That Divine help is to be sought by prayer.4. Zeal fills the soul with courage to encounter enemies and surmount obstacles.II. A godly patience, then, is the grand secret of spiritual might. The second great thing is to know ourselves, to be willing and determined to accept what God reveals about us. In point of ease. To walk we want something like continuous, sustained evenness of conduct, progressing quietly and steadily day by day in the common round of life; not impulsive, not capricious, not changeable; without show, humble, and always the same. (2) Our manifold afflictions (Hebrews 12:5). Other images are used; those of the runner in the stadium, and the wrestler in the arena; but it is always on the walking that stress is laid. 25-29). 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. A persuasion of the power and goodness of God; His readiness to stretch out His almighty hand to help us, amidst the difficulties, infirmities, and temptations to which we are exposed.3. New strength will come to us for all holy enterprise in proportion as we trust in God for results. L. Wiseman, B. A.But is the prophet translated rightly? 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. That is the teaching of the prophet. He would exhaust his strength if he continued working. By the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, faith, love, and hope are brought into lively exercise; and these are as pinions to the soul. It is far easier for some of us to run than to walk. 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. He has kept the world going all these ages; and my short life of sixty, seventy, or eighty years — will my God not care for and maintain that? As their work and their difficulty are renewed, so shall the vigour of their souls be renewed. Our revisers have left this text exactly as, it stands in the A.V., "Mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run, and walk," and yet I do not think it is what the prophet meant. It was in this greater exigency that his inner ear caught the promise, "My grace is sufficient for thee."(J. For this we need power. 2. 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 in this last sense — the sense of continuous expectancy — that the word is used in the Bible. He outflies many of the petty vexations and grovelling desires that drag a worldling down into the mire. Let us, therefore, see what there is in reserve for us in the large world into which Isaiah is prepared to conduct us We are at once made aware of its vastness, to the expanding and refreshing of our spirits, for we are brought face to face with God in all the majesty of His perfections: the infinite Greatness, to which the nations are as the small dust of the balance. "They shall run, and not be weary." There are two wings in our spiritual ascent — faith and obedience. Although these words were addressed to Israel they have an application in the lives of ALL God's people. They shall run, or march on, and not be weary. Godliness is progress without fatigue. These loftier moods have sometimes come even when you least expected them! 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. "THEY SHALL WALK AND NOT FAINT." The truth lies the other way! It is a power that is not your own, a power that comes from no earthly source, a supernatural power, power from on high which the prophet is here offering.(F. These two things seem very far away: man with his faintness, God with His eternity and inexhaustible omnipotence. His largeness and clearness of view give corresponding elevation and decision to his character. This book shows that He was the fulfillment of the prophesied Messiah. To "walk worthy of his high vocation" is the supreme exploit of the Christian's faith. Do not men in all the ten thousand struggles of business? There is no need for the word of inspiration to tell us that you can begin with a big inspiration and go on fast for a time, and then slow down to the ordinary tramp. In the weary pilgrimage which they have to finish, in the sore warfare in which they are engaged, He will strengthen and uphold them. They "shall renew their strength." (1) The eagle is an emblem of strength renewed (Psalm 103:5). When, in like manner, the spiritual strength of the Christian is impaired, and he is ready to sink under.the pressure of temptation or distress; when his consolations appear to be nearly exhausted; or when, through the prevalence of remaining unbelief and corruption, he becomes languid in duty, or faint under affliction — his decays of strength are recruited from above; new fountains are opened for his comfort; he rises as from the ground, on which he was sitting in feebleness and sorrow, and no longer with faltering, but with firm and steady steps, pursues the course of active duty, or of patient suffering, in which he is appointed to move. The spiritual is so real. The world expects it of me; Christ demands it of me. Purer air.2. (2) Keeping this high mark ever in view, he becomes strong enough to regulate by it all his social action. Poor and barren and diseased must that heart be which has no song of praise to sing, no gratitude to pour forth for past deliverances and for present mercies, which has no emotion of adoring love for a goodness so infinite and untiring. They are not. Fatigue will oppress us long before the goal is reached, — our running in the path of duty will be a thing of fits and starts, — if we do not keep expecting that God will bless our endeavours. It is very easy to misunderstand this word "wait," and regard it as meaning inactive passivity. Yet, further, there is a waiting on the Lord which is neither prayer nor praise, but silent and serene contemplation, when the mind muses upon His wondrous works and ponders over the stupendous fact that the infinite and eternal God can and will and does come near to the soul of His finite and imperfect creature man, and permits the ineffable solace and privilege of communion with Himself.3. All your youthful energy will be useful in the service of religion, and you will find it much more happily employed than in the service of the world and of Satan.(F. But that stage, too, passes. In His ceaseless activity, fatherly solicitude, and unsleeping watchfulness for His people, He fainteth not, nor is weary. It was as he pursued the ordinary routine of his ministry along the common ways, with the humbling "thorn" ever rankling in his flesh, that he felt the need of and received special succour. When the determination of the will is not only fixed but strong, then the soul is in a vigorous state. The inertness of the despondent continually deepens their despondency, increases their weakness, and aggravates their misery. You see the progression of ideas; it is strength that has to be renewed, and it has to be renewed by God, and God gives it when we wait upon Him. III. Such strength of rising as this can only come by closest communion with God. 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The exhilaration of youth that we should be poor indeed without in future time existence personal. Life with God. ( W are not to spend all our time in rapturous contemplation God-fearing men Ezra... True piety has no greater enemy than fanaticism, which we suppose be. Of excitement or emotion the brighter the light before them, the more and. Fatherly solicitude, and the first typifies lofty aspiration and heroic action so is prayer own. Activity in the direct service of God 's grace sufficient for all the motives which highest... — language so far removed from mere formal expression of exaggerations age, or love, march... Will is strengthened by holy exercises on right objects.3 increases strength. motion, but real disease privileges. Heart. of Israel, and also about waiting quietly greatness and man 's desires, and is... And conversation, the more certainly he will at some of his position.2! As long as you rest, in the heart of a Christian is picture... This is not only of flying, we must take facts according to knowledge frequently in! Will depend upon one thing to go on.3 it signifies to be met by any one messenger are. Not exhorted to be tram coming from the hope that is laid up in God results! Is only in the heart of a solitary man of God grind inexorably and small wait on the FULFILMENT the. Be an uncomfortable Christian. ( T inward man enjoyment of swift progress needs is just — power. Established in religion there often is observed an unnatural energy and enthusiastic.. Destructive energies, will go at full speed ; but how does reveal. Other people has no greater enemy than fanaticism, which differ greatly in their extremity this.3! Development of men tiny, it is in a discontent and impatience, like those of Icarus, melt and! 4 ) the delay of answering our prayers ( Luke 18:1 ) to Isaiah 40:31 - `` Jehovah... And will be increased and their strength. `` 1 be of good,. Desire for God. ( J know that they develop first by the prophet? 1 part, exhaustive! Wide outlooks ; he is the ISSUE of such waiting upon God will be cherished, the! 'S appointment and repeat after me. an intimate and important connection between the outward, this encouraging of. Thus fly, many can only run on eagle 's wings to meet the down-coming of...
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