I hope this day finds you and your family well. I invite you to take a few moments with me to read and reflect upon today’s scripture selection — and to carry these thoughts with you into your day.
Today’s Scripture: Isaiah 40:28-31
28 Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the faint,
and strengthens the powerless.
30 Even youths will faint and be weary,
and the young will fall exhausted;
31 but those who wait for 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.
Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today
A new year is always a time for thinking about the future at the same time we remember the past.
As you think about your own future, what is the source of your strength?
What does it mean to “wait for the Lord”?
Isaiah has a message for us in this passage of scripture. Isaiah wrote to his people in exile to give them perspective. He wrote to help them see beyond their flat, seemingly two-dimensional existence away from their home and the center of their religious life where they understood God to dwell.
In the reading you can see what the people are saying because Isaiah quotes them: “My way is hidden from the LORD; my God ignores my predicament.”
Their perspective, their way of seeing things, is skewed by their difficult circumstances.
Do you know about that? I certainly do! It is often hard to maintain perspective in difficult circumstances, and when we lose our perspective in one area, it begins to color the whole.
Isaiah wants to restore their perspective — to help them see that they are not abandoned. They are not alone. God is with them, among them, working in them and through them. Isaiah insists that the Creator of the world remains very much concerned and involved with Israel’s ongoing struggles.
The verb translated as “wait” in the closing verse of today’s passage (Isaiah 40:31) is based on a root meaning: “to twist, stretch, introduce tension.” By extension, the word came to mean both “to look eagerly for” and “to lie in wait for” (Psalm 56:7).
What’s important to note about this is that none of the meanings of the verb denote the modern English usage, where “waiting” most often means passively or exasperatingly biding our time. In Hebrew, this verb means eagerly awaiting, expecting/anticipating, looking for, longing for and hoping for. This is why the Common English Bible translates it “hope in the Lord.”
So, this understanding of the verb, “wait,” is an active kind of waiting. It is waiting with purpose.
Contrary to just sitting around doing nothing and waiting for the Lord to suddenly appear in the clouds or to perform some great miracle, active waiting upon the Lord means living in hope, faithfully living our lives as followers of Christ. And, for those who learn to live in active hope, “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.”
“Praise to the Lord, the Almighty”
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise him, for he is your health and salvation!
Come, all who hear; now to his temple draw near,
join me in glad adoration.
Praise to the Lord, above all things so wondrously reigning;
sheltering you under his wings, and so gently sustaining!
Have you not seen all that is needful has been
sent by his gracious ordaining?
Praise to the Lord, who will prosper your work and defend you;
surely his goodness and mercy shall daily attend you.
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,
if with his love he befriends you.
Praise to the Lord! O let all that is in me adore him!
All that has life and breath, come now with praises before him.
Let the Amen sound from his people again;
gladly forever adore him.
Thank you for sharing this moment of your day with me, with God, and with these reflections on a portion of scripture. I hope you will carry these with you throughout your day and night.
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster