Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the thoughts and words of this reading that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
Isaiah 40:28-31 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
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
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 do! It is often hard to maintain perspective in difficult circumstances and when we lose it 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 “wait” in the closing verse of today’s passage (v. 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); none of the meanings of the verb denote the modern English usage, where “waiting” often means passively or exasperatingly biding our time. The Hebrew 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.” It is an active kind of waiting. It is waiting with purpose. It isn’t passive waiting, but active waiting.
Waiting upon the Lord does not mean sitting around doing nothing and waiting for the Lord to suddenly appear in the clouds or to perform some great miracle. It means living in active hope, faithfully living our lives as followers of Christ. For those who 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.”
There is a lot of theology woven into hymns. To enhance today’s reading, I recommend listening to “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.
I hope you will take a few moments to let the words of this message and the emotion that always connects us to music connect with your soul. I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster