STUDY 1 WINGS OF PROMISE
Reading Isaiah 40: 27 –31.
The first thing we notice about these verses is the 3D’s!
Disillusionment Here we find Isaiah in deep conversation with the people. They're not happy, feeling that God had promised them a homeland, but now they feel like exiles in a foreign land. It seems to me these people were prone to complaining, perhaps they enjoyed being in exile or at least feeling that way to blame God. That exile moment… We’ve all been there… times when we see the hopes, plans, and expectations that we had for our lives not being fulfilled, and perhaps ask God, why have you abandoned me?
We can almost hear the exasperation in Isaiah’s voice as he speaks to them. “ Do you not know? Have you not heard? In other words “ do you never listen to anything that’s been said”? Yes, people get tired and weary, even the young will struggle. Chapter 40: 31…. “ but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
And now Isaiah brings in the answer to their problem and the clincher. The Wings of Promise.
Direction What I want you to note here is the first word of this verse…BUT! We usually ignore the ifs and buts in the bible. Yet they’re usually asking for us to do something, and probably accompanied by a promise. (Deut 28: 1,2) “if you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God.” God is faithful, and He wants us to be obedient. Our disobedience doesn’t change God, but it will certainly affect us. Disobedience will close the door of blessing on our lives. BUT is an important word, it’s our get out clause!
Dependence But those who hope or wait, depending on which translation you use. The Hebrew word for hope is qavah (kaw vaw) it means to expect, gather, look, patiently, tarry, wait ( for, on, upon). The amplified version is the best one to describe this. [ but those who wait for the Lord, (who expect, look for, and hope in Him) shall change and renew their strength and power] However, the importance of the word wait is to define the attitude of a soul God-ward. In other words we need a listening ear, a responsive heart to God, and a deep desire for heavenly things.
WAITING - What does God mean by this?
He wants us to slow down, clear our minds and rest in Him. Quietly waiting on God is spending time alone with Him in prayer, worship, or bible reading and will do far more to restore our bodies, minds, and emotions than anything else we do. It’s in those times God empowers us to face everything we need to do with renewed physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual strength.
Isaiah 40:31 teaches us that waiting on God is expecting, looking for, and hoping in Him. It is spending time with Him in His Word and in His presence. We don’t worry while we wait on God, nor do we get frustrated while we wait on God......We rest!
God wants us to wait and listen. We can only do that if we stop long enough to rest. God wants us to listen to what He has to say, and sometimes the only way He will get our undivided attention is to give us a time of enforced rest. ( perhaps a time of illness or a time of release from normal circumstances) This happened to me a few years ago when Debbie took ill in Greece and had to be flown home to Stuarts mums to recover. I had six weeks of being shut in a room with only God and me. It was during this time that God took me on a journey through my past, and released me on eagles wings. If it hadn’t been for that enforced rest, I don’t think I would be doing what I’m doing now!
Sometimes when we start to get anxious and worried, we just need to tell ourselves to sit down, and that doesn’t just mean our physical body; it also means our soul – our mind, our emotions. It’s important to let our entire beings rest. We need to get rid of busyness. I’ve said it before that “If we’re too busy for God, then we’re just too busy.”
As I researched these studies I came across a story about the Old Covenant which I thought was interesting. In the Old Covenant law, the High Priest went into the Holy of Holies to make blood sacrifices for the sins of the people. He wasn’t allowed to sit down. He had bells on his robe and a rope tied to his waist. As he moved around the people outside could hear him. If the bells stopped ringing the people knew he had done something wrong and had died, so they pulled him out by the rope. This shows us that under the Old Covenant the people couldn’t rest in God’s presence. The Old Covenant had many laws, and was based on works.
It reminds me of Brownie points. Many years ago you had to earn your brownie wings so you could fly up to guides. In the Christian life we don’t need brownie points and badges to gain our wings, we just need to wait on the Lord! Thank God that the New covenant is based on the work Jesus has accomplished, and not on our own works. Jesus is our High Priest, His blood was the ultimate sacrifice for us. The atonement for the sins of the world are finished and we can rest in that knowledge. If we are struggling with our life, we need to take a seat and rest in God’s presence. The promise of God’s peace is not made to those who work and struggle in their own strength but to those who sit and rest in Jesus Christ. Wait on Him and our strength will be renewed.
Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength but why do we need to? As the verses point out we all get tired and weary, even the younger ones. Over the years when we’ve been hurt or let down we build these barriers to protect us. We become experts in survival techniques, we become accomplished builders and build walls around us and strongholds that no one can penetrate, and that includes God. Over time our first love wanes, gets tired and gives up hope. We get frustrated and disappointed. In other words our love fails, but His love doesn’t. His love mounts up on eagles wings and does not grow weary.
Finally… There is no doubt here God promises us change. Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength, they will mount up on wings of eagles, they will run, and not be weary, and they will walk and not be faint. The wings of promise and of hope are ours for the asking, waiting upon God protects us, and deepens our trust in Him. It forces us to seek His ways and brings Him glory. If we completely rely and trust upon God, He will give new strength, and we will be on our way to soaring above the storms of life.
STUDY 1 WINGS OF PROMISE GROUP QUESTIONS
1] What sort of situations make us feel like the people did in verse 27?
2] What can we do about it ? (if anything)
3] What truths and promises (like verse 28) help us to trust in God and His ability to help us?
4] How do you think God gives strength to the weary and increases the power to the weak?
5] How do we wait upon the Lord?