"He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly, Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary." (Isaiah 40:29-31)
These verses draw to mind the story of David and Goliath in 1 Samuel chapter 17. Immediately we find there is some argument as to the height of Goliath. In the Dead Sea scrolls and the Septuagint manuscripts place his height at 4 cubits and a span, or 6’ 9”. The Masoretic manuscript places his height at 6 cubits and a span of 9’ 6”. With that said go which way you will, but, Goliath was the champion of the Philistines, which means he was a powerful force to be dealt with. David the challenger was a young boy between the age of 12 and 15 though it is not specifically told. Also, we do not know how tall he was. Goliath was a professional warrior and David was a tender of sheep. Except for David’s courage, I would say that he was outclassed by Goliath.
If I was a betting man, there would be no question in my mind as to who would be the victor of the battle between David and Goliath. Goliath was armed and protected with armor and David had nothing but a sling to do battle with. Yet David was the victor and I would have lost the shekels that I would have waged. How could I have lost such a wager?
There is more to strength than a hulk of size, than weapons and armor, and a haughty attitude. There is his character, a character that knows the weakness of a man, the character that has faith in the unseen, and a character that knows his master the Lord God Almighty. This was the character of David, a small young lad that placed his trust in a big God.
In Isaiah chapter forty the Prophet Isaiah explains to us the Greatness of God. There is none like God. No man can stand before God and not be consumed by the power of His righteousness. Man thinks of himself as gods upon the earth confined to this speck in the universe. God created the universe and everything that is within it. How can a man be so haughty to believe that he could control the will of God when he cannot even control the natural world around him. Man forgets or will not submit to the truth that God is his Creator and his refuge. Man is powerless to wield the forces of creation but for God, it is a small matter. "And looking at them Jesus said to them, "With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26)
The power is not in the weak flesh of men but in the spirit of men, the spirit of men that is led by the Spirit of God. Isaiah has told us the greatness of God and he closes by telling us that God can give us His great power too.
Look now and see to whom God gives His power. "He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power." God gives His power to the weak and to those who have no might He gives His strength. To the proud, the overconfident in their wisdom, and to the ones who trust in their own strength, they receive nothing from God.
Gideon was called by God to deliver His people from the Midianites. The Midianite army was 120,000 swordsmen and probably more than that. Gideon gathered 32,000 men to go and face the Midianites. God told Gideon that he had too many men and Gideon sent 22, 000 home. Again the Lord told Gideon he had too many men and all but 300 were dismissed. When Gideon faced the Midianites he was outnumbered 400 hundred to one, but the Midianites fled in disarray and the victory belonged to Gideon.
For those who live in their own pride and self-centeredness, they will never receive strength from the Lord. God does not empower us that we can claim the victory for our self. God empowers us to do His work for His glory so that men will turn to Him in the hour of their need and serve Him in reverent fear. We often think of ourselves as strong and think to our self “we got this.” Often we find that we are but men and weak in our flesh. God’s strength is reserved for those who know they are weak and weary and seek the Lord for their help.
Waiting upon the Lord is not like standing along the highway with our thumb out waiting for a car to stop and give us a ride. We are not waiting just for the Lord to do something for us, but, waiting for the Lord to do something through us. We are not to be passively sitting around while we are waiting for the Lord’s direction. We are instruments in His hand waiting for the door that He only can open that we may walk through it. While we are waiting for His lead we are to be equipping our self to follow the path He has set before us. Where ever the Lord guides He will provide. "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." (Ephesians 2:10) The Lord will strengthen us to accomplish the work that He has set before us.
I have many times listened to the Reverend Billy Graham and am amazed by the response the people have to his message. I know that I could preach the same message word for word I would not have the reception that Dr. Graham has. It is not Dr. Graham that is causing a movement upon the hearts of the people and certainly, it is not I. It is the strength and power of the Lord through His Holy Spirit working through His instrument that causes the result of hearts being moved. If we equip our self and wait upon the Lord to lead us, then through Him we can have an effective ministry for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. "And I will strengthen them in the LORD, And in His name they will walk," declares the LORD." (Zechariah 10:12)
The Walk of the Christian is not passive or stagnate, it is a walk forward to accomplish the work of the Kingdom of God. The Lord gives us the strength to move forward in our walk to His Kingdom. We are not alone as our Lord is always with us each step of the way. We are not alone as we have our brothers and sisters in the faith that are with us all the way. We are all in the race together for the glory of our God. "Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us." (Hebrews 12:1)
The order of this verse is far from out of order. We first mount up with wings like eagles, then we run, and we finally walk. When we first accept Jesus as our personal Savior we soar to the heavenly place with Him. "And raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 2:6) We then set ourselves upon the course to run the race. (Hebrews 12:6) Then we are in the right place to walk with Him in His power. "Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him." (Colossians 2:6)
Thomas N Kirkpatrick
First Baptist Church of Durant, July 21, 2017