Posted by Fred Heumann on 24 September 2014


Key Scripture:

“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 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.” (Isaiah 40:30, 31, NIV)

God is not bi-polar. He is not unapproachable at one point, then accessible in another. God doesn’t swing unpredictably from judgment to intimacy. Rather, He is both a righteous judge and the lover of our souls, both holy and loving. His judgment is informed by His love, and His justice is tempered by His mercy. He has shown Himself to be the awesome Father and Creator, as well as coming to earth in the person of His Son, Jesus, who knows intimately what it means to be human, and then sent us the Holy Spirit who would not only “come upon” us, but would dwell in us. God does not wildly swing between extremes, but combines them as only the triune God can.

The prophet Isaiah experienced this in his life. He had a major encounter with God that is related in Isaiah 6 - he saw God “high and lifted up” and heard the angels declaring “Holy, Holy, Holy!” His reply? ““Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”” (Isaiah 6:5, NIV)

Then something unpredictable happens: God sends an angel with a coal from the altar to cleanse his sin and then commissions him for a difficult but great work of declaring judgment on His people and surrounding nations. Isaiah leaves equipped for the task.

The next chapters of the book of Isaiah are filled with tough messages for Israel - until chapter 40, that is. Suddenly it becomes a message of comfort and assurance that speaks to the mighty power, love and provision of God.

“Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God?” Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no-one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 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.” (Isaiah 40:27-31, NIV)

Our God reveals Himself here to give us a picture of who He really is. Not just knee-weakening in majesty, awesome in power, and unapproachably holy, but One who seeks to comfort His people (40:1), who “tends his flock like a shepherd” and “gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart.” (40:11)

He tenderly provides for us when we cannot do it for ourselves. The phrase “renew their strength” in verse 31 really means “exchange their strength” in the original language.

When we hope in, wait upon and look for the everlasting God as He has revealed Himself, that’s when strength will rise, because we’ve exchanged our strength for His.

Do you not know? Have you not heard?

- -


• Be honest. How many times have you said, “God has lost track of me. He doesn’t care what happens to me”? (Isaiah 40:27, The Message) Maybe you didn’t say it, but I’m pretty sure you thought it. That is, as my pastor and mentor used to say, “a nasty case of the normals.”

• Read through Isaiah 40 several times. What areas of challenge are you facing where you need an exchange of strength - God’s for yours - to press through?

• How can you portray both of these sides of God’s character in your choice of worship songs in your services?


By Fred J. Heumann
Copyright 2014 Integrity Music, a division of David C Cook

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