Help for the weary – a sermon on Isaiah 40:27-31 by Rev. Ralph Adams.
This sermon is a second from Isaiah 40, this time from the end of the chapter – verses 27 to 31: 27
Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD, and my right is disregarded by my God”? 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 to him who has no might he increases strength. 30 Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; 31 but they 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.
My sermon is entitled ‘HELP FOR THE WEARY’.
This passage is one of the better-known texts in the book of Isaiah. It is well-known because it is well-loved. It is loved because it strikes a familiar chord with so many weary pilgrims ‘travelling’ on the Christian walk.
Chapter 40 of Isaiah addresses firstly, the people of Judah, to prepare them for their looming captivity in Babylon. It was Isaiah himself in chapter 39, who foretold the nation’s approaching exile, when he spoke to Judah’s king, Hezekiah: “Hear the word of the LORD of hosts: Behold, the days are coming, when all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon. The faithful remnant of the Jews— those who were still trying to serve the Lord when they first heard the prophecy in Hezekiah’s day — needed a great deal of comfort, encouragement and hope. But how much more so would those who actually went on to endure the tragedy of the exile to its end.
In these verses, Isaiah concludes his argument that GOD promises comfort for His people in their various circumstances, anywhere, anytime. This is important for Christians who don’t have any sort of monopoly on wellbeing. We live in the favour of God, yet even we have limits to our strength. At times all of us have been weary. Our experiences can exhaust us. Perhaps you have, at some time felt so tired… in mind and body… that you couldn’t lift a finger to save yourself, so the saying goes. At such times we can become discouraged and vulnerable to the attacks of our great enemy who delights in taking advantage of us at such times. In this passage Isaiah makes us aware of three fundamental characteristics of God:
- OUR OMNISCIENT GOD KNOWS OUR EVERY CIRCUMSTANCE
- OUR OMNIPOTENT GOD IS ABSOLUTELY ABLE TO HELP US
- OUR OMNIPRESENT GOD MAKES HIMSELF AVAILABLE TO HELP US