Waiting on God
By: Daniel Adams
Date: May 15, 2023
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. — Isaiah 40:31
During Isaiah’s lifetime, the nation of Israel suffered a period of great distress politically as oppressive Assyrian powers invaded and conquered their lands. Isaiah chapters 40–48 contain promises of salvation and deliverance from the suffering they experienced. That section of the book starts with the words “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God” (Isaiah 40:1). Israel had become weary in the wait and had given up hope, thinking God had left them, yet Isaiah drives his point home in Isaiah 40:27–31, “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’? 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. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; 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” (ESV).
The ancient Hebrews highly esteemed eagles as being mighty warriors that also cared fiercely for their young. Eagles carry their eaglets to safety, away from the threat of danger. Eagles are also known for their strength and courage in dangerous, turbulent weather, they are able to ride the wind currents and soar above storm clouds to safety. Eagles’ wings was a figure of speech commonly used to attribute these awesome characteristics to a person. The Lord references eagles’ wings in Exodus 19:1–6, which is a recollection of how God delivered Israel from the Egyptians. In this passage, the Lord gives Moses a message for His people: “You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession” (verses 4–5).
The prophet Isaiah uses wings like eagles in the same way, attributing the great characteristics of eagles to those who remain faithful to God, depend on him for their redemption, and look forward to their heavenly reward. The phrase mount up is a translation of the Hebrew word ˈalah, which means “to go up, ascend, to go up over a boundary.” Isaiah is communicating the promise that God will renewed strength and courage to overcome obstacles, if Israel would only have patience and trust in the Lord’s sovereign timing.
In reading Isaiah’s words, it's probably that Israel recalled what God had said to them long ago as they fled Egypt, about how the Lord had delivered them “on eagles’ wings” with His great strength and mighty power. Isaiah tells them that they, too, could have access to such deliverance. If they remained faithful to God, they would soar above.
Christians today can apply the principle of Isaiah 40:31 by trusting in God’s sovereignty and waiting faithfully for Him. “We do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16). God is the same yesterday, today, and forever and in His grace He will provide power, strength, and courage to the weary, weak, and downtrodden when they are willing to be patient and fully rely and wait on Him. God will cause us to mount up on eagles’ wings to soar above.
Confession: Today I place my full reliance and dependance on my heavenly father. I choose to acknowledge that he is the strength of my life. I am the head and not the tail, above and never beneath, and I soar high above by the power of the Holy Spirit!