Skip to content

Tag: strength

Advent: Those who wait shall renew their strength

waitingAdvent: Those who wait shall renew their strength

Please read Isaiah 40: 9-31

As I wrote yesterday, Advent characterizes patiently waiting for the Lord. The Israelites had to wait for a very long period of 400 years after the last prophet spoke to them. The prophets played a key role in the lives of Hebrews. In fact, the prophets were one of the three religious institutions in the Old Testament; the other two being the priests and the kings. The prophets, therefore, played a pivotal role in building anticipation for the Advent of the coming Messiah—Jesus Christ. In times of trouble, darkness, silence, and hopelessness, the prophets brought hope and encouragement to the people of God. The prophets keenly observed the world around them and declared what was wrong with it. They also preached that a better world was needed. In order for a better world, the prophets proclaimed, they needed a better King who would act justly and establish justice. The prophets also preached that people, who contributed to making the world a corrupt and unjust world, needed to repent and turn from their sinful ways. Only when the people repented and accepted the new order that the Messiah brings in will they be able to usher in a new and better world.

The Prophet Isaiah in particular announced that anticipating all this to happen in our world is a matter of patiently waiting. That’s why he announces that there’s even a huge incentive for those who chose to wait upon the Lord:

“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” (Isaiah 40: 31 ESV).

Notice here that Isaiah doesn’t mean we remain idle as wait upon the Lord to come back as the ruling King of his Kingdom on earth. To wait is not that we just mark our time. Rather, it’s to be active on his behalf for the kingdom, working towards its fulfillment in the here and now. That’s why he uses three verbs in the above verse: we shall “mount up… run…walk…” That provides a vivid picture of what we should be doing as we wait upon the Lord. Isaiah says the Lord knows when we wait upon him. He knows that as human beings it’s against our nature to wait. He knows that we will become weary and worn out through waiting and trusting upon God. Therefore, he has also provided for an incentive, i.e., he will renew our strength when we become weary of waiting. The incentive to renew our strength is clearly for the purpose of getting more involved in his Kingdom as the three verbs describe for us. God knows that we’re not made to be sitting apathetic but to engage with the world. Therefore, he’s also willing to supply us the needed strength, through the Holy Spirit, to mount up like eagles, to soar higher, to run faster, and to walk with sprint in our feet, to do his will on earth as it’s done in heaven!

Amen. Have a blessed week ahead!

Leave a Comment

Lenten Reflection 2012: Retreating into the wilderness with Jesus, Day 11

Day 11, Monday, March 5, 2012

During Jesus’ fasting in the wilderness, though the Bible doesn’t clearly state, it’s believed that He fasted from food, but must have drank water during this period. According to the gospel of Matthew, chapter 4:2-3: “After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.’” Jesus could endure His long fast from food because He depended upon the grace and strength of God. God the Father was the source of His inner spiritual as well as physical strength. Indeed, the main purpose of fasting is to teach us complete dependence on God than on our own material power and resources. Just as the main purpose of wilderness experience in the Bible was to bring the people of God to a point where they could look beyond themselves and their own resources, and fixed their eyes upon God—the eternal source of power that will never run out. That’s why, God was distressed with the Israelites when, after settling down in the Promised Land, they built their own unsecured cisterns (gods and shrines) and forgot the eternal Cistern—Yahweh—as the source of their infinite power. It is clear in the words of the Prophet Jeremiah:

“Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the Lord,

for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me,

the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves,

broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:12-13).

If you find yourselves in the wilderness today, try fasting with prayer. Fasting in the wilderness, that is, in the time of your sufferings, troubles, pains, loneliness, abandonment, rejection, misunderstandings, etc., will help you assess your life and your dependence on your leaking resources. What are the cisterns in your life that you trust? Are they dripping? Do you feel the need to draw from the Cistern that is infinite and will never be depleted? If so, let us determine to depend upon God alone and He’ll help us in the rest of our journey and lead us victoriously out of it. I’m reminded of a story I read a while ago. Once, a boy and his father were walking along a road when they came across a large stone. The boy said to his father, “Do you think if I use all my strength, I can move this rock?” His father answered, “If you use all your strength, I am sure you can do it.” The boy began to push the rock. Exerting himself as much as he could, he pushed and pushed. The rock did not move. Discouraged, he said to his father, “You were wrong, I can’t do it.” The father placed his arm around the boy’s shoulder and said, “No, son, you didn’t use all your strength—you didn’t ask me to help.” Amen. 

Leave a Comment

You have successfully subscribed to our blog. Thank you!

There was an error while trying to send your request. Please try again.

You agree to receive posts and updates from this site through the above email Id.