ISAIAH 40:25-27: “To whom then will you liken Me, Or to whom shall I be equal?” says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, And see who has created these things, Who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, By the greatness of His might And the strength of His power; Not one is missing. Why do you say, O Jacob, And speak, O Israel: “My way is hidden from the Lord, And my just claim is passed over by my God”?” NKJV
OBSERVATION: Have you ever wondered if God is really there? You believe that God exists but it can still feel like He is millions of miles away from you and your problems. It appears that He is answering prayers all around you but passing right over yours. When you feel this way, you are not alone. Isaiah writes about these feelings when He writes,
- “Why do you say, O Jacob, And speak, O Israel: “My way is hidden from the Lord, And my just claim is passed over by my God”?”
Chapter 40 of Isaiah deals with many of the misconceptions that Israel had about God and His nature. It contrasts the God of creation to the foolish idols of stone, iron, and wood that were worshipped in His place. Israel had a continuing battle with idolatry until they went through the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities. How could God’s chosen nation continually turn away from the living God who had revealed Himself to them?
It is easy to pile on with criticism and judgment as we read these accounts of the nation of Israel. However, when we look a little closer, when we are brutally honest, perhaps we are more like them than we want to admit. Why did they revert so easily to man-made idols? Could it be because they were something tangible that they could see and touch? Could it be in their hour of need they found it hard to wait upon the invisible God in faith?
I will never forget a story I heard about a young child who was afraid of the dark. Each night, as his father put him to sleep, the small child wanted to leave the light on. One night the father sat at his bedside and talked to him about his fear. His father turned the light out and explained to the small child that, just as he was sitting there beside him in the dark, so God was always with him each and every night. The little boy responded,
“I know that God is always with me but sometimes I need somebody with flesh and bones!”
I think we all feel like this small child at times. We want to walk in faith and know that God is always present. However, sometimes we grow weak and weary and long for something tangible. This is the struggle that Israel faced and we all deal with in life. Yet, it is not an excuse to fall into idolatry. And, it is during these times that we need to turn our eyes toward heaven and remember the greatness of God!
The Lord speaks to Israel and us, through Isaiah, when He proclaims,
- “To whom then will you liken Me, Or to whom shall I be equal?” says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, And see who has created these things, Who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, By the greatness of His might And the strength of His power; Not one is missing.”
The great Creator of the Universe, the one who formed the stars in the heavens, and every form of life on the earth, is not separated from our time of struggle. In fact, He is intimately involved in every person and aspect of His creation. He calls us by name. He watches over us through His greatness, strength, and power.
As Peter writes – “We are kept by the power of God!” (I Peter 1:5).
When we are tempted to rely on only what we see and can touch, it is because we have begun to look down instead of up. We have begun to focus on the temporal in place of the eternal. Our world has grown smaller instead of bigger. We have forgotten who God is and the greatness of His power. And, we are susceptible to making wrong decisions and placing our faith in the wrong people and circumstances just as the nation of Israel did.
It is never how strong we feel or perceives we are. It is always about who He is and the power of His might. In the closing verses of this chapter Isaiah writes,
- “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on 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 40:28-31 NKJV
As Israel cries out – “My way is hidden from the Lord, And my just claim is passed over by my God?”, Isaiah proclaims the word of the Lord. “God, the Lord, the everlasting Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary…”. In other words, He never quits watching over us. He never quits hearing our prayers. And, He is always working on our behalf…
EVEN WHEN WE DO NOT SEE IT!
It is never about our strength. Even the young will utterly fall if they rely upon their own strength. A life of assurance, a life of renewed faith, a life filled with peace, a life that knows that God is always present and working on their behalf –
IS A LIFE THAT IS WAITING UPON THE LORD!
To wait on the Lord is not to cease all activity. The word in Hebrew means to be entwined with, to be actively pursuing, to be in the position and posture of faith. As we do this, as we purposefully seek the Lord in our time of need, we not only find assurance that God truly is there – something wonderful happens!
THE LORD RENEWS OUR INNER STRENGTH!
THE LORD HELPS US SOAR ABOVE OUR CIRCUMSTANCES WITH RENEWED FAITH!
THE LORD SUSTAINS US THROUGH THE PATHWAY OF LIFE!
When we feel like we need something tangible in order to believe, all we need to do is look at His creation around us. Gaze up into the heavens and try to count the stars. Watch a sunset set over the ocean. Hold a child in your arms and look into their eyes. God’s testimony that He loves us is all around us. It is in our daily experience and in our homes. It is in the air that we breathe each day. The one who never sleeps nor slumbers is always holding us in the palm of His hand!
Lord, this morning I choose to lift my eyes toward the heavens. This morning I choose to wait upon You. Help me to walk in the faith and assurance that You are always there!
In Jesus’ Name!