A Sermon by Rev. Chris Skinner
But they who wait on the Lord will renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40 verse 31)
Up to this point in the Book of Isaiah the prophet has been talking about the need to repent of the evil that the Israelites had descended into which meant they had turned away from the Lord. From chapter 40 onwards Isaiah is preaching a message of comfort and hope, of the coming of the Lord and the freedom that this will bring. In one verse there is a change from doom and gloom to the possibility of light and peace.
It is this message of hope that our text addresses. The message is being spoken to each of us as individuals because the whole Word is about our inner struggles and how we rise above them, which brings us to the words of our text.
How many of us here have always cherished the idea of being able to fly. Not in a plane but by ourselves un-aided like the birds. We look in the garden and see the way the birds take flight to the nearest tree or telegraph pole. What freedom, what delight. Up Up and away.
If we apply this to the way we feel spiritually we can think of flying high as a new perspective on things. If you have been in a plane you will know that the land, scenery looks completely different from above looking down.. Sometimes we need to look at life from a new perspective.
Our text talks about eagles. Have you ever noticed the way an eagle flies. It goes very high, hovers and looks down to survey and look for its prey. It can see far more and things are much easier to see from above. It does this with its massive wings which help it reach these heights. The wings are the vehicle for achieving the height but it is the eyes, strength and stamina that makes it effective. All three combined enable the bird to reach its goal.
In our life how much time do we spend in the mundane, rocking along involved in the essential chores, wrestling with our problems and focusing on the negatives. If we continue to do this we can become dis-heartened, dejected by what is happening to us. Open the daily newspapers and at once the negative is thrust in our face. All the evil deeds make the front pages but the positives do not make good news. Dwelling on these negatives we will find it very difficult to focus on the Lord.
‘But they who wait on the Lord will renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.’
This text is a beacon pointing to better things. It is a torch shining on what is good in life rather than what is bad. In the Bible animals, birds etc and the way we think about them correspond or symbolize aspects of our own spiritual development.
If we look at the soaring, flight and perspective they gain as they hover we can relate this to our own journey. The eagle can be likened to the way we see the Lord’s truth and our own intelligence. We can take the truth as merely knowledge and it will have no affect on our life. Or we can see it as a beacon or torch pointing us upwards. Knowledge will not lift us up like an eagle but the truth seen with the eye of faith and light can transform it into sharp sightedness like that of the eagle.
The eagle then when looked at in a good sense is focusing on positive energies and the good things of life which can be seen when we recognize that the Lord can lead us forward. In a negative sense it can make us look at bad and difficulties things and we will see no light at all. The eagle then is the Lord’s Word in our minds illuminated by positive thoughts and actions that enable us to move forward with some confidence.
Our text gives us the clue as to how we turn that darkness into light. Wait upon the Lord means that we must be prepared to have patience and trust as we learn to live the life that leads to Heaven. We must find strength. In other words our strength needs renewing. This can only be done by loving and obeying our inner feelings and wanting to change for the better. If we do, then that knowledge or intelligence will turn to wisdom and we will feel an inner confidence and strength.
Our text also says we must run and not be weary. It is amazing how positive energy can give us the strength to go forward with vigour whereas negative energy saps our strength and we become weary. If we walk with him or in His strength he will give us the vision, the commitment and His love will sustain us as we put our shoulder to the wheel.
In Isaiah’s day people could see very little good, as the times were tainted by evil and they had little freedom to fight it. In our day whilst negative forces are at play we have the freedom to choose. We have the freedom to see the good in people as well as the evil. It is our choice. We can choose how we think and act.
We can let our focus dwell on the things that reflect the bad things of life, the squallor and sensual the selfish and horrible things that are part of life. The appearance will then be that evil is absolutely dominating our lives. The media revels in doing this. But that is not the whole story. All sorts of good things are happening all we have to do is try to see them.
We must lift our gaze to something better, something higher. See the positive acts of kindness and use, the good attributes of people as well as the bad.
In our personal spiritual journey we can, in prayer and act rise on eagles wings above the mundane and seek a clearer view.
The Lord has given us the ability to lift our spirits above mere knowledge of His truth to glimpse the light of heaven. Let us work at lifting our understanding above the text of the Bible to what it is pointing to. A sense of hope, light and love.
This is what His coming on earth achieved. It opened up the channels of communication so that he can reach us day by day. His coming to us today is in the way our life can be changed by new positive thoughts. He is revealing himself to us if we want to have eyes to see. His presence will reside deep within us even when we are not always aware of it but it will give us the strength we need in tough times. Our text then is a trumpet call. A vision of what the Lord can achieve for us.
How much this week have we wallowed in the lower spheres of life, in self-pity, in the difficulties that appear difficult to rise above. Let us lift our spirits high like the eagle. May the Lord give us spiritual wings and enable us to gain a new perspective.
Our teachings describe how heaven is more beautiful than we can imagine and will reflect the state we are in. A state of joy and contentment will present to us beautiful vistas incomprehensible here. It is upto us to lift our spirits, our life, our sight and live in a way that will enable us to rise into the light of heaven.
It all takes effort, will-power and a trust in the Lord. The benefits and the new horizons achieved can change our view on life.
But those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.