“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 40:31)
The Bible is full of paradoxes. (A paradox is a statement that seems to be contrary to common sense, yet often is true.) One paradox in the Bible is in the area of self-importance. The world teaches us that those who wish to be important should try to be first. Yet the Bible teaches us that that those wish to be important should be willing to be last. Another paradox has to do with gladness. The world teaches us that gladness comes from getting. Yet the Bible teaches us that gladness comes from giving. There’s yet another great paradox in the Bible and it has to do with getting things done. The world tells us that in order to get things done, we have to be in control. Yet the Bible teaches us that to get things done, we need to let God be in control.
The book of Isaiah was written approximately 700 years before the birth of Christ. During this time period the nation Israel was in a great spiritual decline. In an attempt to chasten His people and bring them back, the LORD allowed the Assyrians to invade them. But rather than turning back to God, Israel ran to Egypt for help. In response the LORD said –
“Woe to the rebellious children,” says the LORD, “Who take counsel, but not of Me, And who devise plans, but not of My Spirit, that they may add sin to sin; who walk to go down to Egypt, and have not asked My advice, to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt! Therefore the strength of Pharaoh shall be your shame, and trust in the shadow of Egypt shall be your humiliation.” (Isaiah 30:1-3)
How foolish the people of God were. All they had to do was humble themselves and turn from their sin, and God would bless them. “For thus says the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”
“But you would not, and you said, ‘No, for we will flee on horses’ –Therefore you shall flee! And, ‘We will ride on swift horses’ –therefore those who pursue you shall be swift! One thousand shall flee at the threat of one, at the threat of five you shall flee, till you are left as a pole on top of a mountain and as a banner on a hill. Therefore the LORD will wait, that He may be gracious to you; and therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for Him. (Isaiah 30:15-18)
Did you notice what God said? “Therefore the LORD will wait, that He may be gracious to you…” Many years ago Tammy and I heard a message by Warren Wiersbe entitled – “The Lord Waits for Us to Wait.” Here’s the great paradox in this story: running ahead of God will cause Him to wait; while resting in Him will cause Him to work. Though the temptation may often be great to take matters into our own hands, it is in returning and resting that we find His safety. It is in quietness and confidence that we find His strength. It is in learning how to be still that we see Him as God!