Lights In The Dark 1:
Soaring On Eagle’s Wings
Text: Isaiah 40:27-31 - 27 Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the LORD, and my judgment is passed over from my God? 28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. 29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: 31But 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.
Sermon Series Introduction:
Isaiah and Jeremiah were God’s prophets and servants, who lived during some of the darkest times in the nation Judah's history. Flagrant sin was rampant, accepted and promoted. Leaders said they worshiped God, but their actions showed it was only lip service. In the midst of the dark, these two men had reason to be despondent, but their God never left them in the darkness. When it seemed the night could not get any darker, God always sent lights of hope, His words of encouragement. He still sends those light if we will but open our eyes and behold them.
This is God Speaking:
A few years from “Messages from God" began appearing on billboards around the country. They were developed by Andy Smith and his Ft. Lauderdale advertising firm. They were funded by an anonymous benefactor.
Will the road you're on get you to my place?....God
You know that "love thy neighbor" thing? I meant that......God
What part of "Thou Shalt Not..." didn't you understand?...God
We need to talk....God
Big bang theory, you've got to be kidding....God
Have you read my #1 best seller? There will be a test....God
Do you have any idea where you're going?...God
I don't doubt your existence.... God
Don't make me come down there....God
You think it's hot here?...God
Those signs were an attempt to make people think about God as personal and real to them. Someone who knew them as individuals, loved them, watched them but also would call them to answer one day for ignoring Him.
They were needed then, they are needed even more today. We as a nation, as a society, have lost the belief of a personal God. God who reaches from heaven and deals with the affairs of men, comforts the hearts of his children and sends lights into the darkness of our nights. Even some of us as Christians act as though God is no longer a real part of our life. We confess He is but we don’t live as though we believe it. Isaiah the prophet lived at a time when his nation had turned its back on God. He was like one of those billboards trying through his preaching and writing to get the people of Judah to turn back to their God. God used him and he became one of the great prophets of the OT. He wrote some of the most powerful passages about God and the coming of the Messiah in the Bible. Our passage today is one of those scriptures.
Isaiah 40:27-31 Isaiah deals with three questions concerning Israel and God. He asks “Does God See? Do I believe and finally Will I Fly?” Those same questions are just as important to us today as they were to Isaiah and Israel. By looking at these same questions we can find reassurance that God still cares for us, that he has not forgotten us and that He will supply grace and strength in our time of need.
Does God See? vs. 27
Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the LORD, and my judgment is passed over from my God?
Israel Asks Does God See?
At this time they are ruled by a tyrant king. They are under constant threat of attack by enemy nations. They have been torn apart by civil war with Israel to the north for decades now.
And so they ask, “God where are you? Why don’t you see? Why don’t you act. All of these troubles and many more that were being prophesied by Isaiah, the people had brought upon themselves. They had ignored God, turned to idols, they had left Him out of their lives, out of their nation and now they wondered where He was when He needed them.
In Our Troubles We Often Ask, “Where Is God?”
We often think the same way and ask the same questions? Does God see what is happening in our nation? Where is God when there is so much pain.
Where was God when that drunk driver killed a family?
Where was God when some monster hooked my kids on drugs?
Where is God when immoral and corrupt people become leaders of our nation.
Where is God when millions of babies are murdered by abortion?
Why doesn’t God see when evil prospers and good is ridiculed?
Where is God!?! Why doesn’t God see us?
The answer is that God is there and was there and will always be there. He see all the good and the bad. It is not God’s sight that it is the problem but ours. We have ignored and refused to see Him in our lives and in our nation for so long that we have become blind to His presence and power.
Isaiah 59:1-2 Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
Illustration: Where was God at Columbine?
We had several more shootings this past week, one at a Garlic Festival in Gilroy, California took at least 3 lives, the one in an El Paso Walmart took 20 lives. Then less than 14 hours after that 9 were killed in downtown Dayton, OH. Where was God?
For many of us the shooting at Columbine High School was the first one of these kind of shootings. Where well off kids from decent parents just start killing for no reason. Darrell Scott was the Father Of Two Victims from the Columbine High School Shooting Littleton, Colorado. His daughter Rachael was heard by the other students being shot when she refused to deny God to one of the shooters. Who walked us and asked if she believed in God? When she said yes, he killed her. Her Dad testified before the Subcommittee on crime House Judiciary Committee United States House Of Representatives Thursday, May 27,1999 2:00 P.M.
The death of my wonderful daughter Rachel Joy Scott and the deaths of that heroic teacher and the other children who died must not be in vain. Their blood cries out for answers. I am here today to declare that Columbine was not just a tragedy. It was a spiritual event that should be forcing us to look at where the real blame lies!
I wrote a poem just four nights ago that express my feelings best.
Your laws ignore our deepest needs
Your words are empty air.
You've stripped away our heritage.
You've outlawed simple prayer.
Now gunshots fill our classrooms.
And precious children die.
You seek for answers everywhere.
And ask the question "WHY"?
You regulate restrictive laws.
Through legislative creed.
Add yet you fail to understand.
That God is what we need!
We do not need more religion. We do not need more gaudy television evangelists spewing out verbal religious garbage. We do not need more million-dollar church buildings built while people with basic needs are being ignored. We do need a change of heart and an humble acknowledgment that this nation was founded on the principle of simple trust in God.
Transition: Where was God. God does not leave our or Israel;s question unanswered.
He responds through Isaiah He says, "I am here, in you past, in your present and in your future.” Look at verse 28.
Do I Believe? vs. 28-29
28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
God: I Am Here But Where Is Your Faith?
Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard? The history of their nation and God’s miracles in saving them should tell them.
And then their own personal experience should tell them that God is not limited in power, He is the creator of the all the earth, He does not faint, He does not grow tired, nor is there a limit to his knowledge and understanding.
If they would but have faith in Him then they would know that He gives power to the faint and to those who have no might he increases strength.
Have We Not Seen? Have We not known?
As a nation our history tells and show us that God was there. We would not have made it through the birth of our nation, the wars, or the economic plagues had it not been for God. If we but open our eyes we would see Him at work.
Benjamin Franklin when asked about his religion said, “Here is my Creed. I believe in one God, Creator of the Universe. That he governs it by his Providence. That he ought to be worshipped.”
George Washington, Inaugural Address, “No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency…”
James Madison (primary architect of the Constitution), “We have staked the future of government not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions on the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”
And what about us? What about our own personal experience with God in our life?
Have you talked with God? Have you walked with God? Have you come before Him in faith and sought salvation through His son Jesus Christ? If you have then you know, God has been there when you needed Him. Every step of the way He has blessed, strengthened and giving courage when we had none of our own.
All around us we see sin, pain and suffering. In our own life we go through sorrow and sickness but if we trust Him, if we believe in Him, He brings us through.
Illustration: Story of hymn "No one ever cared for me like Jesus."
Charles Weigle's song, "No One Ever Cared For Me Like Jesus," was the product of one of the darkest periods of his life. Weigle spent most of his life as an itinerant evangelist and gospel songwriter. One day after returning home from an evangelistic crusade, he found a note left by his wife of many years. The note said she had had enough of an evangelist's life. She was leaving him. Weigle later said that he became so despondent during the next several years that there were even times when he contemplated suicide. There was the terrible despair that no one really cared for him anymore. Gradually his spiritual faith was restored, and he once again became active in the Christian ministry. Soon he felt compelled to write a song that would be a summary of his past tragic experience. From a heart that had been broken came these choice words that God gave to Charles Weigle:
I would love to tell you what I think of Jesus since I found in Him a friend so strong and true; I would tell you how He changed my life completely. He did something that no other friend could do.
Chorus: No one ever cared for me like Jesus; there's no other friend so kind as He; no one else could take the sin and darkness from me. O how much He cared for me!
Transition: Whether or not you really believe will determine if you fly or faint.
Will I Fly? vs. 30-31
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: 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.
Fainting or Flying
God tells his nation that if they go in their strength, even the strength of youth and young men, will not be enough. In their own power they will faint and they will utterly fall.
The youths, and the young men symbolize the best that the nation can offer. Their best hope, the greatest strength, but God says, if that is what you are trusting in then they will fail.
Israel had to learn to see victory as God sees, not as man sees it.
Man's strength is in things seen by man, things that are visible, but God's strength is in things seen by Him, things that are beyond man’s vision. Man's strength is in outward, physical things, but God's strength is in inward, spiritual things.
God is not concerned with what you see with your eyes, but with what He sees in your heart. God does not care with how strong we are, or how smart we are, or how rich we are. If we rely on the outward things, instead of trusting in God, those things become instruments of my failure and hindrances to God help in my life. I must quit waiting, trusting in my limited abilities and begin waiting on God unlimited love, power, knowledge and grace.
Waiting on God
So How Do we wait? I think you understand this but let me show you something in …
Hebrews 12:1-3 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
Waiting On the Lord
God’s Word says these are a cloud of witnesses, which show us what God has done in the past, “Look To those Witnesses.” They show God was there in the past.
Next the Bible tells us to, “Lay aside the weight” Rid our lives of those things which hinder our walk with God and our faith in Him.
Then we are to “Run with patience” Have an enduring, far reaching, long range faith.
Most importantly we are to “Look to Jesus,” Our faith in Him is not misplaced and it is when we look to Him as our example that we find the power to fly on eagles wings. This step shows us that God is here now.
Waiting, for the child of God is not a passive, inactive time of inertness, but a standing in the battle line, filling the gap in the shield wall, praying, working, walking, running, flying time. We wait to see the promise of God manifested in our life. We wait not for the fight but for the victory.
Sometimes I may fly, soaring over anything that stands in my way, Sometimes I may run, speeding and leaping past the obstacles and hindrances, and sometimes I may only walk, struggling through the difficulties, but no matter how I go, as a child of God I always go in victory.
Romans 8:35 - 37 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors (supervictorious) through him that loved us.
Waiting on the Lord always means victory, only quitting in disbelief can defeat us.
It seems so dark today, but we can’t let our hearts dwell on the darkness, because God has sent to us lights in that darkness, precious promises that He is greater than the darkness and His Word cannot be hidden. God is here, and He sees us through the dark, now we just need to open our eyes in faith and see the grace, strength and hope He has for all who wait upon the Lord.- Pastor Kris Minefee