You have to believe in the inerrancy of God's Word for them and for me. That was for them and this is for me too. Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. I believe that.
I for one would not be standing here if it were not so. I would have been spent in ministry long ago and not replenished, not refreshed, not restored. But God does restore.
You can hear more information about Cross Reference Radio, specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. But for now, let's join Pastor Rick in the book of Isaiah chapter 40 as he begins his message called Spent. Have your Bibles please turn to the prophet Isaiah chapter 40 verses 27 through 31. Text is verse 31.
Isaiah chapter 40, beginning at verse 27. Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel? My way is hidden from Yahweh, and my just claim is passed over by my God. Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, Yahweh, 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 Yahweh 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. This is one of the glorious chapters in the Bible, but it will be non-expository. In other words, I won't be looking to open up what's in that text too much, but rather point out some other things concerning the topic found in verse 31, which is our text. But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.
The title of this message is spent, like spending one's energy, spending one's faith. I know that God wants me to speak on this verse about comforting his people. Ironically, verse 1 would have been, to me, more to the point because he gets right to the point. And there the Lord says, yes, comfort my people, says the Lord. But that is not the text that he guided me to. It is verse 31. Apparently, learning about waiting is comforting. Eventually, we face conflict between God's promises and the events in our lives.
It's not uncommon. It is found in Scripture. In other words, there comes a time for we who believe when the promises of God seem to not apply to us and we are very much knocked off balance by this. Where are the promises of the Lord? This was what Gideon said. Where are the promises?
Where are the victories that our fathers had experienced? Well, it is helpful to remember, at least for me, it is resolved when I do remember that, yes, God has promises in his Word, but he has other things in his Word, too. This is displayed for us when Jesus was in the wilderness.
Satan would quote a Scripture promise to him. Throw yourself down from this pinnacle, for it is written. And the Lord countered with, it is written again. There is more Scripture. There are other things to factor in in serving God. In life, we find ourselves used up from just sometimes just living. Even an unbeliever, of course, comes to a place in their life where they just feel spent. Sometimes, we Christians, we feel spent for serving or in serving, for gallant causes.
Other times, again, just life because of what someone else has unjustly done to us. We feel like we have used up our resources. Effective service for Christ requires fuel, and fuel must be replenished.
It is a law of creation. Fuel gets spent. If you make a campfire, you need oxygen, you need heat, you need fuel.
And eventually, you run out of fuel and have to go get more in the form of logs or whatever else you're burning. Living spends fuel. And it is helpful for we who believe to not lose sight of these things. We don't have to walk around thinking about it all the time, but it is still something that is not to be lost when we find ourselves serving and spent or just living and spent. And we certainly must shun spiritual wasting, wasting away spiritually, just sort of evaporating. These things are a part of life.
We shouldn't be surprised by them, but we should not be bullied by them either. Even at our worst, we must guard against the slides backwards. Job, of course, you mentioned Job, the first thing we think about is, I'm glad I'm not Job. Well, at least one of the things I think of when I think of Job. But even at his worst, he still held to the Lord. His wife did not, and so we pick it up in Job 2, and there we read about Job and Mrs. Job, and then his wife said to him, do you still hold fast to your integrity?
Curse God and die. But he said to her, you speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God? And shall we not accept adversity? In all this, Job did not sin with his lips. When I read that verse, I want to be Job in the response. I don't want to be the one that tells another believer, just curse God and die, to give up. That your plight overrules your obedience to God, your service to him. We admire Job's response, and the rest of the book develops.
It puts him on the roller coaster where one minute he's down, the next minute he's up, and the next minute he's down, and I'll come back to that. But we are, rise up and work, and if you have to wait for God, and find yourself waiting a long time for God even, there's still work to be done. Waiting does not excuse us from building, from developing, from working. You will be replenished when you're spent because it is written, those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. Your serving God makes a servant weak, not strong, in the sense that I am talking about being spent.
Strength spent. Paul, when he wrote to the Philippians, he says, if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. And we remember when he wrote that Philippian letter, he was in jail, and it wasn't, you know, a nice jail, as we might consider jails today. 2 Corinthians, he said to them, and I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls.
Then he adds, though you seem to love me less and less. This is the serving God, makes servants weak and not strong. We should be mindful of this.
Otherwise, we have this expectation, quite possibly, that serving God, we should always feel robust and strong and, you know, just full strength of encouragement. But that's not how it works, and that's why we have these stories in the Bible. It's not surprising that in this created universe, the physical universe, creation is winding down. Things are being used up. Creation depends on other things. Derived strength.
This is how God has made it. The strongest on the field of life, at some point, is used up. Now, when I say used up, I don't mean used up in no longer any use, but just spent out of energy. From their perspective, not God's perspective, because as we just read, God, he doesn't run out of energy, he doesn't run out of strength, knowledge.
To survive, though, when we are out of resources, that strength, those resources must be renewed. Judges chapter 15 tells us the story of a great man, a strong man, who used up his strength and was going to die unless God did something. Pick it up in Judges 15. This is the story, a day in the life of Samson. He found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, reached out his hand and took it and killed a thousand men with it. Then Samson said, with the jawbone of a donkey, heaps upon heaps, with the jawbone of a donkey, I have slain a thousand men. Then he became very thirsty, so he cried out to Yahweh and said, you have given this great deliverance by the hand of your servant, and now shall I die of thirst and fall into the hand of the uncircumcised?
So God split the hollow place and water came out and he drank and his spirit returned and he revived. So that is a picture of being spent in life. Here it is in the service of God, against the enemies of God. Ideally, that should be for all of us who claim Jesus as Lord. We are born again so we can serve, not just get to heaven. Otherwise, save us and take us right to heaven right away.
We are left behind in this life to help God bring others into eternal life also. With God, of course, there are no years to make him decline. There is no aging with God and his powers remain strong throughout. This is taught, the immutability of God, the unchanging nature and character of God. Malachi chapter 3, for I am Yahweh, I do not change, explicitly stated right out. This attribute is exclusive to deity. It only belongs to God and it is applied to Jesus Christ because Jesus is God the Son.
Hebrews chapter 13, verse 8, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. So what I am reading in the Old Testament concerning God's interactions with his people applies to me in the New Testament also. His character, his will, darkness drags us down but hope in the Lord lifts us up.
And losing sight of this makes us less effective and can even make us a stumbling block for others. If we lose sight of the glory of God as believers, when we are in some great hour of darkness, we can bring others down with us if we are not careful. Elijah, the great prophet, spent himself defeating evil forces atop of Mount Carmel, dealing with that great evil influence that Jezebel had brought into the land.
But evil counter-attacked. Evil plotted the death of Elijah for daring to purge the land of the evil influence. And we read in 1 Kings chapter 19, when he saw that, when he saw that they were going to kill him and plotted his death, when he saw that he arose and ran for his life. Which of course is a sermon in itself because Elijah, come on, you had just experienced such a great victory. You had called fire down from heaven to ignite the altar.
You slew the prophets of Baal and Ashtoreth. Why are you running from a death threat? And not only did he run, he kept running. And he ran some more. And when he finally arrived to where he was going, he was physically, he was emotionally, and he was spiritually spent. When he stopped running, there was nothing left.
That's probably why he stopped running. But God didn't leave him that way. Because those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.
And we picked that part of the story up in 1 Kings chapter 19. It is a profound story and it has direct application to us when we come across these incidences in our own lives. Do you know to suffer and endure while worshipping is to be victorious in Christ? You don't have to be delivered to be victorious. You just have to take the pain in Christ. I don't care for that myself.
And I don't mind seeing it in other people. But when it's my turn, I find myself sometimes for even lesser struggles, scrambling to draw from God some promise, some sense of his presence. 1 Kings 19, speaking of Elijah. But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. This is after he had already put miles between he and those who were looking to kill him. And he prayed that he might die and said, it is enough.
Now Yahweh, take my life, for I am no better than my father's. And then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him and said to him, arise and eat. And then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals and a jar of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again. You see how spent he was, how tired he was, how in need of replenishment he was? It continues in verse 6 of 1 Kings 19, actually verse 7 we are now. And the angel of Yahweh came back a second time and touched him and said, arise and eat because the journey is too great for you.
So he arose and ate and he went in the strength of that food for 40 days and 40 nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God. This really happened. Of course the faithless will question him in awe and fuss and yeah, yeah, right. But God said this happened. And I'd rather believe God than an atheist whom I don't even believe in. If you believe in atheists, you're wrong. Even they believe in God. They just don't have the nerve to say it because they're bitter.
They want to punish God. Well, anyway, that's another story. And some of you may differ with that, but you are wrong. We can learn how to wait and we can learn how to be strengthened. And I'm not at all telling you this is child's play. I'm not at all telling you this is easy. When Jesus said, take up your cross every day, he wasn't fooling around. It meant something. Paul, again, as he was being spent from the jail that he was in, writing to the Philippians, says, speaking of learning how to wait, learning how to endure, he says, not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am to be content.
Can you just download that to me? Can you just impart that to me that I can learn to be content? I know how to be abased. I know how to abound. Everywhere and all things I have learned, both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things. Christ who strengthens me.
We like to think about that. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, while admitting the hunger and the lack of comfort and security. And yet the example that God gives to us is the child of God must learn how to wait, must do something, must make the waiting count, because it's not the whole story. Consider those who waited in Scripture.
Well, of course, the Lord Jesus. He waited and he worked for 29 and a half years, just to spend his life in 3 and a half years of ministry that resulted in his public execution, the crucifixion. Abraham waited 25 years for his beloved Isaac to be born after God told him he would have this child of Joseph. How can we forget Joseph, who waited years as a slave, then a framed criminal looking at Genesis 40, verse 23? Yet the chief, Butler, did not remember Joseph, but forgot him. Yeah, Joseph, when he had the dream and Joseph told him the dream, you'll be restored back to Pharaoh. And as the butler was leaving the jail, Joseph said, remember me to Pharaoh. Two years went by, we're told, before the butler conveniently remembered. Oh, by the way, Joseph in jail, he tells dreams.
He gives the answer to dreams. Moses waited 40 years to serve God. Well, he tried in the first 40 years and failed, couldn't even commit a crime and get away with it. Then he waited another 40 years until God called him and Moses was no longer looking by this time. And as the story goes, his reluctance tells us that Moses just was sort of jaded with people. I don't want to serve.
They're a problem, they're a pain in the neck. Find somebody else, he tells God. He had to wait 1,600 years to get into the promised land and when he got there, he wasn't even impressed. He was busy talking to the Lord.
He wasn't looking around saying, oh wow, this is wonderful, the land of milk and honey. How can we forget Joseph and Caleb, they're waiting. They waited 40 years for a guilty generation to die. That guilty generation kept them out of the promised land.
Oh, they got in when they spied it out and they went out, but they had to wait another 40 years to go back in. Caleb had to wait till his 80s to take by battle, by force. The mountain God promised him, Joshua chapter 14. This is Caleb talking to his old comrade Joshua. He said, give me this mountain of which Yahweh spoke in that day. Wouldn't you love to have seen the look in Caleb's eyes as he's talking to Joshua, give me this mountain. There was nothing casual about this request. It was, yeah, you know, I kind of like that piece of property.
What's it go for? That wasn't the strength behind this petition to Joshua. Give me this mountain which Yahweh spoke in that day for you heard in that day how the Anakim were there and that the cities were great and fortified. It may be that Yahweh will be with me and I shall be able to drive them out as Yahweh has said. You see, he's not presumptuous.
He's not naming it and claiming it, blabbing it and grabbing it, you know, squealing and stealing it. He's just saying, God might give this to me. Maybe something's changed with the Lord. I've got this promise, but you know, he's God and I'm subject to his rule.
David, of course, we've been covering David on Wednesdays. He waited years and fought for his life before receiving his God-promised throne. Strangely enough, if you're suffering and you're hearing these things, it's not that misery in the Christian loves company. It's that misery in the Christian from company derives strength because it says if they can do it through the Lord, then so can I. David, as I mentioned, fought for his life before receiving the God-promised throne, 1 Samuel 23. David stayed in strongholds in the wilderness and remained in the mountains in the wilderness of Ziph. Saul sought him every day, but God did not deliver him into his hand. It wasn't fun for David. Abigail had to wait to be delivered from a full husband.
May that not be your burden. Paul waited years in Tarsus before being called to a greater field of ministry. He did work in Tarsus while he waited.
He didn't know he was waiting. He was sent away. The Christians couldn't wait to get Paul out of Jerusalem, out of Israel. And so Paul goes back to Tarsus, his hometown, and he builds churches there.
He preaches there, but he thinks that pretty much this is the ministry. And then God sends Barnabas and retrieves Paul and expands the ministry and the suffering along with it. If ever your morale as a servant of God touches rock bottom, then reflect. Others have been where you are before you and prevailed. And others have had worse situations than you, more than likely, and prevailed. But then we say, that was them back then. This is me right now.
What do you do with that? You have to believe in the inerrancy of God's word for them and for me. That was for them and this is for me too. Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.
I believe that. I, for one, would not be standing here if it were not so. I would have been spent in ministry long ago and not replenished, not refreshed, not restored, and gone. But God does restore. 1 Corinthians chapter 10, Paul says, all these things happened, emphasis, to them as examples and they were written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the ages have come. This is for the New Testament church, he says. When Christ ascended to heaven, the end time started. We're living in the last of the last days, technology dictating that to us prophetically. But when Paul again says to the Corinthians, all these things happened to them and now, now they are examples to us.
In these last days, God preserved them in print for us to have ammunition through the admonition upon whom the end of the ages have come. Now there's more to this. This is the harder side. There's a softer side to this waiting for the Lord. Waiting for God needs strength rather than weakness. We tend to think, you know, you're just weak, I can't do anything.
Well, the matter is out of your hands. But the power to do nothing, the power to keep away from self-created ideas, the power to stay out of God's way, that requires strength. And of course, Hagar, Ishmael came through Abraham and Sarah getting in the way instead of just waiting for God. Now look back to Isaiah chapter 40 and verse 29. God tells us this in this, again, this glorious chapter. He gives power to the weak and to those who have no might. He increases strength. We tend to say, okay, he's going to give me strength to break out. God says, no, sometimes I give you strength to stay in, to be a prisoner, to wait it out. You don't think it's strength because you're screaming so much and I understand that.
I would be too in your spot. The pain, the pain, the pain. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Thanks for tuning in to Cross-Reference Radio for this study in God's Word. If you've missed any part of this message or would like to explore more teachings, you can hear them by going to crossreferenceradio.com.
Pastor Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville in Virginia. To learn more about this ministry, visit our website, crossreferenceradio.com. Again, that website is crossreferenceradio.com. We'd also like to encourage you to subscribe to our podcast. By doing so, you'll be notified of each new edition of Cross-Reference Radio that we upload. It's a great way to stay connected to God's Word. Just search for Cross-Reference Radio in your favorite podcast app. That's all for today. Thanks for joining us here on Cross-Reference Radio.
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