Hope for Worried Men (Isaiah 40)

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Proverbs 30:18-19 “There are three things that are too amazing for me, four that I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a woman.”

Today I want to talk to you about soaring eagles. The eagle is a national symbol of our country. They are one of the most magnificent animals that God has created; they are both inspiring and impressive. They have wingspans as up to 8’ and weigh as much as 20lbs. They glide gracefully through the air and can reach speeds of up to 60 mph; and when they dive for their prey can reach speeds greater than 100 mph.[1] I think the most significant thing about their flight is during the arrival of a storm. They are the only bird that does not seek to avoid the storm. The very winds that slow or scare others are the ones that enhance the eagle’s journey. When an eagle detects bad weather it continues to fly into the storm until the winds lift it above the storm. Eagles do not escape the storm but they embrace it. They use the turbulent winds to gain entry into greater elevation and perspective – a place they could not have reached before the storm. And so they soar.

Likewise, God did not create Christians to escape the storms and stressors of life. Every one experiences some level of stress, and of course some more than others. We live in a world of continual stress – raised blood pressure, tense muscles, headaches, fatigue, eating more or less, overreacting to normal circumstances, forgetfulness, forgetfulness, forgetfulness (did I say that already?) and difficulty with concentration, persistent pessimism, loss of objectivity and an overall desire to escape or run away. These are only to name a few…anyone feel stressed?

Top 10 Signs You Are A Stressed Member Of SPBC:

10. You’re worried the Youth Pastor might ask you to help him organize Vacation Bible School. 
9. You’re stressed that your child’s whispering is louder than the elderly gentleman’s s snoring. 
8. You enter the sanctuary for the worship service and are handed a bulletin. As you open it you read that you are on the schedule for nursery duty! 
7. You have the urge to use the restroom but decide to wait because the exit door is in the front of the room for everyone to see you exit. 
6. You are trying to sing and follow the lyrics on the PowerPoint but you can’t see past the 2 bald guys on stage. 
5. You leave the church to go out to eat when suddenly in the drive-thru you realize you left your kids in the nursery. 
4. Surprise, it’s your turn to feed the entire church for the after-church fellowship! 
3. You are stressed each week at church because the back rows are always filled up before you get there. 
2. 3 words: Ravens or Redskins? 
1. Ooops, I forgot to bring a chocolate dessert for one of Pastor Dave’s potlucks.

 

EXAMINE   Isaiah 40:25-31 2 reasons we can soar over stress

In all, stress happens when the demands of life overcome the supply of strength upon your body. Stress is a reality that everyone lives with; even Christians are not immune to its effects. I want to suggest that stress is a symptom of being out of sync with your Savior. God created or wired each individual with a capacity to handle life’s problems but he did not create you to do it alone. You are meant to be in relationship with your Creator, and when you are not then your body and soul feel the tension.

In this passage we will examine 2 truths for why you can soar over stress.

We can soar over stress because God is everlasting (40:25-28). El Olam

 

The prophet Isaiah was writing to the people of Israel during a time where their strength was sapped and hope had vanished. Isaiah 1-39 noted God’s judgment upon Israel for its idolatry as the Assyrian army’s threatened to overtake Israel & Judah and prophesied that Babylon would conquer Judah. In 722BC Israel was conquered by Assyria and in 586BC Babylon conquered Judah. God’s people were worn down and overcome with the gravity of their circumstances. They were exhausted and spiritually empty.

However, a turn of events happens in Isaiah 40-66. Babylon has conquered Judah but Isaiah begins to remind God’s people just how big God is and his ability to deliver them from sin & slavery.

40:25 God asks the rhetorical question “To whom will you compare me?”

Throughout this chapter (and book) Isaiah is calling Israel’s attention “BEHOLD YOUR GOD!” (40:9-10).

40:1-2 God has power to comfort and pardon for sin

40:8 God’s word is unfading

40:10 God is the Lord who comes with might and reigns in power

40:11 God is the protective shepherd for the weak

40:12 God measures the waters and marks off the land

40:13-14 God’s wisdom and knowledge are unlimited

40:15 God oversees nations

40:19-20 God is uncreated

40:22 God sits far above the circle earth that its people look like grasshoppers

40:23 God unseats and establishes national leaders according to His purposes

40:26 God slings the stars into the sky and knows them each by name

40:28 God is the Everlasting Creator

The call is for Jerusalem to “lift up your eyes” to recognize God is without equal; his strength and power are beyond measure. It is God who sustains all of creation and he never gets stressed or tired, he has everlasting strength.

Many of our problems and much of our stress is a result of closed eyes; failing to see God rightly.

Psalm 121:1-2 “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”

Charles Misner (Prof. Emeritus of Physics at UMD), a scientific specialist in general relativity theory, expressed Albert Einstein’s view of preaching like this: ‘I do see the design of the universe as essentially a religious question. That is, one should have some kind of respect and awe for the whole business… It’s very magnificent and shouldn’t be taken for granted. In fact, I believe that is why Einstein had so little use for organized religion, although he strikes me as a basically very religious man. He must have looked at what the preachers said about God and felt that they were blaspheming. He had seen much more majesty than they had every imagined, and they were just not talking about the real thing…[2]

So What?

  • If God is everlasting then he does not faint or grow weary. He does not get tired or need timeouts. He is an inexhaustible reservoir of strength and power and hope over stress.Worry lacks faith in God’s prominence and protection (see Matthew 6:25-32/33-34)
    • There is nothing too big for God. Things you think are unfixable or unsolvable can be by God.
    • There is nothing too small for God. Our life is not hidden from God (40:27).

–          “Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but doesn’t get you anywhere.”

–          “Don’t worry be happy” is over simplistic and lacks biblical view that God uses all things (pain & suffering included) to bring about our good.

 

We can soar over stress because God is giving (40:29-31).

Isaiah calls Jerusalem to recognize God’s character. In response to God’s greatness is His graciousness to give and pour Himself out toward His creation. Isaiah says He gives power and strength who are weak and needy.

–          Youths shall faint (tired, lacking strength)

–          Youths shall be weary (hardness of life)

–          Young men fall exhausted (frailty)

 

The Bible describes God as a giver; 250x phrase “God gives” or “God gave” shows up in the ESV. It is an amazing thought that God the Creator, in all his glory condescends himself and selflessly gives to his creation.

Important to note is to whom he gives – “those who wait for the Lord”. Those who trust in the Lord shall renew [exchange, replace] their strength. THIS IS THE GOSPEL; exchanging your weakness and sin for God’s strength, forgiveness and hope.

God’s power to be and do is available for me and you. He gives generously to all those who ask in faith
(James  1:5-6). He is not stingy or selfish. In fact, God has given us the greatest gift anyone could ever share – His very own self. He came down to be one of us, for us. Jesus lived among humanity and died as the sacrifice for our sin. We are invited to receive His gift of hope and help for everyday living and throughout eternity.

Faith is a requirement for recipients of God’s most special gifts. It is to those who wait/hope/rely on/trust in the Lord. The only thing that hinders God’s giving is unbelief. As Hebrews 11:6“Without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to him must believe that God exists and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.”

  • Since God is giving then that means he is accessible & available. Prayer should not be used as a last minute effort when stress turns to burnout. Prayer prevents stress & burnout.

    Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

µ     Take serious the opportunity to pray for one another

µ     Take serious the opportunity to gather in prayer for our church

  • Since God is giving then make yourself available to God to the circumstances he brings about in your life so they will not stress you but strengthen you. When you trust God you will soar like an eagle in the storm because of the confidence you have that God is in control.

    Psalm 97:5 “The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of all the earth.”

 APPLY/THINK
Trusting and waiting on God is not a passive religious experience but an active relationship with a living God. We experience the ability to soar when we shift our burdens and fears from our own shoulders to the Lord’s.

Imagine[3] a child and her daddy at a swimming pool. The Dad is in the pool while the daughter is waiting from the edge. The Dad holds out his arms and says, “Jump, I will catch you. I promise.”

The best way to make that Daddy look good is to trust him and jump! That makes him look loving, wise and strong. But to not jump and walk way from the Dad makes him look bad. It says, He doesn’t care, it’s not a good idea (He’s unwise) and that you doubt his competency.

Waiting on God and trusting Him with your stress is the best expression of His worth. God is worthy of worship.

 

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