GETTING THE MESSAGE/Isaiah 40:28-29
The Lord gives us remedies to doubts that creep in about his ability to help or his care to help when we are in a great crisis. These words are addressed to his people; those who have been redeemed by his grace. He points us away from the crisis (and doubts about him) to facts about him.
“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.” He points you to creation. The world had a beginning, it was once nothing. The world owes its being to the creative power of God.
God spoke the world into being, and instantly it was so. Obviously, if you look at the creation you can see that it would take much less power to relieve us in whatever crisis we are in than it did to create or maintain the world. God is certainly able, and he wants us to consider that fact.
That leaves us with his concern, his care for his people. He points out to us his understanding is unsearchable. We may not understand why we are in dire straits but he does. He has revealed to you the one great thing necessary for you, (to have peace with him), and he has provided it freely in Christ. When we seek relief in present troubles it is necessary we remember former mercies.
What we require is spiritual strength to endure faithfully. We are the ones who faint and grow weary. In verse 29, the Lord promises to provide strength to us: “He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.”
This may not seem to be our experience. We might ask how we can tap into this supply of strength. So we go to our faith. The Lord has already directed us to be assured of his ability to help and his concern for us. He says these things to convince us.
The next thing would be to go to the foundation our salvation: what the gospel teaches us. You cannot understand the gospel apart from the law of God. It is good to return often to the relationship between the law and gospel.
In the Old Testament you see the theme connected to the law of God is “He who does the things of the law shall live by them.” This means if you keep God’s law, you will earn life by it. The problem is no man since sin entered the world can do this. Men deceive themselves, but the reality is no one has ever been or ever will be saved by keeping the law.
Why then does God present the law this way, “do this and live?” The Scripture gives us several uses of the law. We will look at a couple of these. The first use is that we may have no doubts that the law of God is as unchangeable as God; it is always the same, always required to the same standard, and in its entirety. God does not compromise his holiness or law.
The second reason is as Paul teaches us in Galatians 2, to serve as a tutor to instruct us as to our need of Christ. It shows us our weakness. The Lord Jesus pointed to the law in the Sermon on the Mount so as to prove the condemnation of all men. The law takes away even the slightest warrant for boasting before God. You may be sure of this if you look intently at the law; you have and continue to break it.
If you try to earn favor with God by the law, you will either be restless in your conscience, or worse, hardened in vanity. Jesus said “Come unto me you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Those who know the law and their sin will be weighed down by it. Christ takes the guilt of the law upon himself to those who look to him. He has not left you in judgment under the law.
Looking at the law and then Christ dying for you may not be your first thought in a crisis, but it should be. It will shrink mountains of difficulties. Paul and Silas didn’t sing praises to the Lord in prison to stir God for their escape (Acts 16). They sang because Christ had died for their sins. And other prisoners listened. The chains coming off were more than physical chains. People were saved.
If you do not faint under the law because you look to Christ, you will not faint under trials. The Lord will strengthen you whatever trial you face. Return here, to the foundation of your faith when tribulations come. God directs us here, to Christ, to measure his care and provision for us.