Isaiah 40:31 - Eagle Christians Wait Upon God.
Isa. 40:31; Eagle Christians Wait Upon God.
CONTENT; What's in the verse; Translations; Paraphrase; Word
Isa 40:31 (KJV) 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.
Isa 40:31 (NIV) but those who hope in the LORD will renew their
strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow
weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Isa 40:31 (TEV) But those who trust in the LORD for help will
find their strength renewed. They will rise on wings like eagles;
they will run and not get weary; they will walk and not grow weak.
CONTEXT; What's around the verse; Overview; Topic:
Judah's sovereign LORD intends good for His people (40:1-31).
God, not the idols worshiped by the nations, controls the future
(41:1-29). Though Israel failed its national calling as God's servant, One
from the nation will fulfill God's purpose (42:1-25) when the Creator
acts to redeem His chosen people (43:1-44:25). As evidence, God will
appoint one named Cyrus to restore Jerusalem (v. 26-45:25). Oppressive
Babylon will be crushed, and God's word of blessing for Israel will be
fulfilled (46:1-48:22). [The 365-Day Devotional Commentary]
Isa 40 begins a new rhythm played for a time of desolation.
Comfort becomes the dominant theme; poetry is the idiom. The Messiah's
forerunner was predicted. His task would be to make straight the path for
the coming King. Early Christians recognized this crying voice as
that of John the Baptist (Mt 3:3). John himself perceived this as his
task (Jn 1:23). John's Gospel highlights the magnificent metaphor of
caring by portraying Jesus as the Good Shepherd (Isa 40:11; Jn 10:14).
Christians as recipients of such care must also learn to care in their
tasks of making ready the climactic royal appearance. Patient
preparation through concern and care is our ministry of comfort as we wait
for Jesus to return. [Disciple SB]
Isa. 40:1-31. "Here is your God" The first time I traveled in
the western America, I couldn't believe the sky. It seemed so big. I
had to keep looking to the left and right to take it all in.
This is something like Isaiah's treatment here of God. He is so
big, Isaiah has us look to the left and the right to try to take Him
in. Looking left, Isaiah described a God "enthroned above the circle
of the earth" to whom the nations seem "like a drop in a bucket"
(vv. 6-26). Looking left, we are simply overwhelmed by the awesome
greatness of God's power and mighty strength.
Then Isaiah has us look right, and we see the Creator stoop down
to touch the individual, and give "strength to the weary." Because
ours is a God who not only creates but who also cares, "Those who
hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings
like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not
be faint" (vv. 27-31). [The 365-Day Devotional Commentary]
Isa 40:27-31 As in many psalms of praise, Isaiah now stresses
the goodness of God after describing his majesty (vv. 12-26). [NIV
God Is Supreme
The majesty of God (40:12-31)
The Greatness of God (40:9-31)
Comfort for God's People
God Gives Strength to Those Who Depend on Him
CROSS REFERENCES; What's in verses elsewhere.
Exodus 19:4 (KJV) Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians,
and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself.
Job 17:9 (KJV) The righteous also shall hold on his way, and he
that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger.
Psalm 27:13-14 (KJV) I had fainted, unless I had believed to
see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait on
the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart:
wait, I say, on the Lord.
Psalm 37:34 (KJV) Wait on the Lord, and keep his way, and he
shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off,
thou shalt see it.
Psalm 123:2 (KJV) Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the
hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of
her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God, until that he
have mercy upon us.
Psalm 138:3 (KJV) In the day when I cried thou answeredst me,
and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul.
Isaiah 25:9 (KJV) And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is
our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the
Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his
Isaiah 30:18 (KJV) And therefore will the Lord wait, that he
may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he
may have mercy upon you: for the Lord is a God of judgment: blessed
are all they that wait for him.
Lament. 3:25-26 (KJV) The Lord is good unto them that wait for
him, to the soul that seeketh him.  It is good that a man should
both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.
Luke 18:1 (KJV) And he spake a parable unto them to this end,
that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
Romans 8:25 (KJV) But if we hope for that we see not, then do
we with patience wait for it.
2 Cor. 1:9 (KJV) But we had the sentence of death in ourselves,
that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the
2 Cor. 4:8-10 (KJV) We are troubled on every side, yet not
distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;  Persecuted, but not
forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;  Always bearing about in the
body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might
be made manifest in our body.
2 Cor. 4:16 (KJV) For which cause we faint not; but though our
outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
2 Cor. 12:9-10 (KJV) And he said unto me, My grace is
sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most
gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power
of Christ may rest upon me.  Therefore I take pleasure in
infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses
for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
Galatians 6:9 (KJV) And let us not be weary in well doing: for
in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
Hebrews 12:1 (KJV) 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,
COMMENTARY / APPLICATION: Moving From The Head To The Heart
What is God teaching here? What does it teach about Jesus?
The "eagle" is a common metaphor for strength (cf. Ex. 19:4;
Deut. 32:11). [Believer's SB]
The eagle was thought to moult and renew his feathers, and with
them his strength, in old age (Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown
The meaning of the Hebrew is simply, `they shall ascend on wings
as eagles, ' or `they shall lift up the wings as eagles; ' and the
image is derived from the fact that the eagle rises on the most
vigorous wing of any bird, and ascends apparently further toward the sun.
The figure, therefore, denotes strength and vigor of purpose; strong
and manly piety; an elevation above the world; communion with God,
and a nearness to his throne-- as the eagle ascends toward the sun.
One of the most magnificent sights of the wild is an eagle
soaring in the sky, higher and higher, with seemingly little effort.
Similarly, the child of God who draws his strength from above is enabled to
go ever onward and upward,... Higher and still higher goals come into
view, [SDA Commentary]
They shall run and not be weary is another mode of expressing
the same idea-- that they who trust in God would be vigorous,
elevated, unwearied; that he would sustain and uphold them; and that in
his service they would never faint. (Barnes' Notes)
If God's people completely rely on God (Wolf; so NIV, JB), he
will give new strength. They will sprout fresh feathers and soar
almost effortlessly like an eagle (Watts). [Jamieson, Fausset, And
Acknowledged weakness is the first step in receiving God's
enabling power. Those who feel strong in themselves do not reach out with
expectancy for God's power. In our sense of weakness and need God has
opportunity to strengthen us. When we receive God's strength, we soar like
eagles and run like champions on God's mission. We then give God the
glory for all He accomplishes through us. [Disciple SB]
If we go forth in our own strength, we shall faint, and utterly
fall; but having our hearts and our hopes in heaven, we shall be
carried above all difficulties, and be enabled to lay hold of the prize
of our high calling in Christ Jesus. [Matthew Henry Commentary]
Those who trust to their own sufficiency, and are so confident
of it that they neither exert themselves to the utmost nor seek
unto God for his grace, are the youth and the young men, who are
strong, but are apt to think themselves stronger than they are. And they
shall faint and be weary, yea, they shall utterly fail in their
services, in their conflicts, and under their burdens; they shall soon be
made to see the folly of trusting to themselves. But those that wait
on the Lord, who make conscience of their duty to him, and by faith
rely upon him and commit themselves to his guidance, shall find that
God will not fail them.... Being strengthened, First, They shall soar
upward, upward towards God: They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
so strongly, so swiftly, so high and heaven-ward. In the strength
of divine grace, their souls shall ascend above the world, and even
enter into the holiest. (Matthew Henry's Commentary)
The phrase, `to wait on Yahweh, ' means to wait for his help;
that is, to trust in him, to put our hope or confidence in him. It is
applicable to those who are in circumstances of danger or want, and who
look to him for his merciful interposition.... The phrase is applicable
also to all who feel that they are weak, feeble, guilty, and
helpless, and who, in view of this, put their trust in Yahweh.... Religion
is often expressed in the Scriptures by `waiting on Yahweh, ' that
is, by looking to him for help, expecting deliverance through his
aid, putting trust in him. It does not imply inactivity, or want of
personal exertion; it implies merely that our hope of aid and salvation
is in him-- a feeling that is as consistent with the most strenuous
endeavors to secure the object, as it is with a state of inactivity and
indolence. Indeed, no man can wait on God in a proper manner who does not
use the means which he has appointed for conveying to us his
blessing. To wait on him without using any means to obtain his aid, is to
tempt him; to expect miraculous interposition is unauthorized, and
must meet with disappointment. And they only wait on him in a proper
manner who expect his blessing in the common modes in which he imparts
it to men-- in the use of those means and efforts which he has
appointed, and which he is accustomed to bless. The farmer who should wait
for God to plow and sow his fields, would not only be disappointed,
but would be guilty of provoking Him. And so the man who waits for
God to do what he ought to do; to save him without using any of the
means of grace, will not only be disappointed, but will provoke his
displeasure.... It means that the people of God who trust in him shall become
strong in faith; able to contend with their spiritual foes, to gain the
victory over their sins, and to discharge aright the duties, and to meet
aright the trials of life. God gives them strength, if they seek him in
the way of his appointment-- a promise which has been verified in
the experience of his people in every age. (Barnes' Notes)
As we face difficult issues in our recovery, we will find that
sometimes we need to sit tight and wait on God, and other times we need to
get up and take action, trusting Him for strength. How did Moses
know when to get moving? God told him. But Moses would have heard
nothing if he hadn't been staying in constant contact with God. [Life
Recovery Devotional SB]
The reality of God's presence is not dependent on any place, but
only dependent upon the determination to set the Lord always before
us. Our problems come when we refuse to bank on the reality of His
presence. Oswald Chambers
Remember that prayer is the source of your strength. A worker
cannot gain success while he hurries through his prayers and rushes
away to look after something that he fears may be neglected or
forgotten. He gives only a few hurried thoughts to God; he does not take
time to think, to pray, to wait upon the Lord for a renewal of
physical and spiritual strength. He soon becomes weary. He does not feel
the uplifting, inspiring influence of God's Spirit. He is not
quickened by fresh life. His jaded frame and tired brain are not soothed
by personal contact with Christ. 7T243
These are strange words to try and apply to our lives in the
'90s! No one waits for anything or anyone! We are all in the fast
lane doing our own thing! To wait upon Him takes strength and
courage: strength of character to "will" to wait, and courage to do what
others do not. To do something that has eternal significance, it must
be done through the power of the Holy Spirit, not logic or emotion.
To move out in service of any kind, and do it in the flesh will
profit us nothing. When we come to understand that His ways are not our
ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts, it will become easier to
wait for the Lord. Have you experienced times in your own life when
you should have waited for the Lord and didn't? Did you learn the
lesson well, or will you have to suffer again? Most of us will not
come to an understanding of this vital truth without many failures.
But be encouraged to keep on trying, and WAIT FOR THE LORD! [In His
Time; Walk With Wisdom]
We all want to recover as quickly as possible. It's hard to be
patient as we wait for the process to work. Sure, we realize that we
didn't get to the difficult spot we are in overnight. We understand
that we cannot undo a lifetime of damage in a moment. But still, it
is a challenge to wait patiently. Every part of our recovery
requires time and patience. This step also requires that we learn to wait
for God.... As we learn to respond to life in new ways, the winds of
adversity will lift us up, like wind beneath the wings of an eagle,
instead of knocking us down. As we develop a patient faith in God we
will be able to endure to the end of the race and win. [Life Recovery
It is as true now as it was at that time. It has been found in
the experience of thousands and tens of thousands, that by waiting
on the Lord the heart has been invigorated; the faith has been
confirmed; and the affections have been raised above the world. Strength
has been given to bear trial without complaining, to engage in
arduous duty without fainting, to pursue the perilous and toilsome
journey of life without exhaustion, and to rise above the world in hope
and peace on the bed of death. (Barnes' Notes)
Even the strongest people get tired at times, but God's power
and strength never diminish. He is never too tired or too busy to
help and listen. His strength is our source of strength. When you
feel all of life crushing you and cannot go another step, remember
that you can call upon God to renew your strength. [Life Application
Hagar bore Abraham his first son, Ishmael, founding the
Ishamaelite and Arab peoples. This occurred because Sarah ran ahead of God,
trying to fulfill what was promised - an heir. But our God is a
sovereign God. There are practical lessons to be learned from Sarah and
Hagar: it is foolish to act hastily in times of trial and difficulty;
it is prudent to watch for God's care over the lonely; it is clear
that there is Divine purpose in the life of everyone, no matter how
obscure or friendless; and in the midst of hardship and trouble, God
brings strength, comfort, and encouragement. Are you growing weary of
waiting on God? Don't fall to the temptation of Sarah, running ahead of
God and creating trouble. Make a new decision to wait on the Lord
today, He is faithful and will not let you down. [In His Time; Walk
With Wisdom re Gen.16:1,2]
"Never, never, NEVER trust your own judgment in anything. When
common sense says that a course is right, lift your heart to God, for
the path of faith and the path of blessing may be in a direction
completely opposite to that which you call common sense. When voices tell
you that action is urgent, that something must be done immediately,
refer everything to the tribunal of heaven. Then if you are still in
doubt, dare to stand still. If you are called on to act and you have
not time to pray, don't act. If you are called on to move in a
certain direction and cannot wait until you have peace with God about
it, don't move. Be strong enough and brave enough to dare to stand
and wait on God, for none of them that wait on Him shall ever be
ashamed. That is the only way to outmatch the devil." Alan Redpath,
Victorious Christian Living: Studies in the Book of Joshua, pp. 142,3
Dear Child, I watch you laboring and fretting and anxiously
striving to achieve things for me and my kingdom. Hear me. Your work is
not my primary concern. Your work is now, has always been, and
always will be secondary to your relationship with me.
What you do will flow out of your relationship with me as
irrigation streams flow out of a deep, clear, powerful river. The river
(the relationship) will set your motives and supply your strength.
Then your work will flow forth to honor me. Any time you allow your
work to come ahead of your relationship with me, you risk working
against me and my purposes.
Draw near to me and rest. Seek my will at every small turn.
Listen for my voice. Be filled with my Spirit. Then work with joy and
abandon! The Source of your power, God [PostCards from Heaven by Claire
There is a fable about the way birds first got their wings. The
story goes that initially they were made without them. Then God made
the wings, set them down before the wingless birds, and said to
them, "Take up these burdens and carry them."
The birds had sweet voices for singing, and lovely feathers that
glistened in the sunshine, but they could not soar in the air. When asked
to pick up the burdens that lay at their feet, they hesitated at
first. Yet soon they obeyed, picked up the wings with their beaks, and
set them on their shoulders to carry them.
For a short time the load seemed heavy and difficult to bear,
but soon, as they continued to carry the burden and to fold the
wings over their hearts, the wings grew attached to their little
bodies. They quickly discovered how to use them and were lifted by the
wings high into the air. The weights had become wings.
This is a parable for us. We are the wingless birds, and our
duties and tasks are the wings God uses to lift us up and carry us
heavenward. We look at our burdens and heavy loads, and try to run from
them, but if we will carry them and tie them to our hearts, they will
become wings. And on them we can then rise and soar toward God.
There is no burden so heavy that when lifted cheerfully with
love in our hearts will not become a blessing to us. God intends for
our tasks to be our helpers; to refuse to bend our shoulders to
carry a load is to miss a new opportunity for growth. J. R. Miller
No matter how overwhelming, any burden God has lovingly placed
with His own hands on our shoulders is a blessing. Frederick William
Faber [Streams In The Desert By Cowman]
David knew from experience what it meant to wait for the Lord.
He had been anointed king at age 16, but didn't become king until
he was 30. During the interim, he was chased through the
wilderness by jealous King Saul. Later, after becoming king, he was chased
by his rebellious son Absalom. David had to wait on God for the
fulfillment of his promise to reign.
Waiting on God is not easy. Often it seems that he isn't
answering our prayers or doesn't understand the urgency of our situation.
That kind of thinking implies that God is not in control or is not
fair. But God is worth waiting for. Isa.40:27-31 calls us to wait
because often God uses waiting to refresh, renew, and teach us. Make
good use of your waiting times by discovering what God may be trying
to teach you in them. [Life Application SB]
The eagle is the king of birds, it soars the highest into the
heavens. Believers are to live a heavenly life, in the very Presence and
Love and Joy of God. They are to live where God lives; they need
strength to rise there....
You know how the eagles are taught the use of their wings....
See high up a ledge on the rock, where there is an eagle's nest with
its treasure of two young eagles. See the mother bird . . . with her
beak push the timid birds over the precipice. See how they flutter
and fall and sink toward the depth. See now . . . how . . . she
spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings, and
so, as they ride upon her wings, brings them to a place of
You fear and tremble, as all your strength fails, and you feel
utterly weary and helpless.... All He asks is that you should sink down
in your weariness and wait on Him; and allow Him in His
Jehovah-strength to carry you as you ride upon the wings of His Omnipotence.
(Andrew Murray) [Spirit Filled Life Devotional SB]
Mount up ... run ... walk... in every attitude the praying,
waiting child of God is "strong in the Lord." (Jamieson, Fausset, and
We who live in His presence can find fresh motivation and
endurance as we recognize His complete lordship and plan our lives
according to His will for us. [Disciple SB]
The Christian life is a constant process of receiving from God
and giving to God.... He who does not continue to receive strength
from God will soon find himself in a position where he is unable to
serve God. See DA 827. [SDA Commentary]
Because ours is a God who not only creates but who also cares,
"Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar
on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will
walk and not be faint" (vv. 27-31). [The 365-Day Devotional
God is able to deliver and restore his distressed people if they
will wait in faith for him to act. They are to trust in him and draw
strength from him. [NIV SB]
The entire context strongly argues that He can be known.
However, man must trust God for deliverance because His ways are
incomprehensible and beyond the understanding of man. [Believer's SB]
He liberally grants all they need for their constant progress
and spiritual attainment, provided they trustingly wait upon him in
expectation and prayer. [Wycliffe Bible Commentary]
This is the God who stoops to give strength to those who put
their hope in Him. Comfort? Comfort indeed!... The key to comfort is to
know who God is. [Victor Bible Reader's Companion]