Isaiah 40:31
But those who wait upon the LORD will renew their strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint.
Sermons
As EaglesW. Cadman, M. A.Isaiah 40:31
Communion WithJ. T. Harwood.Isaiah 40:31
Condition and ConductEvan H. Hopkins, B. A.Isaiah 40:31
Crawling and SoaringMrs. Pearsall Smith.Isaiah 40:31
Despondency and HopefulnessW. Howells.Isaiah 40:31
Exhaustion and RecoverySunday School ChronicleIsaiah 40:31
Exhaustion and Renewal, in Nature and in GraceD. Dickson, D. D.Isaiah 40:31
Godly OptimismF. L. Wiseman, B. A.Isaiah 40:31
God's EaglesW. P. Ray.Isaiah 40:31
God's Grace Sufficient for All Life's StagesJ. Halsey.Isaiah 40:31
Life with WingsJ. H. Jowett, M. A.Isaiah 40:31
Life's Order and the Divine SufficiencyJ. Halsey.Isaiah 40:31
Living Above the WorldW. L. Watkinson.Isaiah 40:31
Mounting as on Eagle's WingsT. Horton, D. D.Isaiah 40:31
Mounting Up; Running; WalkingF. L. Wiseman, B. A.Isaiah 40:31
OvercomingMrs. Pearsall Smith.Isaiah 40:31
Recuperative PowerF. L. Wiseman, B. A.Isaiah 40:31
Renewal of StrengthT. V. Tymms.Isaiah 40:31
Renewal of StrengthW.M. Statham Isaiah 40:31
Renewing StrengthT. Horton, D. D.Isaiah 40:31
Renewing StrengthIsaiah 40:31
Running and WalkingF. B. Meyer, B. A.Isaiah 40:31
Soul-GrowthH. Ward Beecher.Isaiah 40:31
Spiritual DifficultiesMrs. Pearsall Smith.Isaiah 40:31
Standing StillJ. Halsey.Isaiah 40:31
Strength by PatienceT. C. Finlayson.Isaiah 40:31
Strength for StrengthT. Horton, D. D.Isaiah 40:31
Strength for the Returning ExilesJ. Halsey.Isaiah 40:31
Strength Helping WeaknessF. L. Wiseman, B. A.Isaiah 40:31
Strength of Soul Made Perfect by Hope in GodW. Howells.Isaiah 40:31
Strength Renewed by Waiting on the LordA. Alexander, D. D.Isaiah 40:31
The Blessedness of Divine ServiceD. Thomas, D. D.Isaiah 40:31
The Christian's Air-ShipF. W. Luce, D. D.Isaiah 40:31
The Christian's WalkJ. Halsey.Isaiah 40:31
The Continued Renewal of StrengthR. M. Donaldson, D. D.Isaiah 40:31
The Eagle's StrengthR. Newton, D. D.Isaiah 40:31
The Ecstasies and Commonplaces of LoveD. Beaton, D. D.Isaiah 40:31
The Encouragement of True WorshippersW. Ramsay.Isaiah 40:31
The Glory of the Common LifeD. Beaton, D. D.Isaiah 40:31
The Gospel of the ExileJ. Clifford, D. D.Isaiah 40:31
The Happy Effects of Waiting Upon GodM. Jackson.Isaiah 40:31
The Highest Strength Derived from the Highest ServiceD. Thomas, D. D.Isaiah 40:31
The Power to Realise IdealsF. L. Wiseman, B. A.Isaiah 40:31
The Privileges of Those Who Wait Upon GodS. Knight, M. A.Isaiah 40:31
The Renewed of StrengthJ. Entwisle.Isaiah 40:31
The Source and Design of Spiritual StrengthF. Tucker, B. A.Isaiah 40:31
The Strength of a ChristianT. Horton, D. D.Isaiah 40:31
The Strength of Believers, and the Renewing of ItW. Jones.Isaiah 40:31
The Strong in Danger of ExhaustionT. V. Tymms.Isaiah 40:31
The Unwearied RunnerIsaiah 40:31
The Waiting Christian StrengthenedH. S. Plumptre, M. A.Isaiah 40:31
The Wings of Surrender and TrustMrs. Pearsall Smith.Isaiah 40:31
They Shall Walk, and not FaintProf. G. A. Smith, D. D.Isaiah 40:31
Untiring ProgressF. L. Wiseman, B. A.Isaiah 40:31
Waiting in PatienceT. Horton, D. D.Isaiah 40:31
Waiting on GodD. Dickson, D. D.Isaiah 40:31
Waiting on GodJ. Cooke.Isaiah 40:31
Waiting on GodT. L. Cuyler, D. D.Isaiah 40:31
Waiting on the LordC. Voysey, B. A.Isaiah 40:31
Waiting Upon GodH. H. Chortle.Isaiah 40:31
Waiting Upon GodT. V. Tymms.Isaiah 40:31
Waiting Upon GodAndrew Murray.Isaiah 40:31
Waiting Upon the LordJ. Vaughan, M. A.Isaiah 40:31
Waiting Upon the LordJob Orton.Isaiah 40:31
Waiting Upon the LordJ. Hocart.Isaiah 40:31
Waiting Upon the LordT. Horton, D. D.Isaiah 40:31
Waiting Upon the LordJ. H. Anderson.Isaiah 40:31
Weights Holding the Soul to EarthMrs. Pearsall Smith.Isaiah 40:31
WingsH. N. Powers.Isaiah 40:31
Wings Must be UsedMrs. Pearsall Smith.Isaiah 40:31
With Wings as EaglesAndrew Murray.Isaiah 40:31
A Challenge to Despondent UnbeliefR. Macculloch.Isaiah 40:27-31
Despondency ReprovedE. Johnson Isaiah 40:27-31
Doubt and EncouragementProf. S. R. Driver, D. D.Isaiah 40:27-31
Faith in the Living GodJ. Baldwin Brown, B. A.Isaiah 40:27-31
God the Comfort of His PeopleH. Wonnacott.Isaiah 40:27-31
My Way Hid from the LordT. Leighton.Isaiah 40:27-31
ProvidenceW. Patten.Isaiah 40:27-31
Spiritual DespondencyE. L. Hull, B. A.Isaiah 40:27-31
The Attributes of God: a Reply to UnbeliefT. Scott, B. A.Isaiah 40:27-31
The Unbelief of the Jews ReprovedIsaiah 40:27-31
Unbecoming SpeechF. B. Meyer, B. A.Isaiah 40:27-31
When the Way Seems HiddenHomiletic ReviewIsaiah 40:27-31
Energy and WisdomJ. Parker, D. D.Isaiah 40:28-31
God Never Grows WearyIsaiah 40:28-31
God's Moment the Perfect Miniature of His Everlasting DayT. G. Selby.Isaiah 40:28-31
God's Power the Comfort of His PeopleJ. Parker, D. D.Isaiah 40:28-31
Heartening Conceptions of GodBishop of Chester.Isaiah 40:28-31
Profitable Reflection in Dark HoursF. B. Meyer, B. A.Isaiah 40:28-31
The Inexhaustible Energy of GodHomilistIsaiah 40:28-31
The Inexhaustibleness of the Divine PowerHomilistIsaiah 40:28-31
The Unwearied God and Wearied MenA. Maclaren, D. D.Isaiah 40:28-31
A Spiritual TonicF. W. Brown.Isaiah 40:29-31
Almighty God Helps the WeakJ. Bromley.Isaiah 40:29-31
Causes and Cure of FaintingIsaiah 40:29-31
Encouragement to the WearyG. W. Hills.Isaiah 40:29-31
God's Power in the Heavens and on EarthA. Maclaren, D. D.Isaiah 40:29-31
God's Strength for the WeakF. B. Meyer, B. A.Isaiah 40:29-31
God's Untiring PatienceC. Silvester Home, M. A.Isaiah 40:29-31
Strength Attracted by WeaknessF. B. Meyer, B. A.Isaiah 40:29-31
The Aid of the Holy SpiritJ. Marriot, M. A.Isaiah 40:29-31
The Divine HelperJ. Parker, D. D.Isaiah 40:29-31
The Influence of the Holy GhostJ. H. Evans, M. A.Isaiah 40:29-31
The Need and the Gift of Spiritual PowerW. Clarkson Isaiah 40:29-31
Two Operations of God's PowerA. Maclaren, D. D.Isaiah 40:29-31
Unfailing Stars and Fainting MenA. Maclaren, D. D.Isaiah 40:29-31
How to Grow StrongT. Spurgeon.Isaiah 40:30-31
The Secret of Immortal YouthA. Maclaren, D. D.Isaiah 40:30-31
The Unfainting SpiritG. H. Dick.Isaiah 40:30-31
They that wait upon the Lord. Here we have revealed to us the secret of the soul's renewed energy. It is open to all. We are thus "changed men," for the Hebrew word here, "to renew," means "to change." Experiences like these alter alike character and countenance. God restores unto us the joy of his anointed.

I. A DIVINE PROMISE. Written in the book of inspiration? Yes; and embodied in the experience of a great multitude of souls. So attest the men of old, like Daniel and Nehemiah, who had each religious work to do in pagan courts. And s., also must we. No philosophy of prayer may be possible to us, save that best of all philosophies, the philosophy of experience. And this we cannot set aside. As the Bible is its own best evidence concerning its inspiration, so is prayer its own best argument. They that wait upon the Lord, in every age, whether in the patriarchy, the theocracy, or the Christian age, have renewed their strength.

II. A TRIPLE EXPERIENCE. "They shall mount up with wings as eagles." True, there is a higher realm into which as we rise we are surprised that the cares and worries of this lower world should have such power to harass and overcome us. We do see light in God's light. The nearer we get to Jesus, the Sun of Righteousness, the more we feel this light and heat. "They shall run, and not be weary." Progress is made. Elasticity of heart is felt. We renew the youth of our souls. "They shall walk, and not faint" For we cannot always be in the enjoyment of swift progress. We have hills to climb and waters to ford, and what we call the commonplaces of life to attend to. Still, there is room for heroism here, and for gracious communion with God and contentment with his will. To walk and not faint is sometimes more difficult than to run and not be weary. - W.M.S.







But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength
There was a real climax in the prophet's statement. And its application, in his thought, was to the return of the exiles from Babylon to Jerusalem. God's helpfulness would be adequate to their needs in all the stages of their return. In the first flush of joy, and in the first flights of eager anticipation, "on which we see them rising in the psalms of redemption as on the wings of an eagle"; again, in the rush and excitement of their hurried departure, the running to and fro in hasty and exhausting preparation; but finally, when they wanted it most, in the long tramp, tramp, tramp of those seven hundred weary miles, day after day, week after week, when their pace must be adapted to those of the heavily-laden beasts of burden, and of the little ones whose strength would often fail and who would need to be lifted up and carried in the father's arms. How often on that tiresome journey would the sweet music of the prophet's words return to their memory, "they shall walk and not faint." Then it was that their trust in Jehovah would be put fully to the proof. It was in the walking and not in the flying that their faith would triumph.

(J. Halsey.)

I. This is THE GOSPEL OF THE EXILE; the "Gospel before the Gospel" (Cheyne); the good news of the swift accession of power and deliverance to the Jewish people, humiliated, dispirited, and tired out by monotonously waiting in their Babylonian captivity for a long-delayed good.

II. Like all Gospels, THIS GOSPEL OF THE EXILE IS GOD'S. Every true prophet's great appeal is, "Hast thou not known, hast thou not heard" of God! The whole air rings with His name. The universe is lit up with His glory. The stars speak His power. In His ceaseless activity, fatherly solicitude, and unsleeping watchfulness for His people, He fainteth not, nor is weary. The Exile is not a mistake. You are not in the wrong school. He knows what He is doing. There is no searching of His understanding. Believe in Him, wait on Him, wait for Him, and you will become younger and stronger than ever. So God in His loving care for, and constant education of souls, is the Alpha and Omega of this whole Gospel for captive Israel. We cannot have any good news for any age, or for any people, or for any soul, without Him. All flesh is aa grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth, but the revelation of the inexhaustible God liveth and abideth for ever. The strength of God is the salvation of men.

III. Like all Divine evangels, THIS GOOD NEWS FOR THE CAPTIVES OF BABYLON IS ADDRESSED IMMEDIATELY TO A SPECIAL NEED, AND ADAPTED BY ITS FORM TO EFFECT A PARTICULAR RESULT, namely, that of patient endurance of acute affliction. The Gospel is for men and women who have lost their strength in living, and are losing it more and more, day by day, till they fear its utter extinction by the presence of thickening despairs, and the ceaseless gnawing of spiritual fibre by silent misery and unutterable grief. Nothing tires like hopelessness. Nothing makes the heart sick like long delays. Unto them, therefore, is the word of this salvation sent. "Wait for God." "Wait upon the Lord." "Trust in Him at all times." He will come. He cannot help coming, His nature urges Him towards you with all the tenderness of His love, and all the helpfulness of His omnipotence. Faith in God takes multitudinous forms in the long story of the soul's life with God. It is a Divine law on which this direction rests. God must be waited for. We cannot anticipate Him. While the soil is frozen and hard we cannot compel the crop; we wait for the spring. The farmer of the Nile waits till the waters rise and then casts his bread upon them, hoping to see his harvest after many days. There is a time for growth, and we must take facts according to God's plan. Even young men faint in the conflict because they will not wait for God. Defeated and overwhelmed with despair you say, "It avails nothing, I am no forwarder to-day than I was last week, I am as far from the kingdom of God as ever; my passions are as wild, my mind as untameable as it was when I started for a better and manlier life." Recall Moses. Did he not in his impatience lift up the standard of freedom forty years too soon? But is not waiting for God cowardly indolence and fatalistic apathy? Cowardly indolence, indeed! Nothing will more test any fibre you've got!

IV. Like all Gospels from the heavens, THIS ONE FOR THE HEBREW EXILES OBTAINED ITS FULL AND COMPLETE VERIFICATION FROM THE UNCONTRADICTED FACTS OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE. The captive people waited for God and on God, and they did not wait in vain. The ransomed of the Lord returned: but the return was the least good they received, and deliverance their smallest boon. Grace and strength came by the prophets and by prayer in unbroken continuity, and fresh gifts of power and light and zeal and joy enlarged and enriched their lives. They were born again. They renewed their youth, and became a regenerated, pure, missionary people; found Babylon a better school than Jerusalem, and the severities and perils of captivity a healthier discipline than the luxuries and security of freedom. The sevenfold blessing of the Exile stands written in the unimpeachable Chronicles of Israel, and the world.

1. First and most distinctive of the gains of the Jews from their captivity, stands their advanced and perfected knowledge of God. The Divine idea was lifted above all the restrictions of race and locality to the throne of the universe; the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob was recognised as the Saviour of the ends of the earth. We fret and chafe in our sufferings and under our chastisements, when to patience and meekness the God of all comfort comes with His sweetest and most refreshing revelations.

2. Next comes up out of the Exile the more definitely shaped and clearly conceived image of the Anointed of the Lord, the Daysman or Mediator, the Lord our Righteousness, the Herald of a New Covenant, the suffering and conquering Servant of God, who is to realise the ideal Jerusalem, and bring a new heaven and a new earth.

3. Fired by this hope of a personal Redeemer, and controlled by a spiritual conception of Jehovah, the worship of God entered on that final spiritual phase which has never been wholly eclipsed, though it has suffered, and still suffers, many painful obscurations.(1) There is such a signal and hearty recognition of the power of prayer in the individual and in the community, as to warrant the idea that the Exile was the origin of the prayer-meeting.(2) There is a total detachment from all ritual, and the cheerful acceptance of "little sanctuaries," synagogues, or "meeting-houses," and even of quiet spots by the river-side, in place of the gorgeous temple and its arresting and impressive symbolism.(3) The spell of idolatry is broken for ever.

4. Bound up with this we see the generation of a higher ethic; the birth of a nobler conception of life, as the sphere for rightness of aim and righteousness of character. Through this gate of tribulation Israel enters into the kingdom of holiness.

5. The temporary limitations and restrictions of Israel being annulled, it is forthwith lifted into the stream of universal history, never to be taken out again. It is proved that Hebraism can exist without a temple and without a priest, without an altar and without a land, without anything or anybody save the soul and God.

6. With glowing ardour and intense enthusiasm these elect souls go forth on this service, seeking to establish a knowledge of the true God, urging the heathen to accept the light they enjoy, and sharing with them as proselytes the peace and prosperity, brought by truth and righteousness. The missionary spirit, as well as the missionary idea, glows and throbs in the oracles and songs which represent the highest thought and the purest emotion of this time.

7. This was completed by the enlargement and recension of that unique and marvellous missionary agent, the Old Testament literature, so splendidly enriched with some of its most pathetic and consolatory contributions, so carefully transcribed and sacredly guarded by the "Scribes," who started into existence in these days; and so diligently pondered by those choice spirits who had learnt to sigh for God as their exceeding joy, and to serve Him as their chief delight. It was the Great Missionary Book. "Salvation is of the Jews." Believe it, then; exhausted men get fresh strength by trustful longing for God; renew their spiritual energy, their faith in goodness, their power for selfsacrificing work, for fleet-footed missions of mercy, by waiting on God and for God. It is history, and actual experience.

V. This GOSPEL, LIKE ALL ITS FELLOWS, NEVER DIES. It endures for ever and ever as a living message, not effete though old, not wasted though abundantly used, but partaking of the unwearied energy and eternal reproductiveness of its infinite source. Man's wants are too diverse to be met by any one messenger. God speaks at sundry times, and by different voices; but no voice ever dies out, no message is ever wholly lost, and if not for one soul, yet for another and another, it is quick and powerful, renewing faith, and hope, and zeal.

(J. Clifford, D. D.)

I. A DUTY SUGGESTED.

1. We are reminded of the solemn and formal acts of devotion, as implied in the words — "wait upon the Lord."(1) This language is borrowed from the custom of subjects entering into the presence of their monarch with petitions, acknowledgments, or gratulations. They presented themselves and their offering.(2) God invites and encourages the attendance of His subjects. Opportunities of waiting upon an earthly sovereign are rare: but God has rendered the way to the throne plain, and the access easy. "Though the Lord be high, yet hath He respect unto the lowly."(3) But as in approaching an earthly sovereign there is required an attention to the prescribed usages and decorum of a court, so, in order to our acceptable waiting upon God, we must observe the defined forms, and cultivate the sacred proprieties of His worship; those which belong to "the place where His honour dwelleth." Much of the benefit of worship is lost by many, simply from the absence of a due preparation of the heart, or from a thoughtless neglect of the decencies of God's house. These are auxiliaries to religion, if not a part of it. Too many professors overlook the obligation to "worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness."

2. The words of the text are descriptive of the state and exercises of the mind; of the feelings and aspirations of the heart in Divine worship. They imply —(1) The spiritual recognition of God. The object of all profitable worship is God, and the end is intercourse with Him. The phrase, "wait upon God," represents a devotional heart. If vanity share the sacrifice, or irreverence desecrate it, God will turn away our prayers and His mercy from us: our service will be an abomination unto Him. Spiritual worship requires a strict and holy discipline over the mind, constant vigilance and heartfelt dependence upon Divine grace.(2) Earnest desire for God; a keen sense of want.(3) Confident expectation of the Divine mercy and grace; reliance upon the Divine word and faithfulness; assurance of the acceptance and answer of prayer through Christ.(4) Patient and submissive perseverance.(5) There is an intimate and important connection between the outward acts and the inward feelings in devotion.

II. WE ARE ASSURED OF THE BENEFIT RESULTING FROM THE DISCHARGE OF THIS DUTY. "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength," or change their strength; its measure shall be adapted to their different claims.

1. The Christian's strength may fail amid the many trials and temptations of life, and its revival become necessary. The soul may lose its energy, its decision of purpose, its promptitude of action, its confidence in God, and become weak, irresolute, and fearful.

2. Our situation may demand additional strength. We may be summoned to a post of great responsibility, to the performance of arduous duty.

3. Where are we to obtain this power, — this reviving of strength?

4. With pleasure contemplate the animating result of this renewal of strength. In conclusion, our text suggests(1) Instruction. We are taught where we must go in times of trouble.(2) Consolation. Circumstances may change; man may change; but God never changes.(3) Reproof. To the presumptuous — those who seek strength and comfort and satisfaction in the creature, who forsake the living God.

(H. H. Chortle.)

I. WHAT IT IS TO WAIT UPON THE LORD. Three things make it: service, expectation, patience. We must be as those Eastern maidens, who as they ply their needle or their distaff, look to the eye and wait upon the hand of their mistress, as their guide which is to teach them, or their model which they are to copy. Our best lessons are always found in a Father's eye. "Therefore if you would wait upon the Lord, you must be always looking out for voices — those still small voices of the soul, — and you must expect them, and you must command them." But service, however devoted, or expectation, however intense, will not be waiting without patience. Here is where so many fail.

II. THE ACTION. Elevation, rapid progress, a steady course — soar, run, walk. Is it not just what we want — to get higher, to go faster, and to be more calmly consistent?

1. Elevation. What are the wings? Beyond a doubt, faith, prayer; or, if you will, humility and confidence in a beautiful equipoise, balancing one another on either side, so that the soul sustains itself in mid-air and flies upward.

2. The servants of God in the Bible — from Abraham and David to Philip in the Acts — whenever they were told to do anything, always ran. It is the only way to do anything well. A thousand irksome duties become easy and pleasant if we do them with a ready mind, an affectionate zeal, and a happy alacrity.

3. To maintain a quiet sustained walk, day by day, in the common things of life, in the house and out of the house, not impulsive, not capricious, not changeable, — that is the hardest thing to do. Let me give four rules for this walk:

(1)Start from Christ.

(2)Walk with Christ.

(3)Walk leaning on Christ.

(4)Walk to Christ.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

God: —

I. THE SECRET OF LIFE'S POWER.

II. THE SUPPORT OF LIFE'S JOURNEY. "They shall run," etc.

III. THE BASIS OF LIFE'S EXALTATION. They shall "mount up," etc.

(J. T. Harwood.)

I. THE DUTY HERE RECOMMENDED. "Waiting upon the Lord." This expression may include many acts of the mind, but the connection of the words shows that here it principally refers to prayer. Waiting on the Lord implies —

1. A sense of our own weakness, and our need of Divine help.

2. A persuasion of the power and goodness of God; His readiness to stretch out His almighty hand to help us, amidst the difficulties, infirmities, and temptations to which we are exposed.

3. That Divine help is to be sought by prayer.

4. If we hope for His interposition, we are to be diligent in the use of those means which He hath appointed, and to which He hath promised His blessing.

II. THE ENCOURAGEMENT GIVEN. Such devout, humble souls shall "renew their strength." They shall grow more steady and established in religion. They shall find a supply of Divine help proportioned to their trials. As their work and their difficulty are renewed, so shall the vigour of their souls be renewed. How far this strength shall operate, and what noble effects it shall produce, may be seen by the following words.

III. WAITING UPON GOD HATH IN ITSELF A NATURAL TENDENCY TO ESTABLISH AND STRENGTHEN THE SOUL. It promoteth that humility which is our greatest security, and restrains that pride which goeth before a fall. It will also lead us to exert our best endeavours, and put forth all our own strength, as we would not be chargeable with the guilt of affronting God by asking His help without them. The nature of the blessed God strengthens this encouragement. Therefore the prophet had suggested to Israel this thought, that "the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary." His power is vast and unbounded, and nothing is too hard for Him. His understanding is infinite; there is no searching it. Therefore He can never be puzzled with any difficulties, but must know how in every possible case to deliver the godly out of their temptations. Consider also His promises and His covenant.

(Job Orton.)

Nothing can give a better conception of the strength and the weakness of human nature, than by comparing what man has done in subduing the material powers by which God has surrounded him, and in providing for his own temporal comfort, and his utter helplessness in those things which relate to the life of the soul. When he has to contend with the powers of nature, he is strong and victorious; but when he has to contend with the powers of spiritual wickedness, and with his own ungodly desires, he is helpless. The lord of nature, he is the slave of sin. The helplessness of man in spiritual things is a disease for which no remedy has been discovered, and for which no remedy ever will be discovered but that which the Word of God points out.

I. WHAT IS MEANT BY WAITING UPON THE LORD? Waiting upon God is a duty very frequently enforced in Scripture, and to which the highest blessings are annexed. "Because of His strength," says the Psalmist, "I will wait upon Him, for God is my defence." "Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart." "Our soul waiteth for the Lord; He is our help and shield." "Wait on the Lord," says Solomon, "and He shall save thee." "Keep mercy and judgment," says the prophet Hosea, "and wait on thy God continually." It is an expression peculiar to the Old Testament; but in the New Testament the same duty is repeatedly inculcated, though in different language. The precept is the same in substance with the exhortation of St. Paul, "Be ye followers of God, as dear children"; or with that of St. James, "Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you." The expression denotes a feeling of need, and a sense of dependence upon the Almighty, without whom nothing is strong or holy. For one to wait upon another implies inferiority, and a desire of protection and assistance. In many circumstances we require the protection and assistance of our fellow-creatures, but in all circumstances we require the protection and assistance of our Creator. He is ever ready to extend to us that protection and help without which we are powerless and defenceless. But He requires, as the condition of our receiving His grace, that we sincerely feel and humbly acknowledge our need of it; and that, ceasing from our own wisdom, and confessing from the heart our own weakness, we throw ourselves unreservedly upon His wisdom and strength. This sense of entire dependence upon the grace of God will naturally express itself in prayer, and in a devout and regular use of the appointed means of grace. Not only in the immediate exercises of religion, but at all times the Christian will be animated by a spirit of devotion. He will keep himself constantly near to God. But waiting upon God not only implies worship, it also implies obedience. In short, to wait upon God is to be a religious man.

II. THE NATURE OF THIS GREAT BLESSING WHICH GOD HAS ASSURED TO ALL THAT WAIT UPON HIM. In the weary pilgrimage which they have to finish, in the sore warfare in which they are engaged, He will strengthen and uphold them. Not merely is help found for the weakness of believers, but a provision is also made for relieving and substituting for it a buoyancy and joyful exaltation of spirit, so that he is enabled to hold on his way with gladness as well as with constancy. The pious man is compared in Scripture to the sun — "his soul is as the shining light, which shineth more and more unto the perfect day." The Gospel is a message of joy.

(W. Ramsay.)

What are some of the methods by which men, in the Divine economy, advance in spiritual impulse, and rise permanently higher?

1. We must not be biassed by any theory of Church or ordinances, nor by any preaching, to suppose that we are shut up to the dealings of God with us through these channels. The Church is a very powerful instrument, and will be indispensable through ages. Does not the village common school work upon the human soul? Do not books? Do not newspapers? Do not men in all the ten thousand struggles of business? Do not all the influences which go to make up the ever-teeming society? Is there anything which God does not use in operating upon the reason, the affections, and the moral sentiments of men?

2. It pleases God to make the spiritual development of men depend on time-growth. We know how it is with children. We know that they develop first by the body. Then come the social affections, with the elementary forms of the intellect. Nor can you force things in a normal and healthy child. You must take it in the hour of God's appointment. Third in the order of time, and last, is the spiritual nature. We rejoice in the earliest flower because it is the earliest, and we rejoice in the latest flower because it is the latest; but do what you will, you cannot make the aster blossom in spring. You must wait until the time for it to blossom arrives. Now, among men the same thing happens. There are those who have a premature development of spiritual impulses.. But because the higher nature of some people is unfolded early, are we to make them the criterion for other people? It is better not to seek to produce ecstatic experiences in anticipation of the normal methods.

3. Then there are many persons who renew their strength, who develop into a higher spiritual life, into more fevour, more joy, and more stability by reason of the removal of false or imperfect views of truth.

4. There are many persons who fail to come to the light of truth, and to the inspiration of the higher views of religion, by reason of worldly prosperity, which tends to satisfy their lower nature. Under such circumstances it is that, in the Divine ordering of things, what are called distresses, infirmities, and even great sorrows, are blessed of God to the opening of their nature and to the renewing of their spiritual strength. Men never could see the corona of the sun — the red flame that surrounds that orb — until the sun was eclipsed; and the corona, the light, the glory of God is seen when men are under eclipse and in darkness. There are revelations made to men then, which prosperity never brings to them. We are rich and strong, not by the things which we possess, but by the amount of true manhood which is developed in us.

5. It pleases God, also, to employ the companionship of friends and neighbours in developing men in the direction of their higher manhood. There is nothing that is so helpful to a soul as the contact of another soul.

6. When, by the use of these various instrumentalities our souls have grown, and have come into the possibility of a higher spiritual disclosure, then there is a further soul-growth in us. We come to a state in which there is a direct influence of the soul of God exerted upon us — as direct as sight and voice are to the bodily senses. The Divine Spirit comes into the hearts of men in ways that are inexplicable to the lower understanding, and that, therefore, men who are on the lower plane of life do not comprehend. When men come to a higher Christian life they have days of spiritual insight; and those days grow longer and longer, like the days of the coming summer, when the sun goes down later and later, and rises earlier and earlier. As the result of a whole life of education and practice in Divine duties men may come, at last, into that state in which the Spirit of God shines with a steadfast lustre upon them. Then there is the triumph of grace in the soul. Then intuitions become truths — not fitful, nor irregular, not based upon inchoate and undigested knowledge, but constant, regular, and founded on sound judgment.

(H. Ward Beecher.)

I. GOOD MEN ARE POSSESSED OF SPIRITUAL STRENGTH.

1. It is that spiritual vigour of mind by which sin is overcome.

2. And by which the world is overcome.

3. By this strength, spiritual duties are acceptably performed.

4. This strength is that qualification of mind by which the followers of Christ are enabled to endure trials and bear the cross.

5. "A deathbed is a detector of the heart." But death does not "make cowards of us all." He who said this, knew but little of the courage which the grace of God communicates to the minds of the most timid of the disciples of Jesus.

II. THIS STRENGTH REQUIRES TO BE RENEWED.

1. It is possible for the best of men to lose much of the influence of religion from the heart, and for a time to be very unconscious of it.

2. The corroding cares of the world should excite them to obtain the renewal of their strength.

3. Their strength requires to be renewed, because it is not innate, but communicated.

4. And because the servants of God have gone awfully wrong when it has not been renewed.

5. Good men have done wonders when their strength has been renewed.

III. THE RENEWAL OF STRENGTH IS TO BE OBTAINED BY WAITING UPON THE LORD.

1. Prayer is the waiting posture of the soul.

2. Waiting upon the Lord includes expectation. "My eyes are unto Thee; my expectation is from Thee."

3. Watchfulness is implied in waiting upon the Lord.

IV. THE BLESSEDNESS OF WAITING UPON THE LORD. "They shall mount up with wings as eagles," etc. This is expressive of —

1. Steady attachment to the ways of God. "Walk without fainting."

2. Rapid progress. "Run without weariness."

3. Elevated devotion. "Mount up with wings as eagles." "They shall put forth fresh feathers as the moulting eagle." No doubt the allusion is to the velocity with which the eagle soars towards the sun, after the renewal of his feathers.

(W. Jones.)

I. THE DUTY ENJOINED. To wait upon God. This implies the recognition of God as the supreme Arbiter and Disposer of all human events. It is the posture of expectancy for every blessing of which we stand in need, temporal and spiritual.

II. THE MANNER IN WHICH WE ARE TO WAIT UPON GOD.

1. The way of public ordinances.

2. The sacrament of the Lord's Supper.

3. The exercise of domestic worship and private prayer.

4. Seeking to become wise unto salvation out of His written Word, and in meditation on its soul-inspiring contents.

III. THE TEMPER AND FRAME OF MIND INVOLVED IN THE EXPRESSION, WAITING UPON GOD.

1. It implies the existence of an invincible faith, which nothing can destroy, although for a moment it may be disturbed.

2. This calls into action another principle closely connected with faith, and emanating from it, — the principle of patience and Christian resignation to the will of God.

3. Obedience.

IV. THE ENCOURAGEMENT HERE BESTOWED ON THE FULFILMENT OF THE DUTY REQUIRED, — renewed strength shall be imparted. This implies a declension of strength, fainting, and fatigue; to all of which the Christian pilgrim is more or less exposed.

1. In consequence of the exhausted spirits of the weary traveller never being renewed, some who did run well are hindered, and halt in their career; while others adopt altogether a retrograde movement, return to the path of their former delights, apostatise from the faith, and become worse than infidels.

2. But here we have a direct promise from a covenant-keeping God, that our strength shall be renewed adequate to all the demands which a perilous enterprise can render necessary.

3. We must speak in the language of reproof to all those who are strangers to this operation in the soul; who never do humbly wait upon God, but when chastised and rebuked of the Lord are disposed to resist His authority, to impugn His character as merciful and gracious; who give utterance to all the outbreaks of a rebellious, unsanctified heart. They are both to be censured and pitied.

4. But we speak encouragement to those who have already assumed the waiting position, and are thus tarrying the Lord's leisure. Endeavour in every possible way to cultivate this holy, humble, dependent spirit.

(H. S. Plumptre, M. A.)

As it is the same God who works in nature and in grace, so a most interesting analogy may be traced between His operations in both. When the earth is parched with the heat of summer, and its productions begin to languish from excessive drought, it is watered and refreshed by the showers of heaven, and its various plants and fruits not only resume their former health and vigour, but spring up and flourish with greater luxuriance than before. The flower, too, that had drooped and withered at the close of day, is revived by the cool and the dews of night, and in the morning puts forth its buds, and expands its leaves anew, delighting the eye with the beauty of its colours, or perfuming the air with the sweets of its fragrance. For every degree of exhaustion in nature, indeed, the wisest and most adequate provision is made by its all-pervading and beneficent Author. When, in like manner, the spiritual strength of the Christian is impaired, and he is ready to sink under.the pressure of temptation or distress; when his consolations appear to be nearly exhausted; or when, through the prevalence of remaining unbelief and corruption, he becomes languid in duty, or faint under affliction — his decays of strength are recruited from above; new fountains are opened for his comfort; he rises as from the ground, on which he was sitting in feebleness and sorrow, and no longer with faltering, but with firm and steady steps, pursues the course of active duty, or of patient suffering, in which he is appointed to move. The stores of Divine grace provided for him are inexhaustible, and the communications of this grace imparted to him are most suitably proportioned to his need of them (Philippians 4:19).

(D. Dickson, D. D.)

I. THE CHARACTER OF THOSE CONCERNING WHOM THE DECLARATION OR PROMISE IN THE TEXT IS MADE, considered as "waiting on the Lord."

1. They earnestly desire the enjoyment of His favour.

2. They diligently attend to, and take peculiar delight in, all His service and will.

II. THE IMPORT OF THE DECLARATION, that they who thus wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; or, as the words might be translated, shall be renewed in strength.

1. That the principles of the spiritual life within them shall be gradually strengthened and increased.

2. That increased communications of Divine grace shall be made to them.

III. THE INTERESTING EFFECTS OF ITS BRING SO RENOVATED OR INCREASED. "They shall mount up with wings as eagles," etc. This may intimate —

1. That their devotions shall become more elevated and intense.

2. By that renovation and increase of spiritual strength which is the effect of waiting on the Lord, His people acquire greater alacrity and perseverance in doing His will. They shall run, or march on, and not be weary. Here the metaphor is varied, and changed into one that is more common in the sacred writings, as expressive of Christian duty, which is frequently compared to running or marching. "I will run in the way of Thy commandments, when Thou shalt enlarge my heart."

3. Fortitude and patience under affliction is also the effect of that renewing and increase of spiritual strength, which is received from waiting on the Lord. They shall walk, and not faint." Even when incapable of being active in the service of God, grace is promised for enabling them to move forward without fainting in the path of submission and suffering.

(D. Dickson, D. D.)

"New strength" is often our deepest need. The machinery of the steamship, the locomotive, or the factory may be perfect in itself, its parts exquisitely adjusted, and all ready for action; yet it is inoperative until the steam is generated and applied. So, what a human being often needs is just — motive power. Not new faculties of body or of mind; not new opportunities for action, or new fields of enterprise; not so much new knowledge either; not even new desires and affections; but "new strength" — fresh inspiration. It is painful to be in that condition in which we feel that we can, and yet cannot; that we have faculty, yet lack inspiration; that we have wings of heavenward desire, with but little power to use them. The prophet here points us to the source of all true inspiration: "He giveth power to the faint." He points us also to the condition on which this Divine energy is to be recovered: "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength."

1. What, then, is meant by this "waiting upon the Lord"? We use the word "wait" with reference to service: a servant "waits" upon his master or his master's guests. We use it, too, with reference to the holding of an interview with a superior: a deputation "waits" upon the Prime Minister; the Prime Minister "waits" upon His Majesty. We use the word also with reference to a state of expectation, more or less prolonged: as when we say that we are "waiting" for some friend. It is in this last sense — the sense of continuous expectancy — that the word is used in the Bible. To "wait" is more than to pray. It is to keep looking for the answer to our prayers. It is the opposite, therefore, both of despair and of impatience. Hence the Psalmist says, "Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him." And again, "I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in His word do I hope," etc. So here the prophet does not mean to say that if we would "renew our strength," we have simply to seek an interview with God and lay our request before Him; but that if we keep looking to God with a believing and patient expectation, new vigour will come to us, our very patience will be a source of strength, and the God in whom we hope will not disappoint us.

2. "Waiting is often the only means of receiving fresh energy." Man goeth forth to his work and to his labour until the evening. But when the evening comes, he is exhausted. All the organs are there, but they want new strength. The man lies down on his bed, and "waits." Sleep comes upon him; and through its influence the waiting body recovers all its vigour, so that the man rises again in the morning ready for his toil. Often, too, the very best prescription which a physician can give is, "Rest and cheerful society." A godly patience, then, is the grand secret of spiritual might. For such patience not only carries within itself the germs of strength, but also places the soul in that condition in which it is most susceptible of quickening influences and can most readily take advantage of fresh opportunities. Power is hidden in patience, as the subtle force of the lightning slumbers in the brooding cloud. Despair paralyses. Impatience, too, weakens. Magnetise a needle, and it becomes much more sensitive to the force of the magnet. And so a human heart which is constantly looking to God will be much more susceptible of all influences that come from God. The soil is ready for the vitalising shower. The sails are unfurled to catch the heavenly breeze. The ear is listening for the whispers of the Divine voice. Whereas the man who has worn himself out by impatience, or yielded himself up to despair, is too inert or too distracted to take adequate advantage of the fresh opportunities which may come at last. On the other hand, the blended eagerness and calm of the soul that is "waiting upon the Lord" make it the more receptive of all Divine influences, and keep it at least strong enough to take advantage of fresh sources of strength.(1) The calm of a believing soul may be heightened into a kind of ecstasy. Patience has sometimes a dull, torpid, chrysalis aspect; but, when the time is ripe, patience passes into a winged rapture which rises gladly into the sunshine of heaven. In all godly "waiting" there lies the capability of Godward soaring. A patient spirit has the wings of faith and hope. "For I am persuaded that neither death nor life," etc. There is the eagle again — keen-eyed and strong as before, but soaring now into the blue, bearing itself up on exultant wing, and gazing into the heavenly radiance! Exuberance of holy feeling is not a thing to be manufactured. These loftier moods have sometimes come even when you least expected them! Although we cannot always account for these moods of the soul, we might all experience them more frequently if our habitual attitude were more of a "waiting upon God." We cannot, indeed, manufacture inspiration; but what if the "breath of God" comes upon us and finds our souls too dull or too distracted to respond to its subtle influences? At the best, however, these lofty flights can only be occasional.(2) There are races to be run down here upon the earth, special duties to be performed, for which a man must gird himself by special effort. Fatigue will oppress us long before the goal is reached, — our running in the path of duty will be a thing of fits and starts, — if we do not keep expecting that God will bless our endeavours. New strength will come to us for all holy enterprise in proportion as we trust in God for results. Be sure that, in "waiting on" Him to do what we cannot, we receive all the more energy to do what we can.(3) There is also "walking" to be done here on earth, the ordinary routine of life to be trudged through every day. And perhaps it is in this region that a godly patience is needed most for the constant renewal of our spiritual strength. There is little or no effort in holy ecstasy, and its very joy is an inspiration. Any special duty, also, tends, by its very specialty, to brace us for the doing of it; there is, moreover, the goal in view, and the prize to be won. But the ordinary homely duty of the work-day world — the monotonous path which must be daily trod, this indeed requires the most abiding patience. Men who live far from God are apt to grow sick and weary of the humdrum monotony of their daily life, especially if they have to bear some continuous burden from which they see little hope of escape. Even the drudgery of life can be transfigured in the light of the Father's love. And those who believe that their ordinary life has a Divine significance — that it is as the rough scaffolding within which a very temple may be built — and who are striving to live daily as under the eye of the heavenly Friend, have within their souls a peace which keeps them from "fainting."

(T. C. Finlayson.)

I. THE MEANS OF RENEWING OUR STRENGTH, as expressed in the phrase, "they that wait on the Lord."

1. There must be approach to God.

2. Expectation.

3. A patient continuance in an expecting attitude, until we actually receive the fulfilment of the Divine promise. This phrase is descriptive, not merely of an occasional exercise, but of what is, or ought at least to be, the constant temper and frame of the believer's mind.

II. To those who live in this spirit is given AN EXCEEDING GREAT AND PRECIOUS PROMISE. They "shall renew their strength." Our spiritual strength seems to include chiefly three things —

1. Clear and comprehensive views of the truth of God. We often say that "knowledge is power": certainly, ignorance of.the truth of God is weakness.

2. A correspondence between our will and affections and the truth existing in our minds.

3. Divine consolation. "The joy of the Lord is your strength."

III. THE HAPPY RESULT OF THIS RENEWAL OF STRENGTH.

(J. Entwisle.)

There are three blessings suggested as consequent upon this waiting —

I. RENEWED VIGOUR. "They shall renew their strength." This is not arbitrary, but necessary.

1. The intellect is strengthened by holy exercises upon Divine themes.

2. The affections are strengthened by holy exercises on right objects.

3. The will is strengthened by holy exercises in godly purposes. The whole soul gets strength by such exercise.

II. SOUL ELEVATION. "Mount up with wings as eagles."

1. Holy gratitude is a wing that will bear the soul aloft to its Benefactor.

2. Holy love is a wing that will bear the soul upward to its object.

3. Holy hope is a wing that will bear the soul above to its anticipated possessions.

III. INTERESTING PROGRESS. "Run, and be weary," etc.

1. Godliness is progress. It is not a stationary state. It is a running and a walking. Forgetting the things that are behind, etc.

2. Godliness is progress without fatigue. There is no weariness in love.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

I. THE HIGHEST STRENGTH IS DERIVED FROM THE HIGHEST SERVICE.

1. The highest strength is not physical nor intellectual, but moral. Strength to resist the wrong, to pursue the right, to honour God and bless humanity.

2. What is the highest service? Waiting upon the Lord. To wait upon Him implies a practical recognition of His existence, personal superintendence, and absolute authority. This service must be —

(1)Spiritual.

(2)Supreme.

II. THE HIGHEST STRENGTH IS DEVELOPED IN THE HIGHEST ACTIVITY. What is this activity?

1. Soul devotion.

2. Soul progress.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

The Lord's people must wait —

1. In simplicity of intention. On Him only (Psalm 62:5).

2. In faith. They "wait for the Lord, and in His word do they hope" (Psalm 130:5). Even when He hides His face (Isaiah 8:17). Their faith at one time is supported only by the promises,,-at other times by their own experience (Psalm 27:14; Lamentations 3:25, 26; Isaiah 30:18; Isaiah 49:23).

3. They wait with patient perseverance. It is not only an act, but a gracious habit of mind (Psalm 25:5).

4. They wait with humility and self-denial. They wait on God, asking counsel, seeking strength, and imploring pardon and peace. This posture of mind becomes the ignorance and guilt and unworthiness of the creature; the perfection, the wisdom and love of such a Being.

5. They wait with submission and resignation. They wait His time, acquiesce in His methods.

(J. Cooke.)

These consolations are suited to men in all ages, and in all countries. We are precisely in the same position in which the Jews were found — we are equally apt to faint when under God's rod; and He seeks to inspire us with hope and confidence.

I. Let us notice: THIS WAITING UPON THE LORD. And the first thing that strikes us is the language used by the prophet — language so far removed from mere formal expression. There is no mention here of the use of many words, or of certain external marks of devotion; it is simply, "Waiting upon the Lord!" Evidently the prophet uses it as representing an act of devotion, looking to God for help in the time of need. True waiting upon the Lord seems to have three features, which we suppose to be contained in the words here used.

1. Desire.

2. A collected frame of mind.

3. Trust in the Lord.

II. "They that wait upon the Lord SHALL RENEW THEIR STRENGTH." We are altogether dependent upon God for our natural, as well as for our spiritual strength. God seems to observe in spiritual things a similar order to that which exists in natural things. Our natural strength requires constant renovation by the food that is convenient for us. So it is in the spiritual life: we can make no provision of grace for the future; we are called to depend upon God day by day. There are various reasons why we should constantly apply to God for a renewal of our spiritual strength. There are conflicts to be endured with our spiritual foes, within our own hearts; we live in a world that is lying in wickedness; we have to do with matters concerning the present life that are often very trying and perplexing in their nature, and often is our courage likely to fail. In an indirect manner, then, this encouraging passage of Scripture reminds us of the cause of our spiritual declensions. It is because we do not constantly wait upon the Lord.

(J. Hocart.)

1. THE GENERAL PROPOSITION. "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength."

II. THE DEMONSTRATION OR CONFIRMATION OF THIS. "They shall mount up," etc.

(T. Horton, D. D.)

Profane and desperate persons fly off in a discontent and impatience, like Jehoram (2 Kings 6:33). The more willing we are ¢o wait upon God the better it is for us; for He pays for time and gives us the more because we have waited.

(T. Horton, D. D.)

"Change their strength" (marg.). This seems to be the proper sense and meaning. There is a double kind of change to be observed.

1. In quality. They shall have a new kind of strength bestowed upon them, over what they had before conversion, as Caleb had another spirit, and Saul another heart. For even before conversion there is a kind of strength which does appear, and that also in reference to religion, and the duties of it, but it is not such a strength as any are to rest themselves contented with. There is the strength of temper, and natural constitution, and a man may be able both to do and suffer very much by it. This is that which does for the most part extend itself to the outside and form of religion. The strength of wit, and reason, and understanding, and memory, and the like, while their heart and will and affections have no saving work at all upon them. There is the strength of custom, and religious education. There is the strength of civility and moral principles. This was the strength which was in Paul before his conversion. They that wait upon the Lord shall "change," that is, they shall have another strength bestowed upon them, and such as will be more useful to them. Instead of this natural, and moral, and customary strength, they shall have a supernatural and spiritual given unto them. This is different, and surpassing the other.(1) In regard of its Original, as coming from the Holy Ghost (Ephesians 3:16).(2) In the subject, for the former strength is only in the outward, this in the inward man.(3) In the effects, for this supernatural strength is able to do greater matters than the other can do, helping a man to deny himself, to overcome the world, to mortify lusts and corruptions, etc.

2. In quantity and degree. Good Christians shall through God's grace grow stronger and stronger.(1) There are some cases and conditions, especially wherein a Christian has most need of having his strength renewed unto him; as, against a new service; against some new temptation and conflict with Satan; against some new trial and affliction.(2) For the means, we may take them thus: In the renewing of their repentance; in the renewing of their covenant; in the renewing of their obedience; in the renewing of their faith.

(T. Horton, D. D.)

is amplified by a resemblance to a threefold motion.

1. Flying.(1) The eagle is an emblem of strength renewed (Psalm 103:5).(2) The eagle soars aloft.(3) Here is the swiftness and agility of the motion. A good Christian performs good duties with some life and fervour in them.

2. Running.(1) The motion itself. This is a pace which is very requisite for the Christian.

(a)Because he has a great way to go, much ground to be despatched; therefore there is need of speed for the passing over it.

(b)But a little time, and much time lost already.

(c)The vehemency of desire to the thing itself which we run for. It is a crown (1 Corinthians 9:25).(2) The continuance of this motion. There are many who run, but run themselves out of breath (Galatians 5:7). There are some kinds of people in the world who all on a sudden will amend their lives. But let them meet with some strong temptation and they are presently weary of those purposes and endeavours. What is the reason of all this? Because they wanted this principle of spiritual strength.

3. Walking. Walking is less than running, and fainting is more than weariness. If then those who run are not weary, the same when they walk shall not faint. There are divers things which we are liable to faint at, which yet the Scripture takes us off from fainting at.(1) The delay of answering our prayers (Luke 18:1).(2) Our manifold afflictions (Hebrews 12:5).(3) The afflictions of others, and the scandal of the Cross (Ephesians 3:13).(4) The many businesses in religion — so much work to be performed. How shall we avoid it? Get a renewing of this spiritual strength day by day.

(T. Horton, D. D.)

This it nearly concerns us to do upon these considerations.

1. In point of honour, and that especially with God Himself. Spiritual weakness is a disparagement, especially as a relapse, and after some former degrees of strength. The excellency of dignity and the excellency of strength go both together, and he that falls from the one does, with Reuben, fall also from the other. Becoming weak as water, he shall not excel (Genesis 49:4).

2. In point of ease. A weak Christian is a burden to himself as meeting with many difficulties which he cannot grapple with, but which prove too hard to him. There are many temptations to resist, and many afflictions to endure, and many duties to perform.

3. In point of comfort. A weak Christian will be an uncomfortable Christian.

(T. Horton, D. D.)

I. "THEY THAT WAIT UPON THE LORD SHALL RENEW THEIR STRENGTH."

1. This sounds as if they were in danger of becoming weary and faint in their minds. Is this really so? What do you say, Christian tradesman — you upon whom God hath laid the responsibilities of home and family — you Christian citizen-you whom the arrows of affliction have wounded — you proclaimer of the Lord's message?

2. The least that.it can mean is they shall stand their ground.

3. But the margin speaks of this renewal as a change of strength, as if it would remind us of the mansidedness of the grace of God, and its perfect adaptability to our everchanging needs.

II. "THEY SHALL MOUNT UP WITH WINGS AS EAGLES." This seems to say that the life of communion with God is not a long series of vapid and unemotional hours, a dead level of mechanical and spiritless employments, but a life that has rare and glorious experiences, holy aspirations, ennobling thoughts, ecstatic emotions, spirit-stirring hopes.

1. Purer air.

2. Clearer vision.

3. Untroubled quiet.

4. Rare landscape.

5. Unclouded sunshine.

III. "THEY SHALL RUN AND NOT BE WEARY." Capacity for the most strenuous exertion.

IV. "THEY SHALL WALK AND NOT FAINT." Is this the same as saying that we shall have the power of steady perseverance, of patient endurance under protracted trial? Did the prophet put this last in his brief summary because patience is one of those Christian graces that has its perfect work the latest?

(J. H. Anderson.)

It is a great mistake to suppose that only the puny are liable to downfalls. The truth lies the other way! The more alert and bold a youth will be, the more certainly he will at some time overtask his strength. The boy who never knew what it was to be fagged out at school is not worth much. The young man who never overdid himself and felt utterly exhausted through some strenuous exertion in a great contest will never do much in the world — he is not worth much- Not the tame, slow idlers, but the forceful men, the men who rejoice in their strength and to use their strength, the men who would rather drop than give in while another yard can be run, or another step be made, or another blow be struck for victory — these are the men who will assuredly be carried on in the great enterprise until they are weary, and when weary will be carried on by their indomitable spirit, while others are seeking rest, until at last they reel and stagger and collapse. Hence it is for these that the prophet chiefly writes. For the old, for the young, for the sick and infirm, and even for such as may be tottering into the grave, he writes for them, and all he says is true and needful for their case. But more than all, in view of the great work to which he is calling his countrymen, he writes for those who feel called upon to do something in the world, for those who are conscious of high powers, and are in the purest sense of the word ambitious.

(T. V. Tymms.)

I. WHAT IS THIS WAITING?

1. It means prayer — much more than an occasional supplication, however real; it means persistent, persevering, continual prayer; it means an abiding attitude of trustful dependence upon God; it means all that is wrapped up in those beautiful words, "Oh, rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him"; it means trust in the Lord and do good; it means trust in the Lord at all times, for with Him is everlasting strength, and have no confidence in self.

2. But the prophet has a deeper thought than this. There are many things for which we can only ask and then wait in quiet stillness, things which we cannot help God to give us, things which God Himself bestows without our aid, if we are ever to possess them. Renewal often comes to men in their extremity like this.

3. But while we cannot pass over such times and such experiences, it would be unhealthy to be dwelling upon them as if they were the whole of life. They are not. We are not always faint. Usually we have, at any rate, just a little strength, and then waiting upon Him means not only prayer and uplooking, but doing His commandments like the angels, who because they do them excel in strength.

II. WHAT IS THE ISSUE OF SUCH WAITING UPON GOD? The prophet's imagery is startling, and some critics would presume to call his figures somewhat mixed; but the thought conveyed is clear. The older Jewish commentators imagined they discovered here a reference to an ancient belief that at a certain time the eagle plunged into the sea and bathed off his worn-out plumage, and that afterwards new feathers grew. The Septuagint translators of the Old Testament were so sure of this bit of false science that in order to square their Hebrew Scriptures with the fashion of thought in Alexandria, they ventured to alter the words of our text, and to read, "They shall put forth new feathers like eagles," and so the old Greek version reads to-day. But we have good reason to believe that the prophet drew his imagery from familiar objects in the land of exile. There could be little doubt but that from childhood he had often looked upon some of those carved tablets on which men with wings of eagles fastened to their shoulders were common, that he had often looked on those colossal images of winged bulls and lions and men such as may be seen in our British Museum to-day. Now those composite figures had subtle meanings. They could not suggest to the prophet his religious thought, but his inspired genius laid them under tribute to assist the utterance of a thought of higher inspiration. At any rate he found in the matchless wing-power of the eagle a sublime image of an inspiring and God-seeking man. The figure of one flying through the heavens, coupled strangely with the promise of running without being wearied, represents the godly man as ever having courage to entertain great hopes. Never failing to seek and obtain fellowship with God in the highest, always daring to attempt great actions, this heavenly minded man has thoughts and yearnings which raise his mode of life above the level of common things. This man, however, has this double life. There is the soaring Godward, and there is the common drudgery of daily walk and conversation, the practical common life.

(T. V. Tymms.)

As we look back on history we can see positive evidence that the promise of this text was historically fulfilled, and in the eases of the men to whom the message came first. The national life was restored, and that restoration of national life in the Jews is unique in the history of mankind; you cannot point to anything like it since man walked this earth, but it took place. It seemed impossible that these few exiles could escape from those nations, and go back to their own land and restore their institutions, but they did. And who did it? The men who were making themselves rich in those days in Eastern cities stayed there. The men who led the remnant back were God-fearing men like Ezra and Zerubbabel, men who waited on God. The wall of Jerusalem, of the second temple, would never have been built but for men like Nehemiah and Haggai, men who had their times of fear and depression and weakness, hut who went to God and came back not only strengthened themselves, but able to strengthen their brethren, so that the great work was done. So to-day in every Christian Church, in every Christian enterprise, in every modern fight for righteousness and truth, there are some men who never know when they are defeated; there are some men who, because of this, are invulnerable men; and the men who, when cast down always say there is lifting up, the men who can live and die for Divine ideas, the men who to-day are converting savage races into Christian peoples and working out in painful and prosaic details, and with much danger to their lives in some cases, the glowing dreams of ancient seers respecting the transformation of mankind, these are they who wait in secret on their God.

(T. V. Tymms.)

Sunday School Chronicle.
1. If anything were needed to teach men the necessity for connecting their own spirits with the Divine, it is the quick exhaustion of individual resources. Even "as the stream of brooks they pass away." Faith and hope and love itself, so dewy fresh in the morning, spend themselves in noonday's scorching heat, and run low at eventide. Sometimes, indeed, long before the shadows are stretched out, in manhood's very prime the wasting is manifest. I can strive no more, says the tired heart. Who does not know the temptations of reaction, and the days when the lights burn low?

2. In such moods we need to look away from the crowds, and from the glaring lights of the city, to the calm glories of the moon, and the stars above our heads. All these evils, so full of fierce and destructive energies, will soon be as the dust beneath our feet. Truth and holiness and right abide for ever. To "look off" unto the eternal, to get behind the veil into the realm of true being is the need of the fevered and exhausted soul. Hidden in that secret pavilion we see things as they really are. Wrong may prosper for a time. Greed, unrighteousness, sensuality, may appear to be more stable than granite. But they are only painted cloud. We see the years move on, and the everlasting truth subdue all to itself. Maybe in revolutions and bloodshed, for the wheels of God grind inexorably and small. But at the last, evil is found to be in its nature only decay. "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father." Such a vision restores the heart of faith. To think that we are labouring in vain is the thought that paralyses. But whatever is done for right is done for God and endures eternally.

3. But there are other thoughts that come to us in the quietude of the Divine fellowship. We are shown the infinite powers that He concealed in the heart of a solitary man of faith. Faith is like a spark. Though it seems tiny, it is real fire, and it can set the world ablaze. Faith can work miracles. Our Lord trusted to faith to subdue humanity. It has already conquered half the world, and controls the whole. Luther changed the course of the centuries by faith. Wesley fashioned modern England by faith. Booth by faith has changed the drunkard and the sensualist into saints. All things are possible to him that believeth. If, then, truth is eternal, and faith is omnipotent, why should any difficulties, however stupendous, or failures, however extensive, lead us to despair?

(Sunday School Chronicle.)

I. SPIRITUAL STRENGTH, HOW IS IT TO BE OBTAINED? There was a time when our human nature seemed to possess much spiritual strength, but there came a time when it was all lost; and from that time, in the experience of every human being, it has had to be renewed. This renewing influence must come from God; surely that is a statement in harmony both with reason and with Scripture. To speak of a man as able to strengthen himself, so as to dispense with Divine aid, is as unreasonable as it is unscriptural As well might you talk of a leafless tree clothing itself with verdure without the vernal sun — as well of an enfeebled body recovering tone and energy without the reviving air of heaven. Who can bring strength out of weakness? who can bring life out of decay? How is this renewing influence, then, to be obtained? By waiting upon the Lord. You see the progression of ideas; it is strength that has to be renewed, and it has to be renewed by God, and God gives it when we wait upon Him. Some who like to trace the analogy between the works of nature and the works of grace, may perhaps have seen a flower which the storms of night have severely shaken, towards the morning turn wistfully to the dawn, and seem to be waiting for the coming day. Nor does it wait in vain. Beneath that bright beam the moisture that encumbered it is exhaled; its bent stalk raises itself again, its shrivelled petals expand into beauty, and it diffuses around a cheering fragrance in gratitude to the power that has renewed its strength. Your stalk may be a broken one, and your petals may be shrivelled, but by waiting upon the Lord you shall renew your strength.

II. HOW SHOULD SPIRITUAL STRENGTH BE EXHIBITED?

1. In rapturous contemplation of the things of God. The eagle is a bird that soars upwards towards heaven: so is the Christian to mount upwards in holy contemplation. He has powers adapted to this exercise — powers with which he can glorify his Maker; and he must not point those eagle faculties to the dust, but let them take wing and rise. The most vigorous pinion will never reach the sun, but yet it may reach so high that earth-bound creatures shall fail to track its flight, and lose it in the glare of the excellent glory.

2. In untiring activity in the direct service of God. In common daily duty we are to run in the ways of God's commandments; but the word is more frequently employed to denote some direct obedience to some special command. We are not to spend all our time in rapturous contemplation. We are not to devote all our lives to lonely musing. It is well to rise up on wings of eagles, but now and then we must come to the level of our fellow-creatures, and in their service we are to run and not be weary. I may be very busy in connection with the Church of Christ and the advancement of the knowledge of Christ. But who is not weary, sometimes, in well-doing! It is one thing to begin, and another thing to go on.

3. They shall walk and not faint — words which seem to denote consistency in common daily life. In vain all my lonely musing, in vain all my bustle in the kingdom of Christ, if consistency of daily life does not accompany the whole. The world expects it of me; Christ demands it of me. This is the religion of the Bible: is it not a noble thing? There is many a young man who thinks, "I find plenty of occupation for my energy in the service of the world, but if I become a religious man, then I am sure to become a poor, lifeless, morose character." Not so; for the religion of the Bible is this: mounting up with wings of eagles, running and not wearying, walking and not fainting. All your youthful energy will be useful in the service of religion, and you will find it much more happily employed than in the service of the world and of Satan.

(F. Tucker, B. A.)

I. WHAT IS IMPLIED IN WAITING UPON GOD?

1. Waiting, in Scripture language, is a term used to denote dependence. "These wait all upon Thee; that Thou mayest give them their meat in due season." The meaning is obviously, They, all depend upon Thee; men and beasts alike.

2. Another sense in which the word "waiting" occurs in Scripture is, a willingness to be directed by the person waited upon. Thus Job says, unto me men gave ear, they waited, and kept silence at my counsel": which is as if he had said, "I had only to speak, and they were ready to obey my directions." And when a contrary disposition is charged upon Israel, the Psalmist expresses it by saying, "They waited not for His counsel": that is, they wanted it not, nor meant to follow it, and therefore would not wait to receive it. This sense of the word gives us another part of the character of those that wait upon the Lord. They are willing to receive direction and instruction from Him.

3. Waiting, in the Scriptures, sometimes includes the idea which we affix to it in common life; namely, that of attendance or service.

II. THE SEVERAL BRANCHES OF THE PROMISE.

(S. Knight, M. A.)

I. The despondent are unhappy and weak, and they shrink from effort; but the hopeful are joyous and strong, and they delight to put forth their strength in action. The inertness of the despondent continually deepens their despondency, increases their weakness, and aggravates their misery. But hope feeds upon every act to which it prompts, and it grows thereby.

2. There are various kinds of hopefulness, which differ greatly in their nature and their effects. The nature of each man's hopes will be in accordance with his ruling desires, and the amount of his hopefulness will depend on that to which he trusts for the fulfilment of his desires. One man's desires, and therefore his hopes, will go forth in the direction of the pleasures of sense. What has he to trust in for the continuance of the hope that these desires shall be gratified? But, for the most part, these exhaustive pleasures rapidly fret away that on which they depend. Health, hope, and desire pass quickly away together, and a loaded table becomes an object of revulsion. If, however, his desires are set on the more refined pleasures of sense, such as the enjoyment of works of art, his hopes depend on the retention of the delicate sensibility of the organs by which he receives his impressions. But in time the eye becomes dim, and the subtle beauties of a fine painting cannot be seen; the ear becomes dull, and the sweetest music charms no more. When, again, we think of those whose pleasures are more purely intellectual, we know that an enfeebled memory puts an effectual check on the acquisition of knowledge.

3. The slight and shifting nature of the foundations on which worldly hopes are built makes it evident that they can do but little towards giving abiding and progressive strength to character, while frequent failures and disappointments depress and enfeeble. Let us, therefore, see what there is in reserve for us in the large world into which Isaiah is prepared to conduct us We are at once made aware of its vastness, to the expanding and refreshing of our spirits, for we are brought face to face with God in all the majesty of His perfections: the infinite Greatness, to which the nations are as the small dust of the balance. This large world, the spiritual, into which Isaiah has ushered us, includes all worlds, for it is as limitless as its Ruler. We all, therefore, belong to it in one sense or another, and cannot pass out of it.

(W. Howells.)

I. THE HOPES THAT ARE BASED ON FAITH IN GOD GIVE STRENGTH ENOUGH TO APPROACH HIM. This is the highest of all exercises of spiritual strength, and effectually prepares for all the rest. This is a mounting up on wings, as compared with which the rest are but running and walking. Who, then, shall give wings to a heavy laden sinner, strong enough to sustain him in his upward flight? We have not far to search for the answer.

1. He receives strength to confess his sins to the God of truth from the hope of pardon founded on God's merciful promise.

2. Hope and strength rapidly grow when faith clearly sees and steadfastly rests on the firm ground of forgiveness in the death of Christ.

3. The justified believer derives strength to advance to closest fellowship with God from the hope that he may meet Him in likeness of character.

4. Who can measure the unfailing strength which inspires the Christian when he feels that he is safe in the threefold grasp of the Triune God?

II. THE HOPES THAT ARE BASED ON FAITH GIVE STRENGTH TO LIVE FOR GOD. If we take the running of the text to mean the rendering of active public service to God, and the walking to mean steadfast advance in character, the Christian requires the strength needed for both in the approach to God. He comes down from the mount made ready, like Moses, for work in the camp at large, or in the retirement of his tent. In so far as the spiritual life is one, it is a life in God. The energy of this life manifests itself in various ways. It puts forth its utmost strength in rising towards its Source when the Christian enters into fellowship with the Father and the Son.

1. The Christian makes a hopeful start in his course of service when he clearly realises the spiritual security of his own position.

2. All the motives which the Gospel presents before him feed his hopefulness and increase his working power. "I can do all things," said Paul, "through Christ which strengtheneth me." Our deepest affections are stirred when we are told that redemption was made in love. Once more, the Christian is prompted to strenuous and persevering action by the appeal made to his desires. The highest point in his destiny is to be conformed to the image of the Son of God. "Every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure."(1) Thus moved, the believer strives above all things, and in all things, after perfect likeness to his Saviour in personal character.(2) Keeping this high mark ever in view, he becomes strong enough to regulate by it all his social action. If called upon to act a public part, he will seek to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, that thus, while serving the Master, his own character may continually grow.(3) He also regards all the incidents of his outward history in their relation to his eternal future, and glorifies God by steadfastly acting accordingly. His largeness and clearness of view give corresponding elevation and decision to his character. Have we made the hope that is laid up in God our own? If not, some other hope will be cherished, for not to hope is not to live. But without God, without true hope.

(W. Howells.)

Mount up with wings as eagles, run, walk. That is a very lame finish. Surely there must be some mistake. The man with so keen an eye for rhetorical effect as this writer shows could not have ended this matchless oration so tamely. It is quite clear that the order in which the prophet wrote was, "They that wait upon the Lord shall walk and not faint, shall run and not be weary, shall mount up with wings as eagles." That is the way to finish. It's a sorry thing to begin with the eagle's flight and come down to four miles an hour! "So I saw in my dream that he went from running to going, and from going to scrambling on his hands and knees, because of the steepness of the place." You know who wrote that, and how true to the experience of a Christian is his picture. Perhaps that is the commentary on this verse. The order, then, may be the correct one, after all — not so good as a rhetorical finish, but true to life. And, at any cost, let him who speaks from the mouth of the true God himself be true. And this is true to life" "They shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run; they shall walk." The flash of inspiration brings eager enthusiasm; you actively pursue your ideal for a time, and then, because of the steepness of the place, you come down to a painful walk. Is not that the history in a nutshell of what is called the progress of nearly every society or opinion that you know? Whether it be philanthropic, political, social, or religious, that seems to be tram. "Mount up with wings as eagles, run, walk," and one might almost dare to add a fourth — "stand still!"

(F. L. Wiseman, B. A.)

But is the prophet translated rightly? Our revisers have left this text exactly as, it stands in the A.V., "Mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run, and walk," and yet I do not think it is what the prophet meant. As we read his words the image they call up is of three modes of motion, three rates of progression — the flight of the eagle, the swift foot of the deer, and the ordinary pace of man. But the idea in his mind is not one of comparative motions. Let me translate that last word again, translate it by a word that is about as wide in its English significance as the word used by the prophet in his own time, "They shall mount up, they shall run, they shall go." The word does not say anything about the rate at which they go, and is used of the flight of the arrow through the air, or of the way of the ship driven before the wind, or of the gait of a swift-footed animal, or of the ordinary pace of man. The prophet is not speaking of three rates of motion, but he is rather speaking of the active motion and then onward continuance. "They shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall go on and on and not faint." This is the truth on which he is insisting before these downhearted and enfeebled Babylonian captives whose hands hang down, whose knees are feeble. The man of God, the man who waits on God, is equal to any emergency, is equal to any strength. If you want the flash of a new inspiration the man of God will receive it; if you want swift progress the man of God is equal to it; if you want steady perseverance you shall find it in the man of God also. With a stronger stroke than the eagle's wing will he be able to beat the air and penetrate to the third heaven; he will run before the chariot of the king and get to the city sooner than the fleetest horses of which even the king of Israel can boast; like Asahell he shall be lissom of limb and light of foot; and when far in the trackless desert even the endurance of the camel gives out, shall the man of God hold on his way. The man who waits upon God has three cardinal qualities which above all others will tend to the conquest of the world — buoyancy of spirits, activity, and perseverance; the man who can command these is the man who will win.

(F. L. Wiseman, B. A.)

But it is said the prophet gives us the natural order. Then I have a question to ask. What did your man of the natural order stop running for? He stopped running because he was tired. It is precisely because he is not tired that the man of God does not stop. "They shall run, and not be weary." The whole point is there. He walks and does not faint, and he will not have to stop and take rest and food because he is faint, but goes on and on. There is no need for the word of inspiration to tell us that you can begin with a big inspiration and go on fast for a time, and then slow down to the ordinary tramp. You have learnt that to your sorrow by the bitter teaching of experience. But the message of the recuperative power, that you shall mount up with wings as eagles, run and not be weary, and go on and on knowing neither weariness nor faintness, this is the word of inspiration alone. It is a power that is not your own, a power that comes from no earthly source, a supernatural power, power from on high which the prophet is here offering.

(F. L. Wiseman, B. A.)

At a certain junction the train by which I was travelling was divided into two parts. One part was taken on by the engine to the higher end of the platform, the other and hinder remained where it was. Some carriages standing on the middle line of rails were to be attached to our train. An engine came down and gave them a push, sending them towards the stationary carriages at such a rate that it seemed as though they would crash into the train with violence. But as they came round the curve from one line to the other friction and gravitation asserted their power. Every moment the speed was reduced, and finally the carriages came to a standstill a foot away from those to which they were to be attached. Then the engine and carriages of the detached front part of the train came back and all were coupled up. And away went those weary, dilatory carriages as fast as the rest. They were now coupled up to the source of the power, and the effect of every pulse of the engine was communicated to them, and had it run one hundred miles an hour so would they have done. That is the teaching of the prophet. "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength," they are coupled up to the source of power without, and being coupled to the power without, the effect of every throb of the engine is communicated to the carriages, and the love of every beat of the heart of God comes down to the Church of the living God.

(F. L. Wiseman, B. A.)

We are constantly being exhorted to-day by good and earnest men to set a high ideal before us. But I believe that the preaching of the high ideal, divorced from the preaching of its attainment by the power of the Lord Jesus Christ, is the reason for more than one-half the cynicism that you find amongst men from thirty-five to forty at the present day. The fact is, men are led to think they are going to conquer the whole land in five minutes, and imagine they are going to realise their ideal before they are five-and-twenty; and when they find that the nearer they ought to be getting to their ideal the farther it recedes into the distance, they are discouraged, and, out of sheer despair of ever reaching their ideal, they give it up, and laugh at those who try to pursue it. I do not say "Do not pursue your ideal," but what I say is this, "If you ever really want to make your ideal, you must be endued with the power from on high."

(F. L. Wiseman, B. A.)

The knapsack that galls and oppresses the novice at mountain climbing is borne without fatigue by the guide who is accustomed to it. There are amateur and spasmodic philanthropists who dabble occasionally with the great social problems, and they feel their weight and cry out in despair. But the Christian has had that care upon his heart daffy, and he knows how to bear it, and before whom to lay it. But, further. He who has only seen the sorrow, the grief, the sin of the world has not penetrated to the depth of the problem. He sees the clouds and mist around the planet, but not the world itself. Who, of all men who ever lived upon the earth, was the One who had the sorrow of the world nearest to His heart? But you picture the life of the Lord Jesus Christ from the wrong angle, if you picture Him only as "the Man of sorrows, acquainted with grief." He was that, but that is not the last analysis of the character of the Lord Jesus Christ. None had such joy as Christ. Do you remember after His statement of great intellectual and moral truths that make the brain weary and the heart of the uninitiated faint, it is recorded that the Lord Jesus Christ's spirit leapt for joy, and He said, "Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and revealed them unto babes"! He mounted up on eagle's wings to meet the down-coming Spirit of the Father. And look at that time when He has the burden of the world upon Him. He is making His will. What has the Lord Jesus Christ to leave? His Cross. That is His great legacy to the Church. But how does He leave it? In the power to endure it. "My peace I give unto you," that is the legacy. And when He Calls us home, He who sits upon the circle of the heavens, and sees all the sorrow of this world as you and I can never see it, bids us "Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." He who looks only at the burden of the world, and only sees its sorrow and shame, has not got to the last analysis of its meaning; he has not touched the Rock, is floundering in the mud. You must get deeper and deeper yet, and when you touch the Rock — the pillars of the earth — you will come to the fact that under all there is the eternal blessedness. And the man who waits upon God enters into that eternal calm and blessedness.

(F. L. Wiseman, B. A.)

I. WHEREIN CONSISTS THE STRENGTH SPOKEN OF BY THE PROPHET?

1. The Philistines were utterly unable to find out in what the amazing strength of Samson consisted, until he revealed it to his espoused wife. It was his religious observance of the laws of the Nazarite which occasioned his extraordinary power. His uncommon bodily strength, therefore, was from the Lord; and when He departed from him, he became weak as another man.

2. But the strength spoken of in our text is evidently not corporeal strength; it is a power seated in the mind; but neither is it intellectual vigour. It is often found in persons of weak understanding, and in minds not highly cultivated by refined education.

3. The strength spoken of is a moral, or more properly a spiritual quality. As bodily health is only found in a well-balanced and healthy state of the corporeal functions, so spiritual strength can only be found in souls into which new life has been infused, and is in vigorous exercise. The elements of this strength are —(1) Faith, founded on Divine illumination. This is the mainspring of all spiritual exercises. All men are influenced and governed by some kind of faith; but worldly men have no true faith in things spiritual and invisible. Spiritual strength especially consists in that exercise of faith called trust or confidence.(2) The affections. When love to God is ardent and constant in its exercise, then there is real strength.(3) But the essence of spiritual strength resides in the will A fixed purpose is that which more clearly characterise the genuine Christian than anything else. When the determination of the will is not only fixed but strong, then the soul is in a vigorous state. Energy properly appertains to the will; indeed, it is nothing else but strong will; and where this exists there will be active exertion. Where there is strength there will be diligence in well-doing.(4) Humility, meekness, peace, and joy may not seem, at first view, to contribute anything to strength, but in truth they are among the necessary elements of this vigour of mind. There may he a vigour which is the effect of a disordered state of the corporeal system — a feverish or spasmodic action which is much more violent than the strength of a healthy man. So in religion there often is observed an unnatural energy and enthusiastic vehemence. This is not genuine strength, but real disease. True piety has no greater enemy than fanaticism, which some are so undiscriminating as to confound with the fervours of true religion. There are also occasions when the best thing the believer can do is to sit still and cease from his own exertions; when everything must be looked for from God. "In quietness and confidence shall be your strength." Holy joy is an element of strength. "The joy of the Lord is your strength."(5) The only other ingredient of spiritual strength is zeal, zeal according to knowledge. Zeal to the soul is what animal heat is to the body. Without warmth in our desires and feelings we shall be found sickly. Zeal fills the soul with courage to encounter enemies and surmount obstacles.

II. HOW SPIRITUAL STRENGTH MAY BE ACQUIRED; AND HOW RENEWED, WHEN IT HAS BEEN IMPAIRED. We are not exhorted to be strong in ourselves, but "in the Lord, and in the power of His might." But, in order to obtain aid from on high, we must make use of the appointed and appropriate means. These are all comprehended in one expression, "waiting on the Lord."

III. WHAT BENEFITS AND AIDS THEY RECEIVE WHO WAIT UPON THE LORD. They are said, in our text, "to mount up on wings as eagles." The soul of fallen man naturally grovels on the earth; his face instead of being raised to heaven, is prone toward the ground. But when the Holy Spirit enters into any man, his thoughts and affections are raised to those things which are above. By the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, faith, love, and hope are brought into lively exercise; and these are as pinions to the soul. When by faith the regenerated soul draws near to God, the earth appears to recede; all its objects are seen to be diminutive; and the realities of the heavenly state are perceived, and operate with power on the susceptible mind. But such seasons of elevated devotion and delightful contemplation are not constant. Our text speaks not only of flying, but of running and walking. Reflections —

1. "The men of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light." When the body is debilitated and needs to be strengthened, they spare no pains or expense to recover impaired health. If they hear of a medicinal spring far off in the mountains they hesitate not to undertake the journey, and undergo the hardships of the rugged way, that they may test the efficacy of the mineral waters. And this is done commonly, in the greatest uncertainty whether the means will prove effectual.

2. As our natural life requires to be nourished by suitable food from day to day, without which it would decline and death would ensue, so the spiritual life of the Christian needs to be recruited continually, with the nutriment which is suited to its growth and strength.

3. Although every degree of spiritual strength is a precious possession, and we are not permitted "to despise the day of small things," yet it is the duty and privilege of every believer to aim at high attainments in the Divine life, and to encourage and aid others in doing the same.

(A. Alexander, D. D.)

Every river needs a channel; and the wider and deeper the channel the fuller and more copious the stream, provided the waters are inexhaustible. The river is God's infinite power; the channel is our conscious weakness. By waiting on the Lord the stream flows into its appointed bed. Let the stream flow on uninterruptedly, and all your need in the way of weakness, helplessness, ignorance, emptiness will be met moment by moment. The result will be as it is figuratively expressed: We shall mount up; we shall run; we shall walk.

I. THE PROMISE. "They that wait," etc. "Renew" means to "change your strength."

1. A change from one kind of strength to another. Here is a Christian, bewildered, not quite knowing why he has so perpetually failed. Now when he ceases from self and takes God as his strength, he changes his strength.

2. A change from one measure of strength to another. It is like a river or a stream — always passing away, and yet the power is always present; the power moving the mill-wheel, not by jerks, but by a continuous stream, always passing away, and yet ever flowing in; one measure of strength succeeding that which has been expended. Our whole future is mapped out with tests and trials, but we need not be afraid of these things if we are in the stream of the Divine supply. You see the eagle mounting up by a power that God has given it. But it is possible to rise by another kind of power. By a sudden impetus or effort. You throw a stone into the air. Watch it a bit and down it comes again; the power has spent itself. So it is possible for the Christian to be moving on by a power that very soon expends itself, and by a process of exhaustion he falls back again under the gravitating influence of his evil tendencies. This is not the strength spoken of here. Our Lord refers to a similar thought in John 4:14, "The water that I shall give him shall become in him." That word "become," in the new version, is full of deep meaning in this connection. It puts before us the thought, not of a new gift, but of a new experience of an old gift. As long as you rest, in the place of power and blessing the stream will flow through you unceasingly.

II. THE CONDITION of all this. "Waiting upon the Lord." What is it to wait? There must be stillness of soul, dependence, expectation.

III. THE RESULT. Heavenly-mindedness. "He shall mount up." There are two wings in our spiritual ascent — faith and obedience. If we try to rise by means of faith alone we shall be like a bird with one wing. If we trust and obey, obey and trust, we rise into a purer atmosphere, and have a clearer vision — we live in the very presence of God. This threefold description of mounting up, running and walking, presents three aspects of the same character. If I am to run and walk I must be in close communion with God; I must. know what it is to mount up. Then there is the "running," that is ready obedience — a mark of the true servant. The "walking" is the most important part after all. It is far easier for some of us to run than to walk. We like a little bit of excitement or emotion. To walk we want something like continuous, sustained evenness of conduct, progressing quietly and steadily day by day in the common round of life; not impulsive, not capricious, not changeable; without show, humble, and always the same. For this we need power. And that power God has provided.

(Evan H. Hopkins, B. A.)

One brother in the ministry asked me, "Is there not a danger of too great passivity?" I said "Oh yes, my brother, as long as we think it is our activity that must do it, then passivity robs us of time and strength. But once we understand that it is God that must work it in us, then I understand that my highest passivity will be my highest activity, for when I give myself entirely away to God, God can work in me, and then I will work as they that wait upon the Lord."

1. If you are to wait aright upon the Lord, you must learn to know Him, you must turn away your thoughts and eyes and heart and trust from everything, and set them upon God alone, My conduct in waiting for a man, or waiting on him, will depend entirely upon what I think of him. One who waits upon the king behaves in a different way from one who waits upon an ordinary person. And all our waiting upon God will depend upon one thing — the knowledge that we have of Him. But how does God reveal Himself when He calls upon us to wait upon Him? (vers. 25-29). He never is weary. He has kept the world going all these ages; and my short life of sixty, seventy, or eighty years — will my God not care for and maintain that? When I look at what He does for the stars, I realise that His work is done every moment. And God, in His omnipotence and faithfulness, is willing to work in my heart every moment of the day.

2. The second great thing is to know ourselves, to be willing and determined to accept what God reveals about us. And what does God reveal in contrast with His great omnipotence? Our utter impotence. If a number of ships of war were sent out to sea, and were ready to start at any moment, and if the question were asked, what are they waiting for?, the answer would likely be one of two things: either that they were waiting for supplies, or waiting for orders. Child of God, that is to be your position. You are to wait for supplies. Wait for the power of the Holy Spirit every day. Cultivate also the habit of waiting for orders. Study and love your Bible, but remember it is God who must give the orders, and you will fail if you take them from a book. Love your Bible and fill your heart with it, but let God apply it in your daily life.

3. Once more, if I am to wait upon the Lord aright I must study well what this word "wait" in itself implies. It implies patience. The Bible speaks about waiting patiently, and also about waiting quietly. You must cultivate that habit. How can you do it? When you go into your closet for your morning devotions, do not, as is very often done, read the Bible and think about it and pray about it, and then get up and go. But do something else in between. Before you read, set yourself still that your soul may realise, I am waiting for God to come in and take possession of me for to-day. That is your great need. And then, before you pray, sit still, and shut your eyes and say, Will God now listen to me for certain? Learn to come into blessed fellowship with God. Then wait continually — not one or two days, not one moment, but all the day (Psalm 25:5).

(Andrew Murray.)

We find here the true order of experience in life.

1. First comes the "flying" stage. The period of fresh, wild enthusiasms; the season of zeal without discretion, when all sorts of impossibilities are dreamed, all sorts of vain things attempted. This mood comes at the beginning, and not at the end of our career. It is in the period of youth that we have our ambitious dreams, and take our higher flights. Thank God for the flying stage while it lasts, for we do get visions in those flights that abide with us long after our wings have dropped off, and we have learned that the ether is not our element; visions whose memory helps to cheer us as hereafter we trudge along the monotonous and dusty ways of life's hard routine. Youth is full of impulses, full of excesses, full of exaggerations. Let us not be impatient of them. It is a grand thing that there is one time in our lives when we have wings. Too soon the wings, like those of Icarus, melt, and we drop to mother earth again. Too soon a hard and cynical world converts our ingenuous confidence into self-mistrust. In religious experience youth is the time of wings. Its faith is romantic, the thrill of its devotion is exquisite. The spiritual is so real. God is so near. Doubt seems so impossible, and elements of character are forming then that we should be poor indeed without in future time. But the period comes when these youthful impulsions give place to the more restrained and disciplined energies of life, like those of the runner who has trained himself to maintain his pace, and to maintain it by not exceeding it. But running is harder than flying. Watch the bird in the air. Nothing looks less like effort.

2. When we have done flying, we go on running. We have found that after all we have to live on terra firma. But there is immense energy in us still. Thank God, too, for the running stage. That is the time when we are spiritually aggressive, when we count as an active force in the world.

3. But that stage, too, passes. And then we come to the quiet, steady, persistent "walk." And it is this that tries our mettle most of all. For we have lost the exhilaration of youth and the stimulus of strong emotions. We traverse the solid unromantic ground of principle, while the ghost of many a shattered illusion haunts our path. It is the period of disenchantment; when we discover the bounds of the practical, and when we have a stronger sense of life's limitations than of its possibilities. To do this makes greater demands upon our moral steadfastness than to do either of the before-mentioned stages in our life experience. Patiently to endure, persistently to press on — whatever the burdens we must carry, whatever the inequalities and roughnesses of the way, whatever the obstacles that lie and the enemies that lurk in our path, whatever the tempests that beat overhead — requires a strength of character and a heroism of soul that are the last achievement and the highest triumph of the spiritual life.

(J. Halsey.)

We find the same idea also in the New Testament with spiritual applications. There, throughout, we find the Divine life in man described as a "walk." To "walk worthy of his high vocation" is the supreme exploit of the Christian's faith. Other images are used; those of the runner in the stadium, and the wrestler in the arena; but it is always on the walking that stress is laid. It is the daily walk along the beaten path that reveals the depth and sincerity of our religion. Paul had had his eagle "flights," but he did not make much of them. "Caught up into the third heaven" he had seen "visions and revelations"; but he does not appeal to them as any sign of special grace. He had "run" swiftly to and fro on many an errand of evangelisation; but he does not dwell on these as having called forth any remarkable manifestations of the Divine helpfulness. It was as he pursued the ordinary routine of his ministry along the common ways, with the humbling "thorn" ever rankling in his flesh, that he felt the need of and received special succour. It was in this greater exigency that his inner ear caught the promise, "My grace is sufficient for thee."

(J. Halsey.)

But, you say, if this progression of ideas is a true climax, flying, running, walking — why stay there? Why not logically carry the idea further, and say that standing still is the sublimest consummation of the Divine life in many Even so. That is precisely what Paul does say. "Having done all, to stand!" It is when all the romance is past, when all the effervescence of youth has subsided, when all incitements from without and all excitements from within are over, when life has settled into its groove, and, surrounded by the monotonous and the sordid, we find our horizon limited by "the daily round" and "the common task" — it is then that faith rises to its true heroism, enabling us to maintain our spiritual level and hold our ground against the deadening inroads of formality and in. differentism.

(J. Halsey.)

Human strength is of many kinds — physical, mental, spiritual; but every form of human strength must of necessity spend itself. All strength apart from God is derived strength, and is consequently measurable, and must come to an end. On the other hand, Divine strength never fails. These two things seem very far away: man with his faintness, God with His eternity and inexhaustible omnipotence. If we can bring these two together, what a wondrous thing will happen! Then the sacred words of the text will be fulfilled.

I. WE SEE HOW A TRUE CHURCH MAY BE DESCRIBED. "They that wait upon the Lord."

II. WE SEE WHAT THE LORD'S WAITING PEOPLE NEED. To "renew their strength."

1. Because they are human.

2. Because they are imperfect.

3. We must renew our strength, for it is for our honour, comfort, and safety.

4. It is for God's glory and our own usefulness.

III. HOW ARE WE TO RENEW OUR STRENGTH? By continually waiting upon God.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

No man is as strong as he desires to be. Many things he desires to do but cannot. He would exhaust his strength if he continued working. God has provided hours for rest and refreshment.

I. SPIRITUAL LIFE DEMANDS RENEWAL. Strength for to-day does not insure strength for to-morrow. Full provision has been made to supply this need of the soul. The bread of life for the hungry, the water of life for the thirsty.

II. ALL RENEWAL OF STRENGTH SHOULD BE REGULAR. Spasmodic efforts are dangerous. There must be a regular feeding on God's Word and promises.

III. RENEWAL OF STRENGTH MEANS A RENEWAL OF ACTIVITY. Use all strength as a gift of God. When exhausted renew your power.

(R. M. Donaldson, D. D.)

This passage has the ring of an Alpine horn. It is very easy to misunderstand this word "wait," and regard it as meaning inactive passivity. There is a vast deal of verve in the original Hebrew; it signifies to be strong enough to hold out. It expresses a solid endurability such as belongs to a stiff piece of oak that never bends and never breaks under heavy pressure. Thence the word came to signify patience as opposed to worry and despondency. "Waiting" denotes a habit of mind-a devout habit that loves to call on God, a submissive habit that is ready to receive just what God sees fit to send, an obedient habit that is glad to do just what God commands, a stalwart habit of carrying such loads as duty lays upon our backs. It is a religion of conscience, and not a mere effervescence of pious emotion. In short, it is a grace, just as much as the grace of faith, or love, or humility. If you and I have this grace, and if we practise it, what may we expect?

1. That God will "renew our strength." For every new occasion, every new trial, every new labour, we shall get new power. If we have failed, or have been foiled, God will put us on our feet again. I have often gone to Saratoga, in the heat of the early summer, quite run down, and my vitality burned out as coal gets exhausted in the bunkers of a steamer. Then I repaired to one of the tonic springs and "waited" on its bubbling waters, trusting them and taking them into my system. Presently a new appetite for food was awakened, and a new life crept into my ten fingers; walking became a delight, and preaching as easy as for a lark to sing. All this renewal of vitality was the result of waiting on one of those wonderful healthfountains. I brought but little there. I took a great deal away. Just such a well of spiritual force is the Lord Jesus Christ. All the men and women of power are men and women of prayer. "Waiting on the Lord" by prayer has the same effect on them that it has on an empty bucket to set it under a rain-spout. They get filled. When I have heard C. H. Spurgeon pray I have not been so astonished at some of his discourses.

2. Waiting on God not only gives strength, it gives inspiration. "They shall mount up with wings as eagles." God means that every soul which waits on Him shall not creep in the muck and the mire, nor crouch in abject slavery to men or devils. When a soul has its inner life hid with Christ and lives a life of true consecration it is enabled to take wing, and its "citizenship is in heaven." He gains wide outlooks; he breathes a clear and crystalline atmosphere. He outflies many of the petty vexations and grovelling desires that drag a worldling down into the mire. What cares the eagle, as he bathes his wings in the translucent gold of the upper sky, for all the turmoil, the dust, or even the murky clouds that drift far beneath him? He flies in company with the sun. So a heaven-bound soul flies in company with God.

(T. L. Cuyler, D. D.)

I. One of the oldest and best tried rules of religion is THE SACRED DUTY OF COMMUNION WITH GOD. The expression "wait upon" is a most felicitous one, because while it includes prayer it means and covers so much more.

1. To wait on the Lord is the drawing nigh unto Him, to pour out our wants before Him, though He knows them so well, to plead the necessities arising out of our own ignorance, waywardness, and poverty of soul, to ask for His light to shine in our darkness, to clear our minds of the mists and fogs of native prejudice and of traditional error, to make plain before us our path of duty, and to keep our feet steadfast therein, to take into His loving hands the discipline and correction of our hearts, and to make us willing to undergo it, to keep us from all vanity and lies, and from every form of subtle self-deception, so that we may ever be true to Him and to ourselves. But waiting on the Lord implies much more than this. Although we have a perfect right to go to God and pour out every wish and longing of our hearts, worthy and unworthy alike, yet this is not by any means the whole or the highest part of communion with Him. Poor and barren and diseased must that heart be which has no song of praise to sing, no gratitude to pour forth for past deliverances and for present mercies, which has no emotion of adoring love for a goodness so infinite and untiring. To make our religion a delight and a glory we must surely wait on the Lord with songs of gladness and joy, praising Him more for what He is, and for what He has taught us to know and believe Him to be, than for the good gifts which His bounty hath bestowed.

2. Yet, further, there is a waiting on the Lord which is neither prayer nor praise, but silent and serene contemplation, when the mind muses upon His wondrous works and ponders over the stupendous fact that the infinite and eternal God can and will and does come near to the soul of His finite and imperfect creature man, and permits the ineffable solace and privilege of communion with Himself.

3. But all forms of waiting on the Lord involve the personal, conscious, voluntary act of the mind or soul within us, for which no mere ceremony or ritual can be a substitute. All outward observances, whether private or public, have no meaning, and can have no avail without that conscious voluntary movement of the soul towards God. If public worship helps you to this direct personal communion with God, I need not say you are bound to attend it; you are sure to do so of your own free will without any pressure. Experience has proved that, to a great many souls, public worship is the greatest help they ever get, that it gives wings to their holiest prayers and brightness to their gladdest songs of praise, and that it does bring them nearer to God than any other external agency that they know of. But this is not true of all. And I am bound to say that those who find the least pleasure and the least benefit from public worship are those who do not wait on the Lord in private. They do not know by experience the blessings of communion, and therefore these outward aids in public worship are of little use to them. It is like a banquet spread before one who has no appetite or whose habitual food is altogether different, or like a rich and perfect performance of music to one who is altogether destitute of any musical sense.

II. I turn now to dwell on THE NATURAL EFFECTS OF WAITING ON THE LORD, as stated by the prophet, and vouched for by myriads of the faithful and devout in all ages.

1. "They shall renew their strength." This is what we all need in this weary world, whose toils and cares and temptations perpetually remind us of our weakness and the need of invigorating grace. We renew our strength in the battle with our besetting sin, in the conquest of fierce passions and unruly tempers, and in the maintenance and steadfastness of high resolve. We renew our strength to meet misfortunes and to carry our load of grief or bereavement, to keep a cheerful heart under the depression of disease, and when chilled by the cold shadow of death. And we renew our strength for all enterprise which makes demand on our courage and truthfulness.

2. This leads us to notice the three degrees of moral and spiritual activity presented to us in the figurative language of the prophet:. "They shall mount up. on wings as eagles: they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.(1) The first typifies lofty aspiration and heroic action. There is a type of soul which soars like the eagle, its daring eye not flinching from the dazzling sun itself but drawn by it higher and higher with steadfast gaze till it is lost to sight of those on earth below. These are the great seers of the human race whose absorbing love and adoration of God has filled them with light and knowledge of Him little dreamed of by the many who have feebler and lower aspiration. The brighter the light before them, the more eagerly and steadfastly they rise upwards to greet it and to bathe in its splendour. Yet the power of thus rising on eagle's wings is not the only quality to be noticed in this symbolism. There is also the heroic courage in speeding one's way as on eagle's wings in defiance of earth-born cries and warnings, and in lofty scorn of earthly interests and pursuits. To one who thus heroically soars towards God and His light, the things of time and earth seem trivial and contemptible. Such strength of rising as this can only come by closest communion with God.(2) While only the few can thus fly, many can only run. Those who have not eagle's wings still have some power of motion, they can run on the earth and in the path of God's commandments. Whatever it be in their power to do, that power will be increased and their strength renewed by waiting upon God. Running is undignified, say some, it is more stately to walk, more dignified even to sit still. They will run nimbly enough after pleasure, wealth and fame, but not after the things which God bids them run after.(3) But as only few can fly and only some can run, there are still some who can only walk. And for them, too, the promise holds good, "They shall renew their strength, they shall walk and not faint." God never expects more from us than He has already given. If we are not of the eagle type and have but feeble aspirations; if we are not of the active, zealous type and cannot run, we may yet be able to walk, to move as fast as our poor, weak, or crippled limbs carry us, and if we do not wish to faint by the way we shall surely wait on the Lord. For the less strength we feel we have, the more we shall need and ask from Him. Indeed I think we poor walkers sometimes make the most progress, for we lean more entirely on God and draw more constant supplies of His grace.

(C. Voysey, B. A.)

Any racehorse will start at full speed; but how few have staying power! The tyro in cycling will go at full pelt; but only the experienced rider can walk or stand. To pursue the common track of daily duty — not faltering nor growing weary — to do so when novelty has worn off, when the elasticity of youth has vanished, when the applause of the crowd has become dim and faint — this is the greatest achievement of the Christian life. For this, earthly and human strength will not avail. But God is all-sufficient.

(F. B. Meyer, B. A.)

The spiritual teaching of this verse is, that for all the stages and moods of our life-pilgrimage Heaven's grace is available and sufficient.

(J. Halsey.)

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