Ever-flowing Stream of Grace
Title: Ever-flowing Stream of Grace
Theme: Results in Trusting in God
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:28-31)
Surely I am with you always
The results in trusting in God are far beyond outward observance and far beyond the onlooker’s perspective. These results grow out of our relationship with God the Father, Christ our Lord and our ability to walk in step with the Holy Ghost.
Regardless of who you are and your place in the Body of Christ, if you are going to continue on and see your ministry through to a healthy completion, it is going to cost you something, and it is going to require that you put your trust in Jesus’ promise, which is “…And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20) When things happen that cause you to question your ministry’s worth, to become weary and want to give up, God has a promise that will meet you at whatever condition you find yourself in.
Listen as I read Isaiah 40:28-31, “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
I would propose to you that when despondency comes upon the Body of Christ and when we have the tendency to bring God down to our level, we need to let the Holy Spirit bring the truths found in today’s text to life within our minds and hearts.
Just what are the results of trusting in God? The children of God who allow the Holy Spirit to illuminate into their hearts the truths found in what Isaiah wrote, overcome circumstances that can cause them to doubt the Lord’s love for them. They find themselves walking in the power of Almighty God, thus hearing, understanding and achieving God’s perfect will for them.
Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The beginning of Isaiah forty begins with “Comfort, comfort My people, says your God.” (Isaiah 40:1) You must understand before God sent His people in to bondage for continual sin, He always furnished them with promises that would support them and comfort them, if they would only listen and obey.
Isaiah chapter forty holds truths not just for the Jews of Isaiah’s day, but also for the children of God today. It is in Isaiah 40:3 we read of the work and ministry of John the Baptist who was the forerunner of Christ. John’s ministry was “A voice of one calling: ‘In the desert [to] prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.” John’s ministry was to lead and point all to Christ. Therefore, the instructions and promises found in Isaiah 40:28-31 are for the child of God who would but trust in the Lord as John the Baptist did.
The language of the prophet “Do you not know? Have you not heard?” is one of reproving. (Matthew Henry; Barnes Notes; The pulpit Commentary) We know that by reading Verse 27 which reveals to us the heart of the Jews who became melancholy, complaining, and whining. Listen to their words of despair, “…My way is hidden from the Lord: my cause is disregarded by my God.”
The Jews were relying on brain power here and responding to their circumstances. This is when brain power becomes limited and often is overcome with a critical spirit. These people nourished depression, needless fears, and mistrust. (The Pulpit Commentary) Disappointments can breed mistrust in truth, and what is even worse, disappointments can cause people to no longer look for truth. They stop trusting in God’s truths and set the stage of a skeptical atmosphere. (The Pulpit Commentary) It literally stops the desire of searching for Biblical understanding. (Matthew Henry; The Pulpit Commentary) This births forth a questioning spirit. Once this starts it becomes like an electricity of unbelief in the air and must not be breathed in, but rejected because it affects the spiritual health of the Body of Christ. (The Pulpit Commentary)
“Do you not know…” (Isaiah 40:28) as it used in today’s text refers to the fact that the Jewish people had an abundant opportunity of learning. They could have learned from their history, and from their fathers, of the true character of God. They had opportunity to learn of His willingness and ability to deliver them. These Jews had a blameworthy forgetfulness and disregard for the nature of God.
It is in times of trials when speculation begins to tear down faith in the Lord. Christians need to remember that God does not measure time as we do. It is impossible for Him to be unmindful or uncaring of our situations. (Barnes Notes; The Pulpit Commentary)
The child of God who believes this is the Christian who recalls God’s faithfulness to him and resolves to stand upon the Lord’s promises now and for the future. The Christian who has walked in obedience has felt Holy Spirit power in his life, he has seen God work through him, thus he trusts in the Lord. He knows the promise of Psalm 155:11 “[Those] who fear Him, trust in the LORD- He is their help and shield.”
Empower them for service
Christians who know and hear the voice of the Lord know that, “[He] is the Lord [and] He is the everlasting God, the Creator of… the earth. He [does] not grow tired or weary…” (Isaiah 40:28)
We serve the God who has existed from eternity, is unchangeable, and has everlasting love for us. He longs and loves to give whatever is needed to His children. James the half brother of Jesus writes, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17)
Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week and for twelve months of every year our God is able to meet the needs of His children and empower them for service. The Lord is our Creator, our Sustainer, and the Holy Spirit is sent by God. Jesus is available to work in us twenty-four seven…. The Bible says, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And He is the head of the body, the church…” (Colossians 1:15-18a)
As long as Jesus is your Savior and Lord of your life, there is no need for worry because He is in charge and in full control at all times. The child of God who knows this walks in faith, produces the fruit of faithfulness, and does not look at his circumstances. He looks to the God who “…rewards those who earnestly seeks Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
Gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak
Because of God’s attribute of never growing tired or weary, He “…gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” Even today the young and strong become weary or stumble in their duties before the Lord, especially if they are working in the arm of the flesh. However, “…those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.” What Israel wanted in captivity the church of Christ now needs. His supernatural strength is available at all times.
In the breeding of Quarter Horses, breeders have come to understand that there is a gene found in the blood makeup of some Quarter Horses that gives them a special ability to build muscle. Thus, these horses build more muscle and are stronger than the average Quarter Horse. It is my understanding that even if you take a blood line that has this gene and breed that blood line to each other, there will still be some offspring with this gene and some without. You see only God is the one who determines which horses have it. Man for the most part is unable to manipulate this gene on as he wishes.
Only God can give His strength to the weary, to “…those whose hope is in the Lord.” “Hope” is better translated as “wait on the Lord” or “wait for the Lord” in the New American Standard Bible, the King James Bible and the Living Bible. “Wait on the Lord” (qawah) is the foundational truth to enjoying God’s supernatural strengthening, which enables Christians to run the race, raise up like eagles, walk and not faint. “Wait on the Lord” (qawah) is one word in the original Hebrew writings, which was an active verb. To wait here is not inactivity or absence of physical exertion. It merely means hope in God as you do what He calls you to do and be willing to wait on Him for the results and directions to move on.
To fail to employ the means God gives you to work with Him is to tempt the Lord. When He says to go and make disciples, this means you are put into use what He has given and wait upon Him for additional means.
The farmer who waits for the Lord to plow and sow his seed will not only be disappointed, but will be guilty of provoking God’s anger. God expects the farmer to plow and plant the seeds in the fields he oversees in proper season. Then the farmer is to trust in God for the harvest.
And so it is with the church of Jesus Christ. She is to be actively sowing the seeds of God’s Word in every way possible, then wait upon God for the harvest. Sowing can be done through Christian music, preaching and teaching, testimonials, and even just living out your Christian faith before an on watching world.
The Christian who prepares for his labors with the Lord diligently and faithfully will feel God give him strength to go way beyond what he could have done on his own. He will see new doors open up for him, experience the Lord giving him more Holy Spirit gifts and excel it what the Lord calls him to do.
The root word for the phrase “wait upon the Lord” or “for the Lord” (qawah) has a “meaning of that twisting or winding a strand of cord or rope.” (The complete Word Study Dictionary of the Old Testament) A rope that is made by taking two or three strands twisted and wound together is a strong rope you can take hold of, and as you hold on, it will be strong enough to put you on your feet and/or keep you from falling.
The application here is that you have a God who is fully able to keep you strong at all times. He will keep you from fainting from your callings if you hold onto His promises and obey His commands. Whatever it is that the Lord is calling you to be in Him or do with Him, He will give you the strength to accomplish what He has ordained you to do.
When times of weariness and lack of strength come upon the child of God, the faithful experience His strengthening. Our text is clear “…the Lord will renew their strength.” “Renew” (halap) means to revive or to cause to flourish again. It is that tree that has decayed and is about to fall down but has been spoken back to life once again, it buds and produces fruit. (Barnes Notes) It is that speaking unto life that which was dead.
I know of Christians who have faced tremendous trials for years and they found this promise of God to be very true. While attending a pastor’s conference in Birmingham, Alabama I learned of Ron Cox, an Assembly of God Pastor. He pastors a church which believes in healing and has seen God’s supernatural healing powers.
However, For 24 years he ministered to his wife who had a very debilitating illness, the name of it I do not remember. She finally had to be put in a home were she could receive 24 hour a day care. I had the privilege of speaking with his secretary, June Creel. Through those twenty-four years June watched her pastor come into the church and just spend hours on his knees, praying and listening to Christian music that proclaimed praises to God. Every day the Lord was faithful to pour His Holy Spirit into Pastor Ron’s heart. He would arise renewed, refreshed, and he did not faint from his calling.
His circumstance could not keep him down and he pastors a very successful church that is getting the Word of God out. People are hungry for prayer and praise and hungry to hear the Word of God proclaimed and taught. This is a sign of the Holy Spirit working among the Body of Christ. (Ephesians 6:17; 2 Kings 22; 2 Chronicles 17-6-9; Ezra 8)
Those who know this renewing of God trust in Him and they express a life of true faith. They are able to contend with their spiritual foes, able to gain victory over their sins, able to discharge right duties to them who have proven themselves faithful in trials and endurance in their callings. They find God giving new and better appointments.
Soar on wings like eagles
These Christians “…soar on wings like eagles.” There have been many wonderful dramatic writings and teachings on this passage of Scripture. Albert Barnes has one picture that is worthy of consideration as well.
The picture is simply derived from the fact that the eagle rises on the most vigorous and powerful wings of any bird. It is my understanding that it ascends apparently further toward the sun than any other bird. This figure of writing, therefore, denotes strength and vigor of purpose; The writer is denoting an elevation that is high above this world; representing communion with God and nearness to His heart.
Bonnie and I were taken out to eat by an elderly couple in their eighties. This pastor is a Spirit filled Baptist who had a great visitation of the Holy Spirit upon his heart after being bedridden from an accident. He had shared with me in the past of this mighty move of God on his life and how the Lord just gave him revelation after revelation from the written Word of God.
This happened at a very low time of his life, but God met with him and I have observed his life long enough to know that he has fellowship with the Lord. His life radiates a trust, a strengthening as he walks in his calling. Please note I said as he walks in his calling, not what he tells God he should be doing or what people in the church tell him he should be doing.
Will walk and not be faint
Christians who have close communion with God “…will walk and not be faint.” “Faint” (yaep) is a verb meaning exhausted, fatigued or just plain tired out. The application is not that exhaustion or fatigue will come to us, but in those times of exhaustion and fatigue, when a child of God calls upon the Lord, He will give a supernatural strengthening that enables his faithful child to complete the task.
In Luke we read of the time when Jesus prayed on the Mount of Olives, the night before His calling and purpose was about to meet it’s climax, when the sins of the world were about to be laid upon Him. As He was praying the Bible says, “An angel from heaven appeared to Him and strengthened Him…” (Luke 22:43) Jesus did not faint from His calling but found strength from His Father to accomplish what He was sent to do.
Jesus being fully God and fully man, shows us who to call to in times when the weight of our callings fall upon us. He shows us our only source for help in fulfilling ordained task. We can look to Jesus because He is the “…high priest who is [able] to sympathize with our weaknesses, however… [when] …tempted in every way, just as we are—[He remained] without sin. [Therefore, we can] approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16)
We are the children of God. Our Lord Jesus said that he would not leave us as orphans. (John 14:18) The Holy Spirit of God is promised to us so we have the power to walk and not faint.
There is an “Ever-flowing Stream of Grace,” which was purchased by the blood of Christ and is promised to the children of God, those who trust completely in Him.
A study of some key verses in the book of Acts and 2 Corinthians reveals to us that God’s grace is that sustaining influence enabling the believer to persevere in the Christian life. (Acts 11:23;20:32; 2 Cor. 9:14) (The New International Dictionary of the Bible) Dr. Jim Berg gives us a definition of God’s grace that really is balanced from the whole of Scripture. He writes, “Amazing Grace, is the divine help in creating a desire and giving us power to please God.”
Through studying the Word of God I have noticed that God’s grace is revealing His will and then experiencing His empowerment to accomplish it. The more sensitive we become to the leading of the Holy Spirit as He illuminates the Word of God into our lives, the more we can enjoy God’s “Ever-flowing Stream of Grace.”
It starts with choosing not to be like the Israelites. Never let Satan or your flesh convince you that God disregards the cause that you are endeavoring for Him. Know the promises of God and stand upon them all.
You and I have a God who created it all. We serve the Christ who sustains everything, and we have the promised Holy Spirit living in us who will increase God’s power to the weak, and renew strength to the overworked. He can keep us in constant communion with the Lord and keep the faithful from fainting in their callings.
In 1994 Bonnie and I were blessed with the opportunity of attending the “North American Conference for Itinerate Evangelist and their Wives.” Dr. Billy Graham was one of the keynote speakers and this was at the time when he began to show signs of having serious health problems. When the opening night service began, Dr. Billy Graham had to be helped to the top of the platform.
Bonnie and I had nearly front row seats. I remember thinking clearly that, “here I am, here is my opportunity to hear Mr. Graham speak in person and someone else will have to speak because of Mr. Graham’s failing health.” As matter fact that next morning he was going to be flown to the Mayo Clinic to start some tests.
However, when it came time for Dr. Billy Graham to speak, no one had to help him to the pulpit. And when he started to speak he showed no sign of weariness or weakness. He stood strong and spoke boldly with a renewed strength and delivered a message that touched and encouraged many who wanted to fulfill their God ordained Commission.
It was clear to me that Dr. Billy Graham knew the Creator of the earth. He was experiencing increase in power, he had communion with God and it was impossible for Him to faint from his task. This anointing is not only for those who we consider to be famous servants of the Lord, but for all who will put trust in the Lord Jesus.
While visiting a church in West Harlem, I watched God’s “Ever-flowing Stream of Grace” be enjoyed by a young pastor who will probably never be what we call famous.
However, he was God’s anointed as he spent hours at a local school helping kids who were poor and slow to learn. As he spent hours preparing messages, getting and keeping a church in order for worship services, he walked in that “Everlasting-flowing grace of the Lord.
This grace is for every church, and every Christian who trust in the Lord with all their heart to help them achieve their calling. The calling may be from behind the pulpit, teaching Sunday school, overseeing a special ministry in the church, cleaning the church, running a business with him, or ministering to others in any way with the Lord.
You and I can enjoy God’s grace at all times, the choice is ours. He proved His love by sending His Son to pay the highest price possible, His life. Because of Jesus we have the promise of the Holy Spirit’s enablement to achieve all that the Lord calls us to do.