Summary: God’s response to Israel’s frustrations reveals His power, His understanding, His grace, and the benefits of His love.
The story is told of a wife who went to wake her husband up one Sunday morning. “Honey, its time to wake up,” the wife said with a cheerful voice. The husband responded, “I don’t want to get out of bed!” “Now dear,” she responded, “we don’t want to be late for church?” “I don’t want to go to church,” the husband snarled back. “Give me three good reasons why I should go to church.” The wife answered: “First, you need to go to church because of the fellowship with loving people. Second, you need to go to church because the Bible says so. And third, you need to go to church because you are the pastor!” (Illustration from sermoncentral.com)
I want to let you know that that did not happen this morning. My wife and I are thrilled to join with you today as we worship God together.
Isaiah 40:28-31 (NIV) 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. 29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 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.
This morning I want to share with you a message entitled: “Great is our God.” With all the challenges and trials life affords, it is important that we understand that God is in control. We do not have to live in fear—to live stressed-out lives—but we can live in the confidence on knowing that God is greater than any problem, any heartache, and any turmoil that we may face.
I think this is why the Old Testament governor of Judea, Nehemiah, declared to his people: “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). Although we can easily be concerned about the devastation of sin in our world and in the people we love, it is a wonderful thought that we can “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
Isaiah chapter 40 is my favorite passage of Old Testament Scripture. The prophet Isaiah is led of the Lord to write about the Omnipotence and greatness of our God. There is no greater study, no greater pursuit than to earnestly seek the truth about God. Isaiah declared in another part of his book that we are to “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near” (Isaiah 55:6). In fact Jesus, during His earthly ministry, as He preached the Sermon on the Mount as recorded in Matthew proclaimed: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).
So, I think we are on solid, biblical ground, in seeking the truth about God. And, why is this so important? The value may seem obvious, but, so many people, for so many different reasons, have dismissed the discipline of knowing God. The ramifications have sadly become clear. Sin seems to abound. Victory over transgression seems elusive. Faith has been replaced by doubt and fear.
But for you, you are here this morning not just to hear a message given by a guy from California—I think you deeply desire to hear from God—to experience the life changing power that God’s word affords. And, quite frankly, that is why I am here as well. So we journey together—you and me—and we journey through one of the great passages of Scripture.
Let me set the stage for you. The people of Israel were angry with God. “Instead of praising the Lord, the nation was complaining to Him that He acted as though He did not know their situation or have any concern for their problems” (Be Comforted) “Instead of seeing the open door, the Jews saw only the long road before them; and they complained that they did not have strength for the journey. God was asking them to do the impossible” (Be Comforted). Left to their devices and emotions, Israel would abandon God—and many times they did just that!
So God intervenes. He cuts through the fabric of time, and enters our world. He pushes back that stumbling blocks of doubt and confusion, and makes clear of who He is and what He expects from us. And, in this passage of Scripture reveals to us at least four incredible principles that will change and transform our lives.
Look with me at verse 28: “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 with this God reveals the principle of how: