Summary: In the race of life, when the well runs dry, God is our Strength.
WHERE IS GOD WHEN THE WELL RUNS DRY
ISAIAH 40: 21-31
FEBRUARY 25, 2001
INTRODUCTION: In 1968, the country of Tanzania selected John Stephen Akhwari to represent it in the Mexico City Olympics. Along the racecourse for the marathon, Akhwari stumbled and fell, severely injuring both his knee and ankle. By 7 PM, a runner from Ethiopia had won the race, and all the other competitors had finished and been cared for. Just a few thousand spectators were left in the huge stadium when the police siren at the gate caught their attention. Limping through the gate was number 36, Akhwari, leg wrapped in a bloody bandage. Those present began to cheer as the courageous man completed the final lap of the race. Later, a reporter asked Akhwari the question on everyone’s mind: “Why did you continue the race after you were so badly injured?” He replied: “My country did not send me 7,000 miles to begin a race; they sent me to finish the race.”
TRANSITION THOUGHT: Running the race is never easy. Sometimes, being in the race means that pain is inevitable. But, there is no alternative to being in the race – life is a race, Our faith is a race, a competition in which all must run.
THESIS SENTENCE: In the race of life, when the well runs dry, God is our Strength.
TEXT: The story of a down and out nation/people who were living in exile from their native land – ruled by foreigners – in the race and in pain – frustrated – wondering where God is – had HE not promised a land flowing with milk and honey – Sin caused displacement – exile – imprisonment – enslavement.
QUESTIONS ALWAYS COME WHEN THE RACE IS TOUGH AND PAIN COMES OUR WAY.
QUESTION #1 VS. 21 FOLLOWED BY ANSWER #1 VS. 22-24
I. WHERE IS GOD? (VV. 21)
A. 4 (four) Rhetorical questions. Don’t they always spell a reprimand, such as, “Do you think I’m stupid or something?”
1. “Do you not know?” A call to understanding
2. “Have you not heard?” A call to listen
3. “Has it not been told (to) you from the beginning?” A call to remember your past/ your heritage/ your upbringing
4. “Have you not understood since the earth was founded?” A call to acknowledge creation and the creator
B. The answer is: [Where is God???]
1. High and lifted up (vv. 22)
a. Enthroned – As the King
b. So high above us that we are but grasshoppers to HIM
c. The heavens are his tent to live in – He is in the heavens, but larger than them, they merely a tent to HIM?
2. Sovereign Over all the Earth! (Vv. 23-24)
a. Over all the earth, in complete control!!
b. Not so far away as to have nothing to do with us!! Closer than we know!! [NOTE VERSES 23 & 24] He is at work in our world!
ILLUSTRATION: Jim Elliot, a missionary slain by the Auca Indians in the 1950’s, once said, “God is still on His throne and man is still on HIS footstool. There’s only a knee’s distance in between.”
ILLUSTRATION: I once heard of a poor single mom with two rambunctious sons. These boys were always doing what they were not supposed to do. One day the poor old preacher decided to help. He had the mom bring the boys into his office and then she returned home leaving the boys with the pastor. The pastor paced the room and asked the same question over and over again. “Where is God?” “Where is God?” “Where is God?” To this the boys cut out of his office and ran all the way home non-stop. When the boys got home their mother asked, “What did the pastor say to get you boys so startled?” The eldest replied, “They have lost God and they think we stole HIM!”
QUESTION #2 Vs. 25 FOLLOWED BY ANSWER #2 Vs. 26
II. WHO IS GOD? (VV. 25-26)
A. Question: Who is God? Vs. 25
1. To whom will you compare ME?
a. Is there another god?
b. What have you seen?
2. Or who is MY equal – Says the HOLY ONE!!
a. I am HOLY!! [Dig in here?]
b. There is no one like ME!
B. Answer: This is who I am!!
1. Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Open you eyes, Can you see??? Are you Blind??? Creation is screaming at you!!
2. Who am I? Vs. 26
a. Who created all these: The stars, a question answered by a question, one of Jesus’ techniques!
b. He who brings out the starry host one by one!
1. I am the Creator!
2. I am the Almighty! I put out the stars, one by one. Who else can do that? Creator of all that is! [NOTE VERSE 26!]