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Isaiah 40:31 – Funeral Message for Roe Dorsey

Some time ago, I visited Roe and Donna in their home in North Fairfield. When I went into the living room, I noticed a large assortment of things related to eagles. And as you saw in his picture, he also wore shirts with eagles on them. That thought made me think about a verse in the Bible that talks about eagles. Did you know that the Bible mentions eagles more than 30 times? One of the verses is Isaiah 40:31. Perhaps you have heard of it?

Isaiah 40:31 – “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

This Bible verse has been a comfort to many people over the years. But it is not a verse that stands by itself. It was the ending of a chapter directed toward people who had just gone through some very difficult times. God wanted them to see how He could help them if they would only trust Him. That is what I would like to talk about today.

  1. The Background

    The people of Judah had been through ups and downs. At one point, they had a good king who loved the Lord and did what pleased Him. At another point, they had a king who turned the people to idols and wicked practices. And during those times, God would often bring judgment on them to turn their hearts back to Him. It was after such a time of judgment that God addressed the people through the words of this chapter.
  2. The Message

    God wanted to comfort them (Isaiah 40:1-2).

    He told Isaiah to speak God’s comfort to His people. Their sins had led to some very difficult times. At one point, the Assyrians had invaded and deported their king to Babylon. You know how bad war is. People had lost loved ones and some had been injured or worse. But God said that their sins were pardoned after such a great punishment.

    Why did God want to pardon them? This is the way God is. He hates sin as it is like a slap in the face to Him when people reject Him and His ways. But His ultimate goal in bringing judgment is to lead people to repentance—so that they will turn from their sin to Him. Now that His judgment had accomplished His goal, God wanted to comfort the people who had turned from their sins to Him.

    God wanted to care for them (Isaiah 40:11).

    He wanted the people to look at Him as a Shepherd. He would feed them like a shepherd feeds His sheep. He would care for the young like a shepherd picks up a baby lamb. He would gently lead the mothers with children as a shepherd carefully leads the female sheep to safety. Doesn’t this remind you of Psalm 23? There David said, “The Lord is my Shepherd.” The same God who took care of David was telling the people that He would care for them.

    Why did God want to care for them? Was it something He saw in them that deserved this special care. No, these people had turned away from Him many times. They didn’t deserve His care. Later in the book, He would say that even their righteous deeds were like filthy rags to God (Isa. 64:6). And yet… He still offered His love to them. God loved these people and wanted what was best for them. And that love led Him to get their attention and to bring them back to where they would repent of their sins and once again know His care for them.

    God wanted to reveal His greatness (Isaiah 40:26).

    He wanted the people to remember who He is. For a time they had made idols out of gold and wood (which doesn’t make a lot of sense today) and worshiped them. God wanted them to remember who had created them, who kept the stars in their places and knew each one by name. They needed to know that the one true God was the great God who made and sustains everything.

    Why did God want them to see His greatness? He wanted them to know that He was the One who could take care of them. They needed to know that what they had been trusting in would never help them. Those idols and the wicked practices they prescribed would only ruin their lives. God wanted them to know who He is and how great He is.

    God wanted them to wait on Him (Isaiah 40:28-31).

    He wanted them to learn to wait on Him. He asked if they knew or had heard about Him. Did they think He was too tired and feeble to take care of them? God never grows tired. He understands every situation. And best of all, He gives strength to those who wait on Him.

    Why did God want them to wait on Him? Wouldn’t it be better tell them to trust in Him? Maybe that makes sense in our minds. But in that situation, these people needed to patiently wait and trust that God would give them the strength they needed. As they waited for Him, He would provide the ability to make it through the tough times with Him walking beside them.

  3. The Application

    How do these things apply to us today?

    God is concerned about you.

    Just as God confronted those people of Judah about their sin, so He is confronting us today. The Bible says that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). And our sin is serious to God. It is so serious that He has promised to judge sin at the end of time. All will stand before God and be judged for their sins and not one of us can claim any exemptions (Rev. 20:11-15). We are guilty.

    But God, who is rich in mercy, showed His concern by sending His own Son to pay the price for our sins. The Bible tells us that “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). Jesus left heaven to come to earth as a man. He allowed Himself to be nailed to the cross and to take the punishment for the sins of the world. That is how much God is concerned about you. And now He calls on each of us to repent of our sins and to place our full trust in Jesus. When God brings you to that place, He will pardon your sins and make you His child.

    God wants you to wait on Him.

    When you become a child of God (through faith in Jesus), your whole life is changed. God makes you a new person from the inside out (2 Cor. 5:17). And day by day, you learn more about Him and learn to trust Him through the ups and downs of life. Yes, even Christians have ups and downs. There are times when difficult times make us want to trust someone or something else to take us through the hard times. But how is that going?

    God wants you to take your difficulties to Him.

    Philippians 4:6-7 – “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

    In other words, take your troubles to the Lord and wait for Him to take care of your needs. God is the Creator of the universe. He controls the planets and stars and nothing is out of His control. Do you think He can take care of your troubles?

Conclusion

Today is a hard day. We have lost someone special. And the days ahead will be difficult especially for those who were closest to Roe. But there is something… no, there is someone who wants to bring you the comfort and peace you need at this moment and in the days ahead. Do you know Him? Will you wait on Him? Will you trust Him?