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Light and Truth: The Old Testament: Chapter 59 - The Unfainting Creator and the Fainting Creature

By Horatius Bonar


      Isaiah 40:28-31

      THIS was God's answer to Israel of old in their day of trouble; it is still his answer to a desponding spirit which thinks its case hopeless and itself forsaken of God. God himself thus speaks in his love to such. Instead of taking each clause separately, let us thus classify the various points here brought before us,--(1.) an unfainting God; (2.) a fainting sinner; (3.) an unfainting saint.

      I. An unfainting God. It is to himself that he draws our eye in our disquietude,--"Look unto me;" "trust ye in Jehovah." He wonders that we should not have known nor heard of him and his greatness; or that having heard of him, we should ever give way to despondency. With such a God to go to, how can we be careful or troubled?

      (1.) His name. It is fourfold, and each of its four parts most full and suitable,--"God," "The Everlasting," "Jehovah," "Creator of the ends of the earth." What a name; what a declaration of himself is this! Excellency, duration, life, power, all are here! Ah, surely they that know such a name will put their trust in him.

      (2.) His character. "He fainteth not;" "he is not weary;" he is unsearchable in wisdom. Here is the unfainting God,--the God only wise. Past ages have proved him such; the experience of those who have known him has borne testimony to him. Time, work, difficulty, cannot make him faint or weary.

      Nothing in earth, or heaven, or hell can affect him. He has been working hitherto, and is still working (John 5:17), but he is not weary.

      (3.) His ways. They are not as our ways. They are the ways of bountifulness and love. He is the giving one; he is always giving; giving more and more; never weary of giving; giving power, strength, all that is needed. Yes, he that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him freely give us all things.

      This is the God with whom we have to do! Such is his name, his character, his ways! Have we not known him, nor heard? To know him is life; to listen to him is peace forevermore.

      II. A fainting sinner. The object toward which the power of this mighty God is turned is a sinner; one who is "faint," who "has no might." It is the utter helplessness of the object that attracts him. It is not "like drawing to like"; but the unlike. It is the unlikeness that constitutes the attraction and the fitness. "When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly." Thus the two extremes meet, the weakness of the creature, the power of the Creator; each so exactly suiting the other, and each requiring the other. It is this state of things that shews the folly of those who despair of being saved because they are so weak. The truth is, they are not yet weak enough for God to save them. They must come down to a lower degree of helplessness ere God can interfere. Yes, it is our strength, not our weakness, that is our hindrance and stumbling block. It is the weak that God is in quest of, not the strong; the weaker the better for the display of his strength. "To them that have no might he increaseth strength." "In the Lord have I righteousness and strength." "When I am weak then am I strong." It is our "infirmities" that God uses as his opportunity for the magnifying of his grace and power. Are you willing to take the place of weakness which God assigns to you, and in which alone he can interfere to save?

      III. An unfainting saint. The saint is here described as one who "waits upon the Lord." He has come to give up his waiting on all else; to wait on this living and mighty God alone. It is thus that out of weakness he becomes strong. His weakness is not less than it was, but he gets a substitute for it, in the strength of Jehovah. Everybody else, even the young and vigorous shall fail; but he shall not. When every one gives way he shall stand; he shall lift up his head. This is described under four figures.

      (1.) They that wait on Jehovah shall renew their strength. Our strength wastes by daily use; theirs increases and is renewed. That which would fatigue and exhaust others shall invigorate them. They shall become stronger and stronger. The greater their former weakness the greater their present power.

      (2.) They shall mount up with wings as eagles. Many a lofty height shall they ascend and look down on the world beneath them, soaring higher and higher, gazing from Lebanon, and Hermon, and Amana (Song of Solomon 4:8), from the mountains of myrrh, and the hills of frankincense. As God bore Israel through the desert on eagles' wings, so shall they be borne. They who once had not strength to creep or move, have now strength to fly aloft as eagles. Such is the way in which strength comes out of weakness.

      (3.) They shall run and not be weary. They are not always flying or soaring; but when running,--running their race here,--they shall not be weary. They shall run with patience, perseverance, success, triumph. Theirs shall be a blessed and untiring race.

      (4.) They shall walk and not faint. The greater part of their life is to be a walking. Occasionally they may fly or run; more generally they walk; ever moving onward without ceasing. In this walk they shall not faint. It may be long, but they shall not faint. It may be rough and dark, but they shall not faint. Here then is the unfainting saint, made out of a fainting sinner, by the power of an unfainting God. Wait then, O saint, on God, and thou shalt know his power; how he can uphold and strengthen thee even to the end, that thou mayest be presented faultless before him at his coming. "He keepeth the feet of his saints."

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See Also:
   Preface
   Chapter 1 - The Old and New Creation
   Chapter 2 - The Link Between Being and Non-Being
   Chapter 3 - A Happy World
   Chapter 4 - The Sin, the Sinner, and the Sentence
   Chapter 5 - Man's Fig-Leaves
   Chapter 6 - Expulsion and Re-Entrance
   Chapter 7 - The Blood of Sprinkling and the Blood of Abel
   Chapter 8 - The Way of Cain
   Chapter 9 - The Man of Rest
   Chapter 10 - Going Out and Keeping Out
   Chapter 11 - The Shield and the Recompense
   Chapter 12 - Liberty and Service
   Chapter 13 - The Day of Despair
   Chapter 14 - The Blood of Deliverance
   Chapter 15 - How God Deals with Sin and the Sinner
   Chapter 16 - The Fire Quenched
   Chapter 17 - The Vision from the Rocks
   Chapter 18 - The Doom of the Double-Hearted
   Chapter 19 - Be Not Borderers
   Chapter 20 - The Outlines of a Saved Sinner's History
   Chapter 21 - Divine Longings Over the Foolish
   Chapter 22 - What a Believing Man Can Do
   Chapter 23 - Song of the Putting Off of the Armour
   Chapter 24 - The Kiss of the Backslider
   Chapter 25 - The Priestly Word of Peace
   Chapter 26 - Human Anodynes
   Chapter 27 - Spiritual and Carnal Weapons
   Chapter 28 - Divine Silence and Human Despair
   Chapter 29 - Jewish Unbelief and Gentile Blessing
   Chapter 30 - The Restoration of the Banished
   Chapter 31 - The Farewell Gift
   Chapter 32 - God's Dealing with Sin and the Sinner
   Chapter 33 - God Finding a Resting-Place
   Chapter 34 - The Moriah Group
   Chapter 35 - Diverse Kinds of Conscience
   Chapter 36 - The Soul Turning from Man to God
   Chapter 37 - Man's Dislike of a Present God
   Chapter 38 - True and False Consolation
   Chapter 39 - Gain and Loss for Eternity
   Chapter 40 - Man's Misconstruction of the Works of God
   Chapter 41 - The Two Cries and the Two Answers
   Chapter 42 - The Knowledge of God's Name
   Chapter 43 - Deliverance from Deep Waters
   Chapter 44 - The Excellency of the Divine Loving-Kindness
   Chapter 45 - The Sickness, the Healer, and the Healing
   Chapter 46 - The Consecration of Earth's Gold and Silver
   Chapter 47 - The Gifts of the Ascended One
   Chapter 48 - The Speaker, the Listener, the Peace
   Chapter 49 - The Believing Man's Confident Appeal
   Chapter 50 - The Love and the Deliverance
   Chapter 51 - The Sin and Folly of Being Unhappy
   Chapter 52 - The Book of Books
   Chapter 53 - The Secret of Deliverance from Evil
   Chapter 54 - The Voice of the Heavenly Bridegroom
   Chapter 55 - The Love that Passeth Knowledge
   Chapter 56 - The Vision of the Glory
   Chapter 57 - Man's Extremity and Satan's Opportunity
   Chapter 58 - The Day of Clear Vision to the Dim Eyes
   Chapter 59 - The Unfainting Creator and the Fainting Creature
   Chapter 60 - The Knowledge that Justifies
   Chapter 61 - The Heritage and its Title-Deeds
   Chapter 62 - The Meeting Between the Sinner and God
   Chapter 63 - God's Love and God's Way of Blessing
   Chapter 64 - Divine Jealousy for the Truth
   Chapter 65 - Divine Love and Human Rejection of it
   Chapter 66 - God's Desire to Bless the Sinner
   Chapter 67 - The Resting-Place Forgotten
   Chapter 68 - The Day that Will Right all Wrongs
   Chapter 69 - The Glory and the Love
   Chapter 70 - False Religion and its Doom
   Chapter 71 - No Breath No Life
   Chapter 72 - Every Christian a Teacher
   Chapter 73 - Work, Rest, and Recompence
   Chapter 74 - Human Heedlessness and Divine Remembrance
   Chapter 75 - Lies the Food of Man
   Chapter 76 - The Love and the Calling
   Chapter 77 - The Anger and the Goodness
   Chapter 78 - Darkness Pursuing the Sinner
   Chapter 79 - Jerusalem the Centre of the World's Peace
   Chapter 80 - Jerusalem and Her King
   Chapter 81 - Looking to the Pierced One
   Chapter 82 - The Holiness of Common Things
   Chapter 83 - Wearying Jehovah with our Words
   Chapter 84 - Dies Irae

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