By Horatius Bonar
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."