I grew up singing, "Those that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles!"
We love passages like this that seem to affirm our need for a pick-me-up, a way to "keep on keeping on," and with an affirmative nod to our national symbol, the eagle, no less!
Uh, well, maybe not the eagle part. The eagle doesn't refer to our national symbol. I was proud to do a web search and not really find a lot of Isaiah 40 texts superimposed over flags and eagles.
The roughly second half of Isaiah is a future vision of life after the exile. From Isaiah 40 to 66, Isaiah lays out a future vision after exile, what God Yahweh was going to do.
Isaiah 40 repeats the future vision for Judah in beautiful poetry, even in English translation.
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God (not Assyria)! The words of Isaiah 40 were written for exiles, people in similar trouble as Syrian refugees today. They're not written so we can make a meme out of it for Facebook. There isn't anything wrong with that, but Isaiah 40, all of Isaiah, was written for people who are getting ready to go to exile, who went to exile, and then had to rebuild their lives.
Isaiah preached for fifty years and then it was all smashed to bits, but God had a plan for after exile: He was going to restore Israel. He was going to vindicate Israel and that's what the end of 40 is all about. Do you not know? Have you not heard? Yahweh is the everlasting God. The creator of the ends of the earth.
Lord, You will not grow weary or tired. You will give strength to the weary and increase the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary and stumble and fall but those who look to the Lord, they will renew their strength! They will mount up with wings like eagles. They will run and not be weary. They will walk and not be faint. Those that wait on the Lord will renew their strength.
Fast from neglecting that these words are not written only for you. Fast from selfishness. Realize these words are for exiles, refugees in need of a true pick me up! Pray and fast for Syrian refugees today. These words are written to people who are displaced.
Give to an organization helping Syrian refugees or other immigrants in need.