Facing Discouragements

Facing Discouragements
Text:
(Isaiah 40:27-31)

Sermon outline for my message last June 26, 2016 in Bacolod City, Philippines

Do you sometimes feel that God has abandoned you? This is exactly what the nation of Israel felt.
“Why do you say, O Jacob… my way is hidden from the LORD, and my right is disregarded by my God.?” (v.27)

“but they who wait for 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.” ESV (v.31)

Why did they feel that way? It’s because of their disobedience. The nation of Israel continually rebelled against the Lord and God brought them to terrible judgment- they were ransacked, destroyed and conquered by a pagan foreign nation.

For me, I think I could endure if something bad happens and I know if my conscience is right before God. But how about if something bad happens to me because I did something evil also? Both spiritually and physically, no one can endure a prolonged separation from God and from a good state of life.

That is unbearably discouraging. That’s what Israel felt, and that’s what we could feel too.  Israel kept on worshiping idols and serving other gods, and God disciplined them by sending Assyrian conquerors to chastise them. It was too hard for them to bear. It’s too difficult. They want to give up. In the midst of the misery of our own consequences, like them, we may say…

“My way is hidden from the LORD and my right is disregarded by My God (v.27)” –the way in Hebrew refers to life, course, journey and road. The Israelites are like saying that the Lord does not care for their life anymore.  The Lord does not look at what they are going through. Do you sometimes feel that God has abandoned you? And He does not see what you are going through? In Filipino, it’s like May mga pinagdadaanan ka ba? Na sa tingin mo walang Syang pakialam?

You think that maybe it’s your fault, that that’s a consequence of your sins in the past, or that maybe God does not love you anymore. The worst thing that could happen to us is when God leaves us to our own.

At the cross, Jesus did not complain of the nails, the beatings and the injuries. He complained, “My God My God why have you forsaken me?” He complained of His Father’s separation.

Discouragements could be caused by many forms- it could be caused by a sick loved one, failed relationships, financial struggles, coldness, emotional pain, a toxic job, a stressful career, physical discomforts, unrealized dreams, etc.

The Hebrew word for “right” means plea. A case, a plea. The Israelites felt that their plea isn’t heard. Their prayers fall into deaf ears. For them God is silent.

Do you have prayers that until now haven’t been answered? Na sa tingin mo nagbibingi-bingihan lang ang Dios? Tapos sabay kakanta ka ng Natutulog ba ang Dios? Have you plead so many times for deliverance, for provision , for healing but God did not answer?

The Deliverance

Many times, the greatness of our discouragements overpower our sight of the greatness and superiority of God.

Verses 28-31 of Isaiah 40 demonstrates to us that God is superior than anything else- even superior than the Babylonian Giants that conquer us and the giants of our discouragements.

 

“Have you not known? Have you not heard?”

Isaiah transitions to the solution. But he first describes what Israel is lacking.  Are you not aware? Are you not informed? Was it not revealed to you? Are you not familiar? Did somebody not taught you?
We must never forget who God is.
1. He is Eternal –“The Lord is the everlasting God.” (v.28)
2. He is All Powerful-“The Creator of the ends” (v.28)
3. He is Omniscient- “his understanding is unsearcheable.” (v.28)
4. He is always alert. “He gives power to the faint…” (v.29) Not only He does not faint, but He gives power to the faint.
5. He is Compassionate- “To him who has no might He increases strength” (v.29)

“Even the strong young men will… “ (v.30)
In Hebrew, young men refers to “men who were drafted/selected”
1. Faint
2. Be weary
3. Fall exhausted
Think of superstar athletes- the brightest and the strongest of men living today- Lebron James? Irving? Curry? Michael Phelps?- yes, even them will grow weak. Even the mightiest of humans will have a point of exhaustion and ultimately a point of expiration.

“but they who wait for 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.” ESV (v.31)


“But they that wait”

In Hebrew, the word wait means:
1. To Hope
2. To look forward with confidence
3. Focus with anticipation of a future event
4. Eager expectation of salvation or deliverance

I. “shall renew their strength”
1. Shall go on
2. Shall change state
3. Rest
4. Experience being invigorated
5. Restoration

The best comes to those who wait…”

Believers whose hope is in the Lord shall be infused with spiritual power. And shall be like:

I. A flying eagle- known for their strength,speed, size, power, vision
II. A running athlete in a competition
III. A hiker in a long trek

Olympic Motto: Swifter, Higher, Stronger

Ps 42:5    Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my * salvation

FB Meyer, “Lord I feel so unfruitful and I lack spiritual power. Christ then said, give me all your keys of the doors of your life. He gave all keys except one key, and that is the door to his life. Jesus said, “If I am not your Lord of all, I am not your Lord at all.”

 

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