But they that wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary…
This passage has the ring of an Alpine horn. It is very easy to misunderstand this word "wait," and regard it as meaning inactive passivity. There is a vast deal of verve in the original Hebrew; it signifies to be strong enough to hold out. It expresses a solid endurability such as belongs to a stiff piece of oak that never bends and never breaks under heavy pressure. Thence the word came to signify patience as opposed to worry and despondency. "Waiting" denotes a habit of mind-a devout habit that loves to call on God, a submissive habit that is ready to receive just what God sees fit to send, an obedient habit that is glad to do just what God commands, a stalwart habit of carrying such loads as duty lays upon our backs. It is a religion of conscience, and not a mere effervescence of pious emotion. In short, it is a grace, just as much as the grace of faith, or love, or humility. If you and I have this grace, and if we practise it, what may we expect?
1. That God will "renew our strength." For every new occasion, every new trial, every new labour, we shall get new power. If we have failed, or have been foiled, God will put us on our feet again. I have often gone to Saratoga, in the heat of the early summer, quite run down, and my vitality burned out as coal gets exhausted in the bunkers of a steamer. Then I repaired to one of the tonic springs and "waited" on its bubbling waters, trusting them and taking them into my system. Presently a new appetite for food was awakened, and a new life crept into my ten fingers; walking became a delight, and preaching as easy as for a lark to sing. All this renewal of vitality was the result of waiting on one of those wonderful healthfountains. I brought but little there. I took a great deal away. Just such a well of spiritual force is the Lord Jesus Christ. All the men and women of power are men and women of prayer. "Waiting on the Lord" by prayer has the same effect on them that it has on an empty bucket to set it under a rain-spout. They get filled. When I have heard C. H. Spurgeon pray I have not been so astonished at some of his discourses.
2. Waiting on God not only gives strength, it gives inspiration. "They shall mount up with wings as eagles." God means that every soul which waits on Him shall not creep in the muck and the mire, nor crouch in abject slavery to men or devils. When a soul has its inner life hid with Christ and lives a life of true consecration it is enabled to take wing, and its "citizenship is in heaven." He gains wide outlooks; he breathes a clear and crystalline atmosphere. He outflies many of the petty vexations and grovelling desires that drag a worldling down into the mire. What cares the eagle, as he bathes his wings in the translucent gold of the upper sky, for all the turmoil, the dust, or even the murky clouds that drift far beneath him? He flies in company with the sun. So a heaven-bound soul flies in company with God.
(T. L. Cuyler, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.