Great Promises of the Bible: Isaiah 40:31

Feb 13, 2024

Great Promises of the Bible:

Isaiah 40:31

Lt. Colonel Allen Satterlee

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. (Isaiah 40:31 KJV)

Dark Days

            The fortieth chapter of Isaiah begins on a somber note: “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.” Why did they need to be comforted? The answer is found in the previous chapter that outlines Isaiah’s prophecy of Babylon’s utter defeat of the Jewish nation (39:5-7). Babylon’s conquest of Judah resulted in the total destruction of the city of Jerusalem including the magnificent Temple built by Solomon. The best and brightest were carried away to Babylon while the poorest were left to fend for themselves in whatever was left in the battle-scarred land.

            But Babylon proved to be a better school for the Jewish people than the centuries of teaching by scribes. Once and for all they set aside idol worship, never to take it up as a nation again. During this time synagogues were formed for the study and preservation of Scripture. This time after testing, the people came out stronger.

Waiting, but Not Idle

            The message of Isaiah 40 was meant to encourage them during the coming captivity, during their time of waiting. Isaiah reminded them that this was a time of “waiting on the Lord.” This was not the idling away of time that marks the summer breaks for school children. It was to be a time of active anticipation, of looking for what will happen next. It has been defined as “strong enough to hold out. Solid endurance as a stiff piece of oak that never bends under pressure.”

           Waiting on the Lord is never wasted time. It is when we cultivate our faith through the reading and study of God’s Word, when we learn the lessons of how we ought to pray, when we employ our gifts and efforts in the service of God and others.

           Why is waiting even necessary? Because God’s timing is not our timing. One summer we had some of our grandchildren with us for a few weeks. One of the activities was to plant some seeds. The littler ones wanted to see the seeds sprout in a moment, but plants grow on their own timeline. Our wanting something so badly we cannot wait has no bearing on God’s decision on when and how He will move. There is no better time to learn about God’s sovereignty than when we are waiting on Him. Over our interests are the interests of the Kingdom and God’s desire to conform us to His own image. Waiting is part of that.

Renewed Strength

When finally, the waiting is over God promises renewed strength. To illustrate this, Isaiah gives us pictures of an eagle, a runner and pedestrian travel. In chapter 40, the word “faint” or a related term is used five times. He knows that the reader may feel exhausted under the burden of Babylonian exile and during this prolonged period of waiting.

But the promise is given that they will “renew their strength” by mounting up with “with wings as eagles.” The term “mount up” literally means to rise to another level. As the eagle is able to soar to spectacular heights on wind currents, the child of God will gain new heights by being uplifted by the Spirit of God.

Not Weary

That same idea is carried through with the promise that we “shall run, and not be weary.” Running speaks of urgency and reminds us of the messengers that were sent to convey important messages. These runners told of the outcome of battles, of the death of kings and the births of princes, issued calls to arms on behalf of their sovereigns. There is urgency to our task of witnessing to a lost world that requires our best effort and the energizing power of the Spirit.

The running also speaks of enthusiasm, the excitement of a new endeavor. We want to hurry and get to it, to experience the new adventure and enjoy the thrill of something new.  One of the joys of the Christian life is that even though someone has been on the way for a very long time, there remains newness, freshness that makes each day one of promise.

Not Faint

Finally, Isaiah says that these renewed people will “walk and not faint.” Walking speaks of the everyday. Although running and flying are important, we spend far more time and effort and cover more distance by walking than anything else. Life can’t always be lived on an adrenalin high. And so we need strength to face the little challenges, the routine hurdles, the uphill trudges that come with settled living. As someone has said, we are often more bothered by the pebble in our shoes than the mountain we climb. The everyday is the real testing ground for our faith. If we can live successfully for the Lord in these common moments, we are more ready to take on the massive challenges that we face another time.

Whether in a place like Babylon, in a hospital room, in a trackless forest or find us at what seems to be a dead end, if we are waiting on the Lord in expectation, not neglecting present opportunities, we can expect that He will renew our strength as the eagle’s.

Our Corporate Prayer

Our Father, help me to wait on You, to keep my hope steadfastly fixed on You. There are times when I feel weary and sometimes when I almost feel hopeless. Help me to remember this promise so that I can renew my strength in You, the source of all lasting strength. I want to run with You. I want to walk with You. I want to mount up with wings like the eagle with You. Keep me through all my days so that I can bring You glory and tell others that they can find their hope in You. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Our Worldwide Prayer Meeting
USA Southern Territory

Reaching Out to Others

Share the promise of Isaiah 40:31 with someone who is weary. Remind that person or persons that lasting strength is found in God alone.

Notable Quotables


When you feel weakest, dangers surround,
Subtle temptations, troubles abound,
Nothing seems hopeful, nothing seems glad,
All is despairing, everything sad:

Keep on believing, Jesus is near;
Keep on believing, there's nothing to fear;
Keep on believing, this is the way;
Faith in the night as well as the day.

- Commissioner Lucy Booth-Hellberg


In Christ alone I stand!


We would appreciate any feedback and/or suggestions on how to improve these devotionals. Please email comments to:
[email protected] or by going to our website: We would love to hear from you.

Lt. Colonel Allen Satterlee
Territorial Spiritual Life Development Officer/THQ Chaplain
USA Southern Territory

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