A Supply for the Weary
As frail humans, we often come to the end of our energy and strength and must learn how to lean on the endless supply of our Heavenly Father. Call on God for help and strength when yours is lacking, and be encouraged by his sufficiency, described in the following scriptures with commentary from the ESV Study Bible.
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
The people of God are secure, even in times of tumult and upheaval, because God is their refuge and strength (Ps. 46:1). God is present in his city (an emblem of his people as a whole) to protect it in all circumstances. Psalm 46:2–3 use earthquakes, landslides, and the raging sea as images of raging nations and tottering kingdoms (Ps. 46:6). There is also a contrast: though the mountains be moved (Ps. 46:2), Zion shall not be moved (Ps. 46:5). The reason is that God has chosen Zion to be his holy habitation, i.e., the place of his sanctuary, where his people meet him in worship (Ps. 46:4). “a river.” In contrast to the roaring seas (Ps. 46:2–3), the streams of this river (perhaps an image of the grace found in worshiping the true God; cf. Ezek. 47:1–12) make glad the city of God.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.
Three times the Lord charges Joshua to be strong and courageous, words reminiscent of Joshua’s earlier commissioning under Moses (see Deut. 31:6–8, 23). Joshua will need strength and courage to accept his task (you shall cause this people to inherit the land; Josh. 1:6); to obey the Torah (Book of the Law Josh.1:8]; most likely this would have included at least the book of Deuteronomy or portions thereof [see Deut. 31:26, “this law”]); and to resist being terrified (do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed; Josh. 1:9). Most difficult of all will be the middle responsibility—namely, to make the Lord’s instructions (Hb. Torah) integral to who he is and what he does (Josh. 1:8a), meditating on them constantly so as to do them (Josh. 1:8b). Thus the middle exhortation is made emphatic by the addition of two small words: “only be strong and very courageous.” Given Joshua’s leadership responsibilities, this charge to be strong and courageous would be daunting were it not for the framing promises: I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you (Josh. 1:5); and the LORD your God is with you wherever you go (Josh. 1:9). Fortified by these assurances of the Lord’s abiding presence, Joshua is empowered to receive his commission with courage. The Hebrew terminology used in these assurances has nothing to do with worldly wealth or worldly success, but has everything to do with accomplishing one’s mission and acting with keen insight in any circumstance that presents itself. Only when one fails to “ask counsel from the LORD” (Josh. 9:14) is such insight lacking.
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
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.
God never suffers setbacks, and he helps those who do. Human strength at its best inevitably fails. Only the promise of God can sustain human perseverance. Savoring God’s promise by faith until the time of fulfillment, we find endless supplies of fresh strength.
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
The secret of living amid life’s difficulties is simple: trusting God in such a way that one can say, I can do all things through him who strengthens me. This does not mean God will bless whatever a person does; it must be read within the context of the letter, with its emphasis on obedience to God and service to God and others.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Paul says that God’s grace “is sufficient” (in the present tense), underscoring the ever-present availability and sufficiency of God’s grace, for Paul and for every believer, regardless of how critical one’s circumstances may be (cf. Rom. 8:31–39). “my power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul was not allowed to speak about his heavenly revelations (2 Cor. 12:4, 6) but he quotes Christ’s declaration (“My grace is sufficient”) to underscore that his earthly weaknesses (not his revelations) would be the platform for perfecting and demonstrating the Lord’s power. This is the main point of 2 Cor. 12:1–13 and the foundation of Paul’s self-defense throughout 2 Corinthians.
Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
The people are to be joyful. Though sorrow for sin was a positive response, joy at renewed relationship with God was the teaching’s ultimate purpose. Nehemiah and Ezra together decide that this holy day (Lev. 23:24) should be one of joy, though the reading has led many to sense the need to repent of their sins. As the people rejoiced in God and delighted in his presence, he would show himself strong to help them and defend them. “Joy” was a keynote because God had saved Israel, in both the remote and the recent past, and this story of salvation would have been told again in the reading of the Book of the Law.
The LORD is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation;
this is my God, and I will praise him,
my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
The song of praise is a celebration of the triumph over Pharaoh’s army in the Red Sea as representative of the Lord’s power and rule. It is similar to other songs or psalms in both the Old Testament and New Testament that celebrate particular events that reveal God’s character. The drowning of Pharaoh’s army by the hand of the Lord is the central event celebrated by the song. The singular reference to my father’s God echoes the Lord’s words to Moses at the burning bush, which indicate that this phrase refers to “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (Ex. 3:6) and equips Israel also to say of him, “this is my God.”
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
Paul concludes his exhortations with instructions for all Christians. His imagery is a sustained portrayal of the Christian life as spiritual warfare using the Lord’s resources. Paul introduces the armor of God by focusing on the strength it gives. Because Christians cannot stand on their own against superhuman powers, they must rely upon the strength of the Lord’s own might (see Eph. 1:19), which he supplies chiefly through prayer (Eph. 6:18). The Greek word for whole armor (panoplia) refers to the complete equipment of a fully armed soldier, consisting of both shields and weapons like those described in Ephesians 6:14, 16–17. Paul’s description here draws primarily on Old Testament allusions, yet the terms used also overlap well with Roman weaponry (esp. the terms for the large, door-shaped shield and the short stabbing sword). Visible portrayals of such weaponry can be found on the numerous military reliefs (esp. on sarcophagi) throughout the Roman Empire. “schemes.” Here the diabolical origin is exposed, regarding the “deceitful schemes” of those teaching false doctrine (Eph.4:14; see also 1 John 2:18, 22; 1 John 4:3; 2 John 7).
GOD, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer’s;
he makes me tread on my high places.
Anticipating great destruction at the hands of the Babylonians, Habakkuk has radically changed—he began by informing God how to run his world, and ended by trusting that God knows best and will bring about justice. Habakkuk 3:17 contains a frequently quoted list of material disasters in which all crops and livestock are lost, and as a result it is unclear how there will be food to eat. Yet even amid suffering and loss, Habakkuk has learned that he can trust God, and with that trust comes great joy, not in circumstances but in God himself: yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. Yahweh has become Habakkuk’s strength (see Ps. 18:32, 39).
Habakkuk can have sure-footed confidence in God and can live on the heights even amid extreme circumstances (see Mal. 4:2). choirmaster. Probably the director of the temple musicians (see Psalms 4; 5; 6; 8; 9; 11; etc.). stringed instruments. Harps, lyres, etc. (see Ps. 33:2; 92:3; 144:9). This kind of liturgical notation suggests that Habakkuk meant this to be a “prayer” (Hab. 3:1) that the faithful would sing together.
You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
That the Lord alone is Israel’s God leads to the demand for Israel’s exclusive and total devotion to him. All Israelites in their total being are to love the Lord; “this is the great and first commandment” (Matt. 22:38). In Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, and Luke 10:27, Jesus also includes “mind.” In early Hebrew, “heart” included what we call the “mind”. “Might” indicates energy and ability.