The Problem: Our Sinful Weariness of God
Isaiah 43, and Isaiah as a whole, shows a God who saves and a people who often grow weary of their great Savior. Take a look at Isaiah 43 as you read this article. Here’s the question: Have you grown weary of God? I am not referring to the natural demands of life. I am not referring to the ever-present burdens in our lives of which Jesus commands us to bring to him (Matt 11:28–30). Weariness is a consequence of something taking a toll on you. And this is part of our fallenlife. But have you grown weary of your Redeemer and Great Love? Have you grown weary of being saved? Has God been a burden who has taken a toll on you?
I think the massive poison that ran through the Israelite’s veins also runs through ours. This poison is this: “Why drink when God and his way of saving seem tasteless?” What’s the implication? “My way of saving and living for myself tastes better.” Has God’s way of saving you grown stale? Has the water he gives lost its refreshing taste? Is it wearisome to keep drinking each day? Is God a burden or an inconvenience to you and your life? Does your heart raise a slight protest when you remember you haven’t done devotions for the day, but still have twenty emails to get through?
Now, why would we praise God at all? Isaiah 43:20–21 tells us why: “for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise.” Notice that God gives us a drink so that we will praise him. Stated another way, we praise God because he gives us a drink. Why do we need a drink? We need a drink because we are all in the desert wasting away from heat and thirst. Psalm 50:15 tells us to call upon God in our day of trouble and then he will deliver us and we will glorify him for rescuing us.
So what is the flip side of all this? We don’t praise God because we don’t drink from God. We don’t drink from God because we’re finding other things to quench our thirst. Drinks that seem a little tastier than God. Drinks that seem a little more readily accessible than God. Drinks that seems a little less costly than God. Or we don’t really believe that we are dying of thirst to begin with. Our sin seems quite small to us, and therefore, so does our salvation and the grace of our Savior.
And if we do get thirsty again, then maybe we’ll just get the drink ourselves. We might even make it a godly looking drink with godly drops of flavor and then we hope God or someone will praise us for how self-sufficient and impressive we are. We can turn our obedience to God into a drink that we prepared ourselves. We become our own supply of water to drink from and this can often happen through the drink of self-righteous or self-serving obedience. It may look godly on the outside but is full of poison within. This is the kind of poisonous sin that burdens God.
For example, look at the Israelites in verses 23–24, “You have not brought me your sheep for burnt offerings, or honored me with your sacrifices. I have not burdened you with offerings, or wearied you with frankincense. You have not bought me sweet cane with money, or satisfied me with the fat of your sacrifices. But you have burdened me with your sins; you have wearied me with your iniquities.”
The Israelites had grown weary because their obedience to God was false worship. And God does not reward his joyous presence when there is false worship. So why had God and his way of saving become tasteless? It is because they no longer needed God. He was not their delight because they were drinking elsewhere. He was not their Savior because they were finding other saviors. Or they didn’t think they were all that lost and needing a Savior to begin with. So when it did come to obeying God, they treated it as a list of burdensome rules by which they must meet God’s demands in order to have him then satisfy their own demands.
The problem is that they were ultimately serving themselves and depending upon themselves in their service to God. The problem was they forgot God as their Great Love and Redeemer and they grew numb to their massive sin. They were chasing after drinks including drinks they could make themselves.
I grow weary because my salvation no longer seems sweet or necessary but the commands and obligations that come with following God don’t seem to stop. I grow weary when serving God doesn’t seem worth it because he doesn’t seem worth it. I grow weary of God when I feel saved enough already and when other drinks have quenched my thirst.
The Solution: God’s Response to Our Sinful Weariness
How does God respond to us being weary of him? He washes us with an ocean of grace. “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember you sins.” For his own sake. Praise the Lord that even though we grow weary of him, he never grows weary of himself. And praise the Lord that he blots out every moment that we have seen him as insufferable, or burdensome, or as not worth our time and effort.
Jesus brings the greater Exodus to flood our souls with freedom and life-giving water. He drenches us with his never-ending grace so that we have a never-ending pool to drink from. Jesus has paid for every moment still to come of us growing weary of him in the future. Jesus lived a life in which he never once grew bored, or weary, or distrustful of whether his Father was worth it or not. Jesus never doubted the all-satisfying reward of being in the presence of God.
And not only this, but Jesus opened the floodgates for the Spirit to rain down on his people. The very next chapter shows us this in Isaiah 44:3: “For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring and my blessing on your descendants.” God gives water in the wilderness and drink to his chosen people for his praise. God himself is our life-giving, all-satisfying drink.
Look at what Jesus says in John 7:37–39. “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believe in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” But Jesus has now been glorified. And he has now rained his Spirit upon those thirsting for him.
What a glorious promise and hope. That even when we grow weary of God and sinfully warp our obedience to him, we have a great Savior who has never once grown weary of being with his God. And he has poured upon us his Spirit who flows like a river in the wilderness of our hearts and lives. Because of Christ we have the Spirit by whom we can cry out, Abba! Father! That he may deliver us from our troubles so that we get the help we need and God gets the glory he most richly deserves. We have the Spirit who opens up our hearts to see and savor Jesus and be pierced by his Word. We have the Spirit to convict us ever more deeply of sin and show us the beauties of God’s grace. We have the Spirit to show us that we are indeed dying in the wilderness and that there is only one life-giving, deeply-satisfying source to drink from.
God washes those who are weary of him with Living Water. We are all bound to grow weary of God.
• Praise him that he never grows weary of himself and he drenches us with grace to see how good he is and how we are so deeply loved despite being so deeply hideous.
• Praise God that he offers us endless water in the wilderness because we would drop dead if he did not rescue us.
• Praise God that our day is coming when all of our weariness will be done away with.
Run to him because he has already run to you and his arms are wide open to let you drink of him today.