Will & Ariel Durant were the husband & wife team who wrote the multivolume Story Of Civilization which is found in many libraries.
They once compared civilization to a river and its banks. In the main channel are the kings and politicians and celebrities. But the real history happens on the banks of the river where everyday people get married, have kids, work on farms, write poetry, whittle statues, earn a living.
The people of Isaiah’s day were like this too. In the main channel were the mighty nations of old, notably the grand and golden empire of Babylon which bore down on God’s people and carried them into captivity. Much of this happened because the people in the main channel, the kings and priests of Israel, had led God’s people away from the one true God to the worship of idols. Many blindly followed.
But God always had what Isaiah called “the remnant,” what Jesus called “the little flock” of believers.
These believers along the banks of the main channel must have wondered as they watched their nation collapse. They must have asked why God would allow a nation like Babylon which worshipped idols – idols that had to be carried on carts like a little boy pulling around his teddy-bear in a wagon – idols that had to be nailed down so they would not fall over – why God would allow such a nation to carry away His people of promise.
To such people who had to sit helplessly by on the banks of the main channel and watch world events unfold, it was a large comfort to hear God tell them that he was the one God who did not have to be carried. He was the God who carried them, the God who was not a burden to believe in or follow, but a God who bore their burdens for them – even to the point of becoming their Brother to bear the burden of the world’s sin on the cross.
This is what the Lord told them: “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”
When we can no longer carry ourselves (and the truth is, we have never carried ourselves) we need the comfort of the one, true, triune God who carries us.
In the last chapter of Ecclesiastes, an aging Solomon depicts in poetic terms the inevitable weakening of our bodies as time passes. Behind him is a life in which he had it all, saw it all, did it all. He looks back upon days when he was devoted to God and days when he carelessly imagined he no longer needed God. Now, as the end approaches, all that matters is God, the God who carried our sins to His cross and rose again with the promise that He shall carry us home. There is no better time than now to remember Him. We may not have tomorrow.