Read Isaiah 55
Invitation to the Thirsty
55 “Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare.
3 Give ear and come to me;
listen, that you may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
my faithful love promised to David.
4 See, I have made him a witness to the peoples,
a ruler and commander of the peoples.
5 Surely you will summon nations you know not,
and nations you do not know will come running to you,
because of the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel,
for he has endowed you with splendor.”
6 Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake their ways
and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
12 You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper,
and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the Lord’s renown,
for an everlasting sign,
that will endure forever.”
Isaiah 55 is the Lord’s call to salvation and covenant blessings. This chapter is broken up into two motifs—an invitation to receive blessings (v. 1-7) and the glorious ways of the Lord (v. 8-13).
God calls us to be delighted and filled, expecting nothing in return but to delight in His provision. His audience is the discouraged and broken who face a future hard and uncertain. If we are not thirsty for His waters, we will never come to His waters. The Lord sees this, and He desires for us to yearn for what we cannot achieve without Him. This text is our free invitation to be richly fed, richly led, and richly forgiven.
In verses 3b-4, God tells us, “I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David. See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a ruler and commander of the peoples.” David serves as witness to the people. He had a real relationship with God, experiencing God’s delight and requiring God’s discipline, grace, and forgiveness. David led God’s people spiritually, politically, and militarily, but he was also a human who needed to be loved and saved. God promises the same love He gave to David to those who come to Him, to those who don’t turn away from Him. God calls His people to delight in His splendor and receive true sanctification.
In verses 8-13, the passage continues to remind us of the distance between God and man. As the heavens are higher than the earth, God’s ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. In other words, God’s power and abilities are a humbling reminder that He will accomplish all that He promises. And He promises those who seek Him will experience peace, joy, and His glory. What is desolate, He will restore.
The Lord’s invitation is clear, but we have to accept it. We don’t have to be afraid He will reject us or change His mind. This passage promises the wicked and unrighteous will receive mercy when they turn from sin and seek God (v. 6-7). The Lord promises goodness to those who follow Him, but He challenges those opposing Him. Too often we seek to find fulfillment in that which will not satisfy us. Our world continues to put blinders on us to fill our mind, soul, and spirit with earthly comforts which only leave us empty and longing for more. Only God can satisfy us with perfect provision, acceptance, peace, and joy. So let’s accept the Lord’s invitation to turn toward Him and follow Him alone.
- We continue to spend money and effort on aspects of life that do not satisfy. What are examples of this in your life?
- Are you afraid God won’t be merciful to you because of something you’ve done? What do these verses tell you about the heart of God toward you? Talk to God about your fears and struggles.
- God is calling out for you to join His party! What are the dark areas of your life you need to turn away from so that you can follow God instead?
Today, try practicing a brief adaptation of what’s known as lectio divina (or “divine reading”), a method of prayer and scripture meditation that has been popular since the early days of church history.
Revisit the passage paying special attention to the promises God declares. Then read the chapter aloud. Write down the verse that is most meaningful to you. Reread that verse aloud, and consider why it stood out to you. Spend time in prayer, talking to God about His Word and what is on your heart.
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