Isaiah 55 – Kingdom Call
1 “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.
The call at first is to Israel. After the previous judgments this is the condition of anyone who is left to hear the call. The drought is over. The famine is over. They have no money, so buying food to eat isn’t a possibility. God provides for them. Water, wine, and milk are all references throughout scripture to spiritual blessings. Spiritual blessings are the most valuable blessings of the Messianic kingdom. This is an invitation to receive spiritual blessings, but also to value them. They haven’t been valued in the past. And, now they have nothing of value in exchange for them. Spiritual blessings can’t be purchased. They can only be received as a free gift from God. Spiritual blessings are the most valuable and they are free for those who come to the Lord.
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.
What has the spiritual blessing with the most value? Maybe life? Jesus said, “I am the bread of life.” Bread represents life and the mistake is to think that money has a value equal to life. I don’t know if people do it anymore but we use to call money bread. But the bread of life can’t be purchased with money. The bread of life truly satisfies. Nothing you can buy with money will ever truly satisfy. You might feel full for a little while, but you will just be hungry again. You might be happy with your car for a little while, but it will get scratched and need new brakes and tires. You might be happy with your new home, but carpet gets old and dirty, tile breaks, wood rots. Only spiritual blessings which are given freely in the messianic kingdom are the good and good and delightful riches 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.
Listen to me that you may live. One of the main points of covenant is a sustaining and thriving life. This kind of living only happens when the covenant is kept. Israel hasn’t done a bang up job keeping the Abrahamic covenant. None of us are great covenant keepers. God says I will make an everlasting covenant with you implying that a new covenant will be make. It will be because of God’s “chesed” – covenant loyalty (loyal because of love) promised to David. David becomes a witness by his kingship that one of the line of David will be the covenant maker and the covenant keeper. To be specific, “I will make” is I will cut – karath. I will cut a covenant with you. The Davidic person will be the one who cuts the covenant out of love. He will be cut. He will keep the covenant for heaven and he will keep the covenant for all people under his rule and command. Remember that Jesus is not just savior. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. We are under His covenant rule because He can keep it and we can’t.
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.”
“Surely you” the Messiah is the “you” and he will fulfill the Abrahamic prerogative of Israel that through you all nations will be blessed. The Messiah will summon the gentile nations because of the glory of God, His splendor.
6 Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.
“While he may be found” is important. There will be a day of judgment. The time to seek the Lord will pass.
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.
Let them turn to the Lord is the textbook definition of repentance. We turn away from wickedness and unrighteousness in our actions and our thoughts. We turn to the Lord. But why turn to the Lord. He freely pardons us, but most importantly he will have “mercy” (specifically chesed – covenant loyalty) on us. The consequence of repentance is pardon and entrance into a state of covenant loyalty with God through Jesus Christ.
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.
This is one of the hardest concepts for people to grapple with. It has been since the Garden of Eden. We assume much about our thoughts and ways. We define our own morality instead of allowing perfection to define it. We idealize according to our personal reason and justify according to our invested sense of truth instead of disregarding self for a total regard of the heavenly, the infinite, and the holy. I have to ask myself constantly whether or not my thoughts, words, and actions have the potential for infinite purity and life across the spectrum of creation. If not, then my ways are getting in the way of God’s ways. Only God’s ways are infinitely perfect, pure, righteous, redeeming, and life giving. That is because God’s ways are absolute love and absolute selflessness.
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.”
The sad reality of the shortsighted selection of our ways over God’s ways is that our ways produce nothing but circumstantial happiness or rare occasions. We have a tendency to feed the addictive need for satiating personal satisfactions. The difference between that and surrendering to the perfection of God’s ways are the everlasting products of God’s ways – everlasting and enduring joy, peace, celebration, transformation, and glory to God.