Before continuing with Isaiah, I thought an update on last week’s notes might be in order. Thankfully, the situation with Iran seems to be de-escalating following their brief counterstrike on Wednesday. What I find even more interesting, however, is a change that has taken place with conservative talking points. Suddenly, staunch conservatives are saying what libertarian voices have been saying for years, that the US needs to withdraw their troops from the region. Now that the US is energy independent this could actually happen. A withdrawal of US troops from the Middle East would, of course, make the Magog scenario far more attractive to the belligerents on the Magog side. Something to think about.
This week in Isaiah 55 we have an invitation. In Chapter 54, Isaiah assured Israel that God would restore them. Chapter 55 shows God’s method. It is a two-step process involving God and man. God for his part has given us his word and fulfilled the promise He made in Isaiah 53 and elsewhere—his promise to redeem us with the precious blood of Messiah. Our part is to receive the promise by faith. This process is the same for everyone, whether Jew or Gentile. The process is effectuated through the incorruptible seed of the word of God. (1 Pet 1:23) Through faith in the living word we enjoy a rich relationship with the Creator of the universe, expand our horizons, and see beyond the physical realm. [L]et him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
Father, give us understanding as we read thy word, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
1 Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
The substances and materials in the Bible have symbolic meanings. For example, wood symbolizes humanity; brass symbolizes judgment. Water has two meanings. It symbolizes both the Holy Spirit and the word of God. (John 7:38,39; Eph 5:26) Wine is symbolic of the blood of Christ and by extension the word of God. (Jesus is the Word and Jesus turned water into wine.) Milk is symbolic of the word of God. (1 Pet 2:2) The good news of the gospel is available to everyone, no matter how poor or how rich. You can usually find a King James Bible in a 99¢ store. Failing that, you could probably find a Christian who would give you a Bible for free. The gospel is free for us because it has already been paid for. It cost God everything—the blood of his only begotten Son. Its worth is beyond measure (ie without price). Therefore, the gospel is free yet priceless at the same time.
2 Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.
The answers to the riddles of life are not found in expensive seminars or retreats. You will not find the answers by spending money on a degree in philosophy. Expensive psychiatry consultations and high-priced pharmaceuticals do not satisfy and never address the real issues. Psychiatry and psychology deny the existence of both the spirit of man and the Spirit of God. Therefore, they are incapable of ever finding the real solutions to the problems of life. The Bible, on the other hand, is a complete manual for life, written by the Creator of life. The answers are the same for everyone, whether poor or rich. It’s as simple as reading your Bible each day, doing your best to follow what it says, and drawing near to God by faith. (I said simple, not necessarily easy. Fortunately, we have the Holy Spirit to empower us to live the Christian life.)
3 Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.
Maybe you think God could never forgive you for something you have done. David stole another man’s wife and had him killed, yet he obtained mercy. God made a covenant with David despite his shortcomings. He promised David that through him and his bloodline, He would bring Messiah into the world. (2 Sam 7) God wants to make a covenant with you too. This covenant is not a rigid set of rules you need to submit to. This covenant is about grace and mercy and forgiveness. Whatever it is that you need forgiveness for, God’s grace and mercy are sufficient.
4 Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.
5 Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the LORD thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee.
6 Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
We are living in an age of grace. God is calling out to people everywhere and asking them to come to Him. The time is coming, however, when the grace will have ended and the judgment will begin. Seven years of tribulation are prepared for this earth. Therefore:
7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah began his prophecy by beseeching us to reason with him. (Isa 1:18) If God can create the DNA molecule and the Great Orion Nebula, it stands to reason He might know a little more than we do. Fortunately for us, his counsel is spelled out for us in his Book. This Book is not like any other book. This Book was engineered to achieve specific objectives. When you read this Book and follow its instructions it accomplishes those objectives. God’s word is like rain. Rain falls on the just and the unjust. Rain always works the same way. Rain always makes plants grow. Rain will always cleanse a dirty street. If you are thirsty you can always drink rainwater. God’s word is the same way. If you are thirsty, you can always drink it and it will cleanse your soul. It works the same way for everyone, every time.
10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
12 For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.
Isaiah 55 is the John 7 of the Old Testament. In John 7, Jesus stood in the temple on the last day of Sukkot, also known as the Feast of Tabernacles. The feast commemorated the wilderness wanderings following the Exodus when they dwelt in booths, or tabernacles. For the first seven days of the feast, the temple priests would fill water pots from the Pool of Siloam and carry them up to the temple. They would then pour out the water on the granite floor of the temple. As the priests poured the water on the large stones that paved the court of the temple, the people would be reminded of how God brought forth water out of the rock to quench their thirst in the wilderness. On the eighth day there was no more procession or pouring out of water. (1) It was then, on that great day of the feast, that Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (John 7:37-38) The Bible says that when Jesus returns, living waters will flow from Jerusalem. (Zech 14:8; cf Isa 33:21) The good news of the gospel is that we don’t have to wait for the Second Coming. Jesus offered the woman at the well living water and it is available to us as well. It’s available to anyone who is thirsty. Jesus said Ask, and it shall be given you … If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
Father, thank You for the living water that You offer us through faith in your Son. There is no God like You. You are everything. Fill us daily Father; we are leaky vessels and we need You each day. As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
(1) Abstracted from Chuck Smith, Living Water (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1996) pp. 280, 281.