Is. 55:1 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.
Is. 55:2 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 wording of these verses seems to make it clear that the prophet is speaking of spiritual sustenance. It obviously takes real money to buy real wine, milk and bread. Nourishment for the soul is, however, free for the asking from God the Father for those who look to Him in faith. Water, wine, milk and bread only satisfy temporarily; they do not provide real satisfaction. Spiritual sustenance from the LORD is available in abundance and never leaves those who partake feeling lack.
I can’t help but think of the many references the LORD Jesus made to Himself as bread and drink.
John 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
John 6:48 I am that bread of life.
John 6:51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
John 6:53-58 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.
The spiritual sustenance provided by the Lord results in eternal life. Obviously, the Old Testament saints didn’t necessarily know how God was going to provide for them through the gift and sacrifice of His Son, but they did have faith in His provision for them according to His word. Their faith made them partakers of the LORD just as surely as our faith does today.
Is. 55:3 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.
Is. 55:4 Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.
God is urging the people to listen to Him through the words of the prophet. The Hebrew for the word hear states, “to hear intelligently (often with implication of attention, obedience, etc.).” The LORD is eager to bless His people. He is promising to bless those that follow Him in faith in the same way that He blessed David. In looking at the Hebrew for “sure mercies,” I got the idea of the firm, faithful support of a parent for His child with kindness and loving favor as He leads him to do what is right. Just as David was a powerful testimony to the people of God’s “sure mercies,” so will be the person that follows God in faith and obedience to those around him. Just as surely as David was acknowledged as a spiritual leader, so too can the man or woman of faith be recognized as a spiritual leader.
Is. 55:5 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.
The wording of this verse is a bit confusing. When Messiah is on the throne in Israel, she will occupy the place of leadership and influence among the nations. I am not sure what is meant by “a nation that thou knowest not.” “Nations that knew not thee,” I think, is a reference to nations that had not previously accepted “the LORD thy God” and Jesus His Son, “the Holy One of Israel,” as THE way, truth and life. Because God will keep His promises and raise up Israel again to a place of blessing as His chosen people according to His word, the nations will be eager to seek her good favor and worship Messiah the King. Isaiah will speak of this in more detail in chapter 60. The prophet Zechariah also speaks of this time.
Zechariah 8:22-23 Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.
Zechariah 14:16 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.
Is. 55:6 Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
Although there is direct address to Israel in the message of this chapter, there is also a message to all who would hear God’s truth and respond in faith.
Verse 6 definitely implies that there is coming a time when the Lord will not be able to be found. The opportunity for salvation will end. God is urging the people through His prophet to seek Him now, while the opportunity for salvation is still available. Scripture is full of admonitions for the people to seek the Lord and of God’s promises that those who seek Him will find Him.
Deuteronomy 4:29 But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.
1Chronicles 16:11 Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually.
1Chronicles 28:9 And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.
Psalm 9:10 And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.
Psalm 119:2 Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Is. 55:7 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.
The Lord never tires of pleading with us to get in right relationship to Him. His love for the sinner is constant as is His hatred of their sin. The prophet is urging those people who have rebelled against the Lord to forsake (relinquish, leave) their ways and their thoughts. Sin is not limited to what we do or don’t do; it includes our thoughts and intents; that is a major emphasis of Christ’s teaching in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7.
“let him return unto the LORD” – This is an obvious address to the Jewish people who were unique in their experience with the Lord. Technically, it is also an appropriate plea to all people. Mankind was created in right relationship to God. Man chose to rebel, to sin. God has given every man an awareness of who He is through creation. Paul declares this truth in Romans.
Romans 1:18-20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse….
Every man who comes to God in faith is returning to the relationship with God that was intended for him from the beginning.
God will never turn away the person who comes to Him seeking and in faith (as referenced in the passages above). He is a God of mercy (love, compassion).
Exodus 20:6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
Numbers 14:18 The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy….
1Chronicles 16:34 O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.
Ephesians 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy….
“abundantly pardon” – Webster defines abundantly as “in sufficient degree, fully.” Pardon means to forgive. When God forgives us of our sin, He forgives us completely. He doesn’t hold grudges. He doesn’t bring them back up to us in anger. He doesn’t consider them as He gives us new opportunities for service. When He forgives our sins, He “remembers no more” (Hebrews 8:12, 10:17). He removes them “as far as east is from the west,” (Psalm 103:12) which is an immeasurable distance.
Is. 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
Is. 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
These are two verses in scripture that I lean on quite often. There is so much about God and about His word that I don’t really understand. Frankly, I think these verses are telling us that that is as it should be. If we could understand all about God and His ways and thoughts, He would no longer be God.
God acts and thinks with an eternal perspective, and we act and think most naturally with a temporal perspective. God acts with unselfish love, and we most naturally act with love of self. God is no respecter of persons; He is totally just and righteous. There is much that God has revealed about His character through creation, His Word, His Son, and His dealings with mankind……but there is still so much more to learn about Him. He doesn’t expect us to totally understand Him, but to totally trust Him. We are to accept the fact that we cannot understand His thoughts and actions, but follow Him in faith and obedience because of what He has revealed to us about Himself.
Is. 55:10 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:
Is. 55:11 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.
The Lord gives the prophet another word picture to declare His truth. We all understand that the Lord provides rain and snow to water the earth and nourish the seeds to grow the crops that feed us.
His word is like rain for the seeds of His purposes that have been planted in our hearts. His word represents His authority and power. Whatever His word declares will come to pass.
Jeremiah 4:28 …. because I have spoken it, I have purposed it, and will not repent, neither will I turn back from it.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Is. 55:12 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.
Is. 55:13 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.
What has God declared in His Word? That Israel will return to Him in repentance and faith to enjoy the abundant blessing and prosperity that was promised to Abraham and his seed (the Messiah) so long ago.
Galatians 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
Israel will enjoy sweet fellowship with Messiah their King. They will never again be out of fellowship with God. Satan will be defeated. The curse on planet earth will be lifted. Because of this, even the mountains, hills, and trees are pictured as rejoicing. When Jesus assumes His throne, it will be for eternity. Satan will be given one more opportunity to work his evil and will amazingly gather a formidable army, but he will immediately and forever be defeated.