“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. 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. 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. See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a ruler and commander of the peoples. 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.” Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. 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. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. – Isaiah 55:1-8
The problem with missing a few days on the water is that I loose track of where I am on the river…somehow I missed this passage when I was preparing yesterday’s post about the Lord’s renown. So I am portaging my boat back up stream to pick up this passage. It has some intriguing water imagery with deep meanings. We had better plumb these depths before proceeding down the river.
The passage starts with a statement that sounds like something that Jesus could have said “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!” This statement sounds a lot like Matthew 11:28-29 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
The interesting twist here in Isaiah is that there is a hint of the grace that will come much later. The grace being alluded to will be for all, even those who “have no money”. The waters being offered by God, and later by Jesus, are free for those who are willing to take them to satisfy their thirsty souls. Those that choose to be fed by something other than God are wasting their “money”: “Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?
God alludes to the new song He is sharing with the people of Israel when He says “I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David”. The promise is “a witness to the peoples, a ruler and commander of the peoples”. This could be referring to an earthly king, but I think based on the context and the rest of the passage it refers to a different king, the Messiah, Jesus. This new King will call all people, Jew and gentile, “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.”
All of us who see the “splendor” God is referring to are to “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near”. We are to seek and knock, but those who God is speaking to and their close descendants will have a “close encounter” with God like nothing they have experienced before. A God who “will have mercy on them” and “freely pardon”. This sounds like the “God with us” who will come to set the captives free and provide forgiveness for our sins.
God even acknowledges here that this work that He has planned will be mysterious and foreign to us humans, “my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways”. God has a plan that we can choose to accept or reject, but He has warned us ahead of time that He is in a different league and we will have difficulty understanding it.
Prayer: God thank You for sending us Your Son to pardon us and provide the spiritual food and water we need.