What I am fervently praying for us to see in today’s devotional effort based on Isaiah 55:1-3 is that God is a very inviting God. God created the invitation!
The word “inviting” has two meanings, doesn’t it?
One can say, “This spot on the map is inviting.” And you mean that it is appealing, pleasant and attractive and that you will feel drawn to go there.
Or, one can say, “Our neighbor is inviting us to come to his house on the long weekend Thursday.” And you mean that something special is happening in their homes, and he says he wants us to come and be a special part of or in it.
The great and wonderful thing about God is that he is inviting in both these ways. No passage in the Bible shows this more vividly than Isaiah 55:1-3.
Today, I ask you to turn with me to the fifty-fifth chapter of the Old Testament book of Isaiah; and to a truly remarkable passage of Scripture. It’s one in which God Himself directly, decisively enters into the affairs of man, takes on the role of an evangelist, and invites sinners to respond to the Good News of the gospel.
This is the exact moment in time when God Himself Preached the Gospel!
Isaiah 55:1-3 AKJV
55 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.
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.
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.
The Word of God for the Children of God. In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
Chapter 55 is part of an important trio of chapters in the book of Isaiah. Chapter 53 is a portion of Scripture I suspect is already known and loved by many of us, because it speaks prophetically of the sacrifice that God’s Son Jesus would make on the cross for us. Chapter 54 goes on to speak prophetically of the blessings of unyielding love and peace with God which would be made possible through that redeeming sacrifice. And then, chapter 55 takes the matter one step further, and gives us the greatest invitation to believe on that sacrifice and be saved by it.
Let me put it in context for you. Back in chapter 53, Isaiah described in amazing detail some 700 years ahead of time how Christ would come and suffer and bear the sins of God’s people and die in our place and rise again, restoring their hope.
Isaiah 53:4-6 AKJV
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs,
and carried our sorrows:
yet we did esteem him stricken,
smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions,
he was bruised for our iniquities:
the chastisement of our peace was upon him;
and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned every one to his own way;
and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
There is the great substitution: Christ in our place, taking our sins on himself.
Now, look at his death in Isaiah 53:8 (AKJV)
8 He was taken from prison and from judgment:
and who shall declare his generation?
for he was cut off out of the land of the living:
for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
So, he died not for his own sin, but for the sin of his people — the people who trust him and follow him.
Then, look at his resurrection in Isaiah 53:12 (AKJV)
12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong;
because he hath poured out his soul unto death:
and he was numbered with the transgressors;
and he bare the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.
Death was not the end of Christ. He freely chose to bore the sins of many. But God then exalted and honored him with the spoils of victory over death and sin. He is now alive and reigning in heaven till he comes again. (Philippians 2:9-11)
So, in chapter 53, we can say the prophet Isaiah sees the work of redemption as accomplished in the death and resurrection of Christ 700 + years in the future.
Then in chapter 54, the prophet Isaiah foresees some of the greatest blessings that will come to God’s people because the Messiah has overcome the problem of their guilt and sin (described in chapter 53). Pray! Let me just show you one of these that will, by the Holy Spirit, lead us to our Great Invitation in Isaiah 55.
Isaiah 54:1-3 AKJV
54 Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear;
break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child:
for more are the children of the desolate
than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord.
2 Enlarge the place of thy tent,
and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations:
spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes;
3 for thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left;
and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles,
and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.
In other words, one of the great blessings which would come to the people of God because of Christ’s death and resurrection is that all the nations on earth would be touched. Tents of Habitation would have their place enlarged. Christ’s redemption is not just for Jews. It’s not just for us. It is for all of the nations.
This leads us then to The Great Invitation in Isaiah 55. As all our redemption is accomplished, and God’s will is that the blessings of this redemption spread to all the nations, then it does not, at least it should not surprise, that God comes forward with a Great Invitation not just for a few, and not just for those who can pay their way, but for everyone single one of us. As we read in Isaiah 54:9-10;
9 For this is as the waters of Noah unto me:
for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth;
so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee.
10 For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed;
but my kindness shall not depart from thee,
neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed,
saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.
God decisively and directly steps into the picture in this portion of Isaiah’s prophecy, and Himself speaks these things. And in the first three verses of the fifty-fifth chapter—the great chapter of invitation—God Himself shouts forth his wonderful ‘evangelistic call.’ “Risk losing your thirst and your hunger!”
Isaiah 55:1-3 Amplified Bible
The Free Offer of Mercy
55 “Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters;
And you who have no money come, buy grain and eat.
Come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without cost [simply accept it as a gift from God].
“Why do you spend money for that which is not bread,
And your earnings for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And let your soul delight in [a]abundance.
“Incline your ear [to listen] and come to Me;
Hear, so that your soul may live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
According to the faithful mercies [promised and] shown to David.
Now; this passage would make a wonderful evangelistic sermon on any given Sunday. But as tempted as I may be to preach a ‘gospel message’ from it today; I have felt instead that the Lord would have me speak directly to those of us who have already placed our faith in Jesus.
Let’s look at Isaiah 55:1-3 and ask three questions:
- Who are invited?
- What are they offered?
- What are they told to do in order to get it?
Let me ask, dear brothers and sisters in Christ: How do any of us feel about our task, our accepting the risk of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with others?
Does the idea of proclaiming the Good News of Jesus to your unsaved friends, family members, neighbors and work associates excite you? Does it motivate you? Are you driven to do it? Do you earnestly pray for opportunities from God to point “our neighbors” to Jesus? And when those opportunities come, do any of us grasp them with true eagerness, and enthusiasm, and genuine passion?
To be honest, most of us probably do not greet such God given opportunities with anything like ‘eagerness’ or ‘enthusiasm’ or ‘passion’. Sometimes, we will even hesitate because we don’t feel that evangelism is our particular “gift”.
All too often, we fail to exercise our faith because we’re too busy and distracted by the things of this world. Sometimes, we are silent because we’re afraid of what might happen if we bear witness to Jesus—that we might confuse people because we didn’t share it correctly; or that we might raise the anger of people who are strong in their unbelief; or we might “disturb the peace” of the people.
Many times, it’s because we ourselves are just too dull-minded and dull-hearted about the people around us to see their need. And let’s face it; truth be told, sometimes we’re not excited about sharing our faith because we’re just not thinking about our Savior as we should. (1 Thessalonians 5:14-18 AKJV)
Pray! Please understand, I am not trying to shame anyone! I am not trying to be judgmental in bringing these things up. I do mention them today because they sometimes, well actually – most of the time, inhibit me from sharing my faith.
But as I have read and studied this passage for today, the thing that I could not get over was just how zealous God Himself is for the gospel that He gives us the privilege of sharing. He doesn’t hesitate to proclaim it. He isn’t worried about offending anyone. He isn’t indifferent to people’s true situation and real need.
He is very, very zealous for the gospel that He sacrificed everything for and has in turn, entrusted to us in this pandemic driven 21st century—for the people around us who He knows need to hear it. If we truly belong to Him, should not our own attitudes towards the declaration of the gospel be more like His own?
Tomorrow, we look a little closer at God’s own words in this passage. And then let us even dare to ask Him to give us some small, meaningful, usable measure of His own jealous passion for the gospel that He has called us all to proclaim.
In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Let each of us Pray,
Heavenly Father, thank You that the precious invitation that was open to Israel to come and drink of the waters of life freely and without cost is still open to thirsty souls in this Church dispensation. Thank You that this promise continues to be open to whosoever will believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, both Jew and Gentile. Thank You that I have been baptized into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit of God and that in Him I have free access to the Bread of Life and can drink deeply of the Living Water. Thank You that salvation is given freely to whosoever will COME. Thank You in Jesus’ name, AMEN.