In Isaiah 40-54, we’ve been hearing about the miraculous work of restoration that God is doing - how He
will bring His people home from exile, yes, but we’ve also learned that God is doing a far greater work than
bringing physical restoration. He will send a Savior to end our spiritual exile and to bear our sin. And now,
we come to the invitation.
It’s one thing to hear about the work of God and the hope we have in Him. It’s another thing to receive it,
isn’t it? The Israelites had heard of God’s work and coming redemption - and now God pleads with them to
do one thing in response: come. He beckons them, asking them to recognize their thirst and hunger and to
seek Him in response, instead of trying to fill their hearts with fleeting worldly things that do not bring
eternal satisfaction. “Come to Me!” He says, “and I will give you the bread that lasts forever and satisfies
every hunger of your heart” (Isaiah 55:1-2).
It sounds easy, doesn’t it? God invites all people (Isaiah 55:5) to come to His banquet, to eat and to live. He doesn’t require payment or the perfect appearance. But in order to come, we have to recognize our need for Him - this is the true cost to us, isn’t it? As one commentator put it, “A banquet table is worse than useless to the person who is either too proud or too ashamed to come and eat from it” (John N. Oswalt, Isaiah: NIV Application Commentary). God calls His people to seek Him today and come to Him while He may be found - today is the day of salvation! He beckons us to surrender our selfish pride and drop our rags of shame and come to Him, for He is a compassionate God who abundantly pardons His children
And those who come, they will experience God’s true joy (Isaiah 55:12-13). These verses point us forward to a day when all creation is reconciled to God. You see, Isaiah’s perspective wasn’t just focusing on the
restoration of Israel; Isaiah held onto the hope God revealed to Him that one day, everything lost in the
Garden of Eden would be restored. These final verses of Isaiah 55 are echoed in Revelation 21 and 22.
There will be a day when there will be no more briars or thorns, and when tears will no longer cloud our
eyes (Isaiah 55:13, Revelation 21:3-4). He is coming to bring His people home and He has made a covenant
with them - the same covenant promised to David - that will never be broken (Isaiah 55:3, 13).
Just like the Israelites, we receive the same invitation to come and believe, to trust in the saving work of
Christ and to feast at the banquet table as we look to the day when God will dwell with His people forever
in perfect peace (Revelation 21:3).
Isaiah 55 (ESV):
1 "Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
3 Incline your ear, and come to me;
hear, that your soul may live;
and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David.
4 Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples,
a leader and commander for the peoples.
5 Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know,
and a nation that did not know you shall run to you,
because of the Lord your God, and of the Holy One of Israel,
for he has glorified you.
6 "Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;
7 let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares 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.
10 "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
12 "For you shall go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall break forth into singing,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall make a name for the Lord,
an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off."