Wednesday, May 01, 2024

2024.05.01 Hopewell @Home ▫ Isaiah 55

Read Isaiah 55

Questions from the Scripture text: Whom does Isaiah 55:1a address? What does verse 1b invite them to do? Whom does verse 1c address? But what does verse 1d invite them to do? To buy what (verse 1e)? In what way (verse 1f)? What have they been spending on (Isaiah 55:2a–b)? What six commands do Isaiah 55:2-3b give? With what promised outcome (Isaiah 55:3b)? And response (verse 3c)? To what will the Lord pledge Himself to give them (verse 3d)? As what three things had He given “David” (Isaiah 55:4)? And what will this David accomplish (Isaiah 55:5a–b)? On account of Whom (verse 5c–d)? What will He have done (verse 5e)? So, what are they to do (Isaiah 55:6a)? When? And what else (verse 6b)? When? Who must do what in Isaiah 55:7a? And who forsake what in verse 7b? What must each of them do (verse 7c, e)? And what will YHWH do when they return (verse 7d, f)? What, about the Lord, explains how it can be that He would forgive (Isaiah 55:8)? What is the difference, and the extent of that difference, between His thoughts and ours (Isaiah 55:9)? What has He done in nature as a pattern (Isaiah 55:10)? What will He send out (Isaiah 55:11a) to give the repentance that He has urged in Isaiah 55:6-7? How successful will it be (Isaiah 55:11b–d)? Then what will their errands be like (Isaiah 55:12)? And what will their labors be like (Isaiah 55:13a–b, cp. Genesis 3:18)? Unto what end (Isaiah 55:13c–d)?

Who are brought into the salvation of the Servant? Isaiah 55 prepares us for the first serial reading in public worship on the Lord’s Day. In these thirteen verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that all of the needy, who are given repentance by God’s Word, are brought into the glorious salvation of the Servant. 

An invitation to needy Israel, Isaiah 55:1–3. Blessed are the poor in spirit. The threefold invitation to “come” is to everyone who thirsts and has no money. Those who are not needy, or who have resources of their own, are not invited. Jesus came to seek sinners, not the righteous; it is the ill who need a physician, not the well. But this is not a hand out of mere sustenance; “wine and milk” (Isaiah 55:1e) speak of richness and fatness. The Lord offers you the full delight of your soul in Him.

Everything else a man may seek cannot even satisfy (Isaiah 55:2a–b), but what the Lord Himself provides is abundance and delight for the soul (verse 2c–d). The threefold instruction to listen (verse 2c, Isaiah 55:3a, verse 3b) instructs us that we must learn from the Lord alone what true religion is, where true hope is. And that place of true hope is the everlasting covenant in which God binds Himself to steadfast love unto David’s house (verse 3c–d). The lavish generosity of God comes in and through Christ alone. Do not seek them anywhere else. Listen to Him!

Israel an invitation, in Christ, to a needy worldIsaiah 55:4-5. Not only will Christ be a redeeming King for the Israelite people (Isaiah 55:4) but also for nations that have thus far been strangers in darkness (Isaiah 55:5a–b). YHWH, Israel’s God (verse 5c–d), gives them the ultimate glory of being the nation of Christ, to Whom the world comes for salvation (cf. Romans 9:5). This glory is exalted in your own coming to Christ, dear reader.

A command to necessary, and urgent, repentanceIsaiah 55:6-7c. Coming, eating, drinking, and delighting all now find their object in YHWH Himself (Isaiah 55:6). He is the banquet. This means that all sin must be forsaken (Isaiah 55:7a–c), for one must choose between it and the Lord. Still, God’s giving Himself as a generous feast is not merited by this repentance; YHWH’s response is compassion (verse 7d) and pardon (verse 7e). Seek the Lord, forsake all sin, and enjoy the compassion of the lord!

A guarantee of forgiveness, Isaiah 55:8-9. After all that Israel has done, how can the Lord forgive them? More urgently for you: after all that you have done, how can the Lord forgive you? Because He’s not like you or I. These verses are often quoted generally of the wisdom of God, of which they most certainly are true. But it is especially of His forgiving sinners in Christ that He speaks when He announces how infinitely above our ways and thoughts are His ways and thoughts.

A guarantee even of repentance, Isaiah 55:10-11. So God will surely forgive the repentant sinner, but that brings up the question of how sinners will be made repentant. They have no spiritual life in themselves from which to produce this repentance. But just as God gives life to the earth by the rain (Isaiah 55:10), so also His own Word brings not just the command to repent but the life that we need in order to repent (Isaiah 55:11). To His elect, the Lord gives not just the Word, but His Spirit (cf. Ezekiel 36:24–27; Matthew 3:9–11), like the rain that He pours out. Dear reader, it is God Who gives repentance by means of His Word and Spirit. Look to His Spirit for it, by the use of His Word.

A restoration of paradise, to the glory of God, the Savior, Isaiah 55:12-13. The goal of all of this is a restoration not only of joy and peace of the Lord’s people (Isaiah 55:12a–b) but even of the creation itself, personified in verse 12c–e as singing and clapping its hands. Indeed, Isaiah 55:13a–b describe a direct reversal of the curse in Genesis 3:18. God, in Christ, will reverse all that Satan has accomplished (cf. 1 John 3:8), unto the everlasting glory of God’s Name. For unending ages, dear Christian reader, we will enjoy Him, unto His glory, in a joyous and peaceful new heavens and earth.

When and how do you know your neediness? To Whom do you come with it? How? What does He give you to supply the need? How much? How sure can you be of this? How does He bring it about? What use do you make of the means that He has appointed for this? How have you responded to His restoring your joy?

Sample prayer:  Lord, forgive us, for we have often been proud, as if we had something good to trade for riches from You. And, forgive us, for we have often thought of other things as the great gifts from You, rather than You Yourself being the feast and the gift. Forgive us, for we have sometimes acted as if we could seek You without having to forsake our wicked ways or unrighteous thoughts. Forgive us, for we have treated You as if Your ways and thoughts could be understood by us. Forgive us, for we have not trusted that Your Word has the power within it to give us life by Your Spirit. But by Your Word and Spirit, You do give repentance. So give us that repentance, we ask, and make us to have joy and peace of paradise with You unto Your own glory forever, we ask, through Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP72C “May Waving Grain on Hilltops Thrive” or TPH508 “Jesus, Priceless Treasure”

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