THE INVITATION IS INCLUSIVE
Isaiah 55:1-66:24 May 3 2009
As we had much of Christ in the 53rd chapter, and much of
the church of Christ in the 54th chapter, so in this chapter we
have much of the covenant of grace made with us in Christ. The
"sure mercies of David,” which are promised here v. 3, are
applied by the apostle to the benefits which flow to us from
the resurrection of Christ (Acts 13:34), which may serve as a
key to this chapter; not but that it was intended for the comfort
of the people of God that lived then, especially of the captives
in Babylon, and others of the dispersed of Israel; but unto us
was this gospel preached as well as unto them, and much more
clearly and fully in the New Testament. Here is, A free and
gracious invitation to all to come and take the benefit of gospel
grace (Isa. 55:1). Pressing arguments to enforce this invitation
(Isa.55:2-4). A promise of the success of this invitation among
the Gentiles (Isa.55:5). An exhortation to repentance and
reformation, with great encouragement given to hope for pardon
thereupon (Isa.55:6-9). The ratification of all this, with the
certain efficacy of the word of God (Isa.55:10,11). And a
particular instance of the accomplishment of it in the return of
the Jews out of their captivity, which was intended for a sign
of the accomplishment of all these other promises.
1. RECEIVE FREELY THE BLESSINGS OF THE SAVIOUR. 55:1-5
Isa. 55:1 “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. 55:2 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 your soul will delight in the
richest of fare. 55:3 Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your
soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my
faithful love promised to David. 55:4 See, I have made him a
witness to the peoples, a leader and commander of the peoples.
55:5 Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations
that do not know you will hasten to you, because of the LORD your
God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.”
The exiles are summoned to return and be restored. Thirsty.
Spiritual thirst is primary (Isa.41:17; 44:3; Ps 42:1-2; 63:1). Waters .
Figurative for spiritual refreshment. Wisdom’s invitation in
(Prov. 9:5). Christ similarly invited people to drink the water of
life (John 4:14; 7:37). No money . In hard times even water had to
be purchased ( Lame. 5:4). Wine and milk . Symbols of abundance,
enjoyment and nourishment. Without money . The death of the
servant (Isa.53:5-9) paid for the free gift of life ( Romans 6:23).
What is not bread . Perhaps the husks of pagan religious practices.
( Deut. 8:3). Richest of fare . Great spiritual blessings are compared
to a banquet (Isa. 25:6 ; Psalms 22:26; 34:8; Jer 31:14). Everlasting
covenant . David had been promised an unending dynasty, one that
would culminate in the Messiah (isa.9:7; 54:10; 61:8;
2Sam. 7:14-16 ). Faithful love . Assuring the continuation of the
nation. (Isa.54:8) . Christ’s resurrection was further proof of God’s
faithfulness to David ( Acts 13:34, which quotes from this verse).
Witness to the peoples . A reference either to David, who exalted
the Lord among the nations (Psalms 18:43,49-50), or to David’s
Son, the Messiah, who was a light to the nations (Isa.42:6; 49:6 ).
Leader . . . of the peoples . Similar titles are used of David
(1Sam 13:14; 25:30) and the Messiah (Danel 9:25). You will
summon nations . The attraction of nations to Zion and to the
God of Israel is a major Biblical theme (Isa.2:2-4; 45:14;
Zech. 8:22 ). That do not know you . The reverse of the exile,
when Israel was sent to a nation unknown to them ( Deut. 28:36).
Ruth left Moab to live with a people she “did not know before”
(Ruth 2:11). Holy one of IsraelL. (Isa.1:4; 41:14) . Endowed . . .
With splendor . (Isa.4:2; 60:9). The nation will be restored
physically and spiritually.
2. GREAT ENCOURAGEMENT GIVEN TO HOPE FOR PARDON
Isa. 55:6 Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while
he is near. 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man
his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on
him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. 55:8 “For my
thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD. 55:9 “As the heavens are higher than the
earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts
than your thoughts.
Seek the Lord . (Jer 29:13-14; Hos 3:5; Am 5:4,6,14 ; contrast
the hypocritical seeking of 58:2). Wicked forsake . (Isa.1:16). Turn
to the Lord . . . Freely pardon . (Isa43:25 ; 44:22 ). My ways higher .
We have here a further account of that covenant of grace
which is made with us in Jesus Christ, both what is required and
what is promised in the covenant, and of those considerations
that are sufficient abundantly to confirm our believing compliance
with and reliance on that covenant. This gracious discovery of
God’s good-will to the children of men is not to be confined either
to the Jew or to the Gentile, to the Old Testament or to the New,
much less to the captives in Babylon. No, both the precepts and
the promises are here given to all, to every one that thirsts after
happiness,(Isa. 55 : 1). And who does not? Hear this, and live.
3. THE CERTAIN EFFICACY OF THE WORD OF GOD (55:10-13)
Isa. 55:10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return to it without watering the earth and making
it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and
bread for the eater, 55:11 so is my word that goes out from
my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish
what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. 55:12
You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains
and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of
the field will clap their hands. 55:13 Instead of the thornbush
will grow the pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle will
grow. This will be for the LORD’s renown, for an everlasting
sign, which will not be destroyed.”
THORNBUSH. . . PINE TREE. . . BRIERS. . . MYRTLE. The
reverse of the desolation Isaiah had prophesied about earlier
(Isa.5:6; 32:13). For the significance of trees (Isa.35:2; 41:19 ).
Lord’s renown . Similar to God’s fame in the exodus
(Isa. 63:12,14). Everlasting . God’s deliverance would never be
forgotten. (Isa.19:20; 56:5).
If we take a special view of the church, we shall find what
great things God has done, and will do, for it (v. 12,13): You
shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace. This refers,
To the deliverance and return of the Jews out of Babylon.
They shall go out of their captivity, and be led forth towards
their own land again. God will go before them as surely, though
not as sensibly, as before their fathers in the pillar of cloud and
fire. They shall go out, not with trembling, but with triumph, not
with any regret to part with Babylon, or any fear of being
fetched back, but with joy and peace. Their journey home over
the mountains shall be pleasant, and they shall have the good-
will and good wishes of all the countries they pass through.
The hills and their inhabitants shall, as in a transport of joy,
break forth into singing; and, if the people should altogether
hold their peace, even the trees of the field would attend them
with their applauses and acclamations. And, when they come to
their own land, it shall be ready to bid them welcome; for,
whereas they expected to find it all overgrown with briers and
thorns, it shall be set with fir-trees and myrtle-trees: for,
though it lay desolate, yet it enjoyed its sabbaths (Lev. 26:34),
which, when they were over, like the land after the sabbatical
year, it was the better for. And this shall redound much to the
honour of God and be to him for a name. But,
It shall be a representation of the blessings promised and a
type and figure of them. First, Gospel grace will set those at
liberty that were in bondage to sin and Satan. They shall go out
and be led forth. Christ shall make them free, and then they
shall be free indeed. Secondly, It will fill those with joy that
were melancholy. Psa. 14:7, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall
be glad. The earth and the inferior part of the creation shall
share in the joy of this salvation, Psa. 94:11, 12. Thirdly, It will
make a great change in men’s characters. Those that were as
thorns and briers, good for nothing but the fire, nay, hurtful and
vexatious, shall become graceful and useful as the fir-tree and
the myrtle-tree. Thorns and briers came in with sin and were
the fruits of the curse, Gen. 3:18. The raising of pleasant trees
in the room of them signifies the removal of the curse of the
law and the introduction of gospel blessings. The church’s
enemies were as thorns and briers; but, instead of them, God
will raise up friends to be her protection and ornament. Or it
may denote the world’s growing better; instead of a generation
of thorns and briers, there shall come up a generation of
fir-trees and myrtles; the children shall be wiser and better
than the parents. And, fourthly, in all this God shall be glorified.
It shall be to him for a name, by which he will be made known
and praised, and by it the people of God shall be encouraged. It
shall be for an everlasting sign of God’s favour to them,
assuring them that, though it may for a time be clouded, it shall
never be cut off. The covenant of grace is an everlasting
covenant; for the present blessings of it are signs of