1997-02-27 - Are You Thirsty?
There are few places in the Old or the New Testaments where the heart of God comes through so clearly as in Isaiah 55. But how it is heard is as important as what is said. The perception of how God relates to us is critical. Is He distant and aloof? He is surely to be reverenced; Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent. Jesus is described in many different lights. He is foretold as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. A daunting, regal title that He is worthy of indeed. He is also called The Lamb, gentle and meek. And not unlike the lambs of the sacrifice, He was guiltless, yet slain without, returning rebuke, for each of us.
So how do you see Him in relationship to you? Is He the mighty I AM with the lightning of judgment flowing from His fingers? Or is He the One Who would not turn the children away? He is certainly both, at different times and to different groups. For instance, He welcomes His children home as the sheep on His right, and banishes the goats on His left to outer darkness. I have heard Isaiah 55 read both ways, as the judging King, and the merciful Savior.
Isa 55:1-3 - "Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. 2 "Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourself in abundance. 3 "Incline your ear and come to me. Listen, that you may live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, according to the faithful mercies shown to David.
If we read it as the former, the questions in verse two are condemning and wrathful. You have squandered your resources provided by His hand. The questions taken out of context seem harsh and demanding. Are you as the reader expecting this? But read back into verse one and ahead to verse three. This is an invitation. "Ho!", begins the author to gain the attention of everyone around him. "Every one who thirsts…" restricts the invitation from no one. All are invited. The thirst is for peace and acceptance; for mercy and grace. The thirst for power will never be satisfied, since Jesus will ultimately collect all power and hand it over to the Father. Therefore, it and appetites like it will never be satisfied. The author gives us a compelling direction. "Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost." A gift can not be bought, and never creates a debt. It is simply given and accepted. And these are good gifts that do satisfy.
The second half of verse two, after the questions. "Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourself in abundance." The words 'delight' and 'abundance' are hardly things that cause someone to shudder in fear. "Listen carefully unto me…" These are the words of someone who has our best interests at heart. He wants the very best for us, and is willing to provide it to us from His abundant, staggering wealth.
In verse three, "Listen, that you may live…" this is a plea from the heart of a Father admonishing His child to avoid a destructive path, and pointing the way to a safe course. The clincher is here as well. King David was shown mercy after mercy. Even after he committed adultery, staged the murder of his lover's husband, and left unpunished the assault against of one of his daughters, God called David a man after His own heart. God surely punished David, but David knew that God was just, and he accepted the justice dispensed to him.
Reading these verses, and more that surround this text, it is hard for me to get a picture of a divine Lord, in flowing white robes, on His throne with fire in His eyes, and flames flowing from His fingertips. I, rather,see Jesus, kneeling in the dust with a smile of encouragement lighting His face, and the deep love of friendship in His eyes. He is there asking questions from a broken heart.
How long will I continue to spend what I have in an effort to be happy? He has everything I need and more, for all eternity, and is willing to share from His abundance and to forever eliminate my horrific poverty. His hands and robe are dusty, as He helps me to my feet and allows me to lean on Him for the remainder of the journey, to a place of rest, peace and joy.
Which Lord are you serving? The One demanding unattainable perfection and accountability? Or does your Lord know you are simply the dust of creation, incapable of meeting any of the requirements on your own?
Eph 2:8-9 - For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast.
My Lord even gives me the faith to believe. I am a complete debtor to Him. But I know He paid the debt I owed because He loves me. He does not hold the debt over my head, but has forgotten it by an act of His will. Is this the Jesus you know? Do you want to know this Jesus? If you do, come to the waters and drink. If you have questions about this Jesus,or would like to meet this Jesus, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
Lord Jesus, You have provided for us in every way possible, down to providing the faith to reach out to You. The offer is open to everyone, without any thought for actions or thoughts; past, present or future. You know our thoughts and actions before we think or do them. And still you love us and stand ready to forgive, with no thought for recompense. Just a broken, thankful heart is all You require. Thank You for this undeserved favor. Amen.
Grace & Peace,
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.