Isaiah 55

Isaiah 55 An Invitation To Abundant Life.

There is nothing anyone can exchange for the abundant life promised by the LORD (v. 1). The invitation goes out to all who can hear (Cf. Mt. 5:6; 13:44; Jn. 4:14; Rev. 21:6; 22:17). John in fact quoted directly from this verse as finding fulfillment in the Lord Jesus (7:37-38). This is eternal life. People should listen to the LORD and stop spending their money on that which cannot satisfy the hungry soul (v. 2). Abundant life is to be found in a covenant relationship with the LORD, an everlasting covenant in direct continuity with the last of the old covenant administrations, “the sure mercies of David” (v. 3b Cf. 61:8; II Sam. 7:8; Ps. 89:28; Jer. 32:40). Paul quoted from this verse in his message at Antioch, seeing it as fulfilled ultimately in the resurrection of Jesus, this finished work of the Christ as the grounds for the justification of the saints (Acts 13:33-39).

This continuity must come to a descendant of David, this is the Servant who would be “a witness to the people, a leader and commander for the people” (v. 4 Cf. Rev. 1:5; Jer. 30:9; Ezek. 34:23; Dan. 9:25). Furthermore, the renown of this leader will also come as an effectual call to the nations who previously did not know him in any redemptive sense, because of the LORD his God, the Holy One of Israel, who would glorify this Servant (vv. 3, 5a Cf. 52:14; 60:5, 9; Mt. 11:28; Jn. 18:37; Eph. 2:11-13). People are called to “seek the LORD while He may be found,” and to “call upon Him while He is near” (v. 6). This is both an invitation and a warning, people will not always be able to seek and call upon the LORD. This would also find fulfillment in Messiah’s advent (Cf. 49:8; Ps. 32:6; Mt. 5:25; 25:11; Jn. 7:34; 8:21), the response  showing the divide between apostate Israel and the remnant (Heb. 3:13).

This first of all is a call to repentance, for “the wicked to forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts” (v. 7a Cf. Zech. 8:17). Frankly this ought to be the dual emphasis in a Christian’s apologetics. Without a doubt a person’s way reflects their deepest thoughts, what for them is really real. So often one must be confronted with their way, to reveal their deepest thoughts. We can be present with people breaking bread, while their hearts are far from us, even so are some men before God, no doubt all of us to some degree. “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7a). Repentance is turning from our own thoughts and ways to the LORD’s thoughts and ways (v. 7b Cf. 1:16; 59:7). Repentance is not in vain because it is based upon the LORD’s mercy. “He will abundantly pardon.” “Great is His mercy toward those who fear Him” (Ps. 103:11).

This is where we find the contrast between the sinner’s thoughts and ways, and that of the LORD’s (vv. 8-9). We must make his thoughts and consequential ways for us, our own. However, even though one’s way must be changed, the priority and necessary prerequisite for that change must be the renewing of one’s mind, only then can our way reveal his will and be an acceptable sacrifice of worship (Rom. 12:1-2). We must begin with the core of our thinking, and this renovation has only one source capable of effecting this change-God’s word. It is his word alone that is living and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword (ie., the old and new covenant scriptures together), – “a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12). It is the seed sown that will accomplish the LORD’s purposes like no other word can, and it will bear fruit and prosper (vv. 10-11; 49:9-11).

Moses blessed the covenanted nation in his song of witness, that the LORD came to them with a fiery law which they received as their heritage (Dt. 32:1-4). The Servant Messiah, whom Isaiah wrote about, will come to fulfill both the law given and the words of his servants the prophets, and in particular, all peoples will serve him as their God, bowing the knee before him (Is. 45:23; Mt. 5:17-20). Paul saw this as a call to Jesus (Rom. 14:11), through whom alone the saints are justified (Is. 45:24-25). The ransomed remnant will thus “go out with joy, and be led out with peace” (v. 12a Cf. 35:10). No doubt this is a covenantal redemption, involving cursing and blessing (vv. 12b-13 Cf. 41:19-20; Ps. 98:8). However, the mountains may also refer to the ransomed of the LORD from the nations great and small (Cf. 35:10; 51:6; Ps. 96:10-13; Mt. 24:35).

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