Isaiah 55 - Outline of Isaiah (Book Notes menu page)
This chapter continues the section concerning "the Results of Redemption."
Chapter 54 looked at results specific to Israel. In chapter 55, the view broadens to include everyone.
The gospel is for the Jew first and also for the Gentile (Rom 1:16).
III. B. 5. The Results of Redemption, 54:1-56:8
  1. For Israel... ch. 54
  2. For everyone who thirsts... 55:1-13
    • Quenched thirst, for those who come, v.1-2
    • Enduring mercies, for those who behold the Holy One of Israel, v.3-5
    • Abundant pardon, for those who seek the LORD, and forsake their own ways, v.6-9
    • Everlasting refreshment, for those who trust God's Word, v.10-13
1. Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters,
and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat;
yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
2 Wherefore do ye spend money for [that which is] not bread?
and your labour for [that which] satisfieth not?
hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye [that which is] good,
and let your soul delight itself in fatness.
Ho {ie., alas! woe!}, every one that thirsteth...-
  • the invitation is urgent, and pressed with the sound of alarm.
    Your desperate need can be satisfied, if only you will partake of God's provision.
  • the invitation is universal. It is for every one.
  • the invitation has but one condition: thirst. cp. Joh 7:37,38; Mat 5:6
    "Let us listen then, as if we had never heard the melody of this tender gracious invitation before. Who are the guests invited? All who thirst! All that is needed to be welcome then, is -- not to need (for that is true of all) -- but to want what is offered. Am I utterly dissatisfied with myself? I thirst! Am I dissatisfied with all the world can offer me, and which I have tasted? I thirst! Is my spirit altogether dissatisfied with all the formalism of religion? Then do I thirst! Blessed thirst! It is the only prerequisite to enjoyment!" [Dr. F.C. Jennings, quoted by JVMcGee]
come ye...- The invitation to 'come' is repeated three times, as it is also in Rev 22:17.
Yet, it is more than an invitation, for obedience to the Gospel is commanded. Acts 17:30,31; Rom 10:16; 2The 1:8
he that hath no money, come ye, buy, and eat...- The offer is free for all who will come
because the price has been paid, by God's Grace, as described in Isaiah ch. 53.
Four essential commodities are listed, each with a spiritual significance:
  • the waters...- The plural indicates both abundance and excellency.
    Only the 'living water' of the Holy Spirit can truly satisfy the thirsty heart.
    There is only one Fountain. Isa 44:3; Joh 4:10-14; 7:37-39
  • wine...- Suggests the joy of fellowship with the Lord,
    whose love is sweeter than wine. Isa 25:6-9; Mat 26:29
  • milk...- The milk of the Word is essential nourishment,
    for the spiritual growth of new-born believers (1Pet 2:2).
    The child of God should have a desire for His Word. If not, there is something wrong.
  • bread...- The bread of life is true spiritual food. Joh 6:35,48-51,57-63
If these things are 'without money and without price,' with what currency should I 'buy and eat'?
   -- With the glad surrender of myself to the One who loved me and gave Himself for me. 1Cor 6:20; Gal 2:20; Rev 3:20
wherefore {why} do you spend money... and labor for that which satisfieth not?-
All that the world has to offer is counterfeit and temporary. It appeals to the flesh while robbing the soul of life and health (cp. Luk 12:16-21; 15:13-16; Rev 3:17-20).
     Likewise, the world's religions promise, but cannot provide, what their adherents need (Mat 15:9; Rom 10:2,3; 1Pet 1:18).
     But the LORD satisfies the needs of those who turn to Him.
Hearken diligently unto me... eat... that which is good... let your soul delight itself in fatness.
Satisfaction of the soul begins with hearing and obeying God's Word. Those who respond aright are satisfied with 'fatness' {ie., richly, abundantly}. Psa 36:8,9; 63:3,5; cp. Joh 10:10
3 Incline your ear, and come unto me:
hear, and your soul shall live;
and I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
[even] the sure mercies of David.
4 Behold, I have given him [for] a witness to the people,
a leader and commander to the people.
5 Behold, thou shalt call a nation [that] thou knowest not,
and nations [that] knew not thee shall run unto thee
because of the LORD thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel;
for he hath glorified thee.
come unto me... your soul shall live...
With similar words, the Lord Jesus invites the weary and heavy laden to come and find rest in Him (Mat 11:28).
I will give you an everlasting covenant... the sure mercies of David...-
  • Paul quoted from v.3 (in Acts 13:34), in the context of other OT prophecies
    concerning the resurrection of Christ (Acts 13:32-39).
    Because Christ died and arose never to see corruption, it is evident (A.) that a Son of David lives forever, and (B.) that the conqueror of sin and death can provide forgiveness of sins, to those who trust in Him.
  • King David found mercy when he was burdened under the weight of his sin (Psa 51).
    Likewise, today, mercy is available for the sinner who comes, to the Son of David who interposed Himself for transgressors (Isa 53:12).
       Though David's great sin was committed after God promised to give him a son and to establish his kingdom forever (2Sam 7:12-16), God's promise did not fail because of David's failure. Rather, the coming of that Son would secure the kingdom and save the sinner (2Sam 23:1-5).
In v.4,5, the LORD admonishes everyone to 'Behold' the son given to David, who is:
6. Seek ye the LORD while he may be found,
call ye upon him while he is near:
7 Let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts:
and let him return unto the LORD,
and he will have mercy upon him;
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
8 For my thoughts [are] not your thoughts,
neither [are] your ways my ways, saith 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.
seek ye the LORD while he may be found...-
  • God's mercies are great, but His salvation is offered for a limited time.
    Isa 45:19,22; 49:8; 2Cor 6:1,2; cp. Joh 7:33,34; 8:21; 12:35,36
  • Salvation is provided at God's initiative and expense.
    Christ came "to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luk 19:10). His one sacrifice made full propitiation for sin, once for all (Heb 10:10). He left nothing undone or unpaid. There is no work remaining for the sinner to accomplish.
       Yet, each individual has a responsibility to receive the Savior, while the opportunity lasts. Salvation is given freely to whosoever will come to Him. Coming to Him (or, seeking Him) does not involve some great quest. Rather it is a simple matter of believing that He is the only Savior, and asking Him to save you from your sinful condition. Joh 3:16; 6:37; Rom 10:5-11; Rev 22:17
let the wicked forsake his way...-
"A desire to be saved from the wrath to come, unaccompanied by a desire to be saved from the bondage of sin, is not true thirsting after righteousness (Mat 5:6)." [GWms]
my thoughts are not your thoughts... neither are your ways my ways...-
We humans are inherently corrupt in thought (cp. Gen 6:5; Isa 65:2) and action (Rom 3:10-12; Isa 53:6). How is it possible that earthly beings can be made fit for the presence of the Holy God of heaven? Only because His mercy is as high as His holiness (Psa 103:11; Rom 5:20,21; 11:32-36). Only the LORD could have conceived and accomplished the way of salvation.
10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven,
and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth,
and maketh it bring forth and bud,
that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
Alternate reading, from the NASB:
"For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return there without watering the earth,
and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater:"
11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth:
it shall not return unto me void
{ie., empty, fruitless, ineffectual},
but it shall accomplish that which I please,
and it shall prosper [in the thing] whereto I sent it.
12 For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace:
the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing,
and all the trees of the field shall clap [their] hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree,
and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree
{a fragrant evergreen}:
and it shall be to the LORD for a name,
for an everlasting sign [that] shall not be cut off.
so shall my word be... it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it...- cp. Psa 107:20
Thus, salvation is accomplished by God, through His Word, which came down from heaven. His Word is effectual and powerful to accomplish all His purposes in the earth. Man cannot make himself acceptable to God. But God's Word has done what man could not do. cp. Joh 1:1-4,11-18; Joh 14:6
for ye shall go out with joy...- In v.12, 'ye' and 'you' refer to the restored nation of Israel
which will be 'led forth' by the Messiah, their 'leader and commander' (v.4), in the day of His Kingdom. The blessings of His Kingdom will overflow to:
the mountains... hills... trees...- These words will find dual application:
  • literally: The creation will rejoice and flourish
    when restored by the Word who created it. (Isa 11:5-9; Rom 8:18-23)
  • figuratively: The earth's empires, kingdoms, and individual men
    will rejoice and be made whole when the Word has free reign in the hearts of men (cp. Heb 4:9-13). The One who will remove the curse of the thorn from the face of the earth, will also remove the cause of the curse from the hearts of men and women.
[This section continues into the next chapter (56:1-8).]

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