Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Comfort My People: The Prophecies Of Isaiah, Day 157

Comfort My People:
The Prophecies Of Isaiah
Day 157

Chapter 54 concluded by telling Zion of her heritage in the Lord, and today we find that this same heritage belongs to all who join themselves to Him. He makes the invitation to all, to "whosoever will", to those who recognize in their souls a thirst for something more than this world offers.

"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." (Isaiah 55:1) Salvation is free, to us. It cost Christ a great deal, but He charges us no price of entry. In Him we have free access to all that will satisfy our deepest needs. The waters mentioned here, along with the wine and milk, are symbolic. Water is a basic necessity for the body but in the Scriptures it also stands for the pouring out of the Holy Spirit. Wine was a luxury item, particularly if it was of especially high quality. It could also be used for a variety of medicinal purposes such as a disinfectant for wounds. This symbolizes Christ giving us His very best and of His ability to heal our wounds. Milk contains the fat and protein to satisfy hunger and it suggests a sense of fullness and contentment. 

"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 you will delight in the richest of fare." (Isaiah 55:2) I've spent myself on things that don't satisfy, and I bet at one time or another you have too. I've sold myself into slavery to that which will never quench my thirst or fill up my belly or heal my wounds. The Lord says, "listen, listen" in the kindly but urgent tone of voice a parent or teacher might use to calm a child and get his or her attention. I think He says it this way because we are so busy running to and fro, attempting to fulfill our needs ourselves, working ourselves to the bone, tossing and turning all night with worry, when all along the banquet is spread for us and it is free. He says, "Stop trying to meet your spiritual needs in human strength. Remember who you are and the heritage that is yours! I paid a high price to buy you back from slavery to sin and you must not put yourself back under the yoke. You are children of the King! Come to My table where I offer you something the world never can."

"Give ear and come to Me; listen, that you may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, My faithful love promised to David." (Isaiah 55:3) How simple the gospel is! "Come to Me and you will live." While we were yet in sin, we were like a man hanging by his fingertips on the edge of a cliff, with death imminent. But Christ stretched out His hand to us and we took hold of it and He pulled us to safety. There was no initiation to complete, no special rituals or chants to learn, no levels or degrees to achieve before we could reach Him, no fees to pay or offerings to bring, no human works that had to be "good enough" for Him to find us acceptable. He simply said, "Come to Me and you will live". 

The Lord promises us the same faithful love He gave to David, a man with whom He made an everlasting covenant. David is not a shining example of how to be a godly man. He made several missteps during his years in exile and he committed some horrific sins after he became king. But God still loved David and heard his prayer when he said, "Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love; according to Your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin." (Psalm 51:1-2) David came to the Lord not because he thought he deserved forgiveness, but because he knew the Lord's love was unfailing and His compassion was great. This is the mercy God promises to us.

"See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a ruler and commander of the peoples." (Isaiah 55:4) The Lord uses David, the witness, both literally and figuratively. The man David was made a witness to the peoples because of his heart for the Lord, and he ruled and commanded according to the laws of God. He faltered at times in his behavior, but he was quick to repent and turn from sins when convicted of them. The use of the name David also stands for the Messiah, the King of kings, who will come from his line and rule from his throne forever. There can be no greater witness to the love and mercy of God than our Redeemer, who Himself is "the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of His being". (Hebrews 1:2) 

"Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations you do not know will come running to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for He has endowed you with splendor." (Isaiah 55:5) When Isaiah preached this message, no nations were running to Israel or Judah to do them good. The only ones running to them were those intent on spoiling and destroying. But when the other "David" appears, the Lord Jesus Christ, He will draw men and women of other nations into friendship with Zion. This was fulfilled in part when "He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him". (John 1:11) Christ came to His own nation but when He was largely rejected there, the gospel went out to the Gentiles, who gladly received Him. But His own, the Jews, are in no way cast aside and rejected by Him. The Apostle Paul, in Romans 11, explains to us that a day is coming in which "all Israel will be saved". We may not fully understand how this is going to come about, but we can understand why, "They are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God's gifts and His call are irrevocable". (Romans 11:28b-29) God made promises to men like Abraham and David that He will not break. The fulfillment of these promises does not depend upon the righteousness of man but upon the faithfulness of a righteous God. 

And if God's gift and calling are irrevocable to Israel, they are irrevocable to us who are in Christ. He will not disown us or renounce our citizenship in heaven or remove our place card from His table. He said, "Come to Me and live", and we came. He will in no wise cast us out. (John 6:37)

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