I write this blog for those who are hungering for God, longing for the moment when God returns to fulfill history. Walking with God daily and seeking Him is a journey. There will be multiple times when God’s ways don’t make sense. Clouds will obscure His light. Storms of doubt, grief, loss, and pressing trials come upon all of us. How can we understand and respond in our journeys of faith?
Lessons from Isaiah 55: Setting
The prophet Isaiah was a priest serving God during a turbulent time in history. He is the prophet who foresees and teaches about the coming Messiah. Jesus reads from Isaiah multiple times in the Gospels. For more information about Isaiah
Chapter 55 specifically addresses the Hebrews who have been exiled in Babylon. While this passage is for this historical group of people, the truths still apply to us!
Truth 1: God’s Invites us to be refreshed in Him verses 1-2
God’s Way is to Refresh
God invites the thirsty and hungry (spiritually) to come to Him. How does this relate to understanding God’s Ways? Good question! God sent His people into exile. They were unfaithful and unrepentant. God’s judgment came and they are living in a foreign land. Yet, God’s not done with them! God isn’t done with us. God’s judgment and mercy are together not separate. Realizing that we are sinners and objects of God’s righteous, holy, just wrath (Judgment) leads us to trust in His Son’s redemption (Mercy)! Isaiah clearly presents God’s Gospel in the Old Testament.
Isaiah isn’t merely referring to physical food and drink but the True, Abundant Life that comes in trusting and depending on God. What have you lost this last year? Do you have dreams and hopes that unfulfilled? What is missing in your life that keeps you from joy and peace? Perhaps God is reaching out to you! Only God can give our lives meaning and purpose because He’s Eternal and Creator! Things of this earth pass away.
Truth 2: Repent and Turn Back to God–Seeking Him verses 3-7
God’s Way is Mercy and Pardon when we turn to Him
Repentance is an ongoing process in our lives that begins in our spiritual regeneration. We don’t just repent once, it’s an attitude wherein we return to God in our life. Simply, we continue to “go astray” and sin because of our fallen nature. Paul reminds us in Romans that we have a sinful nature that leads us to rebel even when we want to do the right thing! The answer to this sinful nature is to acknowledge it and respond in turning to God when/after we sin.
God refers to His Gospel plan in these verses. Isaiah refers to the Davidic covenant. God intends to use the Hebrew people to showcase His grace and salvation. Remember that Jesus came from the line of David to fulfill this and other prophecies. The exile is part of God’s plan. God’s plan to save and redeem through His Messiah is on track!
Verses 6-7 are saturated with God’s grace and mercy. What good news! God invites us to
6 Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the Lord, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.
Isaiah 55:6-7 NKJV
The words mercy and pardon are welcome news for those struggling with sin and life’s difficulties. God is merciful and compassionate (NASB version translates mercy as compassion).
Truth 3: God’s Thoughts and Ways aren’t our ways vrs 8-9
God doesn’t act as we might desire, expect, or request. God reminds us of this truth in these verses. His thoughts and ways are infinitely beyond us! This is both comforting and terrifying. The comfort comes in knowing that God is far greater, better, and perfect that we can possibly know or understand! The terrifying part is that God is beyond us. He doesn’t need our advice or help! God exists apart from us. God is the Creator; we are the creatures. Considering the size of our solar system and visible universe, we are small creatures. God is even more vast than our visible universe.
We then ask the question: what are mere humans to God? We are His creation made to glorify and enjoy God for His glory and honor. [adapted from Westminster Confession of Faith] It’s humbling to consider that Jesus left Heaven (humbled Himself) to obey His Father and make redemption possible (Philippians 2:6-11). The God of the universe sent us His His Only Son. It’s important for us to remember our place. Our fallen natures leads us to prideful, wrong thinking. Life is about vastly more than ourselves!
Truth 4: God’s Word and Desires come to pass verses 10-13
Isaiah reminds us that God’s plans come to pass as He desires. He uses the imagery of rain and snow watering the earth and seeds to provide bread. These are significant “word pictures” for a people living in a world without Kroger. Rain and snow are vital to agriculture. No water, no seed, no bread–starvation and death. The very essentials of life are linked to God’s Spoken Word. What God says will happen! God’s Words are essential to life. Remember how Jesus rebuked Satan with this truth!
Writers and pastors like this verse because it promises that God’s Word will not be shared in vain (literally go forth). Sometimes it’s discouraging when you invest time and energy teaching God’s Word and it seems as though no one is listening or in this case reading. God reminds us that He will accomplish His plan. Our job is to be faithful in proclaiming His Word!
One of the main reasons for my blog is because I consistently read other’s works. Others have blessed me with their insights, so I want to bless you! The articles and blogs that I embed in this content are those which nourished my mind and soul. Dr. Jim Berg of Bob Jones Seminary provides an insightful devotion on Isaiah 55:
Verse 13 ends this chapter with a beautiful picture. The thorns are replaced with the beautiful and mighty cypress and myrtle trees. This blog post expounds on verse 13’s imagery:
Isaiah is referring to God’s plans in verses 8-9. I want you to consider these verses in the context of your life. Life doesn’t go according to our plans and desires. But we can have faith that God’s Plans succeed. Isaiah 55 concludes with a glorious picture of rejoicing, restoration, and blessing that is a “memorial to the Lord.” What is God doing in your life that you can share and rejoice? What areas of your life do you need to repent and turn toward Christ?
May God bless you with His wonderful, redeeming, and encouraging truths as you seek Him in His Living Word, for His glory and your encouragement I write these words,