After reviewing chapters 53 and 54, this chapter progresses past the ideas of Christ coming and the “tent” expanding. With chapter 55, we have the invitation to all to come and receive the free gift of salvation. The progression is notable as it continues past the crowning point of Isaiah 53 and builds on the description of the aftereffects that was begun in chapter 54.
The invitation here is not limited to Israel, but it encompasses the future when all nations and all people can access God through Christ. Recall the analogy of Israel as the bride and God as the husband in chapter 54. When we consider that idea and compare it with the wedding feast in Matthew 22:1-14 and the Jerusalem council decision in Acts 15:6-11, the invitation in this chapter takes on a deeper and more expansive meaning.
Verses 1-5: An Invitation
Everyone who thirsts is invited to come and “buy” life-giving water, wine and milk. The word “buy” is used to emphasize the fact that the blessings are free; they can be bought “without money and without price.”
The blessing represented by these three life-giving liquids is that of God’s grace and mercy pouring over mankind through the sacrifice of Christ. The water refreshes the spirit, the wine “makes glad the heart of man,” (Psalm 104:15) and the milk is the purity of God’s Word that helps young Christians grow (I Peter 2:2). The mention of wine here reminds us of the New Testament commandment to observe the Lord’s supper and partake of the fruit of the vine to remember Christ’s blood as the sacrifice for our sins. Its’ mention as a life-giving liquid is supported by the commandment to observe the Lord’s Supper in I Corinthians 11:23-26.
The delivery of this blessing in the form of water meets the need established earlier in Isaiah 41:17-18 where exiled Israel was in need of natural resources to survive: “The poor and needy seek water, but there is none, Their tongues fail for thirst. I, the LORD, will hear them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them. I will open rivers in desolate heights, And fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, And the dry land springs of water.” With the application of these verses in a world that knows Christ, free water for all now retains the deeper meanings of salvation and perhaps even baptism.
The people are admonished to think spiritually and seek righteousness. Why should we work so hard for material possessions that do not last and fade away? Instead we should listen to God, enjoying and working for His blessings and our souls will delight in abundance.
At last, all are called to hear and listen: souls will live and thrive under the new law, now established through Jesus and originally promised by God to David in II Samuel 7:12-16: “When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.” In verses 4-5, we understand the fruition of God’s promise to David.
Verses 6-9: Striving Towards God
These verses contain a beautiful plea and a profound revelation. God is inviting the righteous and the wicked to come to Him. The wicked will, of course, experience the blessings of forgiveness when they hear, believe and obey. Now is the time to be reconciled because through Jesus, God is made near: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6
Now that the blessing is open and available to all, all are called to seek pardon, even those that have a copious amount of sin in their life.
Verses 8 and 9 make a memorable statement that tells us that God is an altogether different being than we are. The ways we think, exist and act are wholly different from how God thinks, exists and acts. Since the human condition is all we know, we hit a metaphysical brick wall when we attempt to understand God’s ways or God’s thoughts. In our current physical state, we see the end result of salvation in Christ and we enjoy the wondrous blessings. But we cannot comprehend the deep things of God that bring it all to bear. Seeking knowledge of God is a journey that pays off in myriad ways, but we will never in this life be able to fully understand Him in all His might, power and glory. What an awesome God we have:
““For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
Verses 10-13: God’s Water
In terms of salvation, Isaiah has dealt with the dual themes of physical salvation for the remnant of Israel and spiritual salvation for all mankind. This duality is mirrored in these verses as God describes how He sends bread and water to physically provide for man while also sending spiritual bread and water to provide salvation from sins.
The blessings that God sends that surround Christ: salvation, new covenant teaching, forgiveness, repentance, grace, etc., all come down to us on earth and they bear fruit. Just as a mustard seed can make a towering plant, the implanted Word of God spiritually grows men and women into powerhouses of faith and righteousness: “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.” James 1:21
Likewise, the lives of God’s followers under the new covenant will be blessed with joy and peace. This is God’s plan and God’s desire for us: reconciliation. God’s planet Word and His blessings on this earth produce beautiful things.
When we listen to and obey God’s Word, we are His masterpiece. We are a sign to all of His greatness, His goodness, His mercy, His love.
Is there any greater purpose for which to live?