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Second in a series from Isaiah February 6, 2012

Posted by roberttalley in Isaiah, Parables of Jesus, Repentance.
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AN INVITATION IN DISASTROUS TIMES
Isaiah 55

In the last chapter, God proclaims hope in the midst of disaster. In this chapter we have an invitation to grab hold of that hope.

A. God invites us to satisfaction (verses 1-5). It should be noted that the invitation goes far beyond physical satisfaction. Notice in verse 3 Isaiah says, “That your soul may live.” In other words, the hope God offers goes beyond physical satisfaction. It involves our whole being.

1. Satisfaction cannot be earned (verses 1-2). Remember that Isaiah is writing to people who have lost homeland and homes, family and friends, dignity and livelihood. God offers forgiveness but only to those who come.

2. Satisfaction does demand a response (verse 3a). “A mother, a son, and a daughter are clinging to the upper branches of a large tree surrounded by raging flood waters. The rescue team in a boat cannot get right up to the tree because of debris, but the distance between the boat and the tree can be jumped with effort. The team in the boat shout[s] with urgency, ‘Jump, jump,’ but the family members are afraid. Finally, summoning up courage, the son jumps and lands safely in the boat. Then the daughter jumps. She falls into the water, but the rescuers are ready and quickly pull her into the boat. Now the rescuers along with the son and daughter plead with the mother, ‘Jump, jump, you can do it! We’’ catch you if you fall short.’…but she is afraid, and as she [hesitates], there is a terrible crack, the tree falls, and she is swept away…” (Oswalt’s commentary on Isaiah 55).

3. Satisfaction is found in Jesus (verses 3b-5). God made a covenant with David. This fulfillment, this “witness to the people, [this] leader and commander for the people” is Jesus Christ who came to save His people from their sin, as the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world.

B. God invites us to take advantage of the opportunity we have now (verses 6-7). Jesus in Luke 14 was sitting at a meal when one of those there said, “Blessed is he who hall eat bread in the kingdom of God!” Jesus told how that different ones were invited to a great feast but did not come because they had other things to do. At least, that was their excuse. “Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind…Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say to you that none of those [who made excuses] shall taste my supper.’’

1. God does not promise future opportunity (verse 6). Certainly the door of opportunity to respond to God can be closed by death but sometimes life circumstances can close that door. Sometimes our hearts can be hardened by bitterness or pride or shame. Today is the day to respond to God. If you need to be saved, today is the day to call to God. If you need to become a better disciple, today is the day. If you need to become a better witness, today is the day. If you need to forgive someone, today is the day. Today, today is the day.

2. God demands repentance in exchange for mercy (verses 7-11). Repentance is not self-improvement. Self-improvement is spending money on that which is not bread. Self-improvement is laboring for that which does not satisfy. We need to turn from our sin, from our relationships, from religious institutions and practices, and to the man on the cross who alone has purchased our pardon.

C. God invites us to rejoice (verses 8-13). Specifically, if we come and are satisfied, we will rejoice. Those who have no joy have no satisfaction in Christ.

1. We can rejoice in His ways (verses 8-9). We may not understand them but we can rejoice in them because we know that they are higher. God understands how all this works out and how to work it all out for the best.

2. We can rejoice in His word (verses 10-11). These verses do not mean that if we witness to someone, that guarantees they will be saved, although that is how they are often used. These verses guarantee that if God promises satisfaction and forgiveness, we can count on that satisfaction and forgiveness. Why? So that He will be pleased.

3. We can rejoice in His new world (verse 13). Last week in the Junior Sunday School Class we learned that God created, cursed, and will cure this planet Earth. This world will become new when Jesus returns and all who have trusted Him are eternally united with Him to rule and reign on this earth.

“A banquet table is worse than useless to the person who is either too proud or too ashamed to come and eat from it” (John Oswalt, Isaiah: The NIV Application Commentary, page 602, 2003).

As we prepare to partake of the Lord’s Table, are you too proud? When we partake we are proclaiming to the world that we are needy. We need Jesus. We need the water of life to quench our thirst. We need the bread of life to satisfy our hunger. We need the Lamb of God to take away our sin. We need the Holy One of Israel to endow us with splendor. We need Jesus, the Resurrection and the Life to give us eternal life. There is no other name given among men whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12).

Are you too ashamed? You are a sinner. You are undeserving. You have failed this week, you may be conscious of having failed today. An old camp meeting song goes like this:

“Come ye sinners, poor and needy, weak and wounded, sick and sore. Jesus, ready, stands to save you full of pity, love, and power.
I will arise and go to Jesus. He will embrace me in His arms. In the arms of Christ my Savior, O, there are ten thousand charms.

Come, ye thirsty, come, and welcome, God’s free bounty glorify; True belief and true repentance, Every grace that brings you nigh.

Let not conscience, make you linger nor of fitness fondly dream. All the fitness He requireth is to feel your need of Him.

Come, ye weary, heavy laden, Lost and ruined by the fall; If you tarry till you’re better, You will never come at all.

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