The Free Offer of Mercy
Isaiah signifies the importance of his words by the exclamation of the word “Ho.” “Ho! – This is the gospel note; a short, significant appeal, urging you to be wise enough to attend to your own interests. Oh, the condescension of God! That he should, as it were, become a beggar to his own creature, and stoop from the magnificence of his glory to cry, ‘Ho!’ to foolish and ungrateful men!” (Spurgeon)
This is an invitation to everyone, everyone who thirsts. This is an invitation to the ones who thirst for the living waters of the Lord. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Matthew 5:6) If one is not thirsty for the water that the Lord gives, then he will not come. When Jesus was in Galilee He called out to the people, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.” (John 7:37) Those who are thirsty and hunger do not need money to receive what the Lord has to offer. All they need is trust and faith and they will be satisfied. Coming into the Christian life is free and we do not pay to advance. It is just as much a gift of God’s grace as our salvation. “You are not permitted to drink freely of water, and then to purchase wine. You are not invited to come and eat freely that which is good, and then to spend your labor for that which is fat. No, the richest dainties of God’s house are as free as the bread he gives to hungry souls.” (Spurgeon)
God is asking if what the people spend their money on really brings them satisfaction. What can we spend our money on that we can carry into the next world? What is more valuable and free than the Word of God? God’s invitation is clear, His provision is prepared, and it is available to us. But there are some things that must be done in order for us to receive it.
God has given us His Word. It is no small thing the Word of God and the first books written by Moses were completed around 1400 B.C. with the last book, Revelation, written approximately 90 A.D. This is a span of time of about 1500 years. The work was written by 40 or so authors who were inspired by the Holy Spirit. “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” (2 Peter 1:20-21) The Bible itself is the most popular book but sadly the least read. This effort on God’s part did not come without cost but yet is freely given to man for his spiritual welfare. There is nothing that the world has to sell that will benefit a soul in the spiritual realm to come but God’s Word is all that one needs. The first thing we need to do to receive God’s provision is to listen to God’s Word. This is a diligent effort on our part and a promise that we will be satisfied. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Matthew 5:6)
This is a choice that we must make. It is not something that just happens but something that we have to choose. Life in this world is filled with choices and most are not profitable for us. Most choices that we make are not good for us. We must show discernment in the choices that we make that we choose the better part. As Jesus explained to Martha as she was busy about the house. “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42) Many people will eat whatever spiritual food is placed before them without testing to see what is good.
Lastly, we must allow ourselves to delight in the abundance of the spiritual food feast the Lord has prepared for us. We have come to the Lord’s banquet table not to pick and choose but to receive all that He has prepared for us. We are to come and drink freely the water of life. “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.” (Revelation 22:17)
The Word of God is a feast for us if we incline our ear to hear. Two can hear the word of God and only will receive. Often the one who receives nothing has not inclined their ear to what the Word of God has to say. Many times Jesus said, “Let he who has an ear hear.” When we listen intently to the Word of God then we bring life to our soul.
When we listen to the Lord He will make a covenant with us. This covenant is in the future, “I will make,” and is assured by the mercies of David. God showed great mercies towards David even as he was a murderer and an adulterous. Yet, God loved David and shows His mercy and guidance towards him throughout his life. If God promises the same mercies that He showed towards David, then we are truly blessed as well. God never abandoned David and never stopped showing His mercy towards him. What a privilege of God’s love that we can be shown the same mercy towards us.
God gave His people the remarkable leadership of David the great commander of his people. God not only gave the people David but promises to keep giving to His people in the pattern of David. David’s leadership came from God and not of himself. David did not give the people what they wanted but what God had given him to give to the people. What David witnessed from God he gave to God’s people.
This verse may be addressed to Israel or to David but most likely to both as the ultimate fulfillment will be in the millennium when the nations shall flock to Israel. (Isaiah 60:5; Isaiah 60:9) The nations will flock to Israel because the Lord has lifted them up in the blessing of restoration.
The Prophet Isaiah impresses upon us that there is a sense of urgency to seek the Lord while He may be found. This is the time that the Lord can be found. God is not hidden and can only be found now. It is that He can only be found when our hearts are inclined to seek Him. Our inclination is a gift from God and we must receive it and make the most of it while we can and have it. If we fail to seek and call upon Him while He is near can mean we will not receive the blessing He has promised.
The Prophet Isaiah also is impressing that the wicked need to repent of their wicked ways Repentance is simply turning around from one way and turning towards God’s way. By turning toward the Lord we receive His glorious restoration that works through His sanctification.
The unrighteousness of men is not only found in their outward actions but is cultivated in the thoughts of their minds. Often the battleground for the righteous is found within the mind of a soul. The Apostle Paul knew this when he wrote of bring every thought into captivity with the obedience of Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5) In his letter to the Romans, Paul tells us not to be conformed to the world but that we must renew our minds to that of Jesus. (Romans 12:2)
The promise of the Lord is that when we turn from our wicked ways He will have mercy on us. The Lord will abundantly pardon us from our evil ways. The problem is never that when we return to the Lord He rejects us but that we fail to return.
It is impossible for man to think as the Lord thinks. We find ourselves in trouble when we think that the Lord should think as we do. We are created in His image and can relate to His thoughts but never can we master them. Neither does God act the way that we do. God does things only in His way and His ways are different than ours. We find ourselves in trouble when we think that God should do things as we do. Isaiah tells us how far our thoughts and actions are from God’s. They are as far as the Heavens are from the earth.
When we grow closer to the image of Jesus we become closer to the ways that God thinks and acts. This is why it is important to become conformed to the image of Jesus. (Romans 8:29) We will never be as God, as He is the Creator and we are the creature. In the day that our salvation is complete, we will be as close to His glory as we can ever be. “You may conclude that it is not intended that you should understand the infinite, for you are told that his thoughts and ways are far above you; but you are required to seek him while he may be found, and call upon him while he is near.” (Spurgeon)
In the example of the water cycle, the Lord illustrates the principle that His word shall not return to Him void. God’s word goes out and accomplishes what it was sent to do. The rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return without accomplishing what they were sent to accomplish. In the same way, the world of God will accomplish what it was sent to do.
God does not speak just to hear Himself speak. God’s Word has purpose and meaning and will accomplish that purpose which it was sent out. When God speaks His world is spoken to accomplish His purpose. God’s Word does not just get things done but prospers.
When the people return to the Lord and listen to His Word the Word does His work in them. Joy and peace will return to them. The joy in the land will be so great that even the mountains and the hills, the trees of the field will join in with their joy. Instead of the curse and the emptiness of the land, beautiful trees will come up. God will restore their land to its glory and it will bear fruit once again. When the Lord brings restoration it is His work and for His glory. When the Lord does His work it is an everlasting security.