The Heathen Invited to te Banquet of Grace
v. 1. Ho, every one that thirsteth, the earnest attention of all who feel their need being solicited, come ye to the waters! And he that hath no money, nothing of real value to offer in exchange, come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. The Hebrew text brings out even more strongly than can be done in an English translation the idea of a gracious giving on the part of the Lord. The rich nourishment, the refreshing sweetness of His spiritual blessings are offered in the Gospel altogether free and for nothing. Everything else in the world costs something, must be paid for in money or labor, or in some act representing compensation for value received; only the mercies of David, the salvation in Christ, cost absolutely nothing. The substance of this verse is contained in Mat_11:28-30.
v. 2. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? exerting themselves in a vain effort to gain the true, lasting peace of mind by acts of their own righteousness, and your labor for that which satisfieth not? All the efforts of men to find true satisfaction and happiness in things which this world has to offer are vain and useless. Hearken diligently unto Me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. The spiritual eating of the believers is done through their hearing of the Word, for God has placed His whole salvation in His Word, in the Gospel, and the highest consolation, joy, and bliss is to be found in Him.
v. 3. Incline your ear, in the attitude of eager attention, and come unto Me, the invitation being issued time and again to emphasize its urgency; hear, with a willing acceptance, and your soul shall live, by and in the life in the Lord; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, unlike the temporal covenant made on Sinai, even the sure mercies of David, the Messianic promises given to David and his descendants, culminating in the great Son of David, Jesus Christ. Cf Psa_89:34-37.
v. 4. Behold, I have given Him for a Witness to the people, the Messiah Himself testifying of the grace of God, a Leader and Commander to the people, the exalted Ruler, with endless authority and power. This King is now directly addressed,
v. 5. Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, namely, into His kingdom, to be included in His government of peace, and nations that knew not thee, Gentiles of the farthermost parts of the earth, shall run unto thee because of the Lord, thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel, for the purpose of carrying out the counsel of God and therefore for His glorification, since He is zealous for His kingdom; for He hath glorified thee. The purpose of God in sending the Messiah as His witness is to procure for Him the honor and glory due Him as the King of this great, blessed, and eternal God. In giving to others the honor and beauty provided for them through the work of the Messiah, the Lord glorifies the Messiah Himself. The fact that the believers are saved redounds to His glory.
Israel Called to Repentance
v. 6. Seek ye the Lord, so the Lord now calls out to Israel through the proclamation of His prophet, while He may be found, while the time of grace is still present with them; call ye upon Him while He is near, while His salvation is so close at hand in the Word of His grace, while the opportunity for repentance is still held out.
v. 7. Let the wicked forsake his way, no longer, in contempt of God, pursuing the way of his own lusts and desires, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, his evil inclinations and intentions, and let him return unto the Lord, to the God of the covenant, and He will have mercy upon him, forgive all his iniquities, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon, literally, "He makes much to forgive," He is most ready to forgive, His mercy is limitless. Cf Rom_5:20; Isa_1:18; 1Ti_1:13-17.
v. 8. For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord, for the thoughts of the wicked are evil and lead into everlasting destruction, whereas the ways of the Lord are good, righteous, and holy, and lead into everlasting salvation.
v. 9. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, separated by an infinitely great distance, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. At the same time it is true that, although the weight of man's sins, the foolishness of wicked ways, is so great as to make them seem unpardonable, yet God does not cease to let His Word be proclaimed in richest measure.
v. 10. For as the rain cometh down and the snow from heaven, according to the regular course of nature, and returneth not thither, namely, without carrying out the designs of God, but watereth the earth, the moisture being absorbed by the soil, and maketh it bring forth and bud, so that it grows and matures in due time, that it may give seed to the sower, for next year's seed-corn, and bread to the eater, the human family thus being provided with food from year to year,
v. 11. so shall My Word be that goeth forth out of My mouth, proceeding thence to fulfill the purpose set by the Lord; it shall not return unto Me void, without giving to men at least some spiritual benefit, but it shall accomplish that which I please, what He chooses to have done, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it, for it is the Word filled with His almighty power, and the omnipotent God Himself is active in and through it. The Gospel is a power of God unto salvation, Rom_1:16-17.
v. 12. For ye, the people of the Lord, now in shameful captivity, shall go out with joy and be led forth with peace, to leave their captivity behind and to return home to Zion. The mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands, all creatures, as it were, rejoicing over the salvation enjoyed by the children of God, since it culminates in the bliss of heaven.
v. 13. Instead of the thorn, symbol of sin and misery, shall come the fir-tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle-tree, both of these trees being representative of the finest products of faith in good works; and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off, a monument of glory to Jehovah which would last throughout eternity. All sinners in the whole world, who rely upon the promise of the Lord in His Word, will find that these promises will be fulfilled in their case, eternal salvation and glorification being theirs through His grace.
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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Isaiah 55". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany