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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Isaiah 55:3

"Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you may live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you, According to the faithful mercies shown to David.
New American Standard Version
    Jump to:
  1. Adam Clarke Commentary
  2. Bridgeway Bible Commentary
  3. Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible
  4. E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes
  5. Calvin's Commentary on the Bible
  6. Brian Bell Commentary on the Bible
  7. Chuck Smith Bible Commentary
  8. John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible
  9. Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable
  10. Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable
  11. Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
  12. Expositor's Dictionary of Texts
  13. F.B. Meyer's 'Through the Bible' Commentary
  14. Arno Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
  15. G. Campbell Morgan's Exposition on the Whole Bible
  16. John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible
  17. Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
  18. Geneva Study Bible
  19. George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary
  20. Ironside's Notes on Selected Books
  21. Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible
  22. Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
  23. Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments
  24. John Trapp Complete Commentary
  25. Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary
  26. Kingcomments on the Whole Bible
  27. The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann
  28. Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and Homiletical
  29. Wells of Living Water Commentary
  30. Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture
  31. Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible
  32. Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible
  33. Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible
  34. Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible
  35. Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
  36. Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary
  37. Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary
  38. Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments
  39. Sermon Bible Commentary
  40. Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae
  41. Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
  42. Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
  43. Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
  44. Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
  45. The Biblical Illustrator
  46. The Biblical Illustrator
  47. The Biblical Illustrator
  48. The Biblical Illustrator
  49. Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible
  50. Expositor's Bible Commentary
  51. The Pulpit Commentaries
  52. Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
  53. Wesley's Explanatory Notes
  54. Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Church;   Covenant;   God;   Gospel;   Jesus, the Christ;   Jesus Continued;   Prophecy;   Quotations and Allusions;   Regeneration;   Salvation;   Thompson Chain Reference - Covenant;   Covenants and Vows;   Everlasting;   Life;   Life-Death;   The Topic Concordance - Coming;   Covenant;   Glory;   Hearing;   Jesus Christ;   Life;   Living Waters;   Thirst;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Access to God;   Covenant, the;   Life, Spiritual;   Mercy of God, the;  
Dictionaries:
Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - David;   Drink;   Hear, Hearing;   King, Kingship;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Covenant;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Isaiah;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Church;   Covenant;   Joy;   Lovingkindness;   Messiah;   Micah, Book of;   Righteousness;   Servant of the Lord;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Covenant;   Messiah;   Metaphor;   Passover (Ii. in Relation to Lord's Supper).;   Quotations;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - David ;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Hear;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Kingdom of Judah;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Covenant, in the Old Testament;   Covenant, the New;   Inspiration;   Lovingkindness;   Truth;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Covenant;  
Devotionals:
Every Day Light - Devotion for December 30;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

I will make an everlasting covenant - Hebrews עולם ברית לכם אכרתה echrethah lachem berith olam, "I will cut the old or everlasting covenant sacrifice with you." That covenant sacrifice which was pointed out of old from the very beginning; and which is to last to the consummation of ages; viz., the Lamb of God that was slain from the foundation of the world.

The sure mercies of David - That is, says Kimchi, "The Messiah," called here David; as it is written, "David my servant shall be a prince over you."

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/isaiah-55.html. 1832.

Bridgeway Bible Commentary

God's free provision (55:1-13)

Many of the Jews had made life reasonably tolerable for themselves in Babylon. The prophet knew that they were so settled that they might not want to uproot themselves and face the hardships of life back in their desolated homeland. Many were more concerned with making life easier for themselves than with knowing God and looking to him for their provision. God warns against this self-centred attitude and invites them to trust fully in him. The blessings he gives are free. They cannot be bought with money, but they bring more satisfaction than all the temporary benefits that people might manage to gain (55:1-2).

If the people respond to God's purposes for them, the divine blessings will extend far beyond the borders of the restored nation. When God's people take his message to other nations, people who previously had no knowledge of God will become followers of the God of Israel. God's people will see his covenant promises to David fulfilled beyond their expectations (3-5).

First, however, God requires repentance. When people turn from their sin to God, he forgives them freely according to his mercy (6-7). This mercy is so great that it is beyond human understanding. What God has prepared for his people is greater than they have ever imagined (8-9).

As surely as rain soaks into the ground and makes plants grow (it does not float back up to the clouds), so will God's promise of Israel's restoration come true (it will not return to God fruitless). God will lead his people out of Babylon and back to their homeland. The world of nature will rejoice along with God's people, and their land will become fruitful again (10-13).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bbc/isaiah-55.html. 2005.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Hear, and your soul shall live - That is, if you attend to my command and embrace my promises, you shall live. Religion in the Scriptures is often represented as life John 5:40; John 6:33; John 8:13; John 20:31; Romans 5:17-18; Romans 6:4; Romans 8:6; 1 John 5:12; Revelation 2:7-10. It stands opposed to the death of sin - to spiritual and eternal death.

And I will make an everlasting covenant with you - On the word ‹covenant,‘ see the notes at Isaiah 28:18; Isaiah 42:6; Isaiah 49:8. Here it means that God would bind himself to be their God, their protector, and their friend. This covenant would be made with all who would come to him. It would not be with the nation of the Jews, as such, or with any community, as such, but it would be with all who should embrace the offers of life and salvation.

Even the sure mercies of David - I will confirm to you, and fulfill in you, the solemn promises made to David. The transaction here referred to is that which is celebrated in Psalm 89:2-4:

For I have said, mercy shall be built up forever;

Thy faithfulness hast thou established in the very heavens.

I have made a covenant with my chosen,

I have sworn unto David my servant,

Thy seed will I establish forever,

And build up thy throne to all generations.

A kingdom had thus been promised to David, and he had been assured that the true religion should flourish among those who were to succeed him in Israel. The prophet here says that this solemn promise. would be fulfilled in those who should embrace the Messiah, and that God would ratify with them this covenant. The word rendered here ‹mercies‘ (חסד chesed ), properly means kindness, goodwill, pity, compassion; then goodness, mercy, grace. The word rendered ‹sure,‘ denotes that which is established, or confirmed; that in which confidence may be placed. The whole expression denotes that the covenant made with David was one which promised great favors, and was one which was not to be abrogated, but which was to be perpetual. With all who embraced the Messiah, God would enter into such an unchanging and unwavering covenant - a covenant which was not to be revoked.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/isaiah-55.html. 1870.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

everlasting. See note on "ancient", Isaiah 44:7.

the sure mercies of David: i.e. the lovingkindnesses well assured to David, the "everlasting covenant" made with David in . Quoted in Acts 13:34. Assured by oath to David (Psalms 132:11). of = pertaining to. Genitive of Relation. App-17.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/isaiah-55.html. 1909-1922.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

3.Incline your ear. This assemblage of words makes still more evident what I slightly mentioned a little before, that God leaves nothing undone which is fitted to correct and arouse our tardiness. Yet there is an implied reproof; for they must be excessively stupid who, when they are so gently called, do not instantly obey. This is a remarkable passage, from which we see that our whole happiness lies in obeying the word of God. When God speaks in this manner, the object which he has in view is to lead us to life; (80) and therefore the blame lies wholly with ourselves, because we disregard this saving and life­giving word.

And come unto me. If God only commanded what we ought to do, he would indeed lay down the method of obtaining life, but without advantage; for the Law, which proceeded from the mouth of God, is the minister of death; but when he invites us “to himself,” when he adopts us as children, when he promises pardon of sin and sanctification, the consequence is, that they who hear obtain life from him. We ought, therefore, to take into view the kind of doctrine which contains life, in order that we may seek our salvation from it; and hence we infer that there is no hope of salvation if we do not obey God and his word. This reproves all mankind, so that they can plead no excuse for their ignorance; for he who refuses to hear can have no solid argument to defend his cause.

These repetitions describe the patience of God in calling us; for he does not merely invite us once, but when he sees that we are sluggish, he gives a second and even a third warning, in order to conquer our hardheartedness. Thus he does not all at once reject those who despise him, but after having frequently invited them.

Besides, this is a description of the nature of faith, when he bids us “come to himself.” We ought to hear the Lord in such a manner that faith shall follow; for they who by faith receive the word of God have laid aside their desires and despised the world, and may be said to have broken their chains, so that they readily and cheerfully “draw near to God.” But faith cannot be formed without hearing, (Romans 10:17,) that is, without understanding the word of God, and so he bids us “hear” before we “come to him.” Thus, whenever faith is mentioned, let us remember that it must be joined to the word, in which it has its foundation.

And I will strike a covenant of eternity with you. It is asked, Did not the Jews formerly enter into an everlasting covenant with God? For he appears to promise something that is new and uncommon. I reply, nothing new is here promised for which the Lord did not formerly enter into an engagement with his people; but it is a renewal and confirmation of the covenant, that the Jews might not think that the covenant of God was made void on account of the long­continued banishment. For when they were banished from the country that had been promised to them, (81) when they had no temple or sacrifices, or any marks of the “covenant” except circumcision, who would not have concluded that it was all over with them? This mode of expression, therefore, Isaiah accommodated to the capacity of the people, that they might know that the covenant into which God entered with the fathers was firm, sure, and eternal, and not changeable or temporary.

This is also what he means by the mercies of David, but by this phrase he declares that it was a covenant of free grace; for it was founded on nothing else than the absolute goodness of God. Whenever, therefore, the word “covenant” occurs in Scripture, we ought at the same time to call to remembrance the word “grace.” By calling them “the faithful mercies of David,” (82) he declares that he will be faithful in it, and at. the same time states indirectly that he is faithful and steadfast, and cannot be accused of falsehood, as if he had broken his covenant; that the Jews, on the other hand, are covenant­breakers and traitors, (for they have revolted from him,) but that he cannot repent of his covenant or his promise.

He calls them “the mercies of David, ” because this covenant, which has now been solemnly confirmed, was made in the land “of David.” The Lord indeed entered into a covenant with Abraham, (Genesis 15:5) afterwards confirmed it by Moses, (Exodus 2:24) and finally ratified this very covenant in the hand of David, that it might be eternal. (2 Samuel 7:12) Whenever, therefore, the Jews thought of a Redeemer, that is, of their salvation, they ought to have remembered “David” as a mediator who represented Christ; for David must not here be regarded as a private individual, but as bearing this title and character. Yet some regard must be had to the time when this prophecy was uttered; for, since the rank of the kingdom had been obliterated, and the name of the royal family had become mean and contemptible during the captivity in Babylon, it might seem as if, through the ruin of that family, the truth of God had fallen into decay; and therefore he bids them contemplate by faith the throne of David, which had been cast down.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/isaiah-55.html. 1840-57.

Brian Bell Commentary on the Bible

  1. Intro:
    1. Dave LeCompte – IHF update.
    2. Most middle-class Americans tend to worship their work, to work at their play and to play at their worship. As a result, their meanings and values are distorted. Their relationships disintegrate faster than they can keep them in repair, and their lifestyles resemble a cast of characters in search of a plot. -- Gordon Dahl
    3. OUTLINE: His Invitation; His Thoughts; His Purpose.
  2. COME! (1-13)
    1. HIS INVITATION! (1-7)
    2. (1) Ho! – Alas, ha, ah, woe, come. (4x’s come)
      1. See Rev.22:17.
    3. Come – by coming they are indicating they are trusting in & relying on Him for salvation & are agreeing to obey His commands. (The Bible Knowledge Commentary)
    4. Everyone(i.e. worldwide) [Millennial  blessings]
    5. Thirsts – “Ice cold glass of milk; fresh O.J.; Sun tea on a hot day.”
      1. An individual must recognize they have a thirst that needs to be quenched.
      2. I remember being at a restaurant once where every time I took a sip of water they would immediately fill my cup. [coffee being topped off]
      3. Often times in our witnessing, we are asking people to drink when they aren’t thirsty. That’s why he called us to be “salt”!
      4. The woman at the well was thirsty!
    6. Wine & milk – symbols of complete satisfaction.
      1. Water – refreshing & cleansing. The water of life where if a man drink he will never thirst aain.
      2. Wine – the wine of joy, exhilarating, comforting, & making glad the heart of man.
      3. Milk – milk is almost the only article of diet which contains everything that is necessary for the support of man.
        1. Wine cheering & invigorating the soul; 
          Milk its nourishing quality.
    7. Buy…w/o money & w/o price – a paradox (i.e. salvation is a free gift)
      1. Everything for nothing. Salvation gratis. Eternal life as the pure gift of heaven’s charity! (Spurg)
      2. How scary for those charging for it!!!
        1. It broke our hearts when we found out some people were selling our free tickets to our medical clinic in Haiti once.
    8. (2) Why spend…your wages on that which doesn’t satisfy?
      1. “Hey, hey wait a minute this is So Cal, careful here!”
      2. He’s asking how can you be interested in other things besides Himself, as He is the only One who can bring genuine satisfaction.
        1. Satisfaction is the issue.
        2. He’s not against things. He’s against things that are purchased w/the intent to satisfy!
        3. Throughout all history man has tried to find satisfaction through many things other than God.
          1. Solomon gave it the best attempt in Eccl. 2:1-11.
      3. The lost sinner is bankrupt, spending all that he has on things which can’t satisfy.
        1. Some still love the mirage over the oasis!
        2. Some are still satisfied with the husks of pagan religion!
    9. Abundance – or “fatness”.
      1. (TWOT) Since fat animals were considered the healthiest and the fat was regarded as the best part of sacrificial animals, the metaphorical usage of “prosperous” or “rich” is easily understood. The righteous man is described as a fruitful tree, “full of sap” in his old age. (Harris, R. L., Harris, R. L., Archer, G. L., & Waltke, B. K. (1999, c1980). Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (electronic ed.) (Page 199). Chicago: Moody Press.)
      2. Q: Does God want us to have the abundant life?
      3. Jn.10:10 “I have come that they may have life & that they may have it more abundantly!”
    10. (3) Everlasting Covenant – A permanent throne, a lasting dynasty.
    11. (6) Seek the Lord while He may be found –
      1. I heard a story the other day of a man who encountered trouble while flying his little airplane. He called the control tower and said, "Pilot to tower, I'm 300 miles from the airport, six hundred feet above the ground, and I'm out of fuel. I am descending rapidly. Please advise. Over." "Tower to pilot," the dispatcher began, "Repeat after me: "Our Father Who art in heaven...'"
        1. Call while you still can!
      2. What are you seeking? He wore his galoshes when it rained. He brushed his teeth TWICE a day
        He was examined by doctors twice a year. He slept with the windows open.
        He stuck to a diet with plenty of fresh vegetables.
        He relinquished his tonsils and traded in several worn-out glands.
        He golfed -- but never more than 18 holes at a time.
        He got at least 8 hours' sleep every night.
        He never smoked, drank or lost his temper.
        He did his "daily dozen" daily.
        He was all set to live to be a hundred…
        The funeral will be held Wednesday.
        He's survived by eight specialists, three health institutions, two gymnasiums and numerous manufacturers of health foods and antiseptics.
        - He forgot God.
    12. (7) Forsake both your way & your thoughts.
      1. Our thoughts are the 1st baby steps that help us choose our way.
      2. Our thoughts become the very breeding ground for sin.
      3. Forsake them both.
      4. “The price of admission to eternal life is repentance & faith, plus nothing.” (Wycliffe Bible Commentary.)
      5. Turn & Trust!
    13. Do you have abundant sin? He has abundant pardon!
      1. But the hardness of my heart is abundant! - But my pride is abundant! - But the selfishness of my life is abundant!
      2. But the pardon of my Lord is abundant…Super Abundant!
    14. HIS THOUGHTS! (8-10)
    15. (8,9) So we place this in the category of Deut 29:29 “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.”
      1. This cancels the useless & debilitating question “Why?” in face of life’s difficulties; it opens the door to the blessed reality of faith in a God who is truly God! (J. Alec Motyer)
      2. Q: So what do you do when you don’t comprehend God? (Trust!)
    16. Though contextually he’s more strictly speaking here to His great pardon!(6,7)
      1. His thoughts & ways are something no one would have dreamed of.
    17. Thoughts concerning grace exceed human imagination.
      1. Remember the seraphim in Is.6, in which the 6 winged angels used 2 of their wings to cover their face’s. It seemed to be a gesture that expresses reverent restraint in God's presence.
      2. We should not pry into his secrets. We are to be content to live with what he has told us.
      3. Reverence excludes speculation about things that God has not mentioned in His Word -- we must be content not to know what Scripture does not tell us. (J.J. Packer, Hot Tub Religion, p. 56.)
    18. (9) How much higher is heaven? (immeasurably)
      1. God Incomprehensible…yet knowable!
    19. HIS PURPOSE! (11-13)
    20. (11) Just as rain from heaven causes vegetation to grow, so God’s word accomplishes precisely what He determines.
      1. When a local preacher died, his relatives found he had neatly tied up the messages he had delivered and placed a card on top of them with this inscription: "Where has the influence gone of all these sermons I have preached?" Underneath he had scribbled in large letters, "OVER." On the other side this answer was found:
        "Where are last year's sunrays? They have gone into fruits and grain and vegetables to feed mankind. Where are last year's raindrops? Forgotten by most people, of course, but they did their refreshing work, and their influence still abides. So, too, my sermons have gone into lives and made them nobler, more Christ-like, and better fitted for Heaven."
    21. Q: Why was the Bible not aloud in the former Soviet Union?
      1. One Soviet official responded, "We find that the reading of the Book changes people in a way that is dangerous to our state!”
    22. (12) Trees personified as clapping hands (poplar tree)
    23. (13) Curse overturned.
      1. Rom.8:19 “For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.”
        1. From Groans to G-r-r-r-eat!
      2. Sin turned the garden into a desert, but grace transforms the desert into a joyful & fruitful garden.
      3. “Abundant satisfaction, pardon, & joy are available to all who accept God’s gracious invitation.” (www)
    24. Oh Lamb of God, I come, I come!
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "Brian Bell Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cbb/isaiah-55.html. 2017.

Chuck Smith Bible Commentary

Chapter55

Ho, every one that thirsteth ( Isaiah 55:1 ),

Going into the glorious Kingdom Age. Now, God detests and hates commercialism. God hates how people take advantage of one another. Profiteering on someone else. God is going to bring down the whole commercial system. And when God brings it down there is going to be great rejoicing in heaven, though on earth there"s going to be tremendous mourning and lamentation. But in Revelation 18:1-24 God spends a whole chapter telling of how He"s going to bring down this whole commercial world that have put people into bondage through credit cards. And it makes slaves out of people. Put people under all kinds of financial pressures. Taking advantage of people"s misfortunes. And God hates it with a passion. And He"s going to bring it down. And in the new age that is going to be established by Jesus Christ, no commercialism at all. Man"s greed will not have an opportunity of exploiting the weaker man or his fellowman or the poorer man. "Ho, every one that thirsteth."

come to the waters, and he that has no money; come, buy, and eat; yea, come, and buy the wine and milk without money and without price ( Isaiah 55:1 ).

God is going to allow the earth to just bring forth abundantly and every man shall see, set "neath his own vine and fig tree and they shall live in peace together. There won"t be the greed that has actually created so many of the horrible wars in our history. Those men who profit over wars, those men who have the commercial interest and all who can make great gain through bringing a nation against a nation, all would be gone. The basis of greed will be gone. Everything will be free. "Ho, every one that thirsteth, just come. Help yourself. Take what you want. No money. No price."

Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread? ( Isaiah 55:2 )

The Lord said.

you labor for that which does not satisfy? ( Isaiah 55:2 )

As He speaks out against our whole system today, how that we labor so hard to get things that really don"t satisfy. Why is it that you do this?

hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and a commander to the people ( Isaiah 55:2-4 ).

So Christ shall come and sit upon the throne of David and order it and establish it in righteousness and in judgment. And He shall be as a witness to the people, a leader, a commander.

Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew thee not shall run unto thee because of the LORD thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee. Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon ( Isaiah 55:5-7 ).

Oh, what beautiful words of God to us tonight. Call upon the Lord while He is near, while He may be found. "Seek Him while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near: let the wicked forsake his way, the unrighteous man his thoughts of evil: return to the Lord, for God will have mercy; He will abundantly pardon you." For God says,

My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD ( Isaiah 55:8 ).

I will vouch for that. I don"t understand so many times why God does the things He does. His thoughts are not my thoughts. Nor are His ways my ways. I would do many things much differently. I wouldn"t do them more wisely; I"d just do them differently. But you see, the difference between God"s thoughts and my thoughts, and God"s ways and my ways, is that God knows the end from the beginning. Therefore, He doesn"t do something and wonder if it"s right. When He does it, He knows it"s right. Now the way I do things, I do them and I hope it"s right. And sometimes it is. But many times it isn"t. But when I started doing it, I was sure it was.

So many times I think that this is the best way; and then I find out it isn"t. There was a much better way. So God says, "Hey, My thoughts are not your thoughts. My ways are not your ways."

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than yours, and my thoughts than your thoughts ( Isaiah 55:9 ).

There is such a difference, and yet herein is the folly of man, because I get angry with God sometimes because He doesn"t do it my way. Now isn"t that ridiculous? For a person to get angry with God because God has done something a way they didn"t want it done or a way they wouldn"t do it? Now if I did it my way, I would never have any troubles. I would never have any weakness. I would never have any problems. If I did it my way, it"d just be smooth sailing all the way. No storms. But that"s not God"s way. For you see, if I did it my way, I would never develop any strength of character. I would become a very weak flabby, spoiled person. Miserable to be around "cause I would not understand a person that did have problems. A person that did experience weaknesses. I would become intolerable towards them. So God doesn"t let me do it my way. God lets me fall. God lets me stumble. God lets me experience weaknesses. God lets me experience troubles, trials, problems, difficulties. So that when my brother is in need, I can come to him in meekness and lift him, as I consider myself realizing that I too am tempted. So God"s ways are really best.

Now for me to insist that God do it my way is sheer folly. Because now I am exalting my knowledge above God"s. For me to demand that God does it my way, "God, I want You to do this now. I"m speaking this into existence. I want You to do it!" Oh man, how foolish! Because you see, that"s exalting my knowledge, my ways, my thoughts. It"s seeking to make them supreme instead of God supreme. Who knows all things and knows so much better than I know.

Now the wrath of God is going to be revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of man who hold the truth of God in unrighteousness. And for you to hold the truth of God, and yet exalt yourself and your thoughts and your ways above Him is holding the truth of God in unrighteousness. That"s the wrong way to hold the truth of God because you say, "Well, God is supreme, God knows everything." And then I say, "Now God, I demand that You do this or I command You, Lord, to do this." That is not making God supreme. That"s now making me supreme and my ways supreme. So I"m holding the truth of God in righteousness. I"m saying, "God, I know better than You know. My way is better than Your way." How much better it is, how much more glorifying to God it is, what a great witness it is when I can just say, "Oh God, Your will be done. I just commit myself and my ways to You, Lord. That Your will will be done in my life. You do what is best. You do what You know is best." And not to question and not to challenge and not to gripe and not to complain when things aren"t going my way. Not to give God such a miserable time.

Oh again, if I were God, man, would I put a plug in some people"s mouths as they come whining and complaining. And the minute I"d hear that, "Aw, God," I"d just... Whining to God. Of course, I"m very intolerable towards whining. Talk to my kids. Man, that"s one thing I could never stand, a whining kid. And they learned that. My kids may do a lot of bad things, but they don"t whine. And I can imagine God"s attitude towards the constant griping and whining and all that He hears from people because He isn"t doing something to suit me, to suit my way. To harmonize with my thoughts.

But yet, "as high as the heaven is above the earth." Now how high that is, I don"t know and I don"t think anybody knows, but it"s out there. It"s high. Just how high I don"t know, but it"s awfully high. So are God"s thoughts higher than mine, and His ways are higher than mine. So surely the wisest thing I could ever do is just to commit my way unto the Lord and that"s what the scripture tells me to do. "Commit your way unto the Lord, and He shall bring it to pass" ( Psalm 37:5 ). Whatever He plans. Whatever He purposes. He"ll bring it to pass if I just commit my way to Him.

For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returns not thither, but it waters the earth, and makes it to bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it ( Isaiah 55:10-11 ).

Now God here uses a very common figure-an occurrence of nature, the rain and the snow, to illustrate His Word. How that they come down from heaven, even as God"s Word has come to us not as an invention of man as some would have you to think, but "all scripture is given by inspiration of God" ( 2 Timothy 3:16 ). "Holy men of old wrote as they were inspired by the Holy Spirit" ( 2 Peter 1:21 ). God"s Word is come to us from heaven and the purpose of God"s Word is to work here on earth, not to work in heaven, but it"s to work here on earth. Its effect and its fruit and its result is here on earth.

Now even as rain comes down to water the earth in order that it might spark into life, all of the potential that is there in that dirt, you look at a dry, parched, dusty field, barren. But yet in that dirt, in that dry field there"s all kinds of latent life forms. Out on the desert, dry, parched sand. But just get a few inches of rain, the beauty, the glory that is there as the rain sparks into life. All of the seeds and everything else that are there and the desert turns purple. It turns yellow. It turns golden. It turns blue with all of the beautiful flowers, as the seeds have been touched by the rain and brought forth into life. So our lives as God"s Word comes to us is able to transform our lives and bring into life that spirit.

The Word of God is that which comes to our spirit and brings life to our spirit and thus brings forth all of the glory and the potential of our being. Man without the Word of God remains dead, lifeless, barren, deserty. But oh, when God"s Word like rain begins to just soak my life, the fruit, the results as it waters in order that it might bud blossoms forth. "To give seed to the sower and bread to the eater." The first effect of God"s work in my life is towards me, what it has done for me. And the second is bread to the eater, what God can do through me in helping others. "So is My Word, it shall not return unto Me void." God"s Word will not come back void. "He that goeth forth with weeping, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again, bringing the sheaves with him" ( Psalm 126:6 ).

You go forth with the Word of God, the seed. Now the seed is the Word, Jesus said. You go forth bearing the precious seed, the Word of God, carrying it to others. Doubtless you"re going to come again with a harvest. For God"s Word will not return unto Him void. Now learn to start using the Word and quit defending it. It doesn"t need your defense. It needs that you just use the Word of God. How many people have started to read the Bible in order that they might learn it better so that they can better argue against it and have ended up believing. I think of Lou Madison in our congregation here, and his wife loved the Lord, was a Christian. And Lou was so angry. With his engineering mind, he was going to read the Bible so that he could just tear to shreds her whole faith. Destroy it. And as he got to reading the Bible in order that he might destroy his wife"s faith, God"s Word didn"t return void, and faith was planted in Lou"s heart. They ended up together in the faith instead of out of the faith, because God"s Word won"t return void. If a person would only read with an open heart, "God"s Word will not return void, it shall accomplish that which God pleases, it shall prosper in the thing for which God sent it."

Now God has sent His Word to bring you hope, to bring you encouragement, to bring you joy, to bring you life. And all of these things will come to you as you read the Word of God. It"s not going to return void. It"s going to accomplish the purposes for which He has sent it. So how important for us to just let the Word of God soak into our lives. Just each day get a new drenching of God"s Word and just let it soak in. Oh, how it will cause your life to just bud forth with glory and the beauty.

For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and the trees of the field shall clap their hands ( Isaiah 55:12 ).

Oh, that person who is saturated in the Word of God. All nature seems to just come into harmony and into tune. It"s just glorious as you come into harmony with God, you come into harmony with the nature around you. And you begin to see things you never saw before. I"ve always said, hey, if you"re not a Christian be sure that you give your life to the Lord before you take your vacation. You cannot enjoy your vacation completely unless you have Christ in your heart. And I"ll tell you, you"ll see things through Christ-filled eyes that you have never seen before. Those flowers that you used to just trample down in the meadows, you"ll be enthralled with them, with their design, with their color, with their beauty. You"ll see new things. The hills will break forth into singing. The trees will clap their hands. And oh, you"ll just come in tune and in harmony with God"s creation.

Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off ( Isaiah 55:13 ).

God"s glorious day of restoration. The glorious thing about teaching the Word of God I never need to worry about the result because God"s Word won"t return void. He"s going to accomplish the purposes for which He sent it. And I can always know that you"re going to go away and be blessed because you"ve been here. And that"s sort of comforting to know. If I stood up here and gave you my word all evening, then I"d worry all week about what had happened to it. But because we give to you God"s word, we commend you now unto the Word of God. That God might work in your life His glorious work as now by the Spirit He makes application of the truths to your life and as He begins His work of enriching you in His love through His grace.

May God be with you this week and keep your life steadfast in Him. And may you grow up into Christ in all things as your life comes into that place of maturity that God wants you to know and to experience in Jesus Christ. And thus may your life be rich and full as God"s Word works in you through the Spirit. "

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Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/csc/isaiah-55.html. 2014.

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

1. Waters.. wine.. milk] These stand figuratively, as the whole context shows, for spiritual blessings.

2. Wherefore, etc.] refers to the assiduous practice of idolatry, which had been Israel's besetting sin.

3. Mercies] loving-kindnesses. The meaning is that Jehovah will, without fail, fulfil for His people the promises of loving-kindness made to David (Psalms 89:35).

4. Read, 'I gave him,' i.e. David. People] RV 'peoples.' David's successes gave him a position which made his religion known in the world, and thus he witnessed for Jehovah.

5. Israel shall similarly so testify that the nations shall turn to Jehovah.

6, 7. The exhortation shows that the promises given are conditional.

8, 9. These vv. are especially addressed to those of the Israelites who were incredulous as to the possibility of restoration to their own land.

10, 11. As certainly as the elements fulfil their purposes, so will Jehovah fulfil His promise.

12. With joy.. peace] not in haste or flight, as from Egypt. The passage describes the exodus from Babylon. All nature rejoices with God's people.

13. Cp. Isaiah 35:1; Isaiah 41:19. And it shall be, etc.] These words form an assurance that the state of things foretold in the clauses preceding shall surely come to pass and shall be permanent.

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Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/isaiah-55.html. 1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Free salvation55:1-5

The people would need to listen to and rely on God"s unconditional promise, but their salvation would cost them nothing.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/isaiah-55.html. 2012.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Again the Lord urged the hearers (everyone) to come to Him. He pressed them to listen to what He was saying, twice. God Himself is the feast. The result for them would be life, real life as opposed to the vain life described above ( Isaiah 55:2). Real life would involve living under an everlasting covenant that God would make with His people. This is probably a reference to the New Covenant, since the implication is that God would make it in the future (cf. Isaiah 54:10).

While Jeremiah 31:31 says that Yahweh would make a new covenant "with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah," that covenant is the one under which all the people of God have lived since Jesus ratified it ( 2 Corinthians 3:6; Hebrews 8:8-12). Its benefits are not all exclusively for Israel, though some of its benefits are exclusively for Israel and these benefits will only come into Israel"s possession in the Millennium. Jesus terminated the Mosaic Covenant ( Mark 7:19; Romans 10:4; Romans 14:14; Hebrews 8:6 to Hebrews 9:22; et al.) and ratified the New Covenant ( Luke 22:20; 1 Corinthians 11:25) with His blood when He died on the Cross.

However, this could be a reference to the Davidic Covenant, which is also eternal (cf. 2 Samuel 7:16). [Note: J. Martin, p1110; Dyer, in The Old . . ., p576.] This new covenant would be in full harmony with God"s promises to David, in the Davidic Covenant, regarding David"s descendant who would rule over his house forever ( 2 Samuel 7:12-16; 1 Chronicles 17:23-26; Psalm 89:35-38; cf. Isaiah 9:6; Luke 1:32-33; Acts 13:34).

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/isaiah-55.html. 2012.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(3) Your soul shall live . . .—Better, revive. The idea is that of waking to a new life.

I will make an everlasting covenant . . .—The words find their explanation in the “new covenant” of Jeremiah 31:31, Luke 22:20, but those which follow show that it is thought of as the expansion and completion of that which had been made with David (2 Samuel 7:12-17; Psalms 89:34-35), as the representative of the true King, whom Isaiah now contemplates as identical with the “servant of the Lord.” For “sure mercies” read the unfailing loving-kindnesses, which were “of David,” as given to him and to his seed by Jehovah.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/isaiah-55.html. 1905.

Expositor's Dictionary of Texts

The True Imperialism

Isaiah 55:1

I. " Hosea, every one that thirsteth!" That is a call to the faint and the weary. What is he to do? "Incline your ear." "Hearken diligently unto Me."

1. There has to be a discipline of the ear. There has to be a determined and resolute effort to listen to God. The voices of the world are so plausible, so fascinating, so easily seducing, that if a man is to catch the higher voice he must set himself in the resolute act of attention. "Hearken diligently unto me." For the individual and for the nation the discipline of the ear is the first step to the attainment of a strong, restful, unwearied, and satisfying life.

2. The discipline of the ear is to be accompanied by the discipline of the heart. Listen, and then yield. Right hearing necessitates strong and unequivocal doing. Hear the highest, and then uncompromisingly obey it.

II. What would be the issues of such obedience? They are unfolded for us in this chapter with wondrous prodigality. (1) There is the assured promise of a fuller life. "Your soul shall live." Life shall be no longer scant and scrimpy. (2) "Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knewest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee, because of the Lord thy God, for He hath glorified thee." What does that mean? It means that a true and glorified natural life is to create a true and glorified Imperialism.

That is the true imperialism—empire by moral and spiritual sovereignty, allurement and dominion by the fascinating radiance of a pure and sanctified life. (3) A true imperialism is to be accompanied by a splendid magnanimity. The thoughts of the Eternal are characterized by loftiness, by breadth, by comprehensiveness, by an all-inclusive sympathy which vibrates to the interests of each, as though each contained, as indeed it does, the welfare of the whole. The truly imperial people is to share this spacious and inclusive thought.

III. Note the climax of the sequence. All this exalted and glorified character, this true imperialism, this splendid magnanimity, is to issue in a rich, assured, and beautiful ministry. There is to be nothing wavering and uncertain about the moral empire and sovereignty of such a people.

—J. H. Jowett, Apostolic Optimism, p19.

The Great Proclamation

Isaiah 55:1

I. To Whom this Offer is Made.

It is to every one thirsty and penniless. That is a melancholy combination, to be needing something infinitely, and to have not a farthing to get it with. But that is the condition in which we all stand, in regard to the highest and best things.

The man that knows what it is of which he is in such sore need is blessed. The man who only feels dimly that he needs something, and does not know that it is God whom he does need, is condemned to wander in a dry and thirsty land, where no water Isaiah, and where his heart gapes, parched and cracked like the soil upon which he treads.

But there are dormant thirsts too. It is no proof of superiority that a savage has fewer wants than we have, for want is the open mouth into which supply comes. And you all have deep in your nature desires which will for ever keep you from being blessed or at rest unless they are awakened and settled, though these desires are all unconscious.

And yet there are no desires so dormant but that their being ungratified makes a man restless. Until your earthly life is like the life of Jesus Christ in heaven even whilst you are on earth, you will never be at rest.

" Hosea, every one that thirsteth." That designation includes us all. "And he that hath no money." Who has any? Notice that the persons represented in our text as penniless are, in the next verse, remonstrated with for spending "money". Which being translated out of parable into fact, is simply this, that our efforts may and do win for us the lower satisfactions which meet our transitory and superficial necessities, but that no effort of ours can secure for us the loftier blessings which slake the Diviner thirsts of immortal souls.

II. In What it Consists.

Jesus Christ Himself is the all-sufficient supply, and the soul that has Him shall never thirst.

III. How do we Get the Gifts?

The paradox of my text needs little explanation, "Buy without money and without price". The contradiction on the surface is but intended to make emphatic this blessed truth, that the only conditions are a sense of need, and a willingness to take—nothing else, and nothing more.

—A Maclaren, The Wearied Christ, p118.

Illustration.—They tell an old story about the rejoicings at the coronation of some great king, when there was set up in the market-place a triple fountain, from each of whose three lips flowed a different kind of rare liquor, which any man who chose to bring a pitcher might fill from, at his choice. Notice my text, "Come ye to the waters"... "buy wine and milk". The great fountain is set up in the market-place of the world, and every man may come; and whichever of this glorious trinity of effluents he needs most, there his. lip may glue itself and there it may drink, be it "water" that refreshes, or "wine" that gladdens, or "milk" that nourishes. They are all contained in this one great gift that flows out from the deep heart of God to the thirsty lips of parched humanity.

—A. Maclaren, The Wearied Christ, p121.

References.— Leviticus 1.—A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—Isaiah XLIX-LXVI. p142. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. iv. No199; vol. xx. No1161; vol. xxix. No1726. C. Jerdan, Pastures of Tender Grass, p327. H. J. Wilmot-Buxton, Sunday Lessons for Daily Life, p109. J. H. Jowett, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lvii1900, p401. J. A. Alexander, The Gospel of Jesus Christ, p332. Leviticus 1, 2.—A. G. Mortimer, The Church"s Lessons for the Christian Year, part i. p139. Leviticus 1-3.—R. W. Pritchard, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lxiii1903, p99. Leviticus 1-7.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xliii. No2534. Leviticus 1-13.—A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—Isaiah XLIX-LXVI. p134.

Wise Investments

Isaiah 55:2

Money and labour are the two great commodities which rule the exchange of life. The rich man gives his money, the poor his labour; and the words of our text therefore challenge the two classes of society—the one because they make a foolish expenditure of wealth, and the other because they get a poor return for their work.

I. Unwise Expenditure.—It Isaiah, perhaps, necessary to do no more than mention the very unwise expenditure of money and labour, of which most of us can tell, in the years that are past; how much has gone for flowers in the banquet of life, and how little for "bread". What care and toil have been devoted for that which, after all, has brought in the least possible amount of satisfaction. The leanness of many of our souls, and the restlessness of the hearts of thousands, could well bear witness to the necessity of the remonstrance, "Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not?"

II. Some Good Investments.—It will suit our purpose better if we consider what are some of life"s good investments, which bring in solid advantages-such as a man really wants if his soul is to prosper.

a. Peace of Mind. I place first among the gains of life peace of mind, and for that the investment is simply and alone acts of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. You must commit your whole self, as a poor miserable sinner, absolutely to His grace and power. Your soul must go forth, without question upon that bold venture—accepting the promise as endorsed with the faithfulness of Almighty God. Do it fearlessly; and the result is sure: there will come back a sense of pardon; and the interest of that pardon, if I may so call it, pays you every day and every moment.

b. Truth. The next thing which you will do well to traffic in is truth, the clear knowledge of God"s truth. No man can get truth without labour. It is the wages of severe work. You must be always looking out for the teachings of truth. You must make your Bible a real daily study. You must pray over it; you must hold fast the little you get, and continually add to it You must gather it as the Israelites gathered their manna, little by little—morning and evening, every day.

c. Affections of our Fellow-creatures. I place next the affections of our fellow-creatures. Every affection is a real possession, and well worth the purchase, cost it what it may, so we do not barter truth. Therefore, lay yourself out for affections—not selfishly, not that you may be liked, not that you may be gratified, but for real affection"s sake, and as a means to a high end; and especially, I should say, the affection of any who from any cause have been placed at some disadvantage, say persons who are afflicted, or the poor—for there are no affections so generous, so precious.

d. Usefulness. Following this, and as a consequence (for unless we are loved we cannot do it), comes usefulness, one of the few things worth living for—usefulness to the body, usefulness to the mind, usefulness to the soul. I pity the person who is content to live on without trying to be useful. Whatever you have, remember He is the proprietor of all, and will take account whether it has been used selfishly, or for Him and His—His poor, His sick, His children, His sufferers, His outcasts, His saints, His Church, His world. Have some definite work always in hand for usefulness.

e. Treasure in Heaven. Everything which we give or do for God is actually laying up for us treasure in heaven: transferred from this insecure and bankrupt world to the high places of that safe bank. It is gone before, and awaits us there against the time we come, and every day we may increase that hidden treasure within the veil. The return it pays us now, in God"s retributive justice, is a payment of all we touch; and we shall receive it all back again at last a hundredfold.

References.— Leviticus 2.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxxviii. No2278; vol. xlviii. No2786. J. A. Alexander, The Gospel of Jesus Christ, p345. Leviticus 3.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxxv. No2092; vol. xxxix. No2316. K. A. MacLeay, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lxx1906, p44. Leviticus 4.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xlviii. No2787. Leviticus 4-6.—Ibid. vol. xliii. No2534. Leviticus 4-8.—H. Hensley Henson, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lxxiii1908, p65. Leviticus 6.—R. H. McKim, The Gospel in the Christian Year, p114. J. A. Alexander, The Gospel of Jesus Christ, p357. Leviticus 6, 7.—W. H. Hutchings, Sermon-Sketches, p48. F. D. Huntington, Christian Believing and Living, p129. W. Reiner, Sermons, p85. C. Kingsley, Sermons on National Subjects, p221. Leviticus 7.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xx. No1195; vol. xlviii. No2797. C. Perren, Revival Sermons in Outline, p332. J. M. Neale, Sermons Preached in Sackville College Chapel, vol. iv. p207. Leviticus 7-9.—Spurgeon, Sermons, xxxvi. No2181. Leviticus 8.—W. M. Taylor, Outlines of Sermons on the Old Testament, p231. H. Wilmot-Buxton, Sunday Sermonettes for a Year, p163. Leviticus 8, 9.—H. Wace, Christianity and Morality, p55. G. Granville Bradley, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xli1892. J. Percival, Some Helps for School Life, p20. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—Isaiah XLIX-LXVI. p152. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xii. No676; vol. xxiii. No1387. Clergyman"s Magazine, vol. xii. p23. W. M. Taylor, Old Testament Outlines, p231. "Plain Sermons" by contributors to Tracts for the Times, vol. iv. p302. J. Foster, Lectures (2Series), p129. C. Morris, Preacher"s, Lantern, vol. ii. p60. H. W. Beecher, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxv. p106. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xii. No676; vol. xxiii. No1387. J. Keble, Sermons for Christmas and Epiphany, p27. Leviticus 8-11.—E. S. Talbot, Sermons at Southwark, p71. Leviticus 9.—S. Horton, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lviii1900, p279. T. G. Selby, The Strenuous Gospel, p2.

The Rain and the Word

Isaiah 55:10-11

The Gospel is compared to rain and snow in its

I. Origin.—"From heaven." All truth is Divine in its source.

II. Operation.—"Watereth the earth." The Gospel produces a marvellous change on the human heart.

III. Benefits.—"That it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater." The Gospel gives instruction, comfort, strength, confidence.

IV. Final Results.—" It shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." We do not see this yet; but we shall by and by.

—F. J. Austin, Seeds and Saplings, p48.

References.— Leviticus 10.—W. Simpson, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxxix1891, p361. Leviticus 10, 11.—H. Hensley Henson, ibid. vol. lxxi1907, p56. T. P. Boultbee, Outlines of Sermons on the Old Testament, p232. F. E. Paget, Studies in the Christian Character, p41. G. E. Jelf, Plain Preaching to Poor People (9th Series), p25. Leviticus 10, 13.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xli. No2410.

The Reputation of God

Isaiah 55:13

By "a name" we mean a reputation. This old Testament word carries the same signification in my text

I. It is Necessary that God should have a Name. —It is not necessary that we should have a name, but it is obviously necessary that God should. One of God"s earliest rights is the right of reputation. This shall be accorded Him, says my text, "And it shall be to the Lord for a name".

God desires a name. Some believe in an impassive God. Surely not such is the God of the Bible. It is necessary God should have a name that His people may realize it. One of our greatest spiritual blessings is to realize the reputation of God. Men must know what God is that they may appreciate Him with reverent appreciation.

It is necessary God should have a name for the world"s sake. Prayer of Manasseh, considered as separated from God by sin, needs to know that august and redeeming name. Give God a name, for till men know God they are dead whilst they live.

II. God"s Deliverances of His People give Him a Name.—Note the prophecy in v12, "For ye shall go out... and be led forth".

God has a wondrous reputation in all things. But that He is the God of deliverances gives Him His greatest name. God has such a conception of redemption as never entered into the heart of man.

God delivers from guilt. God delivers from evil habit. God delivers from sorrow.

III. The Characteristics of God"s People give Him a Name.—The emancipated ones are to be marked by "joy" and "peace". We give God a name when gracious characteristics mark us. Joy is the privilege of the Lord"s redeemed. But peace is an even richer gift.

IV. Nature, as Suggestive of the Spiritual, gives God a Name.—"The mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands." Nature has a mystical value. To some souls Nature is non-spiritual. They find God eludes them in that province. To others Nature is a shrine of God and is crammed with heaven.

Said Blake, who was alike painter and poet, "You ask me if, when I look at the sunrise, I see a round disc of fire something like a guinea. No, I do not. I see an innumerable company of the heavenly host, crying, "Holy, Holy, Holy"." He added, "I look through the window, not with it".

V. All Beautiful Transformations give God a Name.—"Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir-tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle-tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name." Every renewed nature is a testimony to God. National and world-wide conversion will glorify God"s reputation in inconceivable degree.

—Dinsdale T. Young, The Crimson Book, p221.

References.— Leviticus 13.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xiv. No833; vol. liii. No3044. A. W. Mathews, "Let the Myrtle Flourish," Sermons, 1900-1902. LVI:2-5.—H. D. M. Spence, Voices and Silences, p259. LVI:4.—J. Parker, City Temple Pulpit, vol. iii. p69. LVI:4,6.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xlviii. No2762. LVI:8.—Ibid. vol. xxiv. No1437. LVI:12.—A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—Isaiah XLIX-LXVI. p162. LVII:1.—J. Keble, Sermons for the Saints" Days, p41. LVII:6.—S. A. Tipple, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lxix1906, p377.

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Bibliographical Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/edt/isaiah-55.html. 1910.

F.B. Meyer's 'Through the Bible' Commentary

THE FREE OFFER OF PARDONING GRACE

Isaiah 55:1-13

The Prince of Life, Isaiah 55:4, r.v. Four times in the New Testament this title is applied to our Lord, and always in connection with His Resurrection. See Acts 3:14-15; Acts 5:31; Hebrews 2:9-10; Hebrews 12:2, where the words prince, author, and captain, are various translations of the same Greek word. The meaning of the original word is file leader. He leads out of death into life; out of defeat into victory; out of suffering into perfection; out of the sorrow and pain of discipline into the triumph of the sons of light.

The everlasting covenant, Isaiah 55:3. David’s sin could not cancel the sure mercies of God. See 2 Samuel 7:14-16 and 2 Samuel 23:5. God will never go back on that covenant which includes us! See Hebrews 8:1-13. God’s mercies in Christ are sure. Listen! Come! Hear! We are not only forever safe, but we are provided against all want.

God’s abundant provision is described under several terms: waters, wine, milk, wholesome and satisfying bread, the good, fatness, Isaiah 55:1-2. We are blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ, Ephesians 1:3. And because God’s thoughts and ways are not as ours, the result is the transformation of thorns into firs and briars into myrtles.

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Meyer, Frederick Brotherton. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "F. B. Meyer's 'Through the Bible' Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fbm/isaiah-55.html. 1914.

Arno Gaebelein's Annotated Bible

CHAPTER 55 Salvation’s Offer and Provision

1. The invitation to everyone and the promise (Isaiah 55:1-2) 2. The sure mercies of David (Isaiah 55:3-5) 3. The exhortation to seek and to forsake (Isaiah 55:6-7) 4. God’s thoughts and God’s ways (Isaiah 55:8-11) 5. The joy, peace and glory of the future (Isaiah 55:12-13) The scope and application of this chapter must not be limited. While Israel eventually will break forth in singing as the result of believing on Him, whom they once despised, the invitation to a free and full salvation goes forth to every one. It is the great gospel invitation in this book. But the national promises to Israel are in evidence in Isaiah 55:3-5. And when Israel is redeemed the invitation to salvation will go forth as never before. Now individuals are saved. Then nations will be brought into the kingdom. “Nations that knew not thee shall come unto thee because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for He hath glorified thee.”

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Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gab/isaiah-55.html. 1913-1922.

G. Campbell Morgan's Exposition on the Whole Bible

Immediately following the song we have the prophet's great appeal. It is made in the consciousness of the victory won by the Servant of the Lord and the consequent possibility of restoration offered to the people. Nevertheless it distinctly sets forth the solemn conditions on which advantage may be taken of the great provision.

It first recognizes the need of the people in the verses which describe their condition as thirsty, as being without money, as spending "money for that which is not bread," and earnestly urges them to turn and listen to Him who has been given as a "Witness to the peoples," as a "Leader and Commander."

In this second part the appeal is made with greater directness, and the terms on which the people may find their way back into relationship with God are distinctly stated.

The whole ends with a description, full of poetry and beauty, of the conditions of fruitfulness and joy and prosperity which must follow return to the Lord and submission to His government.

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Morgan, G. Campbell. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "G. Campbell Morgan Exposition on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gcm/isaiah-55.html. 1857-84.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Incline your ear, and come unto me,.... The exhortations are repeated, to show the importance of them, how welcome these persons were to the Lord, and to his house, and his earnest and tender care and concern for them:

hear, and your soul shall live; or, "that your soul may liveF6ותחי "ut vivat", Junius & Tremellius, Vitringa. "; spiritually and eternally. There must be life before hearing; men must be made alive before they can come to Christ spiritually, or hear his word so as to have a spiritual understanding of it, or savingly believe it; but the meaning is, that by coming and hearing the word of the Lord, they should have something to live upon, good, solid, substantial food; and that they should live comfortably and plentifully, and that for ever. It was reckoned a great absurdity in Sunlungus, a Chinese philosopher, who assertedF7Martin. Hist. Sinic. l. 4. p. 170. that a man had three ears, one different from the two that are seen; it is true in a spiritual sense.

And I will make an everlasting covenant with you; which is to be understood not of the covenant of works, nor of the covenant of circumcision, nor of the Sinai covenant; but of the covenant of grace, which is an "everlasting one"; it is from everlasting, being founded in the everlasting love of God, is according to his eternal purposes; Christ is the Mediator of it, who as such was set up from everlasting, and the promises and blessings of it were so early put into his hands; and it will continue to everlasting, sure, firm, unalterable, and immovable. This, properly speaking, was made with Christ from all eternity, and his people in him; it is made manifest to them at conversion, when they are shown it, and their interest in it; when God makes himself known to them as their covenant God, and Christ as the Mediator of it is revealed to them; when the Lord puts his Spirit into them, and makes them partakers of the grace of it; shows them their interest in the blessings of it, and opens and applies the promises of it unto them; and these are made manifest in the ministration of the Gospel, and in the administration of ordinances: even "the sure mercies of David"; that is, the Messiah, the son of David, and his antitype, whence he is often called by his name, Ezekiel 34:23, and so Aben Ezra, Kimchi, and othersF8Abarbinel, Mashmiah Jeshuah, fol. 26, 1. , interpret it. The blessings of the covenant are called "mercies", because they spring from the mercy of God, as redemption, pardon of sin, regeneration, salvation, and eternal life; and they are the mercies of David, or of Christ, for the promises of them were made to him, and the things themselves put into his hands, and are ratified and confirmed by his blood, and through him come to his people: and these are "sure", firm, and steadfast, through the faithfulness and holiness of God, who has given them to Christ; through being in a covenant ordered in all things and sure; and also being in the hands of Christ, in whom the promises are yea and amen, and the blessings sure to all the seed; see Acts 13:34, Acts 13:34.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/isaiah-55.html. 1999.

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Isaiah 55:1 Hosea, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

Isaiah 55:1 — " Hosea, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters" - Comments- The living waters of salvation and indwelling of the Holy Spirit ( John 7:37-39).

, "In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)"

Isaiah 55:1 "yea, come, buy wine" - Comments- The baptism of the Holy Spirit ( Acts 2:15-18).

, "For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:"

Isaiah 55:1 — "and milk" - Comments- The milk of Word of God, representing the beginning of the new birth ( Hebrews 5:12-14, 1 Peter 2:2).

, "For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."

1 Peter 2:2, "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:"

Isaiah 55:1Comments- Notes these insightful words from Frances J. Roberts about the buying milk and honey without price, which he says refers to the Lord calling us into intimate communion with Him:

"When I promised thee green pastures, I had not in mind religious activity. When I said, ‘Come, buy milk and honey without money nor price', I was not challenging thee to fevered service, but to contemplative fellowship and collective communion. Only thus are souls made strong, and hearts made pure, and minds refreshed." 78]

78] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King's Farspan, Inc, 1973), 136.

The next verse of this passage in Isaiah refers to labouring for that which satisfies not. Thus, this is a description of the busy, vain activities of the flesh, which are illustrated in the story of Martha and Mary, when Martha was cumbered about with work, while Mary sat at the feet of Jesus ( ).

If we reject this divine call because of our guilty sin, we grieve the Lord and cause Him far more pain than He suffered on Calvary. Note these words by Frances J. Roberts:

" Hosea, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come buy wine and milk without money and without price ( Isaiah 55:1). Lo, My heart is grieved by thine independence. How would Joseph have felt if his father and family had remained at home, starving in the famine, when he had invited them to share the bountiful stores which he had at his disposal and desired to share freely with them? ( Genesis 45) Would he not have grieved far more deeply than over that unjust actions of his brothers who hated him? For to be rebuffed by a loved one causeth pain not to be compared with the cruelties inflicted by an enemy. So thine indifference and unresponsiveness to My call bringeth anguish to My soul, yea, deeper grief than the crimes of the reprobate sinner. For My rod have I laid upon the sinner, but Mine hand have I laid upon thee." 79]

79] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King's Farspan, Inc, 1973), 169.

Isaiah 55:2 Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.

Isaiah 55:3 Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.

Isaiah 55:3Comments- As God made a covenant with Abraham and David, so will He make a covenant with you and me.

Isaiah 55:6 Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:

Isaiah 55:6 — "Seek ye the LORD while he may be found" - Comments- F. F. Bruce tells us that the Hebrew verb "he may be found" is in the Niphal construction, which carries first the tolerative sense, then the reflexive and reciprocal senses, and finally the passive sense. In this case the tolerative sense is used, resulting in a translation, "Seek ye the Lord while He lets Himself be found." 80] However, almost all translations render this verb in the passive sense, as is used here in the KJV.

80] F. F. Bruce, The Books and the Parchments (Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1963), 44.

Isaiah 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

Isaiah 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Scripture Reference- See:

, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?"

Isaiah 55:10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:

Isaiah 55:10 — "as the rain cometh down" - Comments- On Sunday, June 11, 2000, Lighthouse Television Uganda was installing a new 15-foot satellite dish in order to pick up the new TBN signal. As I sat in church, the Lord quickened this verse to me. We would be receiving the signal within a day or two. My body was tired, but my spirit was then renewed with a fresh word from God. The Lord quickened this passage to me, "as the rain cometh down...so shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth." Rain comes down from the lowest heaven. The satellite signal comes down from a higher heaven, even as the word of the Lord comes from the highest heaven.

Who could have prophesied 2700 years ago that the word of God would descend upon this earth as rain comes down. But God can see the beginning from the end ( Isaiah 55:8, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways). God saw this day and this hour and prophesied of the TBN satellite signal coming down like rain upon Uganda. Within a few days, Lighthouse Television will be receiving and broadcasting the Word of God as it comes down from heaven like rain.

In addition, God"s Word promises here in Isaiah that it would prosper and accomplish His will. Verse one of this chapter says, "Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters." Many nations are thirsty for the Gospel in these last days. The waters, like rain, represent the word of God, who gives us the living water of life in Christ Jesus ( ). From verse one of this chapter, water refers to the wells of salvation, wine represents the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and milk represents the milk of the word of God, as a believer grows in the knowledge of the Lord.

, "In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)"

Thus, verse five says, "Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the LORD thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee."

This nation has produced some bad leaders, thorns an briars to its people ( Isaiah 55:13, "Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree). But God promises that Uganda will bring forth the cypress and the myrtle tree. Thorn and briars are signs of the curse. The cypress and myrtle tree are signs of the blessings of God.

Song of Solomon, though it has been a busy week at Lighthouse Television, I am encouraged to know that as God"s Word rains down from heaven and waters the nation of Uganda, it will accomplish God"s plan and purpose for this nation.

Isaiah 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

Isaiah 55:11 — "it shall not return unto me void" - Comments- Jack Emerson, as a young preacher, asked the Lord why it seemed that his preaching appeared to produce no results in many people"s lives. Jack said that the Word of God promises that it will never return void. The Lord spoke to him and said that the Word of God never returns void. It will bring blessings into the lives of those who receive it and it brings curses into the lives of those who reject it. Either way, the Word does not return void. 81]

81] Jack Emerson, "Sermon," Alethia Fellowship Church, Panama City, Florida, 1883-88.

Isaiah 55:11 — "but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it" - Comments- The Word of God accomplishes two basic purposes. It blesses those who receive it and curses those who reject it.

Isaiah 55:12 For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

Isaiah 55:13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

Comments- We are to always be willing to spread God's Word and to help others, trusting that somehow, someway, God will return upon us His blessings. Whether we cast our bread upon calm waters or turbulent floodwaters, we must trust that God's Word will not return void ( Ecclesiastes 11:1-2 and Isaiah 55:10-11).

, "Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days. Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth."

Somehow, by God's marvelous design, we will receive God's blessings and go forth rejoicing ( ). We are not called to understand all of God's ways, but we are called to follow Him, by looking to Him each day as our provider.

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Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/isaiah-55.html. 2013.

Geneva Study Bible

Incline your ear, and come to me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, [even] the f sure mercies of David.

(f) The same covenant which through my mercy I ratified and confirmed to David, that it would be eternal, (2 Samuel 7:13) ; (Acts 13:34).
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/isaiah-55.html. 1599-1645.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

David. I will be equally faithful to you, Psalm lxxxviii. 29. Septuagint, "the holy things of David faithful," Acts xiii. 34. The resurrection of Christ fully accomplished the promise made to David.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/isaiah-55.html. 1859.

Ironside's Notes on Selected Books

EXPOSITORY NOTES ON

THE PROPHET ISAIAH

By

Harry A. Ironside, Litt.D.

Copyright @ 1952

edited for 3BSB by Baptist Bible Believer in the spirit of the Colportage ministry of a century ago

ISAIAH CHAPTER FIFTY-FIVE

THE GREAT INVITATION

"Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear. and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people. Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee" (verses 1-5).

IF IT WERE not for the truth set forth in chapter 53 of Isaiah, there would be no possibility of this gracious invitation. Throughout this entire section of Isaiah (chaps. 49-57) GOD is presenting His chosen Servant, our Lord JESUS CHRIST, as the Redeemer of Israel and of the world, whose rejection at His first coming was foreknown and plainly predicted, but who by His propitiatory work was to open up the way for guilty sinners to find peace with GOD and pardon for all their transgressions.

Because of His work GOD can send forth the gracious invitation for all men everywhere to partake of His salvation. Isaiah has been called "the evangelical prophet," and he well deserves to be so designated. Nowhere else in the Old Testament is the Person and work of our Lord set forth so clearly and fully as in this wonderful book.

Man is shown to be utterly bankrupt spiritually, destitute of righteousness, and with no claim upon GOD whatsoever. Yet CHRIST, the Lord's sinless Servant, is presented as the great sin offering through whose infinite sacrifice all who come to Him in faith will be justified in His sight. His salvation is based upon righteousness. In the Cross the sin question has been settled in a righteous way, and so GOD can now save all who come to Him in faith.

It is hard for the natural man to appreciate the fullness of GOD's grace. It is so easy to think of

GOD as a merchantman with something to sell. But the truth is that GOD is too rich to seek to sell His salvation to anyone, and if He were to put a price upon it we would all be too poor to buy. In each dispensation salvation has been by grace alone. All who were saved in Old Testament times, in the various ages before the Cross, owed everything to the work the Son of GOD eventually accomplished upon Calvary. There were different degrees of light, and men were placed under various economies as to their responsibilities to GOD in this world, but no man was ever saved by the animal sacrifices (Hebrews 10:4), or "by the deeds of the law" (Romans 3:20).

So Isaiah, after having set forth so clearly the atoning death the Anointed of GOD was to die, called upon all needy, troubled souls to appropriate by faith the gracious provision thus depicted. His message to thirsty souls was identical with that proclaimed by the Lord JESUS at a later date (John 7:37), and it is with a similar proclamation that the New Testament draws to a close (Revelation 22:17).

Isaiah here emphasizes not only the grace of GOD offering the water of life freely to all men, but also stresses the quickening and authoritative power of the Word of GOD, for it is through believing that Word that men receive divine life.

This Gospel message is itself the water of life so freely offered. The Holy Spirit uses the Word as living water to bring life to those dead in trespasses and sins and to refresh and satisfy thirsty souls, who could never find true satisfaction in what this poor world has to offer. We may well be reminded of our Lord's words to the Samaritan woman, "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but it . . . shall be in him a well [or fountain] of water springing up into everlasting life" (John 4:14).

Although not mentioned here by name, it is the Lord JESUS Himself to whom reference is made. He is GOD's witness who was sent into the world to be the Saviour of sinners. For His advent Israel was taught to wait expectantly, but when He came in grace to save, they spurned and rejected His claims upon them.

This clearly predicts the calling of the Gentiles when Israel failed to recognize the Son of David in the Person of the Lord JESUS CHRIST. Grace then went out to the nations who had hitherto been strangers to the covenants of promise.

"Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, can ye upon him while he is near: let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon" (verses 6, 7).

"Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near." Men are responsible to turn to the Lord, and so to find Him as their deliverer. It is not that He is hidden and has to be searched for, but the call is to earnestness of purpose in turning to Him and heeding His voice while. He waits to be gracious, lest if He be rejected too often He may no longer exercise the hearts and consciences of those who harden themselves against Him.

"Let the wicked forsake his way" by turning to GOD in true repentance and the acknowledgment of utter helplessness, thus repudiating the thoughts of the natural heart, and he may be assured that as he turns to the Lord, GOD waits to "abundantly pardon," for He delights to meet the trusting penitent in grace.

The chapter goes on to show how ready GOD is to take up those who turn to Him in confession of sin, and trust His love.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith 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. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree; and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off" (verses 8-13).

How Isaiah's own soul must have been stirred as he gave forth this proclamation! And what an encouragement it should be for every servant of CHRIST to remember that GOD has declared that His word will accomplish that for which He has sent it.

Sometimes preachers may get a little discouraged thinking they are talking, as it were, against a brazen wall, but GOD's Word will never return to Him void. So the prophetic Word will have a complete fulfillment in GOD's due time.

~ end of chapter 55 ~

http://www.baptistbiblebelievers.com/

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Bibliographical Information
Ironside, H. A. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". Ironside's Notes on Selected Books. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/isn/isaiah-55.html. 1914.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

live — by coming to me ye shall live: for “I am the life” (John 14:6).

everlasting covenant — (Jeremiah 32:40; 2 Samuel 23:5).

with you  …  David — God‘s covenant is with the antitypical David, Messiah (Ezekiel 34:23), and so with us by our identification with Him.

sure — answering to “everlasting,” irrevocable, unfailing, to be relied on (Psalm 89:2-4, Psalm 89:28, Psalm 89:29, Psalm 89:34-36; Jeremiah 33:20, Jeremiah 33:21; 2 Samuel 7:15, 2 Samuel 7:16; 2 Corinthians 1:18-20).

mercies of David — the mercies of grace (Isaiah 63:7; John 1:16) which I covenanted to give to David, and especially to Messiah, his antitype. Quoted in Acts 13:34.

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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/isaiah-55.html. 1871-8.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.

Come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live. By coming to me ye shall live; because "I am the life" (John 14:6).

And I will make an everlasting covenant - (Jeremiah 32:40; 2 Samuel 23:5.)

With you, (even) the sure mercies of David - God's covenant is with the antitypical David, Messiah (Ezekiel 34:23), and so with us by our identification with Him.

Sure - answering to "everlasting," irrevocable, unfailing, to be relied on (; Psalms 89:28-29; Psalms 89:34-36; Jeremiah 33:20-21; 2 Samuel 7:15-16; 2 Corinthians 1:18-20).

Mercies of David - the mercies of grace (Isaiah 63:7; John 1:16-17) which I covenanted to give to David, and especially to Messiah, his antitype. Quoted in Acts 13:34 as fulfilled in God's 'raising up Messiah from the dead, now no more to return to corruption.'

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/isaiah-55.html. 1871-8.

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Isaiah 55:12. The mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing. Virgil has the like ideas. Eclogue 5:62.

Ipsi lætitia voces ad sidera jactant Intonsi montes; ipsæ jam carmina rupes, Ipsa sonant arbusta.

That is, the unshorn mountains, elated with joy, raise their voices to the stars; yea, the rocks and groves resound with songs. The poets, as well as the prophets, sung the glory of the latter day.

REFLECTIONS.

The waters which flowed from the Gihon, the rivers of wine and milk, comprising every other blessing of providence, are here again copiously adduced to express the richer blessings of the gospel. Temporal mercies could not be obtained without labour or money, except when kings gave a royal treat. But here God’s sanctuary is full; the feast is abundant, and the vintage overflows. Peace springs from the threshhold of the Lord’s house, and righteousness drops from his bountiful hands.

The characters invited are those who hunger and thirst, those who have no money, and the worst of the wicked who forsake their thoughts and ways. Then, oh my soul, thou art included most expressly. Come then to the waters flowing from Christ the rock, and to the marriage supper of the Lamb. Eat and drink abundantly, and let all thy desires be satisfied with the fatness of his house.

Sinners are not only invited, but warned of the danger of delay. Wherefore spend ye money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which satisfieth not? Pleasures, riches, honours, are unsatisfactory; they are but opiates for the moment, which leave both stupor and stings behind. Transient joys and sensual bliss are too mean and scanty to satisfy the vast desires of an immortal spirit, sighing for an immortal good, and erroneously seeking it in the vanities and pleasures of the present life.

God promises to renew with Israel his everlasting covenant, which he made with Abraham in the promised seed, and which he renewed with David. Genesis 12:3. Psalms 89. David’s name is here mentioned, because he was a type of Christ; and because his children were about to lose the crown, and be tributary to foreign kings. Yet God’s mercies are sure, being all confirmed in Christ, who is prince of the kings of the earth, and the captain of our salvation. Hence we surely do right in expounding this prophecy of evangelical felicity, because the everlasting or new covenant everywhere refers to Christ.

In order truly to embrace the promises and grace of God, repentance is here enjoined. Seek ye the Lord while he may be found. Repentance, which saved Nineveh, often saved Jerusalem, and would have caused it, as our Saviour says of Sodom, to remain unto this day. But there is a crisis, an awful crisis in the sins of men and of nations, when God will not be found. Ezekiel 14. For the further illustration of this text, I refer the reader to three Sermons of Saurin, on the Delay of Repentance, which I have translated from the French; for I believe that more judicious and warm addresses to the unregenerate, never dropped from the lips of any minister.

To encourage Israel, during the Babylonian captivity and the Roman dispersion, to rely on those promises, the Lord pledges his perfections, that they might believe in the magnitude of his mercies. As the heavens are high above the earth, so his providence, his mercy, and his love are high above all our scanty views of grace. But oh my soul, abuse not the riches of his goodness: the promise is to him who forsakes the open wickedness of his life, and the secret concupiscence of his heart.

As the rain makes the earth fruitful, so God’s word shall not be barren; it shall fertilize the gentiles, and cause the earth to bud; yea, it shall make the wilderness as the garden of the Lord. Hence Israel was to go forth from Babylon with joy, and gladden the hills and woods with joyful hymns of the promises of the Messiah’s kingdom and glory. The favours he would show to Zion should be to him for an everlasting name, and a sign. The Roman conquerors proudly assumed the name of Germanicus, Africanus, and Britanicus, after subduing those countries; but of the Messiah it is said, The God of the whole earth shall he be called. May he reign in all our hearts.

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Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jsc/isaiah-55.html. 1835.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Isaiah 55:3 Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, [even] the sure mercies of David.

Ver. 3. Incline your ear.] Hear with all your might. Alphonsus, King of Arragon, is renowned for his attentive hearing; so is our King Edward VI, who usually stood and took notes on all the sermon. Origen chideth his hearers for nothing so much as for their seldom coming to hear God’s Word, and for their careless and heedless hearing it when they did come; whence their slow growth in godliness.

Hear, and your souls shall live.] God hath ordained - as it were to cross the devil - that as death entered into the world through the ear, by our first parents listening to that old man-slayer, so should life enter into the soul by the same door, as it were. "The dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live." [John 5:25] The Romanists hold not hearing so absolutely needful - the mass only they make a work of duty, but the going to sermons but a matter of convenience, and such as is left free to men’s leisures and opportunities without imputation of sin. (a)

And I will make an everlasting covenant with you.] Heb., I will cut out unto them a covenant of perpetuity. A covenant is a cluster of promises solemnly made over.

Even the sure mercies of David.] Or, Firm, faithful. The Greek [Acts 13:34] hath it, "The holy things," or the "venerable things of David," that is, of Christ, for the ratifying and assuring whereof it was necessary that Christ should rise from death and enter into glory; for which purpose Paul allegeth this text. See Acts 13:34.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/isaiah-55.html. 1865-1868.

Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary

And in this way it is possible to obtain not only the satisfaction of absolute need, but a superabundant enjoyment, and an overflowing fulfilment of the promise. “Incline your ear, and come to me: hear, and let your soul revive; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, the true mercies of David. Behold, I have set him as a witness for nations, a prince and commander of nations. Behold, thou wilt call a mass of people that thou knowest not; and a mass of people that knoweth thee not will hasten to thee, for the sake of Jehovah thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel, that He hath made thee glorious.” The expression “make a covenant” ( kârath b e rı̄th ) is not always applied to a superior in relation to an inferior (compare, on the contrary, Ezra 10:3); but here the double-sided idea implied in pactio is confined to one side alone, in the sense of a spontaneous sponsio having all the force of a covenant (Isaiah 61:8; compare 2 Chronicles 7:18, where kârath by itself signifies “to promise with the force of a covenant”), and also of the offer of a covenant or anticipated conclusion of a covenant, as in Ezekiel 34:25, and in the case before us, where “the true mercies of David” are attached to the idea of offering or granting involved in the expression, “I will make an everlasting covenant with you,” as a more precise definition of the object. All that is required on the part of Israel is hearing, and coming, and taking: let it do this, and it will be pervaded by new life; and Jehovah will meet with with an everlasting covenant, viz., the unchangeable mercies of David. Our interpretation of this must be dependent chiefly upon whether Isaiah 55:4 is regarded as looking back to the history of David, or looking forward to something future. In the latter case we are either to understand by “David” the second David (according to Hosea 3:5; Jeremiah 30:9; Ezekiel 34:24), so that the allusion is to the mercies granted in the Messiah, and according to Isaiah 9:7, enduring “from henceforth even for ever;” or else David is the son of Jesse, and “the mercies of David” are the mercies bestowed upon him, which are called “the true mercies” as mercies promised and running into the future (Psalms 89:50; 2 Chronicles 6:42), in which case Isaiah 55:4 explains what David will become in the person of his antitype the second David. The directly Messianic application of the name “David” is to be objected to, on the ground that the Messiah is never so called without further remark; whilst the following objections may be adduced to the indirectly Messianic interpretation of Isaiah 55:4 (David in the Messiah). (1.) The change of the tense in Isaiah 55:4, Isaiah 55:5, which requires that we should assume that Isaiah 55:4 points backwards into the past, and Isaiah 55:5 forwards into the future.

(Note: F. Philippi observes that הן, which refers to the future in Isaiah 55:5 at any rate, must be taken as referring to the same sphere of time as that which immediately precedes. But hēn in Isaiah points sometimes backwards (Isaiah 50:1; Isaiah 64:4), sometimes forwards; and where two follow one another, of which the one points backwards and the other forwards, the former is followed by the perfect, the latter by the future (Isaiah 50:1-2). But if they both point to the future, the future tense is used in both instances (Isaiah 50:9). A better argument in favour of the prophetic interpretation of Isaiah 55:4 might be drawn from the fact that נתתּי הן may mean “I give (set, lay, or make) even now” (e.g., Jeremiah 1:9). But what we have said above is sufficient proof that this is not the meaning here (if this were the meaning, we should rather expect נתתּיו הן ) .)

(2.) That the choice of the expression in Isaiah 55:4, Isaiah 55:5 is designed to represent what Israel has to look for in the future as going beyond what was historically realized in David; for in Isaiah 55:5 the mass of the heathen world, which has hitherto stood out of all relation to Israel, answers to the לאמּי ם . (3.) That the juxtaposition of the Messiah and Israel would be altogether without parallel in these prophecies (chapters 40-66), and contrary to their peculiar character; for the earlier stereotype idea of the Messiah is here resolved into the idea of the “servant of Jehovah,” from which it returns again to its primary use, i.e., from the national basis to the individual, by means of the ascending variations through which this expression passes, and thus reaches a more comprehensive, spiritual, and glorified form. The personal “servant of Jehovah” is undoubtedly no other than the “Son of David” of the earlier prophecy; but the premises, from which we arrive at this conclusion in connection with our prophet, are not that the “servant of Jehovah” is of the seed of David and the final personal realization of the promise of a future king, but that he is of the nation of Israel, and the final personal realization of the idea of Israel, both in its inward nature, and in its calling in relation to the whole world of nations.

Consequently Isaiah 55:4 and Isaiah 55:5 stand to one another in the relation of type and antitype, and the “mercies of David” are called “the true mercies” (Probably with an allusion to 2 Samuel 7:16; cf., Psalms 89:29-30), as being inviolable-mercies which had both been realized in the case of David himself, and would be realized still further, inasmuch as they must endure for an everlasting future, and therefore be further and further fulfilled, until they have reached that lofty height, on the summit of which they will remain unchangeable for ever. It is of David the son of Jesse that Jehovah says in Isaiah 55:4, “I have given him for a witness to peoples, a leader and commander to the peoples.” So far as the sense is concerned, נגיד is as much a construct as מצוּה . In the application to David of the term עד, which never means anything but testis , witness, in these prophecies, we may clearly see the bent of the prophet's mind towards what is spiritual. David had subdued nations by the force of arms, but his true and loftiest greatness consisted in the fact that he was a witness of the nations - a witness by the victorious power of his word, the conquering might of his Psalms, the attractive force of his typical life. What he expresses so frequently in the Psalms as a resolution and a vow, viz., that he will proclaim the name of Jehovah among the nations (Psalms 18:50; Psalms 57:10), he has really fulfilled: he has not only overcome them by bloody warfare, but by the might of his testimony, more especially as “the sweet psalmist of Israel” (2 Samuel 23:1). What David himself was able to say in Psalms 18:43, “People that I did not know served me,” will be fulfilled to a still wider extent in the experience of Israel. Having been presented with the promised “inviolable mercies of David,” it will effect a spiritual conquest over the heathen world, even over that portion which has hitherto stood in no reciprocal relation to it, and gain possession of it for itself for the sake of Jehovah, whom it has for its God, and to the Holy One of Israel ( ל of the object, in relation to which, or at the instigation of which, anything is done), because He hath glorified it (His people: פאר ך is not a pausal form for פאר ך, cf., Isaiah 54:6, but for פאר ך, פאר ך, hence = פאר ך, cf., ענ ך, Isaiah 30:19); so that joining themselves to Israel is the same as joining themselves to God and to the church of the God of revelation (cf., Isaiah 60:9, where Isaiah 55:5 is repeated almost word for word).

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Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/isaiah-55.html. 1854-1889.

Kingcomments on the Whole Bible

Invitation

After the work of the Servant is accomplished (Isaiah 53), the blessings of the new covenant can come richly to Israel (Isaiah 54). The blessings then flow so abundantly that they go beyond the borders of Israel. For Israel, this day is a day of joy. That is why they must not remain silent (cf. 2Kgs 7:9) and must pass on the blessings. They invite others (Isa 55:1).

The prophet now makes an invitation to come and participate in the spiritual providence that the LORD has made for those who willingly turn away from their own plans and actions in order to listen diligently to His voice. The invitation begins with the exclamation "Ho!" – Hebrew hoy. This expression is usually used for mourning or judgment, but here it is positive and is an exclamation for those who are spiritually distant. In the call in Isa 55:1 the invitation "come" – Hebrew halach, literally "go" – sounds three times.

The first to be called are "every one who thirsts". This points, as the verses afterwards also show, to everyone, both the still scattered Israelites and all nations in the future. The only condition to be allowed to come is to be thirsty. Thirst is the longing for God (Psa 42:2a). In our time it applies to ourselves.

To the thirsty sounds the invitation: "Come to the waters. To which waters? Where should they go? The answer is: to the Rock, that is Christ (1Cor 10:4). Now that the Rock has been smitten (Isa 53:10), the water flows abundantly and all who are thirsty can go to the Rock to receive water (Jn 7:37).

The second "come" we hear in the invitation to buy and eat, "come, buy and eat". How to do that? How to obtain salvation? By buying, which means that there is a personal act involved. That does not mean that one's own performance and good works have to be done, because the sequel reads buy "without money and without cost". However, it is not free, because the price has been paid by Another, namely the Servant of the LORD. It is a price so high, that no one but He could pay it (Psa 49:7-8).

The third time is "come, buy wine and milk". What should they buy? Wine and milk. Wine speaks of the joy of salvation. For Israel and the nations in the realm of peace, it is the blessings of the new covenant, including forgiveness of sins and new life. Milk then speaks of spiritual food, which is the Word of God needed by the new life in order to grow (1Pet 2:2).

It is clear that it is not literally about water, wine and milk. They are pictures of higher things than natural products. The true food and drink are the flesh and blood of the Lord Jesus He gave on the cross for the life of the world (Jn 6:51). The LORD offers the water of life for free (Rev 22:17b). The spiritual meaning of water is mentioned in Isaiah 44, where reference is made to the Holy Spirit (Isa 44:3; cf. Jn 7:38-39). Wine has also been mentioned earlier (Isa 25:6-7) and is a picture of joy (Psa 104:15). In the same way we must understand the mention of milk (see the previous paragraph).

You can buy "without money and without cost". This is all Divine grace. From the point of view of the recipient, the possession of spiritual blessings depends only on the sense of need and a willingness to accept them. Buying without money presupposes spiritual bankruptcy. Nothing more is expected of one's own effort (Rom 11:6). Israel has invested money and work in idols. Hence the serious appeal expressed at the beginning of the chapter in the exclamation "Ho!". This exclamation is not just an invitation, but sheds light on the state of affairs of those who pursue their own interests instead of listening to the voice of the LORD.

The LORD continues His call with the gracious words of Isa 55:2. The satisfaction of the soul is obtained through the obedience of faith. If we listen diligently to the voice of the Lord and do His will, we can enjoy true spiritual joy. Often we hesitate to obey Him. We then give a lot of time and energy to things that occupy us but are not food for the soul, which are not the true bread for the heart.

What God says here goes beyond meeting our needs. He wants to give us abundant satisfaction. This is "the riches of His grace" (Eph 1:7). Then He asks His people to turn their ear to Him to listen and come to Him, that their souls may live (Isa 55:3). Something similar He also says to the church in Laodicea (Rev 3:20).

The call "come" in Isa 55:3 is the fourth call to come, after the three times in Isa 55:1. It is now: "Come to Me." Now it is clear. The beaten Rock, from which water comes, and the abundant wine and milk, refer to and are available from a Person, a Seller who sells without money. That Person is the Servant of the LORD, risen from the dead, Whose work is finished, and Who is now the source of all grace, the source of all God's blessings.

Although in these first three verses there is much that can be applied to the gospel, it is primarily a call to those who are spiritually distant. They are souls in need of revival which can only be experienced by returning to the LORD.

The LORD connects a promise to the conversion of His people. In human affairs a covenant is made that is ratified by each of the parties. Here the LORD shows that He is free to give the blessings of the covenant to those who come to Him. This can happen because Another, namely the Servant of the LORD, has taken upon Himself the obligations of the covenant. Therefore, this covenant is in reality a promise that will surely be fulfilled (cf. Gal 3:17-18).

"The faithful mercies shown to David" are, according to Acts 13, where this verse is quoted from the Septuagint, "THE HOLY [and] SURE [blessings] OF DAVID" (Acts 13:34) which are based on the resurrection of Christ. The resurrection of Christ makes the mercies trustworthy. Here the mercies are the abundant blessings of the new covenant. Paul uses this quotation as the second of three Old Testament citations that prove that they have been fulfilled in Christ. The first refers to His birth (Acts 13:33), the second to His resurrection (Acts 13:34) and the third to His imperishableness (Acts 13:35).

We also see here a reference to God's favors regarding His promises to David (2Sam 7:12-16). The covenant of Moses is no longer mentioned, but the covenant with David. It is as if the LORD wants to point here to the covenant which is based on the work of the Servant, Who is also the Son of David.

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de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Isaiah 55:3". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kng/isaiah-55.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.

The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann

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.

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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kpc/isaiah-55.html. 1921-23.

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and Homiletical

             VII.—THE SEVENTH DISCOURSE

The New Way of appropriating Salvation

  Isaiah 55:1-5

When we contemplate the contents of our chapters, one could almost outdo the modern criticism and exclaim: This was never written in the Exile ! It must have been written after Christ, by a disciple of Paul who read the epistles to the Romans and Galatians! But on closer inspection one observes that our Prophet describes, not what he lived to see and learned to know by experience, but future things that were still enigmatical to himself. A Frenchman would say: il ne voit pas, il entrevoit seulment les chose futures. I can only understand the contents of our chapter in its relation to what precedes, as representing in what a new and hitherto unknown way Israel is to obtain a countless posterity and a salvation extending in every direction. That Isaiah, in connection with Isaiah 54, our Isaiah 55. shows, that the mode of subjective appropriation of salvation will be a new one. No longer by doing works, but by believing acceptance shall one put himself in possession of that salvation, which a new David, as a new mediator of a covenant, shall offer to the world, not by force of arms, but by His direct and indirect testimony. But this testimony must meet with a timely acceptance, and sincere repentance must prepare an entrance for the mercy of God. Also no one should regard the new way of salvation as unreasonable and impracticable, for not only Israel, but the entire creation, shall quite certainly partake of this salvation.

The chapter has two parts. The first is positive in its contents. It designates believing acceptance of the word as the essence of the new way of salvation. The second part is negative. It points with warning to the obstacles and scruples that must be set aside in order not to frustrate the new way of salvation.

____________________

1. THE POSITIVE NATURE OF THE NEW WAY OF APPROPRIATING THE SALVATION OF GOD

Isaiah 55:1-5

1 Ho, every one that thirsteth,

Come ye to the waters,

And he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat;

Yea, come, buy wine and milk

Without money and without price.

2 Wherefore do ye [FN1]spend money for that which is not bread?

And your [FN2]labor for that which satisfieth not?

[FN3]Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good,

[FN4]And let your soul delight itself in fatness.

3 Incline your ear, and come unto me:

Hear, and your soul shall live;

And I will make an everlasting covenant with you,

Even the sure mercies of David.

4 Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people,

A leader and commander to the people.

5 Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not,

And [FN5]nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee

[FN6]Because of the Lord thy God,

And [FN7]for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee.

TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL

Isaiah 55:1-2. שָׁבַר is here denom. from שֵׁבֶר annona [from שֶׁבֶר see Fuerst. Lex.—Tr.], (comp. Isaiah 42:7; Isaiah 42:10; Isaiah 47:14, etc..). In Isaiah the word is found in this sense only here.—לוא־לחם is Oxymoron as לא־עָם,לֹא־אֵל, ( Deuteronomy 32:21), לֹא־עֵץ ( Isaiah 10:15), לאֹ־אָדָם,לֹא־אִישׁ, ( Isaiah 31:8).

Isaiah 55:3. The expression כָּרַת בְּרִית לְ is almost as common in the Old Testament as עִםor כָּרַת בְּרִית אֵת It occurs Exodus 23:32; Exodus 34:12; Exodus 34:15; Deuteronomy 7:2; Joshua 9:6-7; Joshua 9:11; Joshua 9:15-16; Joshua 24:25; Judges 2:2; 1 Samuel 9:1-2; 2 Samuel 5:3; 1 Kings 20:34; 2 Kings 11:4; Hosea 2:20; Isaiah 61:8; Jeremiah 32:40; Ezekiel 34:25; Ezekiel 37:26; Job 31:1; Psalm 89:4; 1 Chronicles 11:13; 2 Chronicles 7:18 (without ברית); Isaiah 21:1; Isaiah 29:10. It is true that the expression is chiefly used in the case of a covenant that a superior concludes with an inferior as a benefaction or imposing a duty for the latter (see e.g. Job 31:1). Once ( 2 Chronicles 29:10) it is used in the case of a covenant that the man concludes with God. The expression is evidently in its origin a pregnant construction, as the preposition לְ depends on the verb, not according to its verbal meaning, but according to some, latent meaning in the verb This meaning may be that of laying on, assuring, or offering, according to the context—The expression in חַסְדֵי דָוִד is found again 2 Chronicles 6:42 in Solomon’s prayer of consecration. It does not occur its the corresponding passage, 1 Kings 8, as indeed none of 2 Chronicles 6:40-42 does (comp. Zoeckler in loc.). It seems to me that the author of 2 Chron. borrowed the words חסדי דוד from our text, and thereby bears testimony to its having relation to 2 Samuel7. As regards the construction, it is zeugmatic. For the accusative חסדי ד depends on the latent idea of giving in, אכרתה בדית, and in fact Paul so renders the words Acts 13:34 : on ὃτι δώσω ὑμῖν τὰ ὅσια Δαυῖδ.

Isaiah 55:4. The grammatical construction of נָגִיד וּמְצַוֵּה לאמים is not normal. It ought at least to read נְגיד וגו (comp. Ezekiel 31:16 מִבְחַר וְטוֹב לְבָנוֹן Daniel 1:4). The expressions נִבְזֶה וַחֲדַל אִישִׁים Isaiah 53:3, and נָגוּעַ מֻכֵּה אֱלהִים Isaiah 53:4, are not at all to be compared as Ewald supposes (Gram., § 339,6; see above the comm. in loc.). This construction is therefore an unicum, if indeed the pointing be correct Moreover מְצַוֶּה in a substantive sense occurs only here. It seems me that the choice of expression was occasioned by the Prophet having in. mind 2 Samuel 6:21, where David says to Michal: the Lord chose me before thy father לְצַוֹּת אֹתּי נָגִיד עַל־עַם י

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

1. In chap55 the Lord promised Israel a blessing that would extend on every hand. As if in a well supplied market, all these blessed possessions shall be spread out before Israel. Now the people are summoned to come up and buy, but—without money ( Isaiah 55:1)! It is no longer as it once was when one must do a hard work in order to get food, which—still did not satisfy. One sees at once that the Prophet does not mean corporeal nourishment, for he calls on men to hear. By that one shall receive dainty nourishment ( Isaiah 55:2). And that the importance of this hearing may be felt, he repeats his summons to hear twice. By virtue of this hearing the soul shall live and be capable of entering into the everlasting covenant with the Lord, that shall procure the sure mercies of David ( Isaiah 55:3). The David that is to be the mediator of this grace will be first of all a witness, and hearing will be the condition of partaking of His grace. By His testimony to the truth He will however become also prince and commander of nations ( Isaiah 55:4). But the great chief witness will avail himself of Israel in order to bring his testimony to the nations. Israel shall call nations that it did not know, and these nations will hasten to Israel that heretofore remained unknown to them. But they will hasten up in order to come to Jehovah and to the Holy One of Israel, who also glorifies His people in this way ( Isaiah 55:5). Thus the chief emphasis in this section rests upon the inward, believing inclination to the word of the Lord, something high as heaven above outward merit of works. This believing inclination Israel should bring to the word of the Lord that announces to it the glory of David’s kingdom. Then it will itself dare to preach this word, and, by means of the faith that it will find, it will gather the nations to it, which, according to Isaiah 54:1 sqq, will be its seed, and also the basis of the new, eternal Davidic kingdom.

2. Hosea, every one——mercies of David.

Isaiah 55:1-3. Before the gaze of the Prophet stands Israel, made inwardly and outwardly free from the chains of the world-power by the Servant of God. According to chap54. a rich blessing from the Lord is promised to it. But it cannot partake of it without more ado. Like the old Israel it must fulfill a condition. To the old Israel it was said ( Deuteronomy 28:1 sq.): “And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all His commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: and all these blessings shall come upon thee, and overtake thee.” Here, therefore, the fulfilment of the law was set up as a condition of obtaining the blessing. It is otherwise in the new kingdom that the Prophet sees from afar with the eye of the spirit. There nothing is demanded but hunger and thirst, and yet, of course, such as is contented with the gratification that the Lord offers. Stier justly calls attention to the fact that our Lord must have had in mind our text when He said: “blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled” ( Matthew 5:6). Comp. also Matthew 11:28; John 7:37. הוֹי does not depart here from its fundamental meaning. It must not be taken here as a cry merely summoning together, any more than in Isaiah 17:1; Isaiah 18:1, or like Zechariah 2:10-11, where Koehler appropriately translates “Hui” [“ Hosea,” “quick”]. In our passage, the cry of woe has reference only to the suffering condition of those addressed. It is an expression of compassion for their lamentable fate, that offers only an illusory satisfaction for their wants. It is as if we were to say: Alas, ye poor needy ones! Thus Maurer, with whom Stier needed not to find fault.—What sort of hunger and thirst the Prophet means first appears from his offering to satisfy it without compensation. The rationalistic expositors will have it that only earthly blessings are meant. Thus they would understand that the exiles are indirectly summoned to return home by painting up the possessions that would follow on that, which were to be had as water for the thirsty and without sacrifice (Gesenius, Hitzig). Others think only of eating and drinking. Canaan would be incomparably more than in former days a land flowing with milk and honey (Seinecke, Knobel). But construed in this way the words contain a disgraceful deception. No emigration agent ever sought to seduce ignorant peasants to emigrate to Brazil or Texas with such lies as this would-be Prophet Isaiah would have used, if these expositors were correct. For did he represent to them “the restoration of the state under the image of refreshing food and drink,” or did he promise them literally “food and drink, and that for nothing,” then both were unblushing lies, as in general the passages that speak of an easy, safe return over a convenient road well supplied with every thing needful ( Isaiah 35:6 sqq.; Isaiah 41:17 sqq.; Isaiah 43:18 sqq.; Isaiah 49:8 sqq.; Isaiah 51:11; Isaiah 52:8 sqq.), would contain nothing but fraud, if they are referred in the ordinary sense to the return from the Babylonian captivity. For what ever justified such an agitator in promising to the Israelites splendid political relations, support without cost? The outward relations of the returning exiles were by no means splendid. They continued to be under the Persian rule. In that prayer at their feast recorded in Nehemiah 9 we find them complaining ( Nehemiah 9:36): “Behold, we are servants this day, and for the land that thou gavest unto our fathers to eat the fruit thereof and the good thereof, behold, we are servants in it.” And we see that they were obliged to pay taxes as much as in the land of exile; for Nehemiah 9:37 says: “And it (the land) yieldeth much increase unto the kings whom thou hast set over us because of our sins; also they have dominion over our bodies, and over our cattle, at their pleasure, and we are in great distress.” And the same appears still more clearly from Ezra 4:13, where in the accusing letter of Rehum and Shimshai we read: “Be it known now unto the king, that, if this city be builded, and the walls set up again, then will they (the Israelites) not pay toll, tribute and custom, and so thou shalt endamage the revenue of the kings.” According to Ezra 7:24, King Artasasta [Artaxeres] released only the priests and the other servants of the Temple from all taxes.—From Nehemiah 5:1-5 we see that the returning Israelites, at least the poorer among them, had hunger and distress enough to suffer in the promised land, for the poor among those engaged in building the walls beg for a distribution of grain, because otherwise, in order to keep their numerous families, they must pawn their lands, or even, where that had already been done, surrender their children to servitude. Thus it is seen that the returned exiles experienced neither a restoration of the commonwealth, nor was their daily bread given either in abundance or without cost. And yet we do not find in the historical books of this period a trace of their considering themselves cheated. They themselves certainly did not take the words of our Prophet in the sense in which the rationalistic expounders would understand them. For why then did so many, in fact the majority of the exiles remain in exile? If the taxes in the Exile were so oppressive, as some suppose, and the condition of wages so unfavorable, why did not all return to Palestine? Was then the return more advantageous in every respect? According to Ezra 1:5 only those resolved to return “whose spirit God raised” (aroused). The resolve to return was thus a victory of the spirit over the flesh. Therefore they knew well that they would not find the flesh pots of Egypt in desolate Palestine. Thus they were far from regarding the words of our Prophet as promising these flesh pots. We see, accordingly, that if the Prophet was no enthusiast or cheat, but would say the truth, it was impossible that he could mean to promise to the returning exiles fortunate outward circumstances. Now since, as is well known, the expressions “to thirst, hunger, eat, drink, bread, wine,” are very often used in a spiritual sense (comp. Isaiah 25:6; Isaiah 44:3; Isaiah 65:13; Amos 8:11; Psalm 42:3; Psalm 63:2; Matthew 5:6; John 6:35, etc.), so it is manifest that the Prophet means them in this sense. In addition to this the Prophet afterwards in Isaiah 55:2-3 expressly designates the satisfaction as the fruit of hearing: on which more hereafter, לְכוּ is used three times in Isaiah 55:1 not meaning “go,” but “come hither,” because the speaker himself has in possession the things he invites others to receive. The word, therefore, stands here, as often elsewhere (comp. Isaiah 2:3-5) in the sense of a particula excitandi, as age, δεῦρο, δεῦτε “come on, here!”

The second member of the verse contains a completion of the first. It adds, that satisfaction will be given not only to those thirsty ones that have money, but also to those that have none. ואשׁר אין־לו כסף is thus a second subject of לכו and nearer definition of כל־צמא. Vav before אשׁר, therefore, involves the idea of “and indeed.” In the third member come bay and eat a third particular is introduced, namely that of hunger and its correlative bread. The fourth member repeats and intensifies: not only is “for not money” strengthened by the further “for not wages” (מְחִיר comp. Isaiah 45:13), but wine and milk are named in addition as things to be bought. They are costlier and nobler means of nourishment than water. Milk is the wine of infancy, wine the milk of maturity. Thus not merely bare necessities, but the daintiest, noblest gratification, is offered to those craving it (comp. on Isaiah 55:2 b).

Isaiah 55:2. The question: why are you weighing out money? intimates that the man in this case, has a certain inclination to weigh out his money, and that effort is needed to prevent him. And such is actually the fact. The hardest law is easier for a man than the gospel. He would rather put himself to the rack like a fakir or a Trappist, than receive the gift of God for nothing. He will not have any thing for nothing. He does not want grace, but wages, for his merit. And yet what he gets in this way is not bread, not satiety.—For one’s own works are not able to give the true righteousness, and Song of Solomon, too, cannot give true peace. Recall Luther’s monastic life, and then what he found when he had learned to believe. It may at first sight appear objectionable that the Prophet even in Isaiah 55:1, makes use of the oxymoron (see Text, and Gram.), by saying “buy for not-gold, for not wages,” whereas one expects “buy not for money, not for wages,” as, indeed, before he invited every one אשׁר אין לו כסף to come on. Thus one expects ּלא בכסף ּולא במחיר. But the Prophet would evidently say, that of course they should buy. שׁבְרוּ does not stand before ואכלו to no purpose. There shall indeed be a purchase price paid, but it shall consist of לא־כסף and לא־מחיר. That Isaiah, of course, something odd. For לא־לחם explained by לוא לשׂבעה evidently denotes a nourishment that does not deserve the name of bread, that is worse than bread. Therefore לא־לחם is a contemptuous expression. Accordingly לא־כסף and לא־מחיר must designate a price that is worse than money or wages, that does not deserve this name. The sense of שׁברו בלוא־כסף וגו׳ could not be then: “buy, but not with gold, but with a higher, better price.” These words must rather mean: “buy for a price that has not even the value of money or of any other sort material compensation.” Can the Prophet mean to say that? Shall the purchase price that he demands be worse than money, not even money? That cannot possibly be his meaning. Thus we see that we cannot take לא־כסף and לא־לחם in quite the same sense. Now such a negative expression formed by the use of לא may have a various antithesis according to the context; a superius or inferius may be its antithesis. Thus in Isaiah 10:15 we were obliged to take לֹא־עֵץ = “not wood but something much higher; and just so in Isaiah 31:8, לא־אישׁ and לא־אדם = “not a Prayer of Manasseh, but something higher,” whereas לא־אָֹדָם,לאֹ־אֵל designate something that is less than God, less than a nation. The evangelist of the Old Testament gives here ( Isaiah 55:2) a genuine evangelical counsel, whose meaning and long range was certainly concealed from himself. Israel shall no more bring money, and labor (one could construe יְגִיעַ‍ also in the sense of “res labore parta, gains of labor” Isaiah 45:14). For legal works are as money that one has paid for food that deserves not the name of bread, because it does not satisfy. For legal works a man receives his own deserts! But that is just לא־לחם! It does not satisfy, it gives no peace. It does not procure for us the wedding garment, but only our own clothes, with which one will be cast out ( Matthew 22:12-13). In contrast with weighing out money, the Prophet now says what Israel should do in order to get satiety. He names therefore now the true purchasing price, the לא־כסף and לא־מחיר. It consists in hearkening to the Lord. There can be no doubt about the sort of hearing that is meant. It must any way be a very significant hearing, for the Prophet exhorts to it three times by saying שמעו שׁמוע, then הטו אזנכם and finally שׁמעו ( Isaiah 55:3). He cannot mean the hearing with the outward ear, for the Lord would not be satisfied with that. Hearing with the inward ear, the receptivety of the heart, faith must be meant. Amos 8:11, to which Kimchi text refers us, is nearly related to ours. It is not impossible that it hovered in the mind of the Prophet. There it is said: “Behold the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.” Receiving the word, the message of salvation, the gospel, such is the price that is better than money and wages (בסף and יגיע). Thus in eat good and your soul shall delight itself in fatness, “eat” and “enjoy itself” are meant in a spiritual sense. טוֹכ. meaning “good” in general has a physical or spiritual sense according to the context (comp. Jeremiah 31:12; Jeremiah 31:14; Proverbs 19:8; Proverbs 24:25, etc.). On the expression תתעוג בדשׁן נ׳ comp. Isaiah 58:14; Isaiah 66:11; Psalm 37:4; Job 22:26; Job 27:10, and with respect to דשׁן Psalm 36:4 to Psalm 63:6), and תחי נפשׁכם, comp. Ezekiel 18:27; Psalm 119:175.

Isaiah 55:3. The Lord then demands faith in His word. But this word is extraordinary: for it announces the salvation that the Servant of Jehovah acquired by His suffering and death (53). Those to whom the gospel of Jesus Christ is no foolishness, no offence, receive the mercies of David. In the Crucified One David is latent. The inscription above the cross unconsciously spoke the truth. The thief is a type to us of the faith that is demanded here. He saw in the Crucified the king. Therefore he is also promised a participation in the kingly glory. On כָּרַת בְּרִית לְ “to make a covenant,” see Text, and Gram.). Covenant making is an ancient thing in the relation between Jehovah and the people Israel. The Lord foretold to the people salvation and the Saviour in a gradual way, always increasing in definiteness and clearness, until at last He informs the chosen king David that He will found for him an everlasting, all-comprehending kingdom on the basis of the sonship of God ( 2 Samuel 7:12 sqq.). This promise is the highest and most glorious of all the promises ever yet made to Abraham and his seed, in this respect, that it comprehends all preceding promises, frees them from their generality, lays them on a definite head, and defines them as a promise of a dominion that shall far excel all others in extent, duration, title and power. This promise is also the foundation of all later promises. For all of them add nothing essentially new. Although they add the nearer definition that Israel itself, and the promised Son of David shall become servants of God, i.e., must pass through suffering to glory, and although they at later periods refine and paint up both these particulars more in detail and in a variety of ways, still that word of the Prophet Nathan continues to be the principal stock around which all later Messianic prophecies are grouped. The mercies of David therefore are those promises of mercy that were given to David in respect to an other, higher David. These mercies of David are also a covenant, as the promises given to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob are called a “covenant” (comp. Genesis 15:18; Genesis 17:2 sqq.; Exodus 2:24; Leviticus 26:42; 2 Kings 13:23, etc.). For in them God not only makes a gift, but requires a corresponding performance. It is true that this covenant has the peculiarity, that it is not broken by single acts of unfaithfulness on the part of men. For it is an everlasting covenant. Such acts of backsliding cause the Lord to use severity, but not to break the covenant Such also is doubtless the meaning of the word נאמנים [“sure”]. At least it should be noted that Psalm 89. after saying in Psalm 89:29-30 ( Psalm 89:28-29): “My mercy will I keep for him forevermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him (נֶֽאֱמֶנֶת לוֹ). His seed also will I make to endure forever, and his throne as the days of heaven,” it proceeds to say Psalm 89:31 sqq. ( Psalm 89:30); “if his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments; if they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless my loving-kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail [lie. Marg.],” etc It is in the highest degree probable that Psalm 89. hovered in the mind of the Prophet as he wrote these words. Koester says in regard to this: “ Psalm 89. fere commentarii instar est ad nostrum locum. Similitudo tanta Esther, ut prophetam nostrum psalmi hujus auetorem esse conjicere liceat” (comp. Stier p548, Anm.), Although the latter idea is inadmissible, still the expression חסדי יהיה with which Psalm 89. begins, (and which occurs beside only Psalm 107:43; Isaiah 63:7; Lamentations 3:22), reminds one of our text, as do also Psalm 89:4; Psalm 89:29; Psalm 89:38; Psalm 89:50 ( Psalm 89:3; Psalm 89:27; Psalm 89:37; Psalm 89:49); and in general the object of the whole Psalm is to hold up to God the promises given to David, and on the ground of them to implore protection in pressing need. Comp. remarks below on Isaiah 55:4, and Text, and Gram, on Isaiah 55:3, חסדי דוד.

Isaiah 55:4. If in Isaiah 55:1-3, the Prophet has in mind the time when no longer personal works, but the believing acceptance of God’s word is decisive in respect to receiving salvation, then he stands with his thought in the midst of the Messianic period. And, indeed, the further particularpressed upon him, that not Israel alone will receive that salvation, but also the Gentile world. He sees the barriers broken down that separate Israel from the Gentiles. The David that was promised to the first David is made by the Lorda witness of the nations,i.e., one that shall testify salvation to the nations. That the suffix in נְתַתִּיו (“I have given him”) refers to David Isaiah 55:3, is certain. But the one made a witness cannot possibly be the first David. How would a statement come into this context concerning the task to be fulfilled by the successor of Saul in his time? According to Isaiah 55:1-3, the Prophet’s thoughts are in the future when the marvellous change will take place, that God will no longer require giving from men but only receiving. Therefore I take the expression “mercies of David” as having a double meaning, viz.: not only the promises given to David, but also pointing to David. This of course assumes that the name David may be applied to the Messiah also. But this assumption is fully justified, since not only later, but also earlier prophets expressly designate the Messiah by the name of David ( Hosea 3:5; Jeremiah 30:9; Ezekiel 34:23-24; Ezekiel 37:24-25). The expression עִדִ (“witness”) likewise appears to me to be borrowed from Psalm 89. For in Psalm 89:38 of this Psalm the author concludes the representation of the promise given to David with the words: וְעֵד בַּשַּׁחַק נֶֽאֱמָן. I share the view of Maurer, Hitzig, Delitzsch, Moll,etc., that by עד בשׁחק we are to understand God Himself (comp. Job 16:19, and regarding the expression שׁחק, Psalm 89:7). In our text, then, David, who fulfills “the mercies of David,” is called a witness of the nations, because He testifies also to the Gentile world what God had testified to the people Israel, because He carries out to the Gentiles that same gospel to whose believing acceptance Israel was summoned in Isaiah 55:2-3. In this peaceful way, not by force of arms, shall the other David also become a prince and commander of the nations. To take עֵד in the sense of “lawgiver,” with Hitzig, is altogether arbitrary. On the construction of Isaiah 55:4 b see Text, and Gram. Any way it would express, that the second David shall be the same in respect to the nations that the first was in respect to the people Israel.

Isaiah 55:5. But the manner in which the second David will be a witness of God to the nations will be, not that He will personally and directly exercise the office of witness, but He will let it be exercised by His people Israel to whom He immediately belongs. Although I regard the “witness” of Isaiah 55:4 as being the second and not the first David, still I believe that the Prophet here has in mind those words of the first David in Psalm 18:43 sqq. where, speaking primarily of His activity as an earthly conqueror, he also certainly as a “prophet” ( Acts 2:30), speaks of the call of His kingdom to make spiritual conquests. Especially our words “a nation whom thou knewest not,” recall the words Psalm 18:44 (43): “a people whom I have not known shall serve me.” The disciples and Apostles of the Lord, who received the command to preach the gospel to all nations, were, in fact, Israelites. Through them Israel called nations that it previously did not know, and nations, that before knew nothing of Israel hastened to it ( Isaiah 2:2-3). Israel and the Gentile world have even found in the second David a common centre that draws one to the other. This thought is so expressed in Isaiah 55:5 b, that there Jehovah is designated as the object and goal of this running hither. They came, not for Israel’s sake, but for the sake of Jehovah its God, and not to Israel, but to the Holy One of Israel. But it is nevertheless an honor of a high and unique sort, that Israel is favored with being the instrument of calling the nations to Jehovah. And the honor that the Lord has purposed for Israel, has its root just therein; for this reason it is עֶלְיוֹן עַל כָּל־הַגּוֹיִם (“high above all nations” ( Deuteronomy 4:6 sqq.; Deuteronomy 26:19; Deuteronomy 28:1; 2 Samuel 7:23 sq.) and “servant of Jehovah,” so far as this expression also designates the call of Israel to be the medium of salvation (“salvation is of the Jews,” John 4:22, comp. Isaiah 43:19). And it belongs also to this, that Israel is repeatedly called directly the “witness of Jehovah” ( Isaiah 43:10; Isaiah 44:8). Besides, this clause of the verse is repeated verbatim Isaiah 60:9. As Israel is everywhere thought of as masculine (אֱלֹהֶיךָ,אֵלֶיךָ,יְדָעוּךָ) the suffix of פֵּאֲרָךְ cannot be a fem. suffix, but is a masculine pausal form, as in עָנָךְ Isaiah 30:19.

Footnotes:

FN#1 - Heb. weigh.

FN#2 - acquisition.

FN#3 - Hearken, hearken.

FN#4 - And your soul shall.

FN#5 - a nation.

FN#6 - For the sake of.

FN#7 - to.

2. WHAT HINDERANCES AND SCRUPLES ARE TO BE REMOVED, THAT THE NEW WAY OF APPROPRIATING SELVATION MAY OBTAIN

  Isaiah 55:6-13

6 Seek ye the Lord while he may be found,

Call ye upon him while he is near:

7 Let the wicked forsake his way,

And [FN8]the unrighteous man his thoughts:

And let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him;

And to our God, for [FN9]he will abundantly pardon.

8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

Neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

So are my ways higher than your ways,

And my thoughts than your thoughts.

10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven,

And returneth not thither,

But watereth the earth,

And maketh it bring forth and bud,

That it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:

11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth:

It shall not return unto me void,

But it shall accomplish that which I please,

And it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

12 For ye shall go out with joy,

And be led forth with peace:

The mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing,

And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the [FN10]fir tree,

And instead of the [FN11]brier shall come up the myrtle tree:

And it shall be to the Lord for a name,

For an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL

Isaiah 55:9. Before גבהו the particle of comparison is omitted; comp. Jeremiah 3:20.

Isaiah 55:10. נתן, subject גשׁם and שׁלג.——The imperf. יֵרֵד designates what happens continuously; יָשׁוּב that which is supposed, not actual; הולידה,הרוה נתן,הצמיחה, on the other hand designate simple objective facts.

Isaiah 55:11. The accusative אֲשׁר before שָׁלַחְתִּי is quite normal. Verbs of teaching, commanding, commissioning, as is well known, stand with a double accusative; comp. Exodus 4:28; 1 Samuel 21:3, etc.

Isaiah 55:13. היה is to be construed neutrally.——One might take שֵׁם here as meaning “monumentum,” as in 2 Samuel 8:13, and as Isaiah uses it Isaiah 56:5. But one does better to take it in the sense of “renown” (comp. Deuteronomy 26:19; Zephaniah 3:19); but אות, on account of the addition אשׁר לא יכרת, had better be taken in the sense of “signum, monumentum” that which, as it were, bears and preserves the renown (comp. Isaiah 19:20; Deuteronomy 28:46; Numbers 17:3, etc.).

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

1. Seek the Lord——abundantly pardon.

Isaiah 55:6-7. The entire section Isaiah 55:6-11 deals with the difficulties that actually, or in human opinion, oppose that “hearing” that the Lord has demanded in Isaiah 55:2-3. The first difficulty Isaiah, that so many men are unable to make up their minds to lay hold, i.e., to respond to the Lord’s call, and on their side to desire and seek what offers itself to them. For, of course, the soul must on its part incline to the Lord, who inclines Himself to it. This is the “seeking” and “calling” of which verse6 speaks. Believing is a hard matter. Hence many hesitate until it is too late. And hence the Prophet’s warning, to turn to the Lord in season, to seek and call on Him. For the Lord is not near and able to be found without limitation. Hast thou suffered thy heart to harden or become callous, or hast thou suffered the time to lapse wherein believing is any way possible, i.e., the period of earthly life, that ends with death and with the world beyond which begins the seeing,—then thou findest the Lord no more, He withdraws. Thou canst then no more believe, even though wishing painfully to do Song of Solomon, as Esau who found no room for repentance though he sought it with tears ( Hebrews 12:17), or as those who have slipped past the fateful “to-day” (comp. Hebrews 3:7 sqq.; Hebrews 4:7 and the parables of the invited guests Luke 14:17 sqq, and the laborers in the vineyard Matthew 2:1 sqq.). The second and chiefest hinderance to believing is this, that men cleave too much to evil. They love it too much; all their imagining and doing is directed to it. They cannot get rid of sin, they are under the ban and constraint of it. Hence the Prophet warns, that the wicked first of all must forsake his wicked way and the man of iniquity ( Proverbs 6:12; Proverbs 6:18, which likely was in the Prophet’s mind) his thoughts. This is the negative side of the exhortation. With this is joined the positive; the wicked should turn to Jehovah a. to the end that He may have mercy on him, b. for the reason that Jehovah is (not a strange but) Israel’s (“our”) God, and is inclined and accustomed to pardon abundantly.

2. For My thoughts——whereto I sent it.

Isaiah 55:8-11. These verses reply to those objections that the natural man opposes to the new way of salvation proposed by God in Isaiah 55:1-3. The first objection runs: it is inconceivable that man can obtain salvation simply by believing and not by his own works. The Prophet declares that this objection is groundless. For, he says, My thoughts are not your thoughts,etc. What is foolishness with men is wisdom with God, 1 Corinthians 1:18 sqq. God is great in littleness, strong in weakness, glorious in lowliness, wise in foolishness. Just for that reason He is approachable. The poor and lowly do not take offence at this form of His appearance. No, just thus He is comprehensible to them. But the wise and prudent are sifted by it as through a sieve. Whoever holds his head so high that he cannot go through the narrow gate, must remain without. He is not fit to be in the kingdom of God. But whoever is not offended at the gospel of the manger and of the cross, will be sensible that there is in it a power and wisdom that is as high as heaven above all the wisdom of both scribes and philosophers. The second objection runs: the sermon that, according to Isaiah 55:1-3, demands only hearing and accepting must remain without effect. This objection also is groundless. For it is with the word that announces God’s lofty thoughts, as it is with the products of the physical atmosphere that descend to the earth, in order to render the latter capable of unfolding its life forces. Rain and snow do not return without accomplishing their ends, but they fructify (הוליד cause to give birth, comp. Isaiah 66:9; 1 Chronicles 2:18) the earth, and cause it to bring forthצֶמַח (sprouts comp. on Isaiah 4:2) and give seed to the sower and bread to the eater. The efficiency of the word should be designated as (see Text and G.) an actual certainty. I translate כי אם simply by “but.” The word of God (and one may think here of all that is called λόγος θεοῦ), does not return empty. Thus it is expressly said of it that it does return. And in fact every thing that goes out from God, also that word spoken or written by men by the power of His Spirit, must, as an eternal, real, divine existence, unite itself again with its original source; or more correctly: what comes out of God remains also eternally in God.

3. For ye shall——not be cut off.

Isaiah 55:12-13. כִּי, “for”, beginning Isaiah 55:12, introduces the proof of the statement of Isaiah 55:11. The word of God shall return, not unsuccessful, but wholly successful. For Israel shall go forth and be led with joy. Such is just the efficiency of that word of God that is meant, Isaiah 55:1-3. It is clear that. the Prophet cannot mean the future departure out of the Babylonian exile. But he does mean an exodus of which that physical exodus is only the type. For the historical redemption out of the Exile is both a type and a pledge of the redemption out of the exile of sin, out of the bondage of the devil. The same God that would and could redeem “the fleshly Israel” out of the corporeal exile, will by force of the same love and power redeem the spiritual Israel out of the spiritual exile. And in that exodus Israel will rejoice, and be led in peace. And the non-personal creation will share in Israel’s joy: the mountains, and the hills will break forth into singing, and all trees clap their hands. That this could not be on the occasion of the corporeal exodus from Babylon, is clear. It is manifest, then, that the Prophet intends a much higher, a spiritual exodus. But this latter also has its gradations. When once nature itself is penetrated with spirit and glorified ( Isaiah 65:17; Isaiah 66:22; Romans 8:21), then, what in the word of the Prophet is not merely poetic imagery, but real contents of life, will at last receive its entire accomplishment. In the time the Prophet thinks of, noxious growths will give place to noble growths that bring a blessing with them. Instead of נעצוץ (again only Isaiah 7:19, therefore a genuine Isaianic word) shall grow up the cypress (comp. on Isaiah 41:19), instead of the flea-bane (סִרְפָּד, ἅπ. λεγ., its meaning is debated, comp. Gesen,Thes., and Herz,R-Enc. XIV, p666. I translate, with Delitzsch, after the LXX, Aqu. Theod,κόνυζα, flea-wort, flea-bane), the myrtle (see on Isaiah 41:19). We had similar expressions, Isaiah 35:1 sqq.; Isaiah 41:18 sq.; Isaiah 44:23; Isaiah 49:13; Isaiah 52:9. This glorious act of salvation shall redound to the Lord’s everlasting renown, and be an everlasting monument of His love, power, and wisdom.

Footnotes:

FN#8 - Heb. the man of iniquity.

FN#9 - Heb. he will multiply to pardon.

FN#10 - cypress.

FN#11 - flea-wort.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. On Isaiah 55:1-3. “Hoc periphrasi allegorica (sitiendi et carendi pecunia) notantur ii, quibus arida est conscientia ex aestu irae divinae propter peccata, quique anxie sitiunt gratiam Dei ac remissionem peccatorum, quam se propriis operibus consequi posse plane desperant.”—Foerster.

2. On Isaiah 55:1. “It is no legal commanding and ordering, that gives nothing of which it speaks, but an evangelical offer and invitation, that also gives what it demands. He who gives the command to come, also gives the strength to enable one to come, i. e., faith ( Matthew 11:23; John 6:27; John 6:44).”—Starke.

3. On Isaiah 55:1. Robustis, qui tentationibus peccati et mortis exercentur, datur vinum ad consolationem; rudibus autem et infirmis datur lac ad alimentum, quo instituuntur et docentur.”—Luther. “In Proconsular Africa the ancient church had a custom of offering to those baptized milk and honey for the new childhood and childishness. But Jerome informs us that they took also wine and milk.”—Stier: Offering milk and honey was an oriental custom.

4. On Isaiah 55:1-2. “The salvation of Christ cannot be bought for money, as Peter let Simon know when he offered money for it: ‘Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money’ ( Acts 8:20). It is not to be obtained by any sort of personal merit or work, trouble, or labor (whoever would have it thus fatigues himself in vain, and can never be satisfied, nor find any comfort for his soul), but by the pure, undeserved divine grace ( Romans 3:23 sq.; Ephesians 2:8).”—Renner.

5. On Isaiah 55:2. “Est confutatio et abrogatio omnium aliarum, religionum, doctrinarum et operum. Quod omnes religiones, omnes doctrinae et studia omnia extra hanc gratiae doctrinam sint frustranea et tamen laboriosa, quae non tranquillum faciant animum sed affligant. Diligenter autem notabis hoc praedicatum, quod tribuit omnibus justitiis, quae sunt extra gratiam, quod scilicet sint laboriosae et tamen frustraneae, sicut sub papa experti sumus”—Luther.

“The Papists make God a sun shop-keeper, who would sell his heaven.”—Foerster.

6. On Isaiah 55:3. The peculiarity of “the sure mercies of David” consists in this, that under no circumstances can they be withdrawn from the throne and kingdom of David. Individuals, yea, even whole races and generations, that belonged to those entitled to them, may be excluded on account of their sin. But taking all together, David’s throne and kingdom shall stand and develop, grow and increase to the elevation and extent that God has determined for it. It is to regard the matter from another side when one says: “No man should doubt the grace of God or despair of it. And when we are assaulted by the doubt whether God will even preserve us in the knowledge of Himself, we should oppose to it the sure mercies of David. For mountains and hills may fall away, but His grace shall not remove from us ( Isaiah 54:10).”—Cramer.

7. On Isaiah 55:3-4. “But what is the contents of the sure mercies promised to David? It is this High, Wonderful One, whom God has set for a Witness to men, in whom they should see the divinity, yea, whom He has made Head of the nations! Therefore a Person? Yes, indeed; the Messiah, the God- Prayer of Manasseh, of whom Isaiah has so long spoken mysteriously, as of the Servant of Jehovah. He is a Person! For I (myself even a person) am surely not to go down beneath myself and find my soul’s contents and life in a thing! That were utterly heathenish. No. A Person is the sure mercy of David, and, indeed, the greatest of all: He in whom God bears witness of Himself to mankind, and in whom God comprehends all mankind as in their Head, Son of God, Son of Prayer of Manasseh, the eternally youthful Lord of mankind, and also her, the Virgin Mary’s, Son. Of such a Lord the virgin mother, and mankind will not have to complain. Since this one must arise in Israel, the true Israel, the Apostle choir, shall draw the remotest heathen to itself, and the latter shall run up with joy because they recognize the almighty, eternal God in His church, as He glorifies it.”—Diedrich.

8. On Isaiah 55:6. “Quaerite eum, dum estis in corpore, dum datur locus poenitentiae, et quaerite non loco sed fide… … Appropinquat autem appropinquantibus sibi (Jac4:8), et filio longo post tempore revertenti laetus occurrit.” Jerome.

9. On Isaiah 55:7. “That is the only way of salvation. First, for a man to turn away from his own will of evil thoughts, and then conversion to God who is rich in pardon, and His pity will not tarry.” Umbreit.

10. On Isaiah 55:8. “One of the most sublime passages of Scripture, where more than commonly the נאם יהוה should evince itself as a truth to every conscience… … Whoever in such discourses is unable to hear the speaking Person of God, lacks something in his own personality; he has not yet become a thou that the greatest I may address.” Stier.

11. On Isaiah 55:8-9. The human heart comprehends with difficulty the doctrine that “God hath concluded all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all.” But such as do comprehend it exclaim with Paul: “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!” ( Romans 11:32 sq.).—“Quanto sum sublimior, tanto et clementior.” Grotius in Stier.—“Not merely the thoughts of an adulterer, fornicator, thief, are deep beneath the divine thoughts, but also those that to reason are good, holy human thoughts of reformation, of the way of salvation and righteousness, are not good for anything, until they attain the elevation of compassion and pardon. Especially in respect to justification, God declares all דְּרָכִים [“ways”], i. e. even religions, doctrines and wise ones among men, basely false, because in the best case they ever obstinately wish to bring price and money for His grace! They ever wish to help themselves, though it is before their eyes that even in nature nothing grows on earth without rain from above.” Stier.

12. On Isaiah 55:10-11. “The prophetic preaching since Deuteronomy 32:1 is frequently compared to rain, and the word is also conceived of as a messenger, envoy of God, Isaiah 9:7 (8); Psalm 107:20; Psalm 147:15 sqq. The personification assumes that the word is no mere sound or letter. Emitted from the mouth of God, it acquires form, and in this form it conceals divine life by reason of its divine origin, and so it runs, alive of God, endued with divine power, charged with divine commissions, as a swift messenger through nature and the world of men, there for instance to melt the ice, here to protect and save, nor does it come back from its round of errands until it has made the will of its Sender operative. This return of the word of God also presupposes a divine essence in that word. The will of God that is concrete and audible in the word is the expression of His essence, and resolves itself into this again as soon as it is fulfilled. The images chosen are rich with allusions. As snow and rain are the mediate cause of growth, and thus also of the enjoyment of what is harvested, so also by the word of God the ground and soil of the human heart is softened, refreshed and made fertile and vegetative, and this word gives the Prophet, who is like the sower, the seed which he scatters, and it brings with it bread that nourishes the soul; for every word that proceeds from the mouth of God is also bread ( Deuteronomy 8:3). The particular point of comparison, however, is the energy with which the word converts itself into reality.”—Delitzsch.

13. On Isaiah 55:12-13. “Away with the base, stale thoughts, as if God the Lord were here only letting lofty words sound through His Prophet, about all the conveniences of the journey for the small number of Jews of that time! This Exodus, this return home of the redeemed, is something quite different, extends indeed in the long perspective through much and various till the goal is reached. The first exodus from the world and sin is meant, thus indeed from Israel that has become unholy, into the reproach of Christ—furthermore the whole way of the church since that time, with all its recurring goings forth, presenting themselves in such variety of ways, finally, and indeed in the most perfect sense, the last redemption to the glory of the children. For again Israel’s return out of obduracy will furnish the last prelude that will be the reconciliation of type and reality.” Stier.

HOMILETICAL HINTS

1. On Isaiah 55:1-5. The LORD a merchant. 1) He invites the whole world to buy2) The price He demands is not money nor performance, but that men will let Him present His wares to them3) His wares; He offers the mercy of David, that gives peace to all the world.

2. On Isaiah 55:1-5. Missionary Sermon. “God’s invitation to the sure mercies in Christ. 1) We hear in it the call of a love that wills that help be extended to all men2) We see in it the law of a wisdom that has resolved to save all nations by a Mediator3) We find in it the reminder of a promise that continues still to-day to be fulfilled among the nations”—“Missions the best glorifying of the kingdom of Christ. For1) They help the constitution of the kingdom to attain its rights2) They set the Lord of the kingdom in the full light3) They bring the distant members of the kingdom into full course.” Dr. Zapff.

3. On Isaiah 55:1. “What God does not work in us Himself He does not recognize as His own. Therefore no compelling law is needed here, no command nor prohibition. For faith does all that is to be done in a free spirit. That Isaiah, it surrenders itself to God, who works everything in us out of grace. And that, also, is what Isaiah preaches, that we should come to the Lord in order to hear Him and to buy wine and milk for nothing.” Arndt, Wahres Christenthum, III:2, 4.

4. [On Isaiah 55:1. “Our buying without money intimates, (1) That the gifts offered us are invaluable and such as no price can be set upon. Wisdom is that which cannot be gotten for gold. (2) That He who offers them has no need of us, nor of any returns we can make Him. He makes us these proposals, not because He has occasion to sell, but because He has a disposition to give. (3) That the things offered are already bought and paid for. Christ purchased them at the full value, with price, not with money, but with His own blood, 1 Peter 1:19. (4) That we shall be welcome to the benefits of the promise, though we are utterly unworthy of them, and cannot make a tender of anything that looks like a valuable consideration.” M. Henry].

5. On Isaiah 55:6. “God has neither time nor place, is ever ready to help and to give, stands every moment before our door ( Revelation 3:20). His time is all time, but our time is not all time” ( Psalm 95:8; Hebrews 3:7; Hebrews 3:13; Hebrews 3:15; Hebrews 4:7). Arndt, ibid. II, 34, 12.

6. [On Isaiah 55:7. A call to repent. I. What it is to repent. (1) It is to turn from sin; it is to forsake it, and with loathing, “forsake his way.” There must be not only a change of way, but a change of mind, “forsake his thoughts.” Repentance, if it be true, strikes at the root and washes the heart from wickedness. (2)It is to return to the Lord: as to our sovereign Lord against whom we have rebelled; as to the fountain of life-giving waters.—II. The encouragement to repent. (1) God will have mercy. Misery is the object of mercy. Now the consequences of sin, by which we have become truly miserable ( Ezekiel 16:5-6), and the nature of repentance, by which we are made sensible of our misery and are brought to bemoan ourselves ( Jeremiah 31:18) make us objects of pity, and with God these are tender mercies. (2) He will abundantly pardon. Though our sins have been very great and very many, and oft repeated, and we are still prone to offend. After M. Henry].

7. On Isaiah 55:8-9. “The consolations afforded by these words. 1) We learn from them self-renunciation2) We learn faith from them3) We gain from them the right hope.” Ed. Engelhardt, in Manch. Gaben, etc., III. Jahrg., p602.

8. On Isaiah 55:8-11. “The comparison of the divine thoughts and ways with ours. 1) They are different from ours2) They are more efficient than ours.” Nesselmann, Ibid, 1870, p477.

9. On Isaiah 55:8-9. “One must take care that an exhortation to repentance with the promise of the gracious forgiveness of sins precede. . . . Thus the meaning is: do not wonder that I say, with God is much forgiveness, and He will have compassion even on the wicked and malicious, if they turn to Him. For ye men are so minded that ye do not willingly forgive and forget, when one has treated you roughly and often offended you. Therefore ye judge me according to your sentiment and thoughts, as if I too were so hard and unwilling to forgive. But my thoughts and my sentiment are in this respect as far from yours as heaven from earth.” Scriver, Seelenschatz, II, Th. 8 Pred. § 13.

10. On Isaiah 55:10-11. Comparison of the word with rain and snow. 1) Both come down from heaven2) Both operate fruitfully upon the earth3) Both return to heaven, but not without having successfully done their work on earth.

11. On Isaiah 55:12-13. The departure of the people of God out of the exile of sin, and evil. 1) That such a thing is to be looked for2) When it is to be looked for3) How it will be accomplished (in joy which shall be felt not only by redeemed mankind, but also by the impersonal creation).

Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.
Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/isaiah-55.html. 1857-84.

Wells of Living Water Commentary

The Great Invitation

Isaiah 55:1-13

INTRODUCTORY WORDS

Isaiah 55:1-13 is a marvelous appendix to the fifty-second and fifty-third chapters. In discussing the fifty-third chapter we saw the marvelous story of redemption. The fifty-fourth chapter follows with God's appeal to Israel to sing because of the promise of her marvelous enlargement. God tells her she will break forth on the right hand, and on the left hand, that her seed will inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate city to be inhabited. The assurance is given to Israel that God, who is her Maker, is her Husband; He is also her Redeemer. In His wrath He hid His face from her, but in loving-kindness He will yet have mercy.

Isaiah 55:1-13 is the call of the Prophet for Israel to return to her Lord. She is asked why she is turned aside to strangers, and why she is spending her money for that which is not bread, and her labor for that which satisfieth not. God has promised to do wonderful things for His people, Israel, and yet there are some things which they must do. They must seek the Lord. They must forsake their ways and thoughts, and return to God. Then the promise is given that they shall go forth with joy. At that time the thorns shall be supplanted by fir trees, and instead of the briars there shall come up the myrtle trees.

In a previous study we failed to give any dispensational teaching. For our part we are satisfied that the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah definitely sets forth the very prayer and heart throbs of Israel toward the Lord Jesus Christ in the day of our Lord's coming to the Mount of Olives. It is then that the expression in the fifty-second chapter, "Thy God reigneth" will also be realized. It is then that He will make bare His holy arm in the eyes of all nations, and all will see the salvation of Israel's God. It is then that Israel, in the language of Isaiah 53:1-12, will, in the anguish of her soul, cry for mercy.

When Christ was despised and rejected of men Israel hid, as it were, their faces from Him, and esteemed Him not. In the hour of Christ's Return she will cry, "Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows, yet we did esteem Him smitten, stricken of God, and afflicted." The prophecy of these wonderful verses in chapter fifty-three will be fulfilled.

Chapter fifty-five presents God's call to Israel to return. The fifty-fifth chapter was written of the day of Israel's return, yet it has a very potent message to each lost sinner, and to each saved sinner of every age.

One of the marvels of the Bible is the fact that it gives a twofold message at one and the same time. First, a message distinctive to a certain class and race; and yet a message definitely delivered for all. This is set forth by the Spirit through Timothy where we read, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." The Word of God may have a dispensational meaning, and yet at the same time a general message. In other words, the same thing written to Israel, conveys a marvelous instruction to the Church. God's dealings with the Gentiles are along the same lines as His dealings with the Jews, for there is no difference, for "All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God," and all must be saved by the same Lord, and the same sacrifice.

I. THE UNIVERSALITY OF GOD'S CALL (Isaiah 55:1 )

1. God's great WHOSOEVER. "Ho, every one that thirsteth." This "every one" makes us think of John 3:16 : "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." We read of one dear man who thought it would be so wonderful to have his name in the Bible, so he had a printer put his name in this verse instead of "whosoever." When it was done, he became alarmed, "Because," said he, "there may be a hundred men who bear my name, and I might not be the one to whom God referred." Thus he decided to leave the words as God wrote them.

2. God's great "if any man." In John 10:9 we read, "By Me if any man [shall] enter in." Whosoever includes everybody. It means me, or you, or anyone else. However, in the expression "any man" there is a significance that had an appeal to some who have imagined that they were too deep in sin. They may have felt themselves not included even in whosoever, which takes on, perhaps, too general a meaning. God, therefore, narrowed it down and out of the multiplied millions of men invited, He addressed each individual personally and said, "If any man."

3. God's great "not willing that any should perish." These words are found in 2 Peter 3:9 . Here is something that shows more than God's willingness to save; it shows God's unwillingness that men should be lost. God might have put a "whosoever may come" knowing that whosoever could not come, therefore God, not willing that any man should perish, provided a way for every man and any man by which he might approach God and be saved. That way was the Cross. God's "every one," "whosoever," and "any man," in order to be saved, must come to the Waters. He must drink if he would have his thirst assuaged; he must eat if he will have his hunger relieved. The last chapter of the Bible says, "Whosoever will, let him take the Water of Life freely." Do not forget this: while God is willing, the sinner must also be willing.

II. A STARTLING QUESTION (Isaiah 50:2 )

As God looks at the sinner He asks him, "Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not?" We have often wondered to ourselves why a sinner would live for the things that die, that fade, and pass away. Why should he build his house upon the sand? Let us suggest three other great questions:

1. Where art thou? God asked this of Adam, as He came, walking in the garden of Eden. It is the first great question of the Old Testament Let each unsaved young man or young woman of our day hear God asking this same question. Let each consider what his response will be. Are they hiding, or running away from His call? God is still saying, "Where art thou?"

2. What hast thou done? This is the second great question of Genesis 3:1-24 . It was asked in the garden, as God laid before the woman the wide scope, and result of her disobedience. Every sinner should face this same query. When we live in sin, let us stop to consider the wreckage which our life is causing, not to others alone, but to ourselves as well. The earth is filled with heartaches and groanings, sorrows and sighings all the result of sin.

3. The third question is the first question of the New Testament. God says, in Genesis: "Where art thou?" and, "What hast thou done?" The sinner as he struggles under the answer which must be given to God, cries out, "Where is He that is born King of the Jews?" He is now seeking a Saviour, a refuge, a shelter from his sins. After all, the greatest question that every sinner must face, is, "What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?"

III. A STRIKING ADMONITION (Isaiah 55:3-4 )

There are three things which God says to us.

1. Incline your ear. There are some people who are like the people stoning Stephen. They have their fingers in their ears. They refuse to listen to God's queries, or to pay attention to His warnings. They shut Him out of their lives. Every one will grant that God is calling, calling, calling, but man is refusing to hear. Christ said, "Having ears, ye hear not." Let us then "incline" our ears.

2. Come unto Me. This is the second admonition. The verse continues: "Come unto Me: hear, and your soul shall live." You can almost see the Master as He stood among the weary and worn people and said, "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." You can almost see Him on the great day, that last day of the feast, as He cried, saying, "If any man thirst, let him come unto Me." Our Lord still calls. He is a Refuge from the storm, a Shadow of a great rock in a weary land; He is the "Rock that is higher than I." He is the Ark of our redemption, and He is saying, "Come unto Me."

3. Seek ye the Lord. This is the third appeal. First, it was "Incline," then "Come," and now it is "Seek." We remember the promise, Then shall ye "find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart." We remember, also, how Jesus said, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." We have a seeking Saviour, for we read, "The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." If there is also a seeking sinner, we are sure that it will not take long for the two to come together.

IV. CONDITIONS OF BLESSING (Isaiah 55:7 )

The Lord is leading us, step by step. First of all He gave His great call to every one that thirsted. Secondly, He gave His startling query, "Wherefore?" This was to arouse the people to a sense of their need, and to the fact of their wasted lives. Thirdly, He gave His admonition calling upon them to incline their ears, to come unto Him, and to seek Him. Now, in Isaiah 55:7, He is giving the conditions under which they may find Him, and be blessed. These conditions are threefold.

1. "Let the wicked forsake his way." In Isaiah 53:1-12, two chapters before this study, we find a verse which reads, "We have turned every one to his own way." This expression carries with it the very essence of sin. Sin is the transgression of the Law. Transgression is taking our way, and our will, against the way and will of our Lord. Salvation is bringing us back into His will and way. In order to walk with Him, we must forsake our own path. Sin is rebellion against the Almighty, a star disorbed out of its circuit, unhelmed, wandering in its mad way. To such a sinner is reserved the blackness of darkness forever. It is for this cause the Lord says, "Let the wicked forsake his way."

2. Let the unrighteous forsake his thoughts. Our thoughts are not His thoughts any more than our ways are His ways. There is a span between the two that is as far as the heavens are separated from the earth. The thoughts of the sinful heart is only evil continually. Not only that, but sinful thoughts are self-centered, and not God-centered. It is necessary, therefore, for the unrighteous to forsake his thoughts.

3. Let them return unto the Lord. The suggestion here is that Israel once knew the Lord. However, the sinner may return unto the Lord. Even if he has never known Him personally, his progenitors knew Him. And even the ungodly of today have known much about the Lord. Yet he has been wandering from God every day, farther and farther away. Now he must turn about, retrace his steps, and follow the Master.

V. WHAT GOD WILL DO (Isaiah 55:7 )

Linked with the conditions of blessing are given the promises of blessing. Three things are stated.

1. God will have mercy. When Moses wanted to see God, God said, "I will cause my [mercy] to pass before you." Mercy is as much the character of God, as is His love or His justice. Mercy is God's spirit of forgiveness toward an enemy. The ark of the covenant, which Moses, under God's directions built, was covered with a mercy seat. It was over this mercy seat that the cherubims were placed, looking downward. It was there the blood was sprinkled. The mercy of God is not contrary to His justice. God could not be merciful to a criminal so long as his sins were upon him. God's mercy is made possible through the Blood of the Cross.

In First John we read that Christ is the propitiation for our sins. Propitiation bears the thought of the mercy seat, and might well read, "He is the mercy seat for our sins, and not for ours only, but for the sins of the whole world." The mercy seat where the blood of atonement was sprinkled, was the basis of God's mercy upon those who return unto Him.

2. God will abundantly pardon. He not only forgives the sinner, but He forgives abundantly, in large measure. Pardon is based upon mercy, and mercy is based upon the Blood of the Cross. God does not pardon because He is sorry for the sinner, but because in His mercy, Jesus Christ was made an offering for sin. We are not forcing a New Testament message into an Old Testament statement. The promise of Isaiah 55:1-13, that God will abundantly pardon, is based upon the fact of Christ bearing our sins as our Substitute, as expressed in Isaiah 53:1-12 .

3. God will give life. We go back to Isaiah 55:3 to read, "And your soul shall live." In Ezekiel we read of Israel, polluted in her sins, and cast out to the loathing of her person. Then God said, "Live, live!" How wonderful is the story of a new life, of redemption, and regeneration. We are not only saved, but pardoned, and the life of God is richly given to us.

VI. THE CERTAINTY OF GOD'S PROMISES (Isaiah 55:10-11 )

1. The fruitfulness of His Word. The Word which cometh forth from the mouth of the Lord is likened here unto the rain and the snow from heaven, watering the earth, and making it to bring forth and bud. This very thing is stated again and again in the Bible. The Word of God is described as a life-giving Word.

The Epistle of Peter says, "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever." In Titus we read, "According to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost." This washing of regeneration is the washing of the Word. Praise God that the seed which is sown is the Word of God, and the new life which is begotten in the believer is begotten through the Divine quickening of that seed.

2. The refreshingness of His Word. The rain and the snow, which water the earth, turns a dry, barren waste into a budding, fruitful field. So is the Word which cometh forth from His mouth. The first Psalm speaks of the blessed man whose delight is in the Law of the Lord. It also describes that blessed man under the figure of a tree which bringeth forth his fruit in his season, whose leaf shall not wither. This is realized because the blessed Man is planted by the rivers of water the Law of the Lord, in which the blessed man delights.

Joshua was admonished to meditate day and night in the Word of the Lord, and he was promised prosperity and success. Who has ever failed to observe in nature the new life, after a wonderful rain has soaked the earth?

3. The effectiveness of His Word. Isaiah 55:11 tells us this Word will not return void. It is a Word which brings things to pass, and prospers in the thing whereto it is sent. If we who are ministers, and personal workers would realize more of the power of His Word we would preach His Word instead of our own ideas. In fact, we are admonished to preach the Word.

VII. THE CLIMACTIC RESULTS (Isaiah 55:12-13 )

Some one has said that the middle verses of this remarkable chapter are a wicket gate through which the sinner may pass from the thirst, the hunger, and the waste of the first two verses, into the joy, peace, and singing of the last two verses. To us this is very suggestive. The chapter opens with, "Ho, every one that thirsteth!" with the call, "Come and eat," and with the query, "Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not?"

These verses plainly depict an unsatisfied heart and a life weary and worn. The last two verses are filled with exaltation. There is a going out with joy. The very mountains and hills are breaking forth into singing, the trees are clapping their hands. The fir trees and the myrtle trees are in full sway. This is a graphic picture, and how did it all happen? The sinner passed through the wicket gate of Isaiah 55:7 and Isaiah 55:8 . Let us pause to consider these climactic results:

1. Ye shall go out with joy.

2. Ye shall be led forth with peace.

3. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree.

We have grouped these marvelous statements together because of our lack of room, to enlarge upon them. We know by experience that this threefold statement is true. We came to the Lord through the wicket gate. We left our sorrows and sighings behind us; and went forth with joy, and with sweet peace flooding our souls. The sense of our sin was gone. We knew it was laid upon Christ. We experienced the peace of God which passeth understanding. We now have fruitfulness, where once there were thorns and thistles, when the harvest of our evil ways was upon us. We now grow myrtle trees and fir trees, and our lives are fruitful unto every good work and word.

AN ILLUSTRATION

"THE GREAT INVITATION"

"Good News of Salvation. Frank Anderson was a 'bell hop' in a Toledo, Ohio, hotel. One day while the boy was in his room two Indianapolis attorneys knocked at his door. Without trying to find out who his visitors were he ordered them to 'git away from that door.' However, they did not 'git' until they had informed the lad that a deceased aunt of his had left him $25,000 in her will.

"Christ is seeking entrance into every life, not only to impart the 'good news' of salvation, but to take up His abiding place in the heart.

"Isn't it strange that men will not welcome Him in?"

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Bibliographical Information
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lwc/isaiah-55.html.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

Isaiah

THE CALL TO THE THIRSTY

Isaiah 55:1 - Isaiah 55:13.

The call to partake of the blessings of the Messianic salvation worthily follows the great prophecy of the suffering Servant. No doubt the immediate application of this chapter is to the exiled nation, who in it are summoned from their vain attempts to find satisfaction in the material prosperity realised in exile, and to make the only true blessedness their own by obedience to God’s voice. But if ever the prophet spoke to the world he does so here. It is no unwarranted spiritualising of his invitation which hears in it the voice which invites all mankind to share the blessings of the gospel feast.

The glorious words need little exposition. What we have to do is to see that they do not fall on our ears in vain. They may be roughly divided into two sections-the invitation to the feast, with the promises to the obedient Israel [Isaiah 55:1 - Isaiah 55:5], and the summons to the necessary preparation for the feast, namely, repentance, with the reason for its necessity, and the encouragements to it in the might of God’s faithful promises [Isaiah 55:6 - Isaiah 55:13].

I. Whose voice sounds so beseechingly and welcoming in this great call, which rings out to all thirsty souls? If we note the ‘Me’ and ‘I’ which follow, we shall hear God Himself thus taking the office of summoner to His own feast. By whatever media the gospel call reaches us, it is in reality God’s own voice to our hearts, and that makes the responsibility of hearing more tremendous, and the folly of refusing more inexcusable.

Who are invited? There are but two conditions expressed in Isaiah 55:1, and these are fulfilled in every soul. All are summoned who are thirsty and penniless. If we have in our souls desires that all the broken cisterns of earth can never slake-and we all have these-and if we have nothing by which we can procure what will still the gnawing hunger and burning thirst of our souls-and none of us has-then we are included in the call. Universal as are the craving for blessedness and the powerlessness to satisfy it, are the adaptation and destination of the gospel.

What is offered? Water, wine, milk-all the beverages of a simple civilisation, differing in their operation, but all precious to a thirsty palate. Water revives, wine gladdens and inspirits, milk nourishes. All that any man needs or desires is to be found in Christ. We shall not understand the nature of the feast unless we remember that He Himself is the ‘gift of God.’ What these three draughts mean is best perceived when we listen to Him saying, in a plain quotation of this call, ‘If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink.’ Nothing short of Himself can satisfy the thirst of one soul, much less of all the thirsty. Like the flow from the magic fountain of the legend, Jesus becomes to each what each most desires.

How does He become ours? The paradox of buying with what is not money is meant, by its very appearance of contradiction, to put in strongest fashion that the possession of Him depends on nothing in us but the sense of need and the willingness to accept. We buy Christ when we part with self, which is all that we have, in order to win Him. We must be full of conscious emptiness and desire, if we are to be filled with His fulness. Jesus interpreted the meaning of ‘come to the waters’ when He said, ‘He that cometh to Me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst.’ Faith is coming, faith is drinking, faith is buying.

The universal call, with is clear setting forth of blessing and conditions of possessing, is followed by a pleading remonstrance as to the folly of lavishing effort and money on what is not bread. It is strange that men will cheerfully take more pains to continue thirsty than to accept the satisfaction which God provides. They toil and continue unsatisfied. Experience does not teach them, and all the while the one real good is waiting to be theirs for nothing.

‘‘Tis heaven alone that is given away;

‘Tis only God may be had for the asking.’

Christ goes a-begging, and we spend our strength in vain toil to acquire what we turn away from when it is offered us in Him. When the great Father offers bread for nothing, we will not have it, but we are ready to give any price for a stone. It is not the wickedness, but the folly, of unbelief, which is the marvel.

The contrast between the heavy price at which men buy hunger, and the easy rate at which they may have full satisfaction, is further set forth by the call to ‘incline the ear,’ which is all that is needed in order that life and nourishment which delights the soul may be ours. ‘Hearken, and eat’ is equivalent to ‘Hearken, and ye shall eat.’ The real ‘good’ for man is only to be found in listening to and obeying the divine voice, whether it sound in invitation, promise, or command. The true life of the soul lies in that listening receptiveness which takes for one’s own God’s great gift of Christ, and yields glad obedience to His every word.

The exiled Israel was promised an ‘everlasting covenant’ as the result of their acceptance of the invitation; and we know whose blood it is that has sealed the new covenant, which abides as long as Christ’s fulness and men’s need shall last. That covenant, of which we seldom hear in Isaiah, but which fills a prominent place in Jeremiah and Ezekiel, is further explained as being ‘the sure mercies of David.’ This phrase and its context are difficult, but the general meaning is clear. The great promises of God’s unfailing mercy, made to the historical founder of the royal house, shall be transferred and continued, with inviolable faithfulness, to those who drink of the gift of God.

This parallel between the great King and the whole mass of the true Israel is further set forth in Isaiah 55:4 - Isaiah 55:5. Each begins with ‘Behold,’ and the similar form indicates similarity in contents. The son of Jesse was in some degree God’s witness to the heathen nations, as is expressed in several psalms; and, what he was imperfectly, the ransomed Israel would be to the world. The office of the Christian Church is to draw nations that it knew not, to follow in the blessed path, in which it has found satisfaction and the dawnings of a more than natural glory transfiguring it. They who have themselves drunk of the unfailing fountain in Christ are thereby fitted and called to cry to others, ‘Come ye to the waters.’ Experience of Christ’s preciousness, and of the rest of soul which comes from partaking of His salvation, impels and obliges to call others to share the bliss.

II. The second part of the chapter begins with an urgent call to repentance, based upon the difference between God’s ways and man’s, and on the certainty that the divine promises will be fulfilled. The summons in Isaiah 55:6 - Isaiah 55:7 is first couched in most general terms, which are then more closely defined. To ‘seek the Lord’ is to direct conduct and heart to obtain possession of God as one’s own. Of that seeking, the chief element is calling upon Him; since such is His desire to be found of us that it only needs our asking in order to receive. As surely as the mother hears her child’s cry, so surely does He catch the faintest voice addressed to Him. But, men being what they are, a change of ways and of their root in thoughts is indispensable. Seeking which is not accompanied by forsaking self and an evil past is no genuine seeking, and will end in no finding. But this forsaking is only one side of true repentance; the other is return to God, as is expressed in the New Testament word for it, which implies a change of mind, purpose, and conduct. The faces which were turned earthward and averted from God are to be turned God-ward and diverted from earth. Whosoever thus seeks may be confident of finding and of abundant pardon. The belief in God’s loving forgivingness is the strongest motive to repentance, and the most melting argument to listen to the call to seek Him. But there is another motive of a more awful kind; namely, the consideration that the period of mercy is limited, and that a time may come, and that soon, when God no longer ‘may be found’ nor ‘is near.’

The need for such a radical change in conduct and mind is further enforced, in Isaiah 55:8 - Isaiah 55:9, by the emphatic statement of present discord between the exiled Israel and God. Mark that the deepest seat of the discord is first dealt with, and then the manifestation of it in active life. Mark also that the order of comparison is inverted in the two successive clauses in Isaiah 55:8. God’s thoughts have not entered into Israel’s mind and become theirs. The ‘thinkings’ not being regulated according to God’s truth, nor the desires and sentiments brought into accord with His will and mind, a contrariety of ‘ways’ must follow, and the paths which men choose for themselves cannot run parallel with God’s, nor be pleasing to Him. Therefore the stringent urgency of the call to forsake ‘the crooked, wandering ways in which we live,’ and to come back to the path of righteousness which is traced by God for our feet.

But divergence which necessitates repentance is not the only relation between our ways and God’s. There is elevation, transcendency, like that of the eternal heavens, high, boundless, the home of light, the storehouse of beneficent influences which fertilise. If we think of the dreary, flat plains where the exiles were, and the magnificent sweep of the sky over them, we shall feel the beauty of the figure. If ‘My thoughts are not your thoughts’ was all that was to be said, repentance would be of little use, and there would be little to encourage to it; but if God’s thoughts of love and ways of blessing arch themselves above our low lives as the sky bends, pitying and bestowing, above squalor, barrenness, and darkness, then penitence is not in vain, and the low earth may be visited with gifts from the highest heaven.

The certainty that such gifts will be bestowed is the last thought of this magnificent summons. The prophet dilates on that assurance to the end of the chapter. He seems to catch fire, as it were, from the introduction of that grand figure of the lofty heavens domed above the flat earth. In effect, what he says is: They are high and inaccessible, but think what pours down from them, and how all fertility depends on their gifts of rain and snow, and how the moisture which they drop is turned into ‘seed to the sower, and bread to the eater.’ Thinking of that continuous benefaction and miracle, we should see in it a symbol of the better gifts from the higher heavens. So does God’s word come down from His throne. So does it turn barrenness into nodding harvest. So does it quicken undreamed of powers of fruitfulness in human nature and among the forces of the world. So does it supply nourishment for hungry souls, and germs which shall bear fruit in coming years. No complicated machinery nor the most careful culture can work what the gentle dropping rain effects. There is mightier force in it than in many thunder-clouds. The gospel does with ease and in silence what nothing else can do. It makes barren souls fruitful in all good works, and in all happiness worthy of men. Therefore the summons to drink of the springing fountain and to turn from evil ways and thoughts is recommended by the assurance that God’s word is faithful, and all His promises firm.

The final verses [Isaiah 55:12 - Isaiah 55:13] give the glowing picture of the return from exile amid the jubilation of a transformed world, as the strongest motive to the obedient hearkening to God’s voice, to which the chapter has summoned, and as the great instance of God’s keeping His word.

The flight from Egypt was ‘in haste’ [Deuteronomy 16:3]; but this shall be a triumphal exodus, without conflict or alarms. All nature shall participate in the joy. Mountains and hills shall raise the shrill note of rejoicing, and the trees wave their branches, as if clapping hands in delight. This is more than mere poetic rhetoric. A redeemed humanity implies a glorified world. Nature has been involved in the consequences of sin, and will share in the results of redemption, and have some humble reflected light from ‘the liberty of the glory of the sons of God.’

The fulfilment of this final promise is not yet. All earlier returns of the exiled Israel from the Babylon of their bondage to God and the city of God, such as the historical one which the prophet foretold, and the spiritual one which is repeated age by age in the history of the Christian Church and of single penitent souls, point on to that last triumphant day when ‘the ransomed of the Lord shall return,’ and the world be transfigured to match the glory that they inherit. That fair world without poison or offence, and the nations of the saved who inhabit its peaceful spaces, shall be, in the fullest stretch of the words, ‘to the Lord for a name, and for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.’ The redemption of man and his establishing amid the felicities of a state correspondent to His God-given glory shall be to all eternity and to all possible creations the highest evidence of what God is, and His token to all beings.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/isaiah-55.html.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

Evangelical Invitations. B. C. 706.

1 Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money come ye, buy, and eat yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. 2 Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. 3 Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. 4 Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people. 5 Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the LORD thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel for he hath glorified thee.

Here, I. We are all invited to come and take the benefit of that provision which the grace of God has made for poor souls in the new covenant, of that which is the heritage of the servants of the Lord (Isaiah 54:17), and not only their heritage hereafter, but their cup now, Isaiah 55:1. Observe,

1. Who are invited: Ho, every one. Not the Jews only, to whom first the word of salvation was sent, but the Gentiles, the poor and the maimed, the halt and the blind, are called to this marriage supper, whoever can be picked up out of the highways and the hedges. It intimates that in Christ there is enough for all and enough for each, that ministers are to make a general offer of life and salvation to all, that in gospel times the invitation should be more largely made than it had been and should be sent to the Gentiles, and that the gospel covenant excludes none that do not exclude themselves. The invitation is published with an Oyez-Ho, take notice of it. He that has ears to hear let him hear.

2. What is the qualification required in those that shall be welcome--they must thirst. All shall be welcome to gospel grace upon those terms only that gospel grace be welcome to them. Those that are satisfied with the world and its enjoyments for a portion, and seek not for a happiness in the favour of God,--those that depend upon the merit of their own works for a righteousness, and see no need they have of Christ and his righteousness,--these do not thirst they have no sense of their need, are in no pain or uneasiness about their souls, and therefore will not condescend so far as to be beholden to Christ. But those that thirst are invited to the waters, as those that labour, and are heavy-laden, are invited to Christ for rest. Note, Where God gives grace he first gives a thirsting after it and, where he has given a thirsting after it, he will give it, Psalm 81:10.

3. Whither they are invited: Come you to the waters. Come to the water-side, to the ports, and quays, and wharfs, on the navigable rivers, into which goods are imported thither come and buy, for that is the market-place of foreign commodities and to us they would have been for ever foreign if Christ had not brought in an everlasting righteousness. Come to Christ for he is the fountain opened he is the rock smitten. Come to holy ordinances, to those streams that make glad the city of our God come to them, and though they may seem to you plain and common things, like waters, yet to those who believe in Christ the things signified will be as wine and mile, abundantly refreshing. Come to the healing waters come to the living waters. Whoever will, let him come, and partake of the waters of life, Revelation 22:17. Our Saviour referred to it, John 7:37. If any man thirst, let him come to me and drink.

4. What they are invited to do. (1.) Come, and buy. Never did any tradesman court customers that he hoped to get by as Christ courts us to that which we only are to be gainers by. "Come and buy, and we can assure you you shall have a good bargain, which you will never repent of nor lose by. Come and buy make it your own by an application of the grace of the gospel to yourselves make it your own upon Christ's terms, nay, your own upon any terms, nor deliberating whether you shall agree to them." (2.) "Come, and eat make it still more your own, as that which we eat is more our own than that which we only buy." We must buy the truth, not that we may lay it by to be looked at, but that we may feed and feast upon it, and that the spiritual life may be nourished and strengthened by it. We must buy necessary provisions for our souls, be willing to part with any thing, though ever so dear to us, so that we may but have Christ and his graces and comforts. We must part with sin, because it is an opposition to Christ, part with all opinion of our own righteousness, as standing in competition with Christ, and part with life itself, and its most necessary supports, rather than quit our interest in Christ. And, when we have bought what we need, let us not deny ourselves the comfortable use of it, but enjoy it, and eat the labour of our hands: Buy, and eat.

5. What is the provision they are invited to: "Come, and buy wine and milk, which will not only quench the thirst" (fair water would do that), "but nourish the body, and revive the spirits." The world comes short of our expectations. We promise ourselves, at least, water in it, but we are disappointed of that, as the troops of Tema, Job 6:19. But Christ outdoes our expectations. We come to the waters, and would be glad of them, but we find there wine and milk, which were the staple commodities of the tribe of Judah, and which the Shiloh of that tribe is furnished with to entertain the gathering of the people to him, Genesis 49:10,12. His eyes shall be red with wine and his teeth white with milk. We must come to Christ, to have milk for babes, to nourish and cherish those that are but lately born again and with him strong men shall find that which will be a cordial to them: they shall have wine to make glad their hearts. We must part with our puddle-water, nay, with our poison, that we may procure this wine and milk.

6. The free communication of this provision: Buy it without money, and without price. A strange way of buying, not only without ready money (that is common enough), but without any money, or the promise of any yet it seems not so strange to those who have observed Christ's counsel to Laodicea, that was wretchedly poor, to come and buy, Revelation 3:17,18. Our buying without money intimates, (1.) That the gifts offered us are invaluable and such as no price can be set upon. Wisdom is that which cannot be gotten for gold. (2.) That he who offers them has no need of us, nor of any returns we can make him. He makes us these proposals, not because he has occasion to sell, but because he has a disposition to give. (3.) That the things offered are already bought and paid for. Christ purchased them at the full value, with price, not with money, but with his own blood, 1 Peter 1:19. (4.) That we shall be welcome to the benefits of the promise, though we are utterly unworthy of them, and cannot make a tender of any thing that looks like a valuable consideration. We ourselves are not of any value, nor is any thing we have or can do, and we must own it, that, if Christ and heaven be ours, we may see ourselves for ever indebted to free grace.

II. We are earnestly pressed and persuaded (and O that we would be prevailed with!) to accept this invitation, and make this good bargain for ourselves.

1. That which we are persuaded to is to hearken to God and to his proposals: "Hearken diligently unto me, Isaiah 55:2. Not only give me the hearing, but approve of what I say, and apply it to yourselves (Isaiah 55:3): Incline your ear, as you do to that which you find yourselves concerned in and pleased with bow the ear, and let the proud heart stoop to the humbling methods of the gospel bend the ear this way, that you may hear with attention and remark hear, and come unto me not only come and treat with me, but comply with me, come up to my terms " accept God's offers as very advantageous answer his demands as very fit and reasonable.

2. The arguments used to persuade us to this are taken,

(1.) From the unspeakable wrong we do to ourselves if we neglect and refuse this invitation: "Wherefore do you spend money for that which is not bread, which will not yield you, no, not beggar's food, dry bread, when with me you may have wine and milk without money? Wherefore do you spend your labour and toil for that which will not be so much as dry bread to you, for it satisfies not?" See here, [1.] The vanity of the things of this world. They are not bread, not proper food for a soul they afford no suitable nourishment or refreshment. Bread is the staff of the natural life, but it affords no support at all to the spiritual life. All the wealth and pleasure in the world will not make one meal's meat for a soul. Eternal truth and eternal good are the only food for a rational and immortal soul, the life of which consists in reconciliation and conformity to God, and in union and communion with him, which the things of the world will not at all befriend. They satisfy not they yield not any solid comfort and content to the soul, nor enable it to say, "Now I have what I would have." Nay, they do not satisfy even the appetites of the body. The more men have the more they would have, Ecclesiastes 1:8. Haman was unsatisfied in the midst of his abundance. They flatter, but they do not fill they please for a while, like the dream of a hungry man, who awakes and his soul is empty. They soon surfeit, but they never satisfy they cloy a man, but do not content him, or make him truly easy. It is all vanity and vexation. [2.] The folly of the children of this world. They spend their money and labour for these uncertain unsatisfying things. Rich people live by their money, poor people by their labour but both mistake their truest interest, while the one is trading, the other toiling, for the world, both promising themselves satisfaction and happiness in it, but both miserably disappointed. God vouchsafes compassionately to reason with them: "Wherefore do you thus act against your own interest? Why do you suffer yourselves to be thus imposed upon?" Let us reason with ourselves, and let the result of these reasonings be a holy resolution not to labour for the meat that perishes, but for that which endures to everlasting life, John 6:27. Let all the disappointments we meet with in the world help to drive us to Christ, and lead us to seek for satisfaction in him only. This is the way to make sure which will be made sure.

(2.) From the unspeakable kindness we do to ourselves if we accept this invitation and comply with it. [1.] hereby we secure to ourselves present pleasure and satisfaction: "If you hearken to Christ, you eat that which is good, which is both wholesome and pleasant, good in itself and good for you." God's good word and promise, a good conscience, and the comforts of God's good Spirit, are a continual feast to those that hearken diligently and obediently to Christ. Their souls shall delight themselves in fatness, that is, in the riches and most grateful delights. Here the invitation is not, "Come, and buy," lest that should discourage, but, "Come, and eat come and entertain yourselves with that which will be abundantly pleasing eat, O friends!" It is sad to think that men should need to be courted thus to their own bliss. [2.] Hereby we secure to ourselves lasting happiness: "Hear, and your soul shall live you shall not only be saved from perishing eternally, but you shall be eternally blessed:" for less than that cannot be the life of an immortal soul. The words of Christ are spirit and life, life to spirits (John 6:33,63), the words of this life, Acts 5:20. On what easy terms is happiness offered to us! It is but "Hear, and you shall live." [3.] The great God graciously secures all this to us: "Come to me, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, will put myself into covenant-relations and under covenant-engagements to you, and thereby settle upon you the sure mercies of David." Note, First, If we come to God to serve him, he will covenant with us to do us good and make us happy such are his condescension to us and concern for us. Secondly, God's covenant with us is an everlasting covenant--its contrivance from everlasting, its continuance to everlasting. Thirdly, The benefits of this covenant are mercies suited to our case, who, being miserable, are the proper objects of mercy. They come from God's mercy, and are ordered every way in kindness to us. Fourthly, They are the mercies of David, such mercies as God promised to David (Psalm 89:28,29, &c.), which are called the mercies of David his servant, and are appealed to by Solomon, 2 Chronicles 6:42. It shall be a covenant as sure as that with David, Jeremiah 33:25,26. The covenant of royalty was a figure of the covenant of grace, 2 Samuel 23:5. Or, rather, by David here we are to understand the Messiah. Covenant-mercies are all his mercies they are purchased by him they are promised in him they are treasured up in his hand, and out of his hand they are dispensed to us. He is the Mediator and trustee of the covenant to him this is applied, Acts 13:34. They are the ta hosia (the word used there, and by the Septuagint here)--the holy things of David, for they are confirmed by the holiness of God (Psalm 89:35) and are intended to advance holiness among men. Fifthly, They are sure mercies. The covenant, being well-ordered in all things, is sure. It is sure in the general proposal of it God is real and sincere, serious and in earnest, in the offer of these mercies. It is sure in the particular application of it to believers God's gifts and callings are without repentance. They are the mercies of David, and therefore sure, for in Christ the promises are all yea and amen.

III. Jesus Christ is promised for the making good of all the other promises which we are here invited to accept of, Isaiah 55:4. He is that David whose sure mercies all the blessings and benefits of the covenant are. "And God has given him in his purpose and promise, has constituted and appointed him, and in the fulness of time will as surely send him as if he had already come, to be all that to us which is necessary to our having the benefit of these preparations." He has given him freely for what more free than a gift? There was nothing in us to merit such a favour, but Christ is the gift of God. We want one, 1. To attest the truth of the promises which we are invited to take the benefit of and Christ is given for a witness that God is willing to receive us into his favour upon gospel terms, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers, that we may venture our souls upon those promises with entire satisfaction. Christ is a faithful witness, we may take his word--a competent witness, for he lay in the bosom of the Father from eternity, and was perfectly apprised of the whole matter. Christ, as a prophet, testifies the will of God to the world and to believe is to receive his testimony. 2. To assist us in closing with the invitation, and coming up to the terms of it. We know not how to find the way to the waters where we are to be supplied, but Christ is given to be a leader. We know not what to do that we may be qualified or it, and become sharers in it, but he is given for a commander, to show us what to do and enable us to do it. Much difficulty and opposition lie in our way to Christ we have spiritual enemies to grapple with, but, to animate us for the conflict, we have a good captain, like Joshua, a leader and commander to tread our enemies under our feet and to put us in possession of the land of promise. Christ is a commander by his precept and a leader by his example our business is to obey him and follow him.

IV. The Master of the feast being fixed, it is next to be furnished with guests, for the provision shall not be lost, nor made in vain, Isaiah 55:5. 1. The Gentiles shall be called to this feast, shall be invited out of the highways and the hedges: "Thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, that is, that was not formerly called and owned as thy nation, that thou didst not send prophets to as to Israel, the people whom God knew above all the families of the earth." The Gentiles shall now be favoured as they never were before their knowing God is said to be rather their being known of God, Galatians 4:9. 2. They shall come at the call: Nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee those that had long been afar off from Christ shall be made nigh those that had been running from him shall run to him, with the greatest speed and alacrity imaginable. There shall be a concourse of believing Gentiles to Christ, who, being lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to him. Now see the reason, (1.) Why the Gentiles will thus flock to Christ it is because of the Lord his God, because he is the Son of God, and is declared to be so with power, because they now see his God is one with whom they have to do, and there is no coming to him as their God but by making an interest in his Son. Those that are brought to be acquainted with God, and understand how the concern lies between them and him, cannot but run to Jesus Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and Man, and there is no coming to God but by him. (2.) Why God will bring them to him it is because he is the Holy One of Israel, true to his promises, and he has promised to glorify him by giving him the heathen for his inheritance. When Greeks began to enquire after Christ he said, The hour has come that the Son of man should be glorified, John 12:22,23. And his being glorified in his resurrection and ascension was the great argument by which multitudes were wrought upon to run to him.

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Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/isaiah-55.html. 1706.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

All are welcome to the blessings of salvation, to whom those blessings are welcome. In Christ there is enough for all, and enough for each. Those satisfied with the world, that see no need of Christ, do not thirst. They are in no uneasiness about their souls: but where God gives grace, he gives a thirst after it; and where he has given a thirst after it, he will give it. Come to Christ, for he is the Fountain opened, he is the Rock smitten. Come to holy ordinances, to the streams that make glad the city of our God. Come to the healing waters, come to the living waters, Revelation 22:17. Our Saviour referred to this, John 7:37. Come, and buy; make it your own by application of the grace of the gospel to yourselves. Come, and eat; make it still more your own, and enjoy it. The world comes short of our expectations; we promise ourselves, at least, water in it, and we are disappointed; but Christ outdoes our expectations. We come to him, and we find wine and milk. The gifts offered to us are such as no price can be set upon. The things offered are already paid for; for Christ purchased them at the full price of his own blood, 1 Peter 1:19. Our wants are beyond number, and we have nothing to supply them; if Christ and heaven are ours, we see ourselves for ever indebted to free grace. Hearken diligently; let the proud heart stoop; not only come, but accept God's offers. All the wealth and pleasure in the world, will not yield solid comfort and content to the soul. They do not satisfy even the appetites of the body; for all is vanity and vexation. Let the disappointments we meet with in the world, help to drive us to Christ, and to seek for satisfaction in him only. Then, and not before, we shall find rest for our souls. Hear, and your soul shall live. On what easy terms is happiness offered us! By the sure mercies of David, we are to understand the Messiah. All his mercies are covenant mercies; they are purchased by him, they are promised in him, and out of his hand they are dispensed to us. We know not how to find the way to the waters, but Christ is given to be a Leader, a Commander, to show us what to do, and enable us to do it. Our business is to obey him, and follow him. And there is no coming to the Father but by him. He is the Holy One of Israel, true to his promises; and he has promised to glorify Christ, by giving him the heathen for his inheritance.

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Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary

on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhn/isaiah-55.html. 1706.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Hear; hearken attentively and obediently to my counsel; hearing being oft put for obeying, as Deuteronomy 18:15 1 Samuel 15:22,23 Psa 95:7, &c.

Your soul shall live, to wit, comfortably and happily; which only is worthy of the name of life. I will make an everlasting covenant with you; that everlasting covenant of grace and peace which I made with Abraham, and his seed the Israelites, I am ready to make it with every one of you thirsting Gentiles.

Even the sure mercies of David; even that covenant which was made first with Abraham, and then with David, concerning the exhibition of those glorious and sure mercies or blessings which God hath promised to his people, one and the chief of which mercies was the giving of Christ to die for their sins, and to rise again for their justification. This exposition may receive light and strength by comparing this place with Acts 13:33,34. He mentions David rather than Abraham, either,

1. Because these promises, and especially that great promise, which is the foundation of the rest, concerning Christ and his eternal kingdom, were far more frequently, and expressly, and fully made and revealed to David than they were to Abraham. Or,

2. Because David was a more evident and illustrious type of Christ than Abraham was, as being raised from a mean condition to the highest honour, being made a great and most victorious and righteous king, and the first king of that throne upon which the Messiah was to sit. Or,

3. Because the name of David is not here put personally for the king of that name, but patronymically for the Messiah, who was to be David’s Son and successor, and who is therefore called David in the prophetical scriptures, as Jeremiah 30:9 Ezekiel 34:23,24 37:24,25 Ho 3:5; as Rehoboam upon the same account is called David, 1 Kings 12:16. And this is the more probable, because the next verse, which hath a manifest relation to this verse, is confessedly understood of Christ.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/isaiah-55.html. 1685.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

The Call To Respond (Isaiah 55:1-3).

What follows must not be isolated from the context. This appeal is possible because of the work of the Servant. Now salvation is freely open to all.

Isaiah 55:1

‘Ho, every one who thirsts,

Come to the waters,

And he who has no money

Come, buy and eat,

Yes, come, buy wine and milk,

Without money and without price.

The cry is possibly modelled on that of a water-seller or a street vendor as he goes through the streets with his wares. Good drinkable water was not a cheap commodity, and the water-seller had plenty of trade. But here one comes offering a different water, it is the water of life. And we may see the offerer as God, or as the Servant.

This water has been described in Isaiah 44:3-5. It is life-giving water, the water of the Spirit, the water of Yahweh’s blessing. And it produces fruit and brings men in submission to Yahweh. And it is on offer to all who will receive it. And it is water that will satisfy their thirst (compare John 4:14).

And because of the Servant’s work all may come for this water. There is no limit. There is no cost. Even those who have no money are welcome, for it is without price. And there is not only water, but wine and milk and food. God’s abundant provision is for all who will come. They are invited to God’s feast (compare Isaiah 25:6), and it is a feast of mercy and abundant pardon (Isaiah 55:7). It is a call to receive righteousness.

In Proverbs 9:5 it is wisdom that calls men to, ‘Come, eat of my bread and drink of my wine’. Here the Servant offers even more. They may eat and drink of what He has done for them, and receive life through the Spirit.

Isaiah 55:2-3

‘Why do you spend money for that which is not bread?

And your labour for that which does not satisfy?

Listen carefully to me, and eat that which is good,

And let your soul delight itself in fatness.

Incline your ear and come to me,

Hear, and your soul will live.’

The challenge then goes out as to why men spend money on that which is not bread, that which does not really feed and fill them, and why they work so hard to obtain what does not satisfy. For that is what life is for many, working hard and spending money. But they are no better off for it. They are still unsatisfied. They are concentrating their efforts on the wrong thing. They do not find life, and peace and joy. And yet, if they would only listen, God’s Servant is offering them what is good, what will feed and satisfy them to the full. It is something that, if they hear and respond to it, will bring life deep within them.

And what is this wonderful offer? It is to respond to God, to respond to His word and covenant. It is to recognise the work of the Servant. It is to come and be declared righteous through His sacrifice. It is to eat the food of forgiveness, and to drink of God’s mercy and receive new life. It can all be summarised in Isaiah 1:16-19, with the added fact of what the Servant has accomplished.

Isaiah 52:3

And I will make an everlasting covenant with you,

Even the sure mercies of David.’

Here is the essence of it. If His people seek Him truly God will enter into a new covenant with them, an everlasting covenant. This must include the covenant of peace (Isaiah 54:10), which comes from His everlasting covenant love (Isaiah 54:8), whereby they are made right with God and are brought to be at peace with Him, but it also includes the sure promises made to David, the certainty of His worldwide rule under God.

This covenant of peace was sealed through the Servant. It is He Who has enabled peace, and, as the mediator (making intercession and atonement - Isaiah 53:10-12) between God in His antipathy against sin, and man in His sinfulness, has, through the sacrifice of Himself, bearing their sin on Himself where God ‘made it to meet’ (Isaiah 53:6), made it possible for them to become guiltless before God and partake in His resurrection (Isaiah 53:10; Isaiah 26:19; Isaiah 25:8).

But it is more. It is a covenant which includes the sure mercies of David, the promise that God will establish David’s seed for ever on the throne which will be established for ever (2 Samuel 7:16) and that He will give Him the nations for His inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for His possession (Psalms 2:8). It is a promise of worldwide blessing (Genesis 12:3) and worldwide rule, under the Kingly Rule of God. What began with a promise to Abraham has resulted in this glorious fulfilment through the One Who is the Seed of Abraham.

So the covenant that the Servant makes includes the Davidic covenant, and the Servant proves to be in the Davidic line. And this covenant involves His being called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), established by God and given worldwide dominion for ever (Isaiah 9:7) as He divides the spoil of what He has accomplished to all in the nations who respond to Him (Isaiah 53:12).

Much of what this covenant meant for Israel has already been considered. See Isaiah 11:1-9; Isaiah 32:1-2; Isaiah 32:15-17; Isaiah 33:17; Isaiah 33:20-24. But now the cost of it has been revealed (Isaiah 52:13 to Isaiah 53:12) as well as its worldwide success (compare Isaiah 9:7; Isaiah 42:6; Isaiah 49:6).

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/isaiah-55.html. 2013.

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

. The Glorious Blessings of the New Covenant which Yahweh will Make with His People.—Yahweh bids the thirsty come to the waters, the hungry to eat. Their life is now a constant striving issuing only in disillusion; but listening to His call they shall, without effort or cost, enjoy the utmost blessing (fat or oil was considered a great delicacy). He will grant (as a condescension, not "make" as on equal terms) His people a covenant, transferring to them the sure promises of loving-kindness which He made to David. Even as once by crowning his career with success He made David an evidence to the nations of His power and their suzerain, Yahweh will now prosper Zion so that nations as yet unknown shall obey her call, seek union with her, beholding the wonderful blessings wherewith Yahweh honours her.

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Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/isaiah-55.html. 1919.

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary

THE WAY TO LIFE

Isa . Hear, and your soul shall live.

The great secret of all true happiness is obedience to the will of God. And the fruitful cause of misery and discomfort, is the spirit of indifference to the Divine authority and contempt for the commands of Heaven. It is therefore of infinite importance that we should be acquainted with the rule and principle of obedience, and that its delightful effect in promoting our happiness should be so exhibited to our view, and impressed upon our hearts, as to induce and secure the performance of that which God commands. This is one great end of the Scripture revelation, &c. Obedience is enforced by a regard to our own happiness.… Nowhere, perhaps, is this more conspicuous than in this chapter.… And in the text, the principle is again displayed, that obedience to the Divine will is needful in order to receive any good.

I. A GRACIOUS PROCLAMATION FOR AUDIENCE.

1. The Almighty Sovereign by whom the proclamation is made. Marvellous that He should stoop to speak to man, &c. Yet a latent scepticism prevails, leading men to overlook the fact that it is God who addresses them. God is speaking in His Word.

2. The solemn business to which the proclamation relates. The life of our soul—the life of God in the soul, &c.

3. The serious attention to this proclamation demanded. Several terms are brought together. Implies attention, humble submission, obedience (1Sa ; Pro 1:24-26).

II. A MERCIFUL DECLARATION OF DIVINE FAVOUR.

1. The nature of the engagement proposed.

2. The peculiar properties of the covenant. Divine in its origin, eternal in its duration.

3. The invaluable blessings that flow from submission. These mercies are great, numerous, valid. Have you submitted to God? (Rom ).—George Smith, D.D.

I. THE MESSAGE IMPLIED.

When we are commanded to "hear," it is supposed that there is a voice which addresses us. This is none else than the voice of Jehovah, who addresses us in this chapter with peculiar energy and feeling. In the first verse we have an epitome of the whole Gospel. This is the message implied in the text.

II. THE REGARD THIS MESSAGE DEMANDS.

"Hear." This command condemns such as do not hear the gospel when they have the opportunity of doing so. It also reproves such as do so only occasionally, and permit the most trivial engagements and excuses to keep them away from the sanctuary. But more is meant by hearing than your presence in the place where the Gospel is preached. Hear,

1. With attention (H. E. I. 2573-2576);

2. With affection;

3. With believing application (H. E. I. 2654-2658);

4. With obedient compliance;

5. With humble prayer.

III. THE ADVANTAGE PROMISED.

It is a personal, spiritual, great, and sure advantage.—Thornhill Kidd: Fifty-three Sermons, pp. 1-7.

How much of the language of Scripture is language of invitation! He who has the most and best to give is most free in disposing of it; and in this the Divine Benefactor proves that His thoughts and ways are above those of men.

I. THE BLESSING PROFERRED: the life of the soul.

1. The soul was originally made for life.

2. The soul's life is endangered by sin, the wages of which are death.

3. The soul is redeemed by the death of Him who was and is "the Life," even Jesus Christ.

4. The soul is capable of renewal and revival by the quickening influence of the Holy Spirit, "the Lord and Giver of life."

5. It is God's pleasure that the soul should live. The true life of the soul is an immortal life. "Life and immortality" are Gospel gifts.

II. THE CONDITION IMPOSED: attention to the Divine voice.

1. A voluntary act. The first indispensable step in order to life is the giving heed to Heaven's quickening voice.

2. Submission and self-surrender. This is involved in "Hear!" for this requires that self-sufficiency be given up, and that God's voice be heeded as of supreme authority.

3. The approach and obedience of faith. "Come!"

4. The condition is one compatible both with God's grace and with men's freedom. Desert is out of the question; by hearing men cannot merit or earn life. At the same time the condition imposes a true probation to all who are addressed. The terms of life are not hard; they are suitable to man, the receiver; they are honourable to God, the Giver!—Homiletical Library, vol. ii. p. 117.

I. Reasons for a diligent attention to the voice of Christ in His Word.

1. The majesty and grace of Him who addresses you (Isa, and others).

2. The great end proposed by Christ, for which He seeks a conference with you. That your souls may live—live a life of faith, holiness, happiness, &c.

3. The rich consolations which follow a devout reception of the Word. All the blessings of grace and glory.

4. The awful denunciations following a neglected Gospel.

II. Requisites for a profitable attendance.

1. Before you come—meditation and prayer.

2. When you come—with prayer, reverence, faith—Christ is present with all His capacity to bless.

3. Afterwards, aim to retain the impression. Where hearing ends practising begins.—Samuel Thodey.

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/phc/isaiah-55.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

The Reader will not fail to remark, in the very opening of this precious chapter, what an uniformity runs through all gospel proclamations. They are general, they are great, full, free, and extensive. everyone individually, both Jew and Gentile, bond and free, shall be welcome to Christ, if Christ be welcome to them. Yea, the Lord will answer before they call. If they do but thirst for Jesus, it is a proof that he hath made them willing in the day of his power; Isaiah 65:24; Psalms 110:4; John 7:37-39. How sweet and gracious is this? The waters they are called unto, mean the word, the ordinances, and the several means of grace in the gospel: and the sacred viands, milk and wine, mean the body and blood of Christ. Jesus is all this, and infinitely more than all: For his flesh is meat indeed, and his blood is drink indeed; Song of Solomon 5:1; John 6:33-58. The method of purchase differs from all others in the world; it is without money, and without price! Sweet consideration, and blessed encouragement to the poor and needy, who have nothing to buy with, and nothing to offer. The reason is obvious: Christ, the pearl of great price, is not sold, but given: moreover, if he were saleable, who could purchase? See 1 Peter 1:18-19. When all these things are considered, how delightful is the counsel of Jesus, Revelation 3:17-18. I only detain the Reader with one observation more on this passage, just to remark, that as all these mercies in Christ are general, free, full, and extensive; so are they, in Christ Jesus, sure and everlasting; liable to no change, incapable of being lost or taken away; for they are the sure mercies of David; alluding to God's covenant engagements with our spiritual David, the Lord Jesus Christ: compare 2 Samuel 23:5, with Acts 13:34. After such gracious declarations as these, what weakness and folly must it be to seek redemption in anything short of Christ, or in anything but Christ! This, in the language of this scripture, like the man that spends his substance for chaff, and not bread; and his labour for that which cannot satisfy.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/isaiah-55.html. 1828.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Isaiah 55:2-3. Wherefore do ye spend money — All your time, and strength, and cost; for that which is not bread — For those things which can never nourish or satisfy you, such as worldly goods or pleasures. Hearken diligently unto me — Unto my doctrine and counsel; and eat ye that which is good — And not such things as, though they be called and seem to be good, yet really are evil and most pernicious to men. And let your soul delight itself, &c. — In this pleasant food of gospel enjoyments. Hear, and your soul shall live — Hearken attentively and obediently to my counsels, and your immortal souls shall not only be saved from perishing eternally, but shall be eternally blessed and happy. And I will make an everlasting covenant with you — That everlasting covenant of grace and peace which I made with Abraham and his seed. The sure mercies of David — Even that covenant which was made first with Abraham, and then with David, concerning those glorious and sure blessings which I have promised to my people; one, and the chief, of which was the giving Christ to die for their sins. David here seems to be put for Christ the son of David.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/isaiah-55.html. 1857.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Isaiah 55:2-3

I. We have here an invitation, addressed to us by Jehovah Himself, to hearken diligently unto Him, to incline our ear, and to come to Him. There is something peculiarly touching in the invitations of the Word of God, which, if men would but pause and reflect, could not fail to make an impression upon their hearts. "Hearken diligently unto Me," God says; "incline your ear." He would take you, as it were, each one separately by himself, and reason and counsel with you. The matters of which He would treat with you are too important to be handled in a crowd, too sacred to be discussed amid the noise and bustle of worldly avocations. The Lord will have sinners come to Him; He will have all distance annihilated between your souls and Him; He will have you brought into the closest relationship and communion with Himself; He will have you not only within hearing of His voice, but in His very embrace.

II. The reasons for our closing with this invitation are two, and each of them is very weighty. (1) You will be vast gainers if you follow the leadings of the Divine Spirit, and go into conference with God, and embrace His terms. "Hear, and your soul shall delight itself in fatness; hear, and your soul shall live." The life of the believer is the only life of real enjoyment upon earth. What will it be when he dwells with God Himself? (2) To refuse the offer is to lose the soul. "He that sowed to the flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption," and that for ever. He who will not embrace Christ must stand before God with all his guilt upon his head—guilt that cannot then be pardoned; for there remaineth now no more sacrifice for sin.

A. D. Davidson, Lectures and Sermons, p. 472.


References: Isaiah 55:4.—H. Melvill, Penny Pulpit, No. 1507; Clergyman's Magazine, vol. xiii., p. 144.

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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/isaiah-55.html.

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae

DISCOURSE: 981

EXHORTATION TO RECEIVE THE BLESSINGS OF THE GOSPEL

Isaiah 55:1-3.—Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money, come ye, buy and eat; yea, come buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.

WE can never sufficiently admire the condescension and grace of God in noticing such insignificant and worthless creatures as we are. That he should provide for our returning wants, and permit us to ask of him the things we stand in need of, may well excite our deepest astonishment. But that he should be as much interested in our welfare, as if his own happiness and glory depended on it, seems utterly incredible: yet, that this is really the case, is manifest from the earnest invitations and entreaties, which he uses to prevail upon us to accept of mercy. In confirmation of this, we need only notice the passage before us, in which God, with inexpressible affection, labours to awaken the attention of sinners to their own truest happiness, and to bring them to the enjoyment of everlasting salvation.

In his words we may observe,

I. An invitation—

No words could be devised that should more forcibly declare God’s desire for our welfare—

[The blessings of the Gospel are here set forth under the most natural and expressive images. What can be more refreshing than water? more reviving than wine? more nutritious than milk? yet do these but faintly represent the operations of the Gospel on the soul of man. Nor can water or milk be by any means dispensed with; they are altogether necessary for human subsistence: so that on this account also are they fit emblems of spiritual blessings. What would be the state of man if there were no Saviour to atone for him, no Spirit to renew him, no God and Father to preserve and bless him? On the contrary, how revived and animated is he by the promises of pardon and peace, of holiness and glory! Such then are the blessings which God offers to mankind. And to a participation of them he invites every one that thirsteth: every person, whatever have been his character or conduct, is called: if only he thirst, nothing shall be a bar to his acceptance. Yet no man needs to decline the invitation, under the idea that he is not welcome, because he does not thirst enough: if he be willing, that is sufficient [Note: So St. John expounds the passage, Revelation 22:17.]. Nor need any one he discouraged at the thought that he has nothing wherewith to purchase these benefits: for though they are to be bought, it is “without money and without price;” and therefore they “who have no money” are particularly specified in the invitation. Indeed, if any man bring a price in his hand, he shall surely go empty away: Christ has paid the price; nor can we obtain any thing, unless we be willing to receive it as the free gift of God through Christ.

The earnestness with which God entreats us to accept these blessings, is well worthy of our notice. He personates a herald standing in the place of public concourse, and, in the accustomed manner, calling the attention of all around him. He then expatiates on the blessings which he is ready to communicate, and the terms on which he will bestow them: he describes the persons to whose necessities the blessings are suited, and to whose indigence the terms are more especially adapted: and then, as though he were determined to take no refusal, he cries, “Come,” “come,” “come!”]

And shall we despise such a gracious invitation?

[Let us but contemplate the blessings we are invited to partake of: how rich, how suitable, how necessary! — — — Let us reflect on the terms on which they are offered: can any thing be more reviving? — — — Let us recollect who it is that calls us: Is he used to mock his people? or is he incapable of supplying all their wants? — — — Let us consider his description of the persons invited: can any thing be more encouraging? and shall we not be inexcusable if we turn a deaf ear to such entreaties? — — —]

But God, knowing our extreme backwardness to go to him, urges us yet further by,

II. An expostulation—

Our infatuation justly calls for a severe reproof—

[The contemners of God’s invitations may be comprised under two classes, the worldly-minded, and the self-righteous. Both of these despise the offers of the Gospel; the one, because they have no relish for spiritual things; the other, because they think they already possess them: the one find their happiness in the pursuit and enjoyment of earthly things; the other in self-applauding reflections on their own goodness. But we may appeal to both, whether they have ever attained any abiding satisfaction in their respective courses? Have pleasures, riches, or honours ever proved a source of solid peace? Are they “bread” proper for the soul? Does not the comfort, derived from such things, fail us in the hour that we most need it? And will any satisfaction arise from the remembrance of them, when we stand at the bar of judgment? Nor however laudable the conduct of the self-righteous may be in the sight of men, can it yield them the comfort they aspire after: it cannot satisfy either God or their own consciences; not God, because it does not fulfil the demands of his Law; not themselves, because they never can know that they have done enough to procure them acceptance with God: in the midst of all their boasted confidence, they have many misgiving fears lest they should have laboured for nought, and “spent their money for that which is not bread.”

To impress this thought on our minds, God contrasts the blessings ho offers with those which we foolishly prefer. He calls them “good,” and declares that they will “delight the soul with fatness.” And are they not good? What so worthy of this character, as a free and full pardon to the guilty; a peace that passeth all understanding to the troubled; renewed strength to the weak; and everlasting glory to the lost? Can these be received into the soul, and not comfort it? or can they be promised to us by a faithful God, and not satisfy the mind? Surely they are “meat indeed, and drink indeed;” nor can they fail of filling us with “joy unspeakable and glorified.”]

Let us then call ourselves to an account for our conduct—

[Who amongst us has not had abundant experience of the insufficiency of every thing except the Gospel, to make us happy? And shall we yet persist in our error? shall we never cease to “hew out to ourselves broken cisterns,” when we may have access to “the fountain of living waters?” shall we still grasp at a shadow, while we lose the substance? — — — “Wherefore” act we thus? What reason can we assign to ourselves for such obstinacy? and what shall we assign to God, when he shall interrogate us respecting it in the day of judgment? shall we plead a want of information? God has informed us. Shall we say that the blessings of salvation were out of our reach? God has freely offered them to every one of us: nor can any thing but a deliberate rejection of his mercy ever finally destroy us — — —]

Lest any thing should be wanting to affect our hearts, God confirms his invitation with,

III. A promise—

There is not any thing which God will not do for those who obey his call—

[Whatever a carnal man may enjoy, he has no right or title to eternal life. On the contrary, whatever a spiritual man may want, this privilege he shall assuredly possess, “his soul shall live.” Nor shall this life be terminated like the life of the body; for God will make a covenant with him, “an everlasting covenant,” a “covenant ordered in all things and sure;” so that every thing necessary for the maintaining and perfecting of this life shall be secured to him. And as the rather gave unto his Son “the sure mercies of David” by raising him from the dead, and setting him at his own right hand in heaven [Note: Acts 13:34.], so will he bestow on his believing people every thing that he ever promised unto his Church. Notwithstanding he may suffer them for a time to be reduced to a most forlorn and desperate condition, as was the state of Christ when enclosed in the tomb, his mercies shall be “sure” to all his seed, and every soul amongst them shall in due season be exalted to a throne of glory in heaven.

Lest we should still remain unmoved, God calls our attention to this promise, repeating his entreaties with all the energy and affection that words can express. “Hearken,” says he, ‘as to a distant sound which you are solicitous to hear: hearken “diligently,” not suffering any thing to divert your attention for one moment: “incline your ear” as one that is afraid of losing a single word that is spoken to him: “hear,” determining to judge with candour, and to follow the dictates of sound wisdom. Do this,’ says God, ‘and the promise shall be yours: I pledge myself by covenant and by oath that your soul shall live, and that nothing that is good shall be wanting to you either in time or in eternity.’]

How incurably obstinate then must we be, if such accumulated means be used in vain!

[Is the life of the soul a matter of such indifference, that a promise of it shall have no effect on our minds? Shall God engage himself to us by covenant and by oath to supply all our need both of body and soul, and shall we account his word unworthy of our attention? — — — Who ever experienced his blessings, and found them of no value? or whom has he ever deceived, that we dare not trust him? — — — Let us at least remember what an alternative we prefer; we reject life, and happiness, and glory, and embrace death and misery as our eternal portion — — — O that God might prevail at last! that we might now accept his gracious offers; and be made partakers of present and everlasting felicity!]

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Bibliographical Information
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/shh/isaiah-55.html. 1832.

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

It is the language of infinite mercy, speaking to the abject condition of mankind. We have become naked, and poor, and miserable through sin, and God, instead of driving us from his presence, comes loaded with mercy, And thus he speaks to us.

Isaiah 55:1. Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

See the freeness of divine love! See how God who knows the wants of souls, provides all things needful for them — water — the water of life; and as if that were not enough, the wine of joy, the milk of satisfaction; and he offers these freely. But, mark, there is no gain for him: the gain is for ourselves, for he saith, “He that hath no money, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” All that you want, dear friend, God is ready to give you. Do you want these good things? Then come and welcome. It is God who bids you come.

Isaiah 55:2. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not?

Why do you seek to get comfort for your souls where you will never get it? Why do you try to content your immortal nature upon things that will die? There is nothing here below that can satisfy you. Why spend your money then for these things, and your labour for nothing?

Isaiah 55:2. Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.

God has real food for your soul — something that will make you truly happy. He will satisfy you, not with the name of goodness, but with the reality of it, if you will but come and have it. You shall have fullness —you shall have delight — if you are but willing to come and receive it.

Isaiah 55:3. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live;

Then who would not hear — who would not give the attention — if by that attention life immortal may be received?

Isaiah 55:3. And I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.

Will God enter into covenant with sinful men — with thirsty men — with hungry men — with needy men — with guilty men? Ah! that he will. “I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.”

Isaiah 55:4. Behold, I have given him

That is the Son of David — Jesus the Christ — “I have given him.”

Isaiah 55:4. For a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.

If you want anyone to tell you what God is, Jesus Christ is the witness to the character of God. Do you want a leader to lead you back to peace and happiness — a commander by whose power you may be able to fight Satan and all the powers of darkness that hold you in bondage? Has all in Jesus Christ that I can need for time and eternity, and this can all be mine for the asking, and receiving. Shall we not ask and receive?

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Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/isaiah-55.html. 2011.

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

Isaiah 55:1. Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters,-

To the waters which flowed from that smitten Rock of which we have been reading.

Isaiah 55:1-3. And he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me:

See, the way of salvation is through Ear-gate. We must hear the gospel, for it is not what we are to do, but what we are to receive that will save us; and we must come to God to hear it before we can receive it. “Faith cometh by hearing.” Give a very earnest ear, then, to the preaching of the gospel of Christ: “Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.” Again the Lord says, “Incline your ear, and come unto me.”

Isaiah 55:3. Hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.

Says someone, “I can understand God making a covenant with David; but will He make a covenant with me?” Yes, and after the same sure tenor, too: “I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.” God will promise to bless you, and save you, and keep you, and present you in glory in the day of Christ’s appearing; and this shall be a covenant which shall never be broken. Though all things else are changed, yet that covenant shall stand secure for ever. It will fill you with joy when you understand that such a covenant as this is made with you; and you will say, as David did, “Although my house be not so with God; yet He hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure.” Oh, what a blessing it is to have a share in this covenant!

Isaiah 55:4. Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.

“I have given him;” that is, David’s greater Son, the true David, “I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.”

Isaiah 55:5. Behold, thou —

That is, Jesus, the Son of David: “Behold, thou” —

Isaiah 55:5-7. Shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee. Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Oh, that many may put this blessed promise to the proof even now, for Christ’s sake! Amen,

This exposition consisted of readings from Isaiah 53; and Isaiah 55:1-7.

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Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/isaiah-55.html. 2011.

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

Isaiah 55:1. Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat: yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

Remark the wonderful condescension of God, that though the gifts of his grace are so precious that all the world could not buy them, yet he condescends to ask his creature to have those gifts. He stands, as it were, like one who has goods to sell, and he cries, “Ho! such and such a passer-by, turn hither: give ear in this way. Ho! everyone that thirsteth.” If, then, there is any soul that wants God, O soul, God desires you infinitely more than you desire him; and he invites you to come to him. Do not delay.

Isaiah 55:2. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not?

Seeking happiness in a thousand ways with much toil and trouble, but with bitter disappointment.

Isaiah 55:2. Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.

God invites his creature to listen to him. “Do,” saith he “but lend me thine ear a little. Do but hearken diligently to what I have to tell you.” Oh! should not God’s message of love command the attention of all mankind?

Isaiah 55:3. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live;

Salvation does not come to men through the eye, but through the ear. Not what you see in the finery of the priest or the altar. That can do you no good. But listen to the gospel. It is by ear-gate that God’s mercy comes triumphant into the soul of man. “Incline your ear and come unto me. Hear and your soul shall live.”

Isaiah 55:3. And I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.

Here God will strike hands with the sinner and enter into a compact with him — a covenant of mercy and of grace, through Jesus Christ, the Saviour.

Isaiah 55:4. Behold I have given him for a witness to the people,

To bear witness to men of what God is.

Isaiah 55:4. A leader and commander to the people.

For Christ loves the people, and he leads them rightly. He will lead them to glory.

Isaiah 55:5. Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the LORD thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee.

The promise is to Christ. Today are these words fulfilled in our ears, for, in calling these British Isles to know Christ, God has given to the Lord Jesus a people that knew him not. What did our forefathers know of Jesus when he was here below? And yet in this land he has multitudes of hearts that love his name. Oh! that God would give this whole house full of souls to Christ tonight. What a casket it would make full of jewels! Oh! that the gracious Father would bestow it on his Son!

Isaiah 55:6-11. Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith 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. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

Therefore, we are not at all afraid about the success of the preaching of the gospel. Some will be saved tonight wherever Jesus Christ is preached. My dear unsaved hearer, will it be you? I pray it may be. May the Lord grant that this may be the last night of your unregeneracy, and be your spiritual birth-night. Some will be saved. Will you be of the number?

This exposition consisted of readings from Psalms 138.; Isaiah 55:1-11; Romans 8:28-39.

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Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/isaiah-55.html. 2011.

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

Isaiah 55:1-2. Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not?

Why have you sought rest where it can never be found? Why have you craved delights which can never satisfy you? Cease from such folly.

Isaiah 55:2. Hearken diligently unto me, —

Thus speaks the Lord Jehovah: “Hearken diligently unto me, —

Isaiah 55:2-3. And eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, —

“With you” who have any desire for it, — “with you” who hunger and thirst after righteousness, and who have no other recommendation than that, poor as it is, — “I will make an everlasting covenant with you” —

Isaiah 55:3-4. Even the sure mercies of David. Behold, I have given him —

The Son of David, — “great David’s greater Son,” — and God’s own well beloved and only-begotten Son, even Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. God says “I have given him”—

Isaiah 55:4-7. For a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people. Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the LORD thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel, for he hath glorified thee. Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Blessed be his holy name!

Isaiah 55:8-13. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith 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. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and making it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall, not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. For ye shall go out with joy and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the briar shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

This exposition consisted of readings from Psalms 23 and Isaiah 55.

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Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/isaiah-55.html. 2011.

The Biblical Illustrator

Isaiah 55:1-13

He, every one that thirsteth

The cries of the water-carriers

Public messages [Isaiah] would, as a matter of course, deliver publicly in the frequented streets and bazaars, and in khans, and in the temple area, frequently using the common cries of the forerunners of the nobles, the morning call of the temple watchmen, who had been waiting to proclaim the striking of the sun’s first rays upon the pinnacles, the groans of the sabbals (or burden-bearers), the tumult of the buyers and sellers, and the sing-song invitation of the water-carriers, and purveyors of wine and cooling drinks, as his texts,--just such cries and invitations as one may hear to-day in Cairo, Jerusalem, or Damascus.
Standing at a street corner he hears a voice, “All ye that arc thirsty, buy my cooling waters, and refresh your hearts,” and he forthwith bursts out with his own competitive cry, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters,” etc
. (F. Sessions.)

Water, wine and milk

Hitzig, Hendewerk and Knobel understand water, wine and milk as the rich material enjoyments which the exiles have in prospect on returning to their fatherland, whereas they are now paying tribute in Babylon, and rendering personal service to their masters without deriving any benefit therefrom. But the prophet knows of a water even higher than natural water (Isaiah 44:3; cf. Isaiah 41:17), and a higher than the natural wine (Isaiah 25:6); he knows of an eating and drinking surpassing mere material enjoyment (Isaiah 65:13). As shown by the very fact that water is placed first, water, wine and milk are not the products of the Holy Land, but figures of spiritual revival, refreshing and nourishment (1 Peter 2:2, τὸ λογικὸν ἄδολον γάλα). (F. Delitzsch, D. D.)

God eager for sinners

God would have the attention of sinners; He calls for it. Are not sinners eager for God? Oh, no. It is God who is eager for sinners; and so He calleth Ho! Men pass by with their ears full of the world’s tumult; and God calleth, again and again, “Ho! ho!” (C. H.Spurgeon.)

The Gospel first addressed to human necessity

A great appeal is addressed to those who are athirst. Thus the Lord accommodates His ministry to human necessity. When men are thirsting for water He does not offer them sublime visions of the future, or stately ideas concerning the economies and dominions of time. He would say to men, Let us, in the first place, supply your need; until your thirst is quenched your mind cannot be at rest; until your bodily necessities are supplied your imagination will be unable to exercise itself in high thoughts. The promises of God are addressed to our necessities for more than merely temporary reasons. There is a whole philosophy of government in such appeals. Only at certain points can we profess to understand God, and those points touch our need, our pain, our immediate desire; when we are quite sure that God gives us water for our bodily thirst we may begin at least to feel that there is a possibility that He may not neglect the more burning thirst of the soul. God approaches the spirit through the body. The God who grows corn for our hunger may also have bread for our spirits cry of weakness. (J. Parker, D. D.)

Come! come!

It is “ Come--come.” That is the most familiar word in the Bible! It seems to be a favourite word. The word “Come” occurs six hundred and forty two times in the Bible. It is “Come to the supper;” Come to the waters” “The Spirit and the Bride say, Come.” Through all sorrows, through all trials: through all nights of darkness, through all calamities, through all temptations, it rings out, “Come! Come!, Come!” I remember, when I was a boy in the country, being envious of the old sexton who used to lay hold of the bell-rope, and start the bell that shook the meeting-house, calling the people for miles around to prayer. The poorest man, trudging along the turnpike-road, knew that the bell called him just as much as it called the rich farmer riding behind his prancing and capering pair. And so this Gospel bell calls to palaces and to huts, to robes and to rags, saying, “Whosoever will, let him come.” When the sexton had struck one stroke, why did he not wind up the rope and stop? The people had all heard it. But no; he kept on ringing, until, besweated and exhausted, he sat down. When he began to ring there were none present. When he concluded ringing, the roads were full of waggons, and the church door was thronged with people who had come to worship God. And so we must keep on ringing this Gospel bell. Though, perhaps, few may now come, we will keep on ringing, until, after a while, men shall come as clouds, and as “doves to their windows.” (T. De Flirt Talmage, D. D.)

Spiritual Thirst

In a man spiritually athirst there are seven qualities answerable to those in a man naturally athirst.

1. Emptiness.

2. Exquisite sense--a painful sense.

3. Peculiar cares and thoughts. All a man’s thoughts, in such a condition, are for water to cool and refresh him (Acts 2:37,

16:30).

4. Impatience (Exodus 17:3).

5. Vehemeney of desire.

6. Diligent endeavour.

7. Constant languishing. Delay doth but increase the thirst the more. Nothing will put an end to spiritual thirst but Jesus Christ. (O. Sedgwick, B. D.)

The Jews in exile prosperous yet thirsting

Who are these thirsty souls, panting for a satisfaction which they have not yet found? They are the people of the hill country, now exiled to the plains. They have been bereft of the companionable apocalypse of the heights, and they are now immured in the unsuggestive monotony of the plains. I do not think you will find a single helpful figure in the entire Bible borrowed from the plains. The plains lie prone as a speechless sphinx. The hill country is full of voices, loud in their intimations, prodigal in revelations. Its phenomena are the messengers of the infinite. There towers the rugged height, firm and immovable, standing sure and steadfast through the fickle and varied years. What is its suggestion? “ Thy righteousness is like the great mountains.” Yonder come the treasure-laden clouds, driving in from the great deep. They unburden their wealth upon the shoulders of Carmel, clothing it with a garment of rare and luxuriant beauty. What is their significance? “Thy mercy reached even unto the clouds.” Here, on these bare, basaltic heights the tired and heated traveller rests in the cool and healing shadow of a friendly rock. What is the speech of the shadow “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” In the hill country all things are but the vestures and vehicles of larger things of spiritual import. The light, soft wind that stirs and breathes in the dawn--it is God who rides upon a cherub, yea, who “flies upon the wings of the wind.” The gentle, mollifying rain falling upon the parched, bruised, broken stems of grass: “He shall come down like rain-upon the mown grass.” The end of the drought; the unsealing of the springs among the hills; the gladsome sound of the river as it laughs and dances down the bare and rocky gorge: what is its significance? “Thou shalt make them drink of the river of Thy pleasures. ‘ It was an expressive, voiceful, suggestive land. Its features interpreted the face and character of God. Land and people were in communion, and their intercourse concerned the nearness and the favour and the providence of the Lord of hosts. But now the land and the people are divorced. The people are borne away into captivity. They leave the hill-country, so rich in interpreting speech, and they pass into the speechless monotony of the plains. Their environment is dumb. Their dwelling-place is no longer a sacrament: it is common, insignificant, speechless. They have passed from nature to art, and from art to artifice. They have left the shepherd and have met the merchant. They have left the work of the labourers in pastures and dressers of vineyards for a swift and feverish civilization. Now, take the people of the bracing, speaking, hill country, and immure them in this sweltering and superficial plain. In all the crowded interests by which they are engirt there is nothing suggestive of God. There was grandeur, but the grandeur had no voice. It was grandeur without revelation, and grandeur without revelation is never creative of awe. Where there is no awe, men step with flippant tread. The exile felt the glamour, felt the power of the grandeur, but in the glamour and grandeur forgot his God. His vision was more and more horizontal, and less and less vertical. Ambition waxed feverish, and aspiration waxed faint. The spirit of the conqueror infected the captive. The babble of Babylon entered into Israel. Success was enthroned in place of holiness, and the soul bowed down and worshipped it. The exile embraced the world, and shut out the infinite. Now, what was the issue of that Y The exile made money. His body revelled in conditions of ease. His carnal appetites delighted themselves in fatness. He climbed into positions of eminence and power. What else? “In the fulness of his sufficiency he was in straits.’ The body luxuriated; the soul languished. He drenched the body with comforts; but he couldn’t appease its tenant. “Soul, thou hast much goods laid up, eat, drink, and be merry! And still the soul cried out, “I thirst,” and disturbed him like an unquiet ghost, he spent money and more money, but was never able to buy the appropriate bread. He plunged into increased labours, but his labours reaped only that “which satisfied not.” The body toiled, the brain schemed, the eyes coveted, and still the soul cried out, “I thirst. Now, when there sits in the soul a hungry unrest and a feverish thirst, life will drop into faintness, weariness and despair. All things become stale, flat, and unprofitable. We “spend our money for that which is not bread, and we labour for that which satisfieth not.’ “All is vanity and vexation of spirit.” (J. H. Jowett, M. A.)

The true imperialism

Has this no pertinency for our own day? Acquisition and expansion are the primary notes of modern life. And is there no thirst, no disquietude of spirit? Our novels and our poetry are full of the drooping leaf. Behind the droop there is the thirst. The literature only reflects the people. Business circles never abounded as they do to-day in faint and weary men. They get and spend, and spend and get, but through it all persists the inward thirst. England is thirsting for life. What we need is the infinitely gracious ministry of the Eternal Son of God. “He, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters.”

I. There is to be THE DISCIPLINE OF THE EAR. There is to be a determined, resolute effort to listen to God. When I turn over the pages of the New Testament, and the Old Testament as well, I am greatly surprised at the emphasis with which is given the injunction to hear. “ Hear, ye deaf. Every page sends out the cry of the herald--Hearken, listen, incline your ear. It is wonderful how often the Master repeated the injunction, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” That is not a kind of mild, kindly counsel, but an urgent, strenuous appeal to men and women in imminent peril. As though they were disinclined, or did it lazily and easily. He seems to say, Put work into hearing, make it a business, put some intenseness into it. The voices of the world are so clamorous, so fascinating, so easily enticing, that you are in great danger of being allured unless you set yourself resolutely to attend to God. “Hearken diligently unto Me;” put work into listening to Me, in the Parliament, in the Council House, on the Exchange, in the shop and the warehouse, and in the pulpit. There are many clamorous voices around you, those of Mr. Worldly-Wiseman, Mr. Pliable, Mr. Time-Server, Mr. Love-of-the-World. Then pull yourself together, says the Master and the prophet; engage yourself with such intenseness amidst all the bustling clamour, that you may catch the upward calling of your God.

II. The discipline of the ear is accompanied by THE DISCIPLINE OF THE HEART. Listen and then yield. “Let the wicked forsake his way (and then something infinitely harder), “and the unrighteous man his thoughts.” I find it a comparatively easy thing to forsake a way; but I find it almost insuperably difficult to forsake a thought. Hear the Highest and then uncompromisingly obey. You say impossible! Idleness creates the impossible, says Robert South. I think perhaps one of the great needs of our time in personal and national life, is that some nation should resolutely address itself to listen to the voice of God, and when she has resolutely listened and confidently heard, then to resolutely and deliberately attempt the impossible. Let her begin by forsaking her own wicked ways. Let her hearken diligently to the Divine voice and then definitely and unwaveringly follow in pursuit, even though the way lead apparently to an impassable height. Let her return to the Lord, and let there be no longer a democracy, an aristocracy, a plutocracy, but a Theocracy willing gladly to be counselled by Jehovah.

III. “WHAT IS THE ISSUE OF THIS OBEDIENCE? Suppose the thirsty nation oppressed, turned herself to listen to Jehovah and began to interpret the voice Divine, and suppose she addressed herself with all the majesty of Divine power to the pursuit of the ideal discerned, what would happen? The issue of-such a demeanour is portrayed for us with wonderful prodigality in the chapter.

1. There is the assured promise of fuller life. “Hear, and your soul shall live.” Hitherto life had been a thin existence, a mere surface glittering, a superficial movement. Now there shall be vitality, awakening and stirring in undreamed-of depths. Life shall be no longer confined to the channels of the appetites; life shall no longer be a mere matter of senses and sensations confined to the outer courts and corridors of the life, but you shall begin to live in the innermost self. The unused shall be aroused and exercised;, the unevolved shall be unpacked; benumbed instincts shall be liberated; buried powers of discernment shall come trooping from the grave; new intelligence shall be born, and the sea of iniquity shall ebb, and the sea shall give up its dead. Life shall be no longer scant and scrimpy. You shall delight yourself, not in leanness but in fatness, every tissue of yourself shall be fed, and the outer life shall bear all manner of fruit, and the leaves of the tree shall be for the healing of the nations.

2. Mark the succession, and we get an exceedingly pregnant suggestion. We have got a nation listening, we have got a nation doing, we have got a nation now living, with its powers evolved, and in active exercise. What next? “Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not.” What is that’? It means that a true and glorified national life is to be followed by a true and glorified imperialism. “Nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the Lord thy God.’ That is the true imperialism--empire by moral and spiritual sovereignty, allurement of dominion by the fascinating radiance of a pure and satisfied life. “Gentiles shall come to the light, and kings to the brightness of the rising.” It is empire not merely by the aid of Maxim guns, but by great heartening: Gospels proclaimed by a great redeemed, glorified people. This is to be the shining goal of true national ambition. The mission of the great people, according to this chapter, is to be this: We are to be witnesses to the people, leaders and commanders of the people, witnesses ceaselessly reiterating the truths of the heartening Gospel, proving in the power of our own redemption our fitness to be leaders of the people, going out as path-finders amongst the benighted peoples. “They shall be called” (I want no more glorious title for the country) “the restorer of paths to dwell in.”

3. Now, mark further the issue. A true imperialism, I will not say is to be succeeded, but is to be accompanied by a splendid magnanimity. When the nation has hearkened diligently unto God, and follows determinedly in the pursuit of His will, all little-mindedness has to pass away in the great spacious ambitions. The pure and the exalted people are to share the spacious thought of God, and this I take to be the meaning of the word, “My thoughts are not your thoughts.” “What are Thy thoughts like?” “As the heavens are higher than the earth. God’s thoughts are lofty, spacious, broad; so our thoughts must be comprehensive, full of an all-inclusive sympathy which vibrates to the interest of each, as though each contained the welfare of the other. The truly imperial people are to share this largeness of idea and ideal and all inclusive sympathy. All parochial peddling and sterile individualism shall yield to a pregnant altruism, and mean patriotism is to be supplanted by a generous fructifying cosmopolitanism. The annexation of territory will be regarded as infinitely inferior to the salvation of the world. Influence shall not be measured by mileage, but by magnanimity. Empire will not be computed by so many leagues of earth, but by the multitude of redeemed and liberated souls. And the outskirts of sovereignty will not be contained by bristling guns, but “They shall call her walls salvation and her gates praise.”

4. We have an exalted, glorified empire, and according to this prophet, there is to be nothing wavering or uncertain about the moral empire of such a people. For them a help-giving ministry,, will be inevitable. “As the rain cometh down and the snow from heaven, etc. The rain cometh down and the snow from heaven, the bringers of the spring time; and the nation truly imperial, and filled with the living Spirit of the living God, shall be the spring-time maker amongst the children of men, and the creator of gladness and music and song. The prophet himself bursts into song: “The mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” That is to be the ministry of the nation. “Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree.” The thorn with the sharp-piercing, pain-giving spikes: instead of that shall come up the fir tree--from which were made the musical instruments, and especially the framework of the harp; “instead of the thorn, the pain-making thing, shall come up the fir tree,” the music-making thing; the glorified people shall move among the scattered peoples, and shall exercise the beautiful ministry of changing the creators of pain into the makers of melody and praise. “Instead of the briar,” with its bitter, poisonous sting, “shall come up the myrtle tree, with its glossy leaves, and white flowers and grateful perfume. The redeemed and consecrated nation shall exult in a missionary enterprise which shall change the poisonous enmities and jealousies of the people into the perfume of sweet and gracious sentiments, and the chastened delights of a holy and blameless life. Is not this an ambition worthy of the English people of our own day? (J. H. Jowett, M. A.)

The gracious invitation

I. THE INVITATION ITSELF.

1. The universality of the offer.

2. The freeness of the gift. “He that hath no money ‘--he that is in spiritual bankruptcy.

3. The fulness of the blessings which this salvation contains. They are represented by the three terms, water, wine and milk.

II. THE ENCOURAGEMENTS TO ACCEPT THE INVITATION. These are manifold and various.

1. There is, the contrast between the blessings offered and those for which men are now so laboriously toiling.

2. The character of Him through whom the blessings are to be obtained.

3. The present nearness of God to us and His abundant willingness to pardon.

4. The fact that God’s “ways are not our ways, nor His thoughts our thoughts.” He pardons like a God.

5. God’s Word “shall not return unto Him void. There is profound encouragement in the thought that back of these agencies of the Gospel, which seem so weak as compared with those powers of depravity in the soul with which they must contend, lies the changeless purpose of Him who “worketh all things after the counsel of His own will.”

6. The profound interest felt by all holy beings everywhere in the salvation of the sinner. That profound sympathy with man in his efforts for salvation which our Lord so beautifully represents by the joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth, the inspired prophet; here represents by the joy of inanimate nature over this return of the sinner to Him who is the Fountain of life.

7. The beneficent results of the acceptance of this invitation. “Instead of the thorn,” etc. Divine grace works a complete transformation in the heart into which it comes. It roots out the thorns and briars of selfishness, of pride, of avarice, of unbelief and every hurtful lust. It implants in their room all the graces that adorn the Christian character. (T. D.Witherspoon, D. D.)

Gospel invitation without restriction

Man may erect his barriers around that fountain, God erects none. It is not, Come by laboured preparation--by penance and fasting, by pilgrimage and mortification, It is not, “Come”--but you must come by dogma and rubric, by sect and shibboleth.Neither is it, “Come”--but you must come with some golden or jewelled bucket to fetch up the water; you must come like Naaman of old, laden with, costly offerings, talents of silver and gold, and changes of raiment. But, “Come, just as you are, without money and without price;” without distinction, whether natural or spiritual, of class or rank or caste, birth or blood or pedigree. “Come,” though you may have but an earthen pitcher to draw with; “come,” though you can only lave up the water in the rough palm of your hands. (J. R. Macduff, D. D.)

“Come to the waters”

The Lord even thirsteth to be thirsted after. (J. Trapp.)

Man’s misery and God’s call

I. SIN IS MISERY, FAILURE, KEEN AND URGENT WANT. Isaiah draws a picture which Orientals would appreciate far more vividly than we, whose utmost pain from thirst only means that on some holiday excursion we have felt the heat inconvenient, and have not; happened immediately upon a fountain. He speaks, not of one thirsty man, but of a number, evidently a caravan of travellers. No one who heard him would fail to think of the burnt and sandy plains, a little to the south, on which sometimes a whole company of travellers might wander from their way, and exhaust their provisions, and grow feeble and gaunt and desperate. The hot breeze whirls the burning sand around them. The simoom wind wails in the distance. Phantom waters gleam with a cruel mockery on this side or that. Their own fever creates illusions which distract them. The skeletons of others, lost like themselves, glare upon them. Their steps are feeble, and their tongues cleave to their mouths, when suddenly all that they could not find finds them, and a glad voice calls, “He, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters! This fountain is deep enough for all, and here, in our tents, is Oriental hospitality besides; buy and eat, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Our own countrymen, exploring the deserts of Australia even now, would understand it well. Many a brave man has sunk down there and died.. One band of early explorers survived to tell how in their extremity they climbed a hill and saw below them a rolling water, right into which with one consent; they rushed, and eagerly drank, only to find that it was salt as brine. O mockery, like the mockery of earthly pleasure when the heart is athirst!

II. GOD CALLS THE DISAPPOINTED, the fevered, the men and women who have found the world desolate and dry; whose very wishes give them not their wish, who succeed perhaps, and are all the more unhappy because they know that success also is vanity; whose affection prospers, only to teach them that, after all, there are depths in every heart which resound to no human voice. You may not as yet feel any more than this burning, secret want; but this is enough, if only it leads you to the fountain. Does not the very word “come” imply the leaving of something, as well as approach to something else? And this purchasing is not entirely defined in the words, “Let the wicked man forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts,” for much more than sin must be surrendered. St. Paul tells us of the price he himself paid when, having reckoned up his advantages, and how, as touching the righteousness that is by the law, he was blameless, he adds, “What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ,” etc. Yes, for Christ. For it is He who interprets this verse of Himself, though it is plainly spoken of Jehovah. He, on the great day of the feast, stood and cried, “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink.” Here, then, is the one test of earnestness: Will you, at the bidding of your God, renounce what has failed to quench your thirst, for the sake of the waters of life? (G.A. Chadwick, D.D.)

The great proclamation

I. TO WHOM THIS OFFER IS MAKE. It is to every one thirsty and penniless. That is a melancholy combination, to be needing something infinitely, and to have not a farthing to get it with. But that is the condition in which we all stand, in regard of the highest and best things.

1. “Every one that thirsteth.” That means desire. But it means need also. And what is every man but a great bundle of yearnings and necessities? There are thirsts which infallibly point to their true objects. If a man is hungry, he knows that it is food that he wants. We have social instincts; we need love; we need friendship; we need somebody to lean upon; we thirst for some breast to rest our heads upon, for hands to clasp ours; and we know where the creatures and the objects are that will satisfy these desires. And there are higher thirsts of the spirit, and a man knows where and how to gratify the impulse that drives him to seek aider some forms of knowledge and wisdom. But besides all these there come in a whole set of other thirsts that do not in themselves carry the intimation of the place where they can be slaked. And so you get men restless, dissatisfied, feeling that there is something wanting, yet not knowing what. You remember the old story in the “Arabian Nights,” of the man who had a grand palace, and lived in it quite contentedly, until somebody told him that he needed a roc’s egg hanging from the roof to make it complete, and he did not know where to get that, and was miserable accordingly. We build our houses, we fancy that we are satisfied; and then there comes the stinging thought that it is not all complete yet, and we go groping in the dark, to find out what it is. Do you know what it is that you want? It is God! Nothing else, nothing less. There are dormant thirsts. It is no proof of superiority that a savage has fewer wants than you and I have, for the want is the open mouth into which supply comes. And it is no proof that you have not, deep in your nature, desires which unless they are awakened and settled, you will never be blessed, that these desires are all unconscious to yourselves. And yet there are no desires--that is to say, consciousness of necessities--so dormant but that their being ungratified makes a man restless. You do not want forgiveness, but you will never be happy till you get it. You do not want to be good and true and holy men, but you will never be blessed till you are. You do not want God, but you will be restless till you find Him.

2. “And he that hath no money.” Who has any? Notice that the persons represented in our text as penniless are, in the next verse, remonstrated with for spending “money.” So then the penniless man had some pence away in some corner of his pocket which he could spend. He had the money that would buy shams, “that which is not bread,” but he had no money for the true thing. Which, being translated out of parable into fact, is simply this, that our efforts may win, and do win, for us the lower satisfactions which meet the transitory and superficial necessities, but that no effort of ours can secure for us the loftier blessings which slake the diviner thirsts of immortal souls.

II. IN WHAT IT CONSISTS. They tell an old story about the rejoicings at the coronation of some great king, when there was set up in the market-place a triple fountain, from each of whose three lips flowed a different kind of rare liquor which any man who chose to bring a pitcher might fill from, at his choice. Notice my text, “come ye to the waters”. . . “buy wine and milk. The great fountain is set up in the market-place of the world, and every man may come; and whichever of this glorious trinity of effluents he needs most, there his lip,may glue itself and there it may drink, be it “water that refreshes, or “wine that gladdens, or “milk” that nourishes. They are all contained in this one great gift that flows out from the deep heart of God to the thirsty lips of parched humanity. And what does that mean? We may say salvation; or we may use many other words to define the nature of the gifts. I venture to take a shorter one, and say, it means Christ. He is the all-sufficient supply of every thirst of every human soul.

III. HOW DO WE GET THE GIFTS? The paradox of’ my text needs little explanation. “Buy without money and without price.’ The contradiction on the surface is but intended to make emphatic this blessed truth theft the only conditions are a sense of need and a willingness to take--nothing else and nothing more. (A. Mallard, D. D.)

Soul thirst

Men know what bodily hunger is, some have felt it to an agony, but there is a soul hunger far more distressing than this. It is depicted on the countenances of those whose bodies fare sumptuously every day. Men also know what bodily thirst is. But there is a soul thirst infinitely worse than that which was ever felt by the most parched of Oriental travellers. That all unregenerate souls are thirsting, with more or less intensity, for that which they have not, will neither be debated nor denied. Christianity is a provision for such, and as a provision it is marked by three things.

I. IT IS EFFICACIOUS. It is “water.” The Gospel is to the thirsty soul what the cool refreshing stream is to a thirsty body. It satisfies--

1. The guilty conscience,

2. The longing heart,

3. The worshipping spirit of man. All who have truly received the Gospel give this testimony.

II. IT IS GRATUITOUS. “Without money and without price.” Water is one of the freest things in the world. It is a ubiquitous element; it not only floats in the cloud, descends in the showers, and rolls in the rivers, but bubbles up at our feet and oozes out in all the things around us.

III. IT IS UNRESTRICTED. “Ho, every one that thirsteth.” The Gospel is not for any type of mind, any class of character, any condition of society, any tribe of men. Like the light of heaven, it is for all. (Homilist.)

The spiritual appetite and its gratification

I. The spiritual appetite.

1. It results from the constitution of our nature. We cannot go deeper than nature. We cannot go behind or beyond it, for nature is what has been born (Latin natura), born out of God’s thought by God’s power. When we speak of nature we must pass in thought from her to her parent God, and find a sufficient answer to all questions and difficulties by saying: “God has so willed it, therefore it is as it is.” All the strong basal instincts of human nature must be traced back to the make of our moral being as it was planned by almighty wisdom, and wrought by infinite power. We hunger and thirst, because our physical nature has been so created that it must needs go out of itself for its supplies of nutriment. Similarly, God made our souls for Himself. Deep within us, lie has put necessities and desires, that crave for satisfaction from the Unseen, Eterual, and Divine.

2. It produces pain. There are many sources of pain; but perhaps primarily God has instituted it to compel us to take measures for our health and salvation. The pain of hunger and thirst in designed to force us to take food, without which the body would become exhausted and die. So, in the moral sphere, we should be thankful when we are discontented with ourselves, when in self-abhorrence we cry out for God’s unsullied righteousness, when we go about smitten with infinite unrest.

3. It is universal. As we have never met man or woman incapable of hunger or thirst, so there is no human soul which is not capable of possessing God, and does not need Him for a complete life. Often the spiritual appetite is dormant. The invalid, who has long suffered under the pressure of a wasting illness, may have no appetite, but at any moment it may awake. Thus with the hunger of the soul for God.

II. THE NURTURE OF SPIRITUAL APPETITE.

III. THE CERTAIN GRATIFICATION OF THIS APPETITE. God never sends mouths, the old proverb says, but He sends with them the food to fill them. Young lions never seek that which His hand does not open to give. The fish, and the fly at which it snatches; the bird, and the berries on the hawthorn bush; the babe, and the milk stored in its mother’s breast, are perfectly adapted to each other. Whatever you and I have longed for in our best and holiest moments may have its consummation and bliss, because God has prepared for our perfect satisfaction. (Lira of Faith.)

A gracious invitation

I. THE STATE OF THE PERSONS ADDRESSED. II. THE NATURE OF THE PROVISION PREPARED.

III. THE FORCE OF THE INVITATION OFFERED. What is it to corals? coming signifies believing. Observe how this invitation is reiterated. It corrals in with a shout; then it is plainly stated--then it is repeated--and a third time it is urged.

1. Let the extent of the call induce you to come.

2. Let the freeness of the supply induce you to come.

3. Let the sufficiency of the provision induce you to come.

4. Let the impossibility of finding redemption elsewhere induce you to come.

Conclusion:

1. Some of you have heard in a spirit of levity.

2. Some in a spirit of neglect.

3. Some in a spirit of doubt and despondency. (J. Parsons.)

Water for the thirsty

I. WHAT THESE WATERS ARE WHICH ARE PROVIDED FOR THIRSTY SINNERS.

II. EVERY THIRSTY SINNER MAY AND OUGHT TO COME TO THEM. (O. Sedgwick, B. D.)

True satisfaction in Christ

There are eight things which thirsty sinners should set together.

1. All their sins and Christ’s merits.

2. All their distresses and Christ’s compassions,

3. All their wants and Christ’s fulness.

4. All their unworthiness and Christ’s fresness.

5. Their desires and Christ’s invitations.

6. Their thirstings and the promises of Christ.

7. Their own weakness and Christ’s strength.

8. Satan’s objections and Christ’s answers. (O. Sedgwick, B. D.)

The best bargain

Dr. Faustus was very dear to legend in the Middle Ages. He burned with desire to drink his fill of all the pleasures of this life; but he could not gain them by his own unaided skill. He therefore made a contract with Satan. It was drawn out in the most lawyer-like style, and Faustus signed it with his own blood. It was stipulated that during the next twenty years he should have the run of all earth’s pleasures, and then his soul and body were to be given over to Satan. He began with the sweets of knowledge, but soon he forsook them in disgust, and plunged into the fiercer and coarser excitements of the senses. Amid many horrors the body and soul of Faustus were seized by Satan just as the clock struck twelve at night on the last day of the specified period. These legends hold some of the most solemn secrets of life. They teach that every man has a soul to dispose of; that men, like the fallen angels, may ruin themselves with their eyes open; and that the greatest transactions of the soul may be likened to buying and bargaining.

I. WHEN I BUY, I DESIRE. And I desire what I must fetch from without. Were I entirely self-supporting, had I everything I, need “within myself,” as the saying is, I should never go to any market. Isaiah’s words for “buy” means to buy provisions. Lost in the desert, parched by thirst, gnawed by hunger, duped by the mirage, ready to perish--that is the standing biblical picture of a sinful man when he realizes his soul’s needs. It is he who is urged to come to the waters, and to buy wine and milk. “But I have no heart, no desire for these things: what am I to do?” That is the great trouble; indifference or downright indolence of soul the most common obstacle. But God’s appeal is, “Come now, and let us reason together.” He sets forth the alternatives as to a reasonable being. Water, wine, milk, good, fatness, life, covenant-mercy--all these are freely offered instead of starvation and death. How unreasonable you must be if anything on earth can keep you from what you know to be your highest good!

II. WHEN I BUY, I CHOOSE The essence of a bargain is an act of choice. Choose I the Bible keeps that word ever ringing in our ears. And so does profane literature. Hercules, the greatest hero of heathendom, was made by his deliberate choice of virtue and rejection of vice. Pythagoras put this great truth into one of the most popular of object-lessons. He compared life to the letter y. The parting of the ways is symbolized by the two limbs of the letter. A man must go forward; and he must go left or right; he must walk in the way of evil or in the way of good. This choosing is the biggest thing you can do in this world. When I buy I consent to the price. Buying is simply avowed consent in action. “Come buy . . . without money and without price.” By this double phrase the prophet assails the deep-seated self-righteousness of the heat. And he assails it wit’s its own favourite ideas and phrases. You will buy. Well, then, let him buy who has no money, and let him buy without money and without price. Buying has a legal suggestion; but buying without money more than neutralizes every such suggestion. The most capacious mind, the liveliest imagination, could not suggest a more effective way of setting forth the utter freeness of Gods grace.

III. WHAT I BUY, I OWN. The Gospel is here staten in the language of the market-place, so that all may perfectly understand it. All just laws and our moral instincts make me the undoubted possessor of that which I have fairly bought and paid for. It is my very own. This buying is all you need. The goods are yours in offer; and they are yours in full possession n you accept them.

IV. WHAT I BUY, I USE. Unused milk and flesh are of no value to me. The bread of life, which Christ is and offers, is ours only in so far as we appropriate and assimilate it. “Buy and eat. The buying is useless without the eating. Eating is the most vital, personal, and experimental thing in the world. The bread eaten becomes part and parcel of myself. (Monthly Visitor.)

The proclamation and expostulation of mercy

I. THE PROCLAMATION OF MERCY.

1. The blessings offered.

2. The terms propounded.

II. THE GLORIOUS RESULTS which accrue from compliance with these conditions. Men are invited to buy, etc., so, of those who comply it may be said--

1. They “buy” soul-food, i.e they appropriate as verily their own the blessings purchased by Christ.

2. They “eat,” i.e they have experimental knowledge of Christianity.

3. Their soul “delights itself in fatness.” The more of Christ men have, the more they desire

III. THE LORD’S GRACIOUS EXPOSTULATION. It is an appeal to their reason and their experience. God knows what man is, and what he feels. It is as if God had said: “I know your case entirely; you are toiling for happiness and toiling in vain, and you know it. You are always pursuing some ideal good, with which, when you get it, you are satiated. Why go on thus, when peace and rest may be had? The argument used by God teaches that sin is--

1. Costly. “Wherefore do ye spend money, etc. Sin is costly.”--

(1) A pecuniary sense.

2. Laborious.

3. Unsatisfying. (J. S. Swan.)

Invitation; expostulation; entreaty

I. AN EVANGELICAL INVITATION. “Come ye.”

1. The persons invited.

2. The matter of the invitation. Jesus Christ is an only good, and He is an universal good. “Waters; bread; milk; wine.”

3. The manner of the invitation.

There is much good to be had, and at a very easy rate. Jesus Christ, and the things of Christ, are above price and without price.

II. A COMPLAINING EXPOSTULATION. “Wherefore,” etc. Here we have charged on sinners--

1. Their neglect.

2. Their folly.

III. A RENEWED SOLICITATION OR ENTREATY. How patient is God, even to sinners who neglect the offers of His grace! This renewed entreaty is--

1. Very vehement. “Hearken diligently; incline your ears; hear.”

2. Very persuasive.

3. Very satisfactory. “I will make an everlasting covenant with you,” etc.

“I will give My bond for it; all this shall be as surely made good as the mercies which I performed to My servant, David.” (O. Sedgwick, B. D.)

Food a supreme need

What does the hungry man want? Money? Not at all. Fame? No. Good clothes? Not a bit. He wants food. What does the thirsty man want? Reputation? Bonds and stocks? No! He wants water. When we are dead in earnest, and want the bread of heaven and the water of life, we shall not stop till we get them. (Sunday School Chronicle.)

He that hath no money; come ye, buy, and sat

Buying without money

We have before us the figure of a merchant selling his wares, and crying like a chapman in the market, “He!” To attract attention he calls aloud, “Come! Come! Come!” three several times; and he adds to this the cry of “Buy! Buy!” Shall the Great King thus liken Himself to a trader in the market earnest to dispose of his goods? It is even so, and I therefore call upon you to admire the mercy of the Lord. In the fifty-third and fifty-fourth chapters this Divine Merchantman has been spreading out His wares. What treasures they are!

I. A DESCRIPTION OF THE BUYER. It is the portrait of a poor, penniless, broken-down creature reduced to the extremity of want: “He that hath no money. Of course, by this is meant the man who literally has no money. Having nothing, you may yet possess all things. But we understand the reference of the text to be mainly spiritual, and so the portrait here is that of a man who has no spiritual money, no gold of goodness, no silver of sanctity.

1. His fancied stock of natural innocence is spent.

2. He thought that he had accumulated some little savings of good works; but his imaginary righteousness turns out to be counterfeit.

3. He is in a still worse plight, for he is also too poor to get anything; the procuring power is gone, for he has “no money “ that is to say, nothing wherewith he can procure those good things which are necessary to salvation and eternal life.

4. Moreover, his stock with which to trade is gone. Money makes money, and he that has a little to begin with may soon have more; but this man, having no stock to start with, cannot hope to be rich towards God in and by himself. No money!

II. THE SELECTION OF THE BUYER. It is a strange choice, and it leads to a singular invitation, “He that hath no money; come, buy, and eat.” What is the reason?

1. These need mercy most.

2. This character is chosen because he is such a one as will exhibit in his own person the power of Divine grace.

3. The Lord Jesus delights to make evident the freeness of His grace.

4. He is the kind of man that will listen. A wretched sinner jumps at mercy like a hungry fish leaping at the bait.

5. Such an empty, penniless soul, when he does get mercy, will prize it and praise it. He that has been shut up in the dark for years values the light of the sun. He that has been a prisoner for months, how happy he is when the prison doors are opened, and he is at liberty again! Let a man once get Christ, who has bitterly known and felt his need of Him, and he will prize Him beyond all things.

III. THE INVITATION. The man who has no money is to come, buy, and eat. It looks odd to tell a penniless man to come and buy, does it not? and yet what other word could be used? Come and buy, has a meaning of its own not to be otherwise expressed. In buying there are three or four stages.

1. Desiring to have the thing which is exhibited.

2. This means next, to agree to terms.

3. When the terms are carried out, the buyer appropriates the goods to himself.

4. But the text says, “Buy, and eat, as much as to say, make it yours in the most complete sense. If a man buys a loaf of bread it is his: but if he eats it, then all the lawyers in the world cannot dispute him out of it--he has it by a possession which is not only nine points of the law, but all the law. Christ fed upon IS ours beyond all question.

IV. By way of ASSURANCE, to show that this is all real and true, and no make-believe.

1. It is not God’s way to mock men. He hath Himself declared, “ I said not unto the seed of Jacob, seek ye My face in vain.”

2. God is under no necessity to sell His benefits. He is not impoverished: He is so rich that none can add anything to His wealth.

3. There is no adequate price that we could bring to God for His mercy.

4. Remember that Jesus must be meant for sinners, for if sinners had not existed there never would have been a saviour.

5. It must be true that God will give these blessings to men who have no merits, and will bestow them as gifts, because Jesus Himself is a gift.

6. Beside that, Christ is all.

7. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is blessedly free from all clogging conditions, because all supposed conditions are supplied in Christ Jesus. (C. H.Spurgeon.)

Gospel blessings to be bought

You may have seen persons in a shop who, when they have been shown almost all the contents of the shop,--when article after article has been brought down from the shelves for their inspection, have at last, to the no small disappointment of the shopkeeper, gone out without buying anything. And we who have the Gospel wares to dispose of, are subject to like disappointments. We also have customers who, when they have looked at, and turned over, so to speak, again and again, the goods which we offer them, as though they would make an offer for them, content themselves with the looking at them, hear and listen to the Gospel, that you would think they were going to embrace it, yet go out of Church, ah! and out of the world, without embracing it. (W. Cleaves, M. A.)

Buyers will show that they possess

It will be seen whether we have been indeed buyers, or like those who content themselves with looking at what is to be sold without buying. If a man has been buying clothes, for instance, he will be seen wearing the clothes; if he has been buying cattle, he will stock his land with the cattle; if he has been buying provisions, his table will be supplied with the provisions; if he has been buying furniture, his house will be furnished with it; and if we have been buying of Christ, the heart and mind will be furnished, we shall be clothed, we shall be adorned with what Christ has for those who buy of Him. (W. Cleaves, M. A.)

The fulness of Christ offered to the needy sinner

1. In Christ there is very good fare to be had for poor sinners.

2. The enjoyment of it is limited by their coming to Christ and buying of Him.

3. Upon their coming to Christ all that good doth certainly come to them. (O. Sedgwick, B. D.)

Willingness to buy of Christ

He that is willing to buy--

1. Will go to the market.

2. Doth like the wares which are to be bought.

3. Will come up to the price at which they are to be bought.

4. Will watch the time, and take the time of buying.

5. Is willing to sell that he may compass the things he is very desirous to buy (Genesis 47:17-19; Matthew 13:44).

There are three “alls” which a poor sinner is willing to sell that he may have Christ.

Buying of Christ

You may know that you have indeed bought of Christ by something in yourselves.

1. Your hearts will be much endeared to Christ for what He hath sold unto you.

2. You will spend what you have bought of Christ, upon Christ.

3. You will so like the bargain that Christ shall have your custom as long as you live.

4. You will not sell what you have bought. (O. Sedgwick, B. D.)

Driving a trade with Christ

There are seven arguments to persuade poor sinners to come and buy of Christ.

I. THE EXCELLENCE OF THE WARES.

II. THE NECESSITY OF THE PURCHASE.

III. THE GOODNESS OF THE SELLER.

IV. THE EASINESS OF THE PRICE.

V. THE OPPORTUNITY OF THE MARKET.

VI. THE BENEFIT OF THE BARGAIN.

VII. THE LOSS BY NEGLECT.( O. Sedgwick, B. D.)

The benefit of trading with Christ

By buying of Christ you gain--

1. Losses. It is no gain to lose a soul, yet it is an exceeding gain for a soul to lose some things--the dominion of sin, the love of sin, a condemning conscience, our corrupt vices, etc.

2. Yourselves. We never come to enjoy ourselves until we come to enjoy Christ.

3. Your own souls--they are safe and secured for ever.

4. All. All the purchase of Christ, all the good of all the offers of Christ, all the fruits of the Spirit of Christ, all the promises of God in Christ, all the revealings of the ordinances of Christ, all the immunities and privileges of Christ, all the hopes by Christ. You gain all the good which concerns soul and body in this life, and all the good which concerns them in the life to come. (O. Sedgwick, B. D.)

Spiritual merchandise

Those who have bought of Christ are--

I. THE WISEST MERCHANTS.

II. THE SUREST POSSESSORS. (O. Sedgwick, B. D.)

“Buy and eat:”

It is a virtue here to be a holy glutton. (J. Trapp.)

Yea, come, buy wins and milk

Wine and milk

As water, on account of its commonness and abundance, is often apt to be despised, the prophet farther speaks of the blessings of salvation under the symbols of wine and milk. (R. Jones, M. A.)

A free salvation

I. I have to preach WINE AND MILK. The Gospel is like wine which makes us glad. Let a man truly know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and he will be a happy man, and the deeper he drinks into the spirit of Christ, the more happy will he become. The Gospel is like milk too, for there is everything in it that you want, Do you want something to bear you up in trouble? It is in the Gospel--“a very present help in time of trouble.” Do you need something to nerve you for duty? There is grace all-sufficient for everything that God calls you to undergo or to accomplish. Do you need something to light up the eye of your hope? There are joy-flashes in the Gospel that may make your eye flash back again the immortal fires of bliss. Do you want something to make you stand steadfast in the midst of temptation? In the Gospel there is that that can make you immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. The Gospel was evidently meant for manhood; it is adapted to it in its every part. There is knowledge for the head; there is love for the heart; there is guidance for the foot. And I think there is another meaning in the two words “wine and milk.” Wine is a rich thing, something that requires much time to manufacture. There has to be vintage and fermentation and preservation before wine can come to its full flavour. The Gospel is like that; it is an extraordinary thing for feast days; it gives a man power to use a vintage of thought, a fermentation of action, and a preservation of experience, till a man’s piety comes forth like the sparkling wine that makes the heart leap with gladness. But milk is an ordinary thing; you get it every day, anywhere. So is it with the Gospel: it is a thing for every day.

II. Having thus exhibited the article, my next business is to BRING THE BIDDERS UP TO THE AUCTION BOX AND SELL IT. My difficulty is to bring you down to my price. Here comes some one up to the sacred desk, transformed for the moment into an auction-box, and he cries, “I want to buy.” What will you give for it? He holds out his hands, and he has such a handful; he has to lift up his very lap with more, for he can hardly hold all his good works. He has Ave-Marius and Paternosters without number, and all kinds of crossings with holy water, and bendings of the knee, and prostrations before the altar, and reverence of the host, and attending at the mass, and so on. And so, Sir Romanist, you are coming to get salvation are you? and you have brought all this with you lava sorry for thee, but thou must go away from the box with all thy performances, for it is without money and without price, and until thou art prepared to come empty-handed thou canst never have it. Then another comes up and says, “I am glad you have served the Romanist like, that” I hate the Church of Rome; I am a true Protestant, and desire to be saved. What have you brought, sir? “Oh I have brought no Ave-Marias, no Paternosters. But I say the collect every Sunday; I am very attentive to my prayers. I got to church almost as soon as the doors are open,” or “I go to chapel three times on the Sabbath and I attend the prayer-meetings; and beside that, I pay everybody twenty shillings in the pound; I would not like to hurt anybody; I am always liberal, and assist the poor when! can. I may make a little slip just now and then. Still, if I am mot saved I do not know who will be. I am as good as my neighbours, and I think I certainly ought to be saved, for I have very few sins, and what few there are do not hurt other people; they hurt me more than any one else. Besides, they are mere trifles.” I will send you away; there is no salvation for you, for it is “without money and without price;” and as long as you bring these fine good works of yours, you cannot have it. Mark, I do not find any fault with them, they are good enough in their place, but they won’t do here, but they won’t do at the judgment bar of God. Suppose I see a man building a house, and he were fool enough to lay the foundation with chimney-pots. If I should say, “My dear man, I do not like these chimney-pots to be put into the foundation, ‘ you would not say I found fault with the chimney-pots, but that I found fault with the man for putting them in the wrong place. So with good works and ceremonies; they will not do for a foundation. The foundation must be built of more solid stuff. But see another man. He is a long way off, and he says, “Sir, I am afraid to come; I could not come and make a bid for the salvation. Sir, I’ve got no larnin’, I’m no scholard, I can’t read a book, I wish I could. My children go to Sunday-school; I wish there was such a thing in my time; I can’t read, and it’s no use my hoping to go to heaven. I goes to church sometimes, but oh dear I it’s no good; the man uses such long words I can’t understand ‘em, and I goes to chapel sometimes, but I can’t make it out.” It wants no scholarship to go to heaven. Now, I see a man come up to the stall, and he says, “Well, I will have salvation, sir; I have made in my will provisions for the building of a church or two, and a few almshouses; I always devote a part of my substance to the cause of God; I always receive the poor, and such-like; I have a pretty good share of money, and I take care not to hoard it up; I am generous and liberal. Won’t that carry me to heaven?” Well, I like you very much, and I wish there were more of your sort. But if you bring these things as your hope of heaven, I must undeceive you. You cannot buy heaven with gold. Why, they pave the streets up there with it. Wealth makes distinction on earth, but no distinction at the Cross of Christ. You must all come alike to the footstool of Jesus, or else not come at all. I knew a minister who told me he was once sent for to the dying bed of a woman who was very well to do in the world, and she said, “Mr. Baxter, do you think when I get to heaven Betsy my servant will be there?” “Well,” he said, “I don’t know much about you, but Betsy will be there; for if I know any one who is a pious girl, it is she.” “Well,” said the lady, “don’t you think there will be a little distinction? for I never could find it in my heart to sit down with a girl of that sort; she has no taste, no education, and I could not endure it. I think there ought to be a little difference.” “Ah I you need not trouble yourself, madam,” he said, “there will be a great distinction between you and Betsy, if you die in the temper in which you now are; but the distinction will be on the wrong side; for you see her in Abraham’s bosom, but you yourself will be cast out. As long as you have such pride in your heart, yon can never enter into the kingdom of heaven.” The highway is as much for the poor man as the rich man; so is the kingdom of heaven--“without money and without price.”

III. I have to use A FEW ARGUMENTS with you.

1. I would speak to you who never think about these things at all.

2. I have now the pleasing task of addressing men of another character. You do feel your need of a Saviour. Remember, Christ died for you. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

The desire to bring something to Christ

I dare say in this congregation I have a hundred different phases of this singular fatuity of man--the desire to bring something to Christ. “Oh, ‘ says one, “I would come to Christ, but I have been too great a sinner.’ Self again, sir, your being a great sinner has nothing to do with that. Christ is a great Saviour, and however great your sin, His mercy is greater than that. He invites you simply as a sinner. Another says, “Ah, but I do not feel it enough.” Self again. He does not ask yon about your feelings; He simply says, “Look unto Me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.” “But, sir, I cannot pray.” Self again. You are not to be saved by your prayers; you are to be saved by Christ, and your business is simply to look to Christ; tie will help you to pray afterwards. But, says another, “if I felt as So-and-so did. Self again. “Yes,” you say, “I think He would receive anybody but me.” Please, who gave you any leave to think at all in the matter? Does He not say, “Him that cometh unto Me I will in nowise cast out”? Give up thinking, and believe. Are your thoughts as God’s thoughts, “But,” says one, “I have sought Him, but I have not found Him.” Can you truly say that you have come to Christ with nothing in your hand, and have looked alone to Him, and yet He has cast you away T Do you dare to say that? No: if God’s Word be true, and you are true, you cannot say that. If you will come down to this prince,” and take Christ for nothing, just as He is, “without, money and without price,” you shall not find Him a hard Master. (C. H.Spurgeon.)

“Without money and without price

I. THE SURPRISING NATURE OF THIS FACT, for it is very surprising to mankind to hear that salvation is “without money and without price.” It is so surprising to them that the plainest terms cannot make them understand it; and, though you tell them a thousand times a day, yet they persist in thinking that you mean some thing else. Why is it when man does see it he is surprised at it?

1. Because of man’s relation to God, and his wrong judgment of Him. Man thinks that God is a hard master.

2. No doubt, also, the condition of man under the fall makes it more difficult for him to comprehend that the gifts of God are “without money and without price,” for he finds that he is doomed to toil for almost everything he needs.

3. Again man recollects the general rule of men towards each other, for in this world what is to be had for nothing except that which is worth nothing?

4. Another matter helps man into this difficulty, namely, his natural pride. He does not like to be a pauper before God.

5. Once more, all religions that ever have been in the world of man’s making teach that the gifts of God are to be purchased or merited. Though I have thus shown grounds for our surprise, yet if men would think a little they might not be quite so unbelievingly amazed as they are; for, after all, the best blessings we have come to us freely. What price have you paid for your lives? and yet they are very precious. What price do you pay for the air you breathe? What price does a man pay for the sunlight? Life and air and light come to us “without money and without price.” And our faculties, too--who pays for eyesight? The ear which hears the song of the bird at dawn, what price is given for it? The senses are freely bestowed on us by God, and so is the sleep which rests them. It is clear then that some of the best blessings we possess come to us by the way of free gift; and come to the undeserving, too, for the dew shall sparkle to-morrow upon the grass in the miser’s field, and the rain shall fall in due season upon the rising corn of the wretch who blasphemes his God.

II. THE NECESSITY OF THE FACT mentioned in our text.

1. From the character of the Donor. It is God that gives. Would you have Him sell His pardons?

2. Because of the value of the boon. As one has well said, “it is without price because it is priceless.”

3. From the extremity of human destitution. The blessings of grace must be given “without money and without price,” for we have no money or price to bring.

III. THE SALUTARY INFLUENCE. OF THIS FACT. If it be “without money and without price,” what then?

1. That enables us to preach the gospel to every creature.

2. This fact has the salutary effect of excluding all pride. If it be “without money and without price,” you rich people have not a halfpennyworth of advantage above the poorest of the poor in this matter.

3. It forbids despair.

4. It inspires with gratitude, and that gratitude becomes the basis of holiness.

5. It engenders in the soul the generous virtues. The man who is saved for nothing feels first with regard to his fellow-men that he must deal lovingly with them. Has God forgiven me? Then I can freely forgive those who have trespassed against me. He longs to see others saved, and therefore he lays himself out to bring them to Jesus Christ. If he had bought his salvation I dare say he might be proud of it, and wish to keep it to himself Then the free gifts of grace, working by the power and energy of the Holy Spirit, create in us the generous virtues towards God.

6. I cannot think of anything that will make more devout worshippers in heaven than this. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

“Come"

Linger not, loiter not, frame not excuse, strain not courtesy, hang not off by sinful bashfulness: it is good manners to fall to your meat. (J. Trapp.)

“Without money and without price"

1. This gracious way of a sinner’s full enjoyment of Christ stands not in opposition to praying, attendance upon the ministry of the “Word, or believing.

2. This is to be understood in an opposition to the price and value of our works. You can lay down nothing that hath merit or recompense in it; that hath answerable value, or any value in it. (O. Sedgwick, B. D.)

Christ’s gracious terms

All that poor sinners need may be bought of Christ upon gracious terms. Six things demonstrate it.

1. The sinner’s insufficiency.

2. His unworthiness.

3. The inconsistency of any other way of trading with Christ Romans 4:4; Romans 11:6).

4. The invaluableness of the commodities.

5. The quality of the contract. “Ask.” “Believe.”

6. The work of the Seller.

Trying to buy salvation

Mr. Webb-Peploe tells of a wealthy man whom he had never known to give five farthings a year in charity, who sent for him once when ill with paralysis. The man said to the minister, “I am afraid [ may die. I have sent for you that I may do what is right before God; I want to go to heaven, and I want you to take a hundred pounds for the poor.” The man of God looked the sinner straight in the face and said, “Do you think you are going to buy your soul’s way to glory with a dirty hundred pounds? Give your money where you like, I will not touch it.” That was bitter medicine, but some diseases require sharp treatment. The man lived, and learned that salvation is not to be bought with money. (Christian Budget.)

Without money and without price

Roland Hill was once preaching at a fair within earshot of the rival gongs of the vagrant merchantmen. Pointing to them, he said, “They and I are both offering goods for sale. But their difficulty is to get you up to their price; my difficulty is to get you down to mine. I offer you goods without money and without price. (Christian Budget.)

Too valuable to be bought

Zeuxis gave his pictures to his native city for nothing, because they were too good to be bought with gold. To offer money for them was to undervalue them. Can I buy pardon with anything I can call mine? (Christian Budget.)

No coinage can buy spiritual good

A man lands in a far country with English shillings in his pocket, but he finds that no coins go there but thalers, or francs, or dollars, or the like; and his money is only current in his own land, and he has got to get it changed before he can make his purchases. So with a pocketful of it he may as well be penniless. And, in like fashion, you and I, with all our strenuous efforts, which we are bound to make and which there is joy in making, after these lower things that correspond to our efforts, find that we have no coinage that will buy the good things of the kingdom of heaven, without which we faint and die. (A. Maclaran, D. D.)

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Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Isaiah 55:3". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/isaiah-55.html. 1905-1909. New York.

The Biblical Illustrator

Isaiah 55:1-13

He, every one that thirsteth

The cries of the water-carriers

Public messages [Isaiah] would, as a matter of course, deliver publicly in the frequented streets and bazaars, and in khans, and in the temple area, frequently using the common cries of the forerunners of the nobles, the morning call of the temple watchmen, who had been waiting to proclaim the striking of the sun’s first rays upon the pinnacles, the groans of the sabbals (or burden-bearers), the tumult of the buyers and sellers, and the sing-song invitation of the water-carriers, and purveyors of wine and cooling drinks, as his texts,--just such cries and invitations as one may hear to-day in Cairo, Jerusalem, or Damascus.
Standing at a street corner he hears a voice, “All ye that arc thirsty, buy my cooling waters, and refresh your hearts,” and he forthwith bursts out with his own competitive cry, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters,” etc
. (F. Sessions.)

Water, wine and milk

Hitzig, Hendewerk and Knobel understand water, wine and milk as the rich material enjoyments which the exiles have in prospect on returning to their fatherland, whereas they are now paying tribute in Babylon, and rendering personal service to their masters without deriving any benefit therefrom. But the prophet knows of a water even higher than natural water (Isaiah 44:3; cf. Isaiah 41:17), and a higher than the natural wine (Isaiah 25:6); he knows of an eating and drinking surpassing mere material enjoyment (Isaiah 65:13). As shown by the very fact that water is placed first, water, wine and milk are not the products of the Holy Land, but figures of spiritual revival, refreshing and nourishment (1 Peter 2:2, τὸ λογικὸν ἄδολον γάλα). (F. Delitzsch, D. D.)

God eager for sinners

God would have the attention of sinners; He calls for it. Are not sinners eager for God? Oh, no. It is God who is eager for sinners; and so He calleth Ho! Men pass by with their ears full of the world’s tumult; and God calleth, again and again, “Ho! ho!” (C. H.Spurgeon.)

The Gospel first addressed to human necessity

A great appeal is addressed to those who are athirst. Thus the Lord accommodates His ministry to human necessity. When men are thirsting for water He does not offer them sublime visions of the future, or stately ideas concerning the economies and dominions of time. He would say to men, Let us, in the first place, supply your need; until your thirst is quenched your mind cannot be at rest; until your bodily necessities are supplied your imagination will be unable to exercise itself in high thoughts. The promises of God are addressed to our necessities for more than merely temporary reasons. There is a whole philosophy of government in such appeals. Only at certain points can we profess to understand God, and those points touch our need, our pain, our immediate desire; when we are quite sure that God gives us water for our bodily thirst we may begin at least to feel that there is a possibility that He may not neglect the more burning thirst of the soul. God approaches the spirit through the body. The God who grows corn for our hunger may also have bread for our spirits cry of weakness. (J. Parker, D. D.)

Come! come!

It is “ Come--come.” That is the most familiar word in the Bible! It seems to be a favourite word. The word “Come” occurs six hundred and forty two times in the Bible. It is “Come to the supper;” Come to the waters” “The Spirit and the Bride say, Come.” Through all sorrows, through all trials: through all nights of darkness, through all calamities, through all temptations, it rings out, “Come! Come!, Come!” I remember, when I was a boy in the country, being envious of the old sexton who used to lay hold of the bell-rope, and start the bell that shook the meeting-house, calling the people for miles around to prayer. The poorest man, trudging along the turnpike-road, knew that the bell called him just as much as it called the rich farmer riding behind his prancing and capering pair. And so this Gospel bell calls to palaces and to huts, to robes and to rags, saying, “Whosoever will, let him come.” When the sexton had struck one stroke, why did he not wind up the rope and stop? The people had all heard it. But no; he kept on ringing, until, besweated and exhausted, he sat down. When he began to ring there were none present. When he concluded ringing, the roads were full of waggons, and the church door was thronged with people who had come to worship God. And so we must keep on ringing this Gospel bell. Though, perhaps, few may now come, we will keep on ringing, until, after a while, men shall come as clouds, and as “doves to their windows.” (T. De Flirt Talmage, D. D.)

Spiritual Thirst

In a man spiritually athirst there are seven qualities answerable to those in a man naturally athirst.

1. Emptiness.

2. Exquisite sense--a painful sense.

3. Peculiar cares and thoughts. All a man’s thoughts, in such a condition, are for water to cool and refresh him (Acts 2:37,

16:30).

4. Impatience (Exodus 17:3).

5. Vehemeney of desire.

6. Diligent endeavour.

7. Constant languishing. Delay doth but increase the thirst the more. Nothing will put an end to spiritual thirst but Jesus Christ. (O. Sedgwick, B. D.)

The Jews in exile prosperous yet thirsting

Who are these thirsty souls, panting for a satisfaction which they have not yet found? They are the people of the hill country, now exiled to the plains. They have been bereft of the companionable apocalypse of the heights, and they are now immured in the unsuggestive monotony of the plains. I do not think you will find a single helpful figure in the entire Bible borrowed from the plains. The plains lie prone as a speechless sphinx. The hill country is full of voices, loud in their intimations, prodigal in revelations. Its phenomena are the messengers of the infinite. There towers the rugged height, firm and immovable, standing sure and steadfast through the fickle and varied years. What is its suggestion? “ Thy righteousness is like the great mountains.” Yonder come the treasure-laden clouds, driving in from the great deep. They unburden their wealth upon the shoulders of Carmel, clothing it with a garment of rare and luxuriant beauty. What is their significance? “Thy mercy reached even unto the clouds.” Here, on these bare, basaltic heights the tired and heated traveller rests in the cool and healing shadow of a friendly rock. What is the speech of the shadow “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” In the hill country all things are but the vestures and vehicles of larger things of spiritual import. The light, soft wind that stirs and breathes in the dawn--it is God who rides upon a cherub, yea, who “flies upon the wings of the wind.” The gentle, mollifying rain falling upon the parched, bruised, broken stems of grass: “He shall come down like rain-upon the mown grass.” The end of the drought; the unsealing of the springs among the hills; the gladsome sound of the river as it laughs and dances down the bare and rocky gorge: what is its significance? “Thou shalt make them drink of the river of Thy pleasures. ‘ It was an expressive, voiceful, suggestive land. Its features interpreted the face and character of God. Land and people were in communion, and their intercourse concerned the nearness and the favour and the providence of the Lord of hosts. But now the land and the people are divorced. The people are borne away into captivity. They leave the hill-country, so rich in interpreting speech, and they pass into the speechless monotony of the plains. Their environment is dumb. Their dwelling-place is no longer a sacrament: it is common, insignificant, speechless. They have passed from nature to art, and from art to artifice. They have left the shepherd and have met the merchant. They have left the work of the labourers in pastures and dressers of vineyards for a swift and feverish civilization. Now, take the people of the bracing, speaking, hill country, and immure them in this sweltering and superficial plain. In all the crowded interests by which they are engirt there is nothing suggestive of God. There was grandeur, but the grandeur had no voice. It was grandeur without revelation, and grandeur without revelation is never creative of awe. Where there is no awe, men step with flippant tread. The exile felt the glamour, felt the power of the grandeur, but in the glamour and grandeur forgot his God. His vision was more and more horizontal, and less and less vertical. Ambition waxed feverish, and aspiration waxed faint. The spirit of the conqueror infected the captive. The babble of Babylon entered into Israel. Success was enthroned in place of holiness, and the soul bowed down and worshipped it. The exile embraced the world, and shut out the infinite. Now, what was the issue of that Y The exile made money. His body revelled in conditions of ease. His carnal appetites delighted themselves in fatness. He climbed into positions of eminence and power. What else? “In the fulness of his sufficiency he was in straits.’ The body luxuriated; the soul languished. He drenched the body with comforts; but he couldn’t appease its tenant. “Soul, thou hast much goods laid up, eat, drink, and be merry! And still the soul cried out, “I thirst,” and disturbed him like an unquiet ghost, he spent money and more money, but was never able to buy the appropriate bread. He plunged into increased labours, but his labours reaped only that “which satisfied not.” The body toiled, the brain schemed, the eyes coveted, and still the soul cried out, “I thirst. Now, when there sits in the soul a hungry unrest and a feverish thirst, life will drop into faintness, weariness and despair. All things become stale, flat, and unprofitable. We “spend our money for that which is not bread, and we labour for that which satisfieth not.’ “All is vanity and vexation of spirit.” (J. H. Jowett, M. A.)

The true imperialism

Has this no pertinency for our own day? Acquisition and expansion are the primary notes of modern life. And is there no thirst, no disquietude of spirit? Our novels and our poetry are full of the drooping leaf. Behind the droop there is the thirst. The literature only reflects the people. Business circles never abounded as they do to-day in faint and weary men. They get and spend, and spend and get, but through it all persists the inward thirst. England is thirsting for life. What we need is the infinitely gracious ministry of the Eternal Son of God. “He, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters.”

I. There is to be THE DISCIPLINE OF THE EAR. There is to be a determined, resolute effort to listen to God. When I turn over the pages of the New Testament, and the Old Testament as well, I am greatly surprised at the emphasis with which is given the injunction to hear. “ Hear, ye deaf. Every page sends out the cry of the herald--Hearken, listen, incline your ear. It is wonderful how often the Master repeated the injunction, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” That is not a kind of mild, kindly counsel, but an urgent, strenuous appeal to men and women in imminent peril. As though they were disinclined, or did it lazily and easily. He seems to say, Put work into hearing, make it a business, put some intenseness into it. The voices of the world are so clamorous, so fascinating, so easily enticing, that you are in great danger of being allured unless you set yourself resolutely to attend to God. “Hearken diligently unto Me;” put work into listening to Me, in the Parliament, in the Council House, on the Exchange, in the shop and the warehouse, and in the pulpit. There are many clamorous voices around you, those of Mr. Worldly-Wiseman, Mr. Pliable, Mr. Time-Server, Mr. Love-of-the-World. Then pull yourself together, says the Master and the prophet; engage yourself with such intenseness amidst all the bustling clamour, that you may catch the upward calling of your God.

II. The discipline of the ear is accompanied by THE DISCIPLINE OF THE HEART. Listen and then yield. “Let the wicked forsake his way (and then something infinitely harder), “and the unrighteous man his thoughts.” I find it a comparatively easy thing to forsake a way; but I find it almost insuperably difficult to forsake a thought. Hear the Highest and then uncompromisingly obey. You say impossible! Idleness creates the impossible, says Robert South. I think perhaps one of the great needs of our time in personal and national life, is that some nation should resolutely address itself to listen to the voice of God, and when she has resolutely listened and confidently heard, then to resolutely and deliberately attempt the impossible. Let her begin by forsaking her own wicked ways. Let her hearken diligently to the Divine voice and then definitely and unwaveringly follow in pursuit, even though the way lead apparently to an impassable height. Let her return to the Lord, and let there be no longer a democracy, an aristocracy, a plutocracy, but a Theocracy willing gladly to be counselled by Jehovah.

III. “WHAT IS THE ISSUE OF THIS OBEDIENCE? Suppose the thirsty nation oppressed, turned herself to listen to Jehovah and began to interpret the voice Divine, and suppose she addressed herself with all the majesty of Divine power to the pursuit of the ideal discerned, what would happen? The issue of-such a demeanour is portrayed for us with wonderful prodigality in the chapter.

1. There is the assured promise of fuller life. “Hear, and your soul shall live.” Hitherto life had been a thin existence, a mere surface glittering, a superficial movement. Now there shall be vitality, awakening and stirring in undreamed-of depths. Life shall be no longer confined to the channels of the appetites; life shall no longer be a mere matter of senses and sensations confined to the outer courts and corridors of the life, but you shall begin to live in the innermost self. The unused shall be aroused and exercised;, the unevolved shall be unpacked; benumbed instincts shall be liberated; buried powers of discernment shall come trooping from the grave; new intelligence shall be born, and the sea of iniquity shall ebb, and the sea shall give up its dead. Life shall be no longer scant and scrimpy. You shall delight yourself, not in leanness but in fatness, every tissue of yourself shall be fed, and the outer life shall bear all manner of fruit, and the leaves of the tree shall be for the healing of the nations.

2. Mark the succession, and we get an exceedingly pregnant suggestion. We have got a nation listening, we have got a nation doing, we have got a nation now living, with its powers evolved, and in active exercise. What next? “Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not.” What is that’? It means that a true and glorified national life is to be followed by a true and glorified imperialism. “Nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the Lord thy God.’ That is the true imperialism--empire by moral and spiritual sovereignty, allurement of dominion by the fascinating radiance of a pure and satisfied life. “Gentiles shall come to the light, and kings to the brightness of the rising.” It is empire not merely by the aid of Maxim guns, but by great heartening: Gospels proclaimed by a great redeemed, glorified people. This is to be the shining goal of true national ambition. The mission of the great people, according to this chapter, is to be this: We are to be witnesses to the people, leaders and commanders of the people, witnesses ceaselessly reiterating the truths of the heartening Gospel, proving in the power of our own redemption our fitness to be leaders of the people, going out as path-finders amongst the benighted peoples. “They shall be called” (I want no more glorious title for the country) “the restorer of paths to dwell in.”

3. Now, mark further the issue. A true imperialism, I will not say is to be succeeded, but is to be accompanied by a splendid magnanimity. When the nation has hearkened diligently unto God, and follows determinedly in the pursuit of His will, all little-mindedness has to pass away in the great spacious ambitions. The pure and the exalted people are to share the spacious thought of God, and this I take to be the meaning of the word, “My thoughts are not your thoughts.” “What are Thy thoughts like?” “As the heavens are higher than the earth. God’s thoughts are lofty, spacious, broad; so our thoughts must be comprehensive, full of an all-inclusive sympathy which vibrates to the interest of each, as though each contained the welfare of the other. The truly imperial people are to share this largeness of idea and ideal and all inclusive sympathy. All parochial peddling and sterile individualism shall yield to a pregnant altruism, and mean patriotism is to be supplanted by a generous fructifying cosmopolitanism. The annexation of territory will be regarded as infinitely inferior to the salvation of the world. Influence shall not be measured by mileage, but by magnanimity. Empire will not be computed by so many leagues of earth, but by the multitude of redeemed and liberated souls. And the outskirts of sovereignty will not be contained by bristling guns, but “They shall call her walls salvation and her gates praise.”

4. We have an exalted, glorified empire, and according to this prophet, there is to be nothing wavering or uncertain about the moral empire of such a people. For them a help-giving ministry,, will be inevitable. “As the rain cometh down and the snow from heaven, etc. The rain cometh down and the snow from heaven, the bringers of the spring time; and the nation truly imperial, and filled with the living Spirit of the living God, shall be the spring-time maker amongst the children of men, and the creator of gladness and music and song. The prophet himself bursts into song: “The mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” That is to be the ministry of the nation. “Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree.” The thorn with the sharp-piercing, pain-giving spikes: instead of that shall come up the fir tree--from which were made the musical instruments, and especially the framework of the harp; “instead of the thorn, the pain-making thing, shall come up the fir tree,” the music-making thing; the glorified people shall move among the scattered peoples, and shall exercise the beautiful ministry of changing the creators of pain into the makers of melody and praise. “Instead of the briar,” with its bitter, poisonous sting, “shall come up the myrtle tree, with its glossy leaves, and white flowers and grateful perfume. The redeemed and consecrated nation shall exult in a missionary enterprise which shall change the poisonous enmities and jealousies of the people into the perfume of sweet and gracious sentiments, and the chastened delights of a holy and blameless life. Is not this an ambition worthy of the English people of our own day? (J. H. Jowett, M. A.)

The gracious invitation

I. THE INVITATION ITSELF.

1. The universality of the offer.

2. The freeness of the gift. “He that hath no money ‘--he that is in spiritual bankruptcy.

3. The fulness of the blessings which this salvation contains. They are represented by the three terms, water, wine and milk.

II. THE ENCOURAGEMENTS TO ACCEPT THE INVITATION. These are manifold and various.

1. There is, the contrast between the blessings offered and those for which men are now so laboriously toiling.

2. The character of Him through whom the blessings are to be obtained.

3. The present nearness of God to us and His abundant willingness to pardon.

4. The fact that God’s “ways are not our ways, nor His thoughts our thoughts.” He pardons like a God.

5. God’s Word “shall not return unto Him void. There is profound encouragement in the thought that back of these agencies of the Gospel, which seem so weak as compared with those powers of depravity in the soul with which they must contend, lies the changeless purpose of Him who “worketh all things after the counsel of His own will.”

6. The profound interest felt by all holy beings everywhere in the salvation of the sinner. That profound sympathy with man in his efforts for salvation which our Lord so beautifully represents by the joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth, the inspired prophet; here represents by the joy of inanimate nature over this return of the sinner to Him who is the Fountain of life.

7. The beneficent results of the acceptance of this invitation. “Instead of the thorn,” etc. Divine grace works a complete transformation in the heart into which it comes. It roots out the thorns and briars of selfishness, of pride, of avarice, of unbelief and every hurtful lust. It implants in their room all the graces that adorn the Christian character. (T. D.Witherspoon, D. D.)

Gospel invitation without restriction

Man may erect his barriers around that fountain, God erects none. It is not, Come by laboured preparation--by penance and fasting, by pilgrimage and mortification, It is not, “Come”--but you must come by dogma and rubric, by sect and shibboleth.Neither is it, “Come”--but you must come with some golden or jewelled bucket to fetch up the water; you must come like Naaman of old, laden with, costly offerings, talents of silver and gold, and changes of raiment. But, “Come, just as you are, without money and without price;” without distinction, whether natural or spiritual, of class or rank or caste, birth or blood or pedigree. “Come,” though you may have but an earthen pitcher to draw with; “come,” though you can only lave up the water in the rough palm of your hands. (J. R. Macduff, D. D.)

“Come to the waters”

The Lord even thirsteth to be thirsted after. (J. Trapp.)

Man’s misery and God’s call

I. SIN IS MISERY, FAILURE, KEEN AND URGENT WANT. Isaiah draws a picture which Orientals would appreciate far more vividly than we, whose utmost pain from thirst only means that on some holiday excursion we have felt the heat inconvenient, and have not; happened immediately upon a fountain. He speaks, not of one thirsty man, but of a number, evidently a caravan of travellers. No one who heard him would fail to think of the burnt and sandy plains, a little to the south, on which sometimes a whole company of travellers might wander from their way, and exhaust their provisions, and grow feeble and gaunt and desperate. The hot breeze whirls the burning sand around them. The simoom wind wails in the distance. Phantom waters gleam with a cruel mockery on this side or that. Their own fever creates illusions which distract them. The skeletons of others, lost like themselves, glare upon them. Their steps are feeble, and their tongues cleave to their mouths, when suddenly all that they could not find finds them, and a glad voice calls, “He, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters! This fountain is deep enough for all, and here, in our tents, is Oriental hospitality besides; buy and eat, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Our own countrymen, exploring the deserts of Australia even now, would understand it well. Many a brave man has sunk down there and died.. One band of early explorers survived to tell how in their extremity they climbed a hill and saw below them a rolling water, right into which with one consent; they rushed, and eagerly drank, only to find that it was salt as brine. O mockery, like the mockery of earthly pleasure when the heart is athirst!

II. GOD CALLS THE DISAPPOINTED, the fevered, the men and women who have found the world desolate and dry; whose very wishes give them not their wish, who succeed perhaps, and are all the more unhappy because they know that success also is vanity; whose affection prospers, only to teach them that, after all, there are depths in every heart which resound to no human voice. You may not as yet feel any more than this burning, secret want; but this is enough, if only it leads you to the fountain. Does not the very word “come” imply the leaving of something, as well as approach to something else? And this purchasing is not entirely defined in the words, “Let the wicked man forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts,” for much more than sin must be surrendered. St. Paul tells us of the price he himself paid when, having reckoned up his advantages, and how, as touching the righteousness that is by the law, he was blameless, he adds, “What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ,” etc. Yes, for Christ. For it is He who interprets this verse of Himself, though it is plainly spoken of Jehovah. He, on the great day of the feast, stood and cried, “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink.” Here, then, is the one test of earnestness: Will you, at the bidding of your God, renounce what has failed to quench your thirst, for the sake of the waters of life? (G.A. Chadwick, D.D.)

The great proclamation

I. TO WHOM THIS OFFER IS MAKE. It is to every one thirsty and penniless. That is a melancholy combination, to be needing something infinitely, and to have not a farthing to get it with. But that is the condition in which we all stand, in regard of the highest and best things.

1. “Every one that thirsteth.” That means desire. But it means need also. And what is every man but a great bundle of yearnings and necessities? There are thirsts which infallibly point to their true objects. If a man is hungry, he knows that it is food that he wants. We have social instincts; we need love; we need friendship; we need somebody to lean upon; we thirst for some breast to rest our heads upon, for hands to clasp ours; and we know where the creatures and the objects are that will satisfy these desires. And there are higher thirsts of the spirit, and a man knows where and how to gratify the impulse that drives him to seek aider some forms of knowledge and wisdom. But besides all these there come in a whole set of other thirsts that do not in themselves carry the intimation of the place where they can be slaked. And so you get men restless, dissatisfied, feeling that there is something wanting, yet not knowing what. You remember the old story in the “Arabian Nights,” of the man who had a grand palace, and lived in it quite contentedly, until somebody told him that he needed a roc’s egg hanging from the roof to make it complete, and he did not know where to get that, and was miserable accordingly. We build our houses, we fancy that we are satisfied; and then there comes the stinging thought that it is not all complete yet, and we go groping in the dark, to find out what it is. Do you know what it is that you want? It is God! Nothing else, nothing less. There are dormant thirsts. It is no proof of superiority that a savage has fewer wants than you and I have, for the want is the open mouth into which supply comes. And it is no proof that you have not, deep in your nature, desires which unless they are awakened and settled, you will never be blessed, that these desires are all unconscious to yourselves. And yet there are no desires--that is to say, consciousness of necessities--so dormant but that their being ungratified makes a man restless. You do not want forgiveness, but you will never be happy till you get it. You do not want to be good and true and holy men, but you will never be blessed till you are. You do not want God, but you will be restless till you find Him.

2. “And he that hath no money.” Who has any? Notice that the persons represented in our text as penniless are, in the next verse, remonstrated with for spending “money.” So then the penniless man had some pence away in some corner of his pocket which he could spend. He had the money that would buy shams, “that which is not bread,” but he had no money for the true thing. Which, being translated out of parable into fact, is simply this, that our efforts may win, and do win, for us the lower satisfactions which meet the transitory and superficial necessities, but that no effort of ours can secure for us the loftier blessings which slake the diviner thirsts of immortal souls.

II. IN WHAT IT CONSISTS. They tell an old story about the rejoicings at the coronation of some great king, when there was set up in the market-place a triple fountain, from each of whose three lips flowed a different kind of rare liquor which any man who chose to bring a pitcher might fill from, at his choice. Notice my text, “come ye to the waters”. . . “buy wine and milk. The great fountain is set up in the market-place of the world, and every man may come; and whichever of this glorious trinity of effluents he needs most, there his lip,may glue itself and there it may drink, be it “water that refreshes, or “wine that gladdens, or “milk” that nourishes. They are all contained in this one great gift that flows out from the deep heart of God to the thirsty lips of parched humanity. And what does that mean? We may say salvation; or we may use many other words to define the nature of the gifts. I venture to take a shorter one, and say, it means Christ. He is the all-sufficient supply of every thirst of every human soul.

III. HOW DO WE GET THE GIFTS? The paradox of’ my text needs little explanation. “Buy without money and without price.’ The contradiction on the surface is but intended to make emphatic this blessed truth theft the only conditions are a sense of need and a willingness to take--nothing else and nothing more. (A. Mallard, D. D.)

Soul thirst

Men know what bodily hunger is, some have felt it to an agony, but there is a soul hunger far more distressing than this. It is depicted on the countenances of those whose bodies fare sumptuously every day. Men also know what bodily thirst is. But there is a soul thirst infinitely worse than that which was ever felt by the most parched of Oriental travellers. That all unregenerate souls are thirsting, with more or less intensity, for that which they have not, will neither be debated nor denied. Christianity is a provision for such, and as a provision it is marked by three things.

I. IT IS EFFICACIOUS. It is “water.” The Gospel is to the thirsty soul what the cool refreshing stream is to a thirsty body. It satisfies--

1. The guilty conscience,

2. The longing heart,

3. The worshipping spirit of man. All who have truly received the Gospel give this testimony.

II. IT IS GRATUITOUS. “Without money and without price.” Water is one of the freest things in the world. It is a ubiquitous element; it not only floats in the cloud, descends in the showers, and rolls in the rivers, but bubbles up at our feet and oozes out in all the things around us.

III. IT IS UNRESTRICTED. “Ho, every one that thirsteth.” The Gospel is not for any type of mind, any class of character, any condition of society, any tribe of men. Like the light of heaven, it is for all. (Homilist.)

The spiritual appetite and its gratification

I. The spiritual appetite.

1. It results from the constitution of our nature. We cannot go deeper than nature. We cannot go behind or beyond it, for nature is what has been born (Latin natura), born out of God’s thought by God’s power. When we speak of nature we must pass in thought from her to her parent God, and find a sufficient answer to all questions and difficulties by saying: “God has so willed it, therefore it is as it is.” All the strong basal instincts of human nature must be traced back to the make of our moral being as it was planned by almighty wisdom, and wrought by infinite power. We hunger and thirst, because our physical nature has been so created that it must needs go out of itself for its supplies of nutriment. Similarly, God made our souls for Himself. Deep within us, lie has put necessities and desires, that crave for satisfaction from the Unseen, Eterual, and Divine.

2. It produces pain. There are many sources of pain; but perhaps primarily God has instituted it to compel us to take measures for our health and salvation. The pain of hunger and thirst in designed to force us to take food, without which the body would become exhausted and die. So, in the moral sphere, we should be thankful when we are discontented with ourselves, when in self-abhorrence we cry out for God’s unsullied righteousness, when we go about smitten with infinite unrest.

3. It is universal. As we have never met man or woman incapable of hunger or thirst, so there is no human soul which is not capable of possessing God, and does not need Him for a complete life. Often the spiritual appetite is dormant. The invalid, who has long suffered under the pressure of a wasting illness, may have no appetite, but at any moment it may awake. Thus with the hunger of the soul for God.

II. THE NURTURE OF SPIRITUAL APPETITE.

III. THE CERTAIN GRATIFICATION OF THIS APPETITE. God never sends mouths, the old proverb says, but He sends with them the food to fill them. Young lions never seek that which His hand does not open to give. The fish, and the fly at which it snatches; the bird, and the berries on the hawthorn bush; the babe, and the milk stored in its mother’s breast, are perfectly adapted to each other. Whatever you and I have longed for in our best and holiest moments may have its consummation and bliss, because God has prepared for our perfect satisfaction. (Lira of Faith.)

A gracious invitation

I. THE STATE OF THE PERSONS ADDRESSED. II. THE NATURE OF THE PROVISION PREPARED.

III. THE FORCE OF THE INVITATION OFFERED. What is it to corals? coming signifies believing. Observe how this invitation is reiterated. It corrals in with a shout; then it is plainly stated--then it is repeated--and a third time it is urged.

1. Let the extent of the call induce you to come.

2. Let the freeness of the supply induce you to come.

3. Let the sufficiency of the provision induce you to come.

4. Let the impossibility of finding redemption elsewhere induce you to come.

Conclusion:

1. Some of you have heard in a spirit of levity.

2. Some in a spirit of neglect.

3. Some in a spirit of doubt and despondency. (J. Parsons.)

Water for the thirsty

I. WHAT THESE WATERS ARE WHICH ARE PROVIDED FOR THIRSTY SINNERS.

II. EVERY THIRSTY SINNER MAY AND OUGHT TO COME TO THEM. (O. Sedgwick, B. D.)

True satisfaction in Christ

There are eight things which thirsty sinners should set together.

1. All their sins and Christ’s merits.

2. All their distresses and Christ’s compassions,

3. All their wants and Christ’s fulness.

4. All their unworthiness and Christ’s fresness.

5. Their desires and Christ’s invitations.

6. Their thirstings and the promises of Christ.

7. Their own weakness and Christ’s strength.

8. Satan’s objections and Christ’s answers. (O. Sedgwick, B. D.)

The best bargain

Dr. Faustus was very dear to legend in the Middle Ages. He burned with desire to drink his fill of all the pleasures of this life; but he could not gain them by his own unaided skill. He therefore made a contract with Satan. It was drawn out in the most lawyer-like style, and Faustus signed it with his own blood. It was stipulated that during the next twenty years he should have the run of all earth’s pleasures, and then his soul and body were to be given over to Satan. He began with the sweets of knowledge, but soon he forsook them in disgust, and plunged into the fiercer and coarser excitements of the senses. Amid many horrors the body and soul of Faustus were seized by Satan just as the clock struck twelve at night on the last day of the specified period. These legends hold some of the most solemn secrets of life. They teach that every man has a soul to dispose of; that men, like the fallen angels, may ruin themselves with their eyes open; and that the greatest transactions of the soul may be likened to buying and bargaining.

I. WHEN I BUY, I DESIRE. And I desire what I must fetch from without. Were I entirely self-supporting, had I everything I, need “within myself,” as the saying is, I should never go to any market. Isaiah’s words for “buy” means to buy provisions. Lost in the desert, parched by thirst, gnawed by hunger, duped by the mirage, ready to perish--that is the standing biblical picture of a sinful man when he realizes his soul’s needs. It is he who is urged to come to the waters, and to buy wine and milk. “But I have no heart, no desire for these things: what am I to do?” That is the great trouble; indifference or downright indolence of soul the most common obstacle. But God’s appeal is, “Come now, and let us reason together.” He sets forth the alternatives as to a reasonable being. Water, wine, milk, good, fatness, life, covenant-mercy--all these are freely offered instead of starvation and death. How unreasonable you must be if anything on earth can keep you from what you know to be your highest good!

II. WHEN I BUY, I CHOOSE The essence of a bargain is an act of choice. Choose I the Bible keeps that word ever ringing in our ears. And so does profane literature. Hercules, the greatest hero of heathendom, was made by his deliberate choice of virtue and rejection of vice. Pythagoras put this great truth into one of the most popular of object-lessons. He compared life to the letter y. The parting of the ways is symbolized by the two limbs of the letter. A man must go forward; and he must go left or right; he must walk in the way of evil or in the way of good. This choosing is the biggest thing you can do in this world. When I buy I consent to the price. Buying is simply avowed consent in action. “Come buy . . . without money and without price.” By this double phrase the prophet assails the deep-seated self-righteousness of the heat. And he assails it wit’s its own favourite ideas and phrases. You will buy. Well, then, let him buy who has no money, and let him buy without money and without price. Buying has a legal suggestion; but buying without money more than neutralizes every such suggestion. The most capacious mind, the liveliest imagination, could not suggest a more effective way of setting forth the utter freeness of Gods grace.

III. WHAT I BUY, I OWN. The Gospel is here staten in the language of the market-place, so that all may perfectly understand it. All just laws and our moral instincts make me the undoubted possessor of that which I have fairly bought and paid for. It is my very own. This buying is all you need. The goods are yours in offer; and they are yours in full possession n you accept them.

IV. WHAT I BUY, I USE. Unused milk and flesh are of no value to me. The bread of life, which Christ is and offers, is ours only in so far as we appropriate and assimilate it. “Buy and eat. The buying is useless without the eating. Eating is the most vital, personal, and experimental thing in the world. The bread eaten becomes part and parcel of myself. (Monthly Visitor.)

The proclamation and expostulation of mercy

I. THE PROCLAMATION OF MERCY.

1. The blessings offered.

2. The terms propounded.

II. THE GLORIOUS RESULTS which accrue from compliance with these conditions. Men are invited to buy, etc., so, of those who comply it may be said--

1. They “buy” soul-food, i.e they appropriate as verily their own the blessings purchased by Christ.

2. They “eat,” i.e they have experimental knowledge of Christianity.

3. Their soul “delights itself in fatness.” The more of Christ men have, the more they desire

III. THE LORD’S GRACIOUS EXPOSTULATION. It is an appeal to their reason and their experience. God knows what man is, and what he feels. It is as if God had said: “I know your case entirely; you are toiling for happiness and toiling in vain, and you know it. You are always pursuing some ideal good, with which, when you get it, you are satiated. Why go on thus, when peace and rest may be had? The argument used by God teaches that sin is--

1. Costly. “Wherefore do ye spend money, etc. Sin is costly.”--

(1) A pecuniary sense.

2. Laborious.

3. Unsatisfying. (J. S. Swan.)

Invitation; expostulation; entreaty

I. AN EVANGELICAL INVITATION. “Come ye.”

1. The persons invited.

2. The matter of the invitation. Jesus Christ is an only good, and He is an universal good. “Waters; bread; milk; wine.”

3. The manner of the invitation.

There is much good to be had, and at a very easy rate. Jesus Christ, and the things of Christ, are above price and without price.

II. A COMPLAINING EXPOSTULATION. “Wherefore,” etc. Here we have charged on sinners--

1. Their neglect.

2. Their folly.

III. A RENEWED SOLICITATION OR ENTREATY. How patient is God, even to sinners who neglect the offers of His grace! This renewed entreaty is--

1. Very vehement. “Hearken diligently; incline your ears; hear.”

2. Very persuasive.

3. Very satisfactory. “I will make an everlasting covenant with you,” etc.

“I will give My bond for it; all this shall be as surely made good as the mercies which I performed to My servant, David.” (O. Sedgwick, B. D.)

Food a supreme need

What does the hungry man want? Money? Not at all. Fame? No. Good clothes? Not a bit. He wants food. What does the thirsty man want? Reputation? Bonds and stocks? No! He wants water. When we are dead in earnest, and want the bread of heaven and the water of life, we shall not stop till we get them. (Sunday School Chronicle.)

He that hath no money; come ye, buy, and sat

Buying without money

We have before us the figure of a merchant selling his wares, and crying like a chapman in the market, “He!” To attract attention he calls aloud, “Come! Come! Come!” three several times; and he adds to this the cry of “Buy! Buy!” Shall the Great King thus liken Himself to a trader in the market earnest to dispose of his goods? It is even so, and I therefore call upon you to admire the mercy of the Lord. In the fifty-third and fifty-fourth chapters this Divine Merchantman has been spreading out His wares. What treasures they are!

I. A DESCRIPTION OF THE BUYER. It is the portrait of a poor, penniless, broken-down creature reduced to the extremity of want: “He that hath no money. Of course, by this is meant the man who literally has no money. Having nothing, you may yet possess all things. But we understand the reference of the text to be mainly spiritual, and so the portrait here is that of a man who has no spiritual money, no gold of goodness, no silver of sanctity.

1. His fancied stock of natural innocence is spent.

2. He thought that he had accumulated some little savings of good works; but his imaginary righteousness turns out to be counterfeit.

3. He is in a still worse plight, for he is also too poor to get anything; the procuring power is gone, for he has “no money “ that is to say, nothing wherewith he can procure those good things which are necessary to salvation and eternal life.

4. Moreover, his stock with which to trade is gone. Money makes money, and he that has a little to begin with may soon have more; but this man, having no stock to start with, cannot hope to be rich towards God in and by himself. No money!

II. THE SELECTION OF THE BUYER. It is a strange choice, and it leads to a singular invitation, “He that hath no money; come, buy, and eat.” What is the reason?

1. These need mercy most.

2. This character is chosen because he is such a one as will exhibit in his own person the power of Divine grace.

3. The Lord Jesus delights to make evident the freeness of His grace.

4. He is the kind of man that will listen. A wretched sinner jumps at mercy like a hungry fish leaping at the bait.

5. Such an empty, penniless soul, when he does get mercy, will prize it and praise it. He that has been shut up in the dark for years values the light of the sun. He that has been a prisoner for months, how happy he is when the prison doors are opened, and he is at liberty again! Let a man once get Christ, who has bitterly known and felt his need of Him, and he will prize Him beyond all things.

III. THE INVITATION. The man who has no money is to come, buy, and eat. It looks odd to tell a penniless man to come and buy, does it not? and yet what other word could be used? Come and buy, has a meaning of its own not to be otherwise expressed. In buying there are three or four stages.

1. Desiring to have the thing which is exhibited.

2. This means next, to agree to terms.

3. When the terms are carried out, the buyer appropriates the goods to himself.

4. But the text says, “Buy, and eat, as much as to say, make it yours in the most complete sense. If a man buys a loaf of bread it is his: but if he eats it, then all the lawyers in the world cannot dispute him out of it--he has it by a possession which is not only nine points of the law, but all the law. Christ fed upon IS ours beyond all question.

IV. By way of ASSURANCE, to show that this is all real and true, and no make-believe.

1. It is not God’s way to mock men. He hath Himself declared, “ I said not unto the seed of Jacob, seek ye My face in vain.”

2. God is under no necessity to sell His benefits. He is not impoverished: He is so rich that none can add anything to His wealth.

3. There is no adequate price that we could bring to God for His mercy.

4. Remember that Jesus must be meant for sinners, for if sinners had not existed there never would have been a saviour.

5. It must be true that God will give these blessings to men who have no merits, and will bestow them as gifts, because Jesus Himself is a gift.

6. Beside that, Christ is all.

7. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is blessedly free from all clogging conditions, because all supposed conditions are supplied in Christ Jesus. (C. H.Spurgeon.)

Gospel blessings to be bought

You may have seen persons in a shop who, when they have been shown almost all the contents of the shop,--when article after article has been brought down from the shelves for their inspection, have at last, to the no small disappointment of the shopkeeper, gone out without buying anything. And we who have the Gospel wares to dispose of, are subject to like disappointments. We also have customers who, when they have looked at, and turned over, so to speak, again and again, the goods which we offer them, as though they would make an offer for them, content themselves with the looking at them, hear and listen to the Gospel, that you would think they were going to embrace it, yet go out of Church, ah! and out of the world, without embracing it. (W. Cleaves, M. A.)

Buyers will show that they possess

It will be seen whether we have been indeed buyers, or like those who content themselves with looking at what is to be sold without buying. If a man has been buying clothes, for instance, he will be seen wearing the clothes; if he has been buying cattle, he will stock his land with the cattle; if he has been buying provisions, his table will be supplied with the provisions; if he has been buying furniture, his house will be furnished with it; and if we have been buying of Christ, the heart and mind will be furnished, we shall be clothed, we shall be adorned with what Christ has for those who buy of Him. (W. Cleaves, M. A.)

The fulness of Christ offered to the needy sinner

1. In Christ there is very good fare to be had for poor sinners.

2. The enjoyment of it is limited by their coming to Christ and buying of Him.

3. Upon their coming to Christ all that good doth certainly come to them. (O. Sedgwick, B. D.)

Willingness to buy of Christ

He that is willing to buy--

1. Will go to the market.

2. Doth like the wares which are to be bought.

3. Will come up to the price at which they are to be bought.

4. Will watch the time, and take the time of buying.

5. Is willing to sell that he may compass the things he is very desirous to buy (Genesis 47:17-19; Matthew 13:44).

There are three “alls” which a poor sinner is willing to sell that he may have Christ.

Buying of Christ

You may know that you have indeed bought of Christ by something in yourselves.

1. Your hearts will be much endeared to Christ for what He hath sold unto you.

2. You will spend what you have bought of Christ, upon Christ.

3. You will so like the bargain that Christ shall have your custom as long as you live.

4. You will not sell what you have bought. (O. Sedgwick, B. D.)

Driving a trade with Christ

There are seven arguments to persuade poor sinners to come and buy of Christ.

I. THE EXCELLENCE OF THE WARES.

II. THE NECESSITY OF THE PURCHASE.

III. THE GOODNESS OF THE SELLER.

IV. THE EASINESS OF THE PRICE.

V. THE OPPORTUNITY OF THE MARKET.

VI. THE BENEFIT OF THE BARGAIN.

VII. THE LOSS BY NEGLECT.( O. Sedgwick, B. D.)

The benefit of trading with Christ

By buying of Christ you gain--

1. Losses. It is no gain to lose a soul, yet it is an exceeding gain for a soul to lose some things--the dominion of sin, the love of sin, a condemning conscience, our corrupt vices, etc.

2. Yourselves. We never come to enjoy ourselves until we come to enjoy Christ.

3. Your own souls--they are safe and secured for ever.

4. All. All the purchase of Christ, all the good of all the offers of Christ, all the fruits of the Spirit of Christ, all the promises of God in Christ, all the revealings of the ordinances of Christ, all the immunities and privileges of Christ, all the hopes by Christ. You gain all the good which concerns soul and body in this life, and all the good which concerns them in the life to come. (O. Sedgwick, B. D.)

Spiritual merchandise

Those who have bought of Christ are--

I. THE WISEST MERCHANTS.

II. THE SUREST POSSESSORS. (O. Sedgwick, B. D.)

“Buy and eat:”

It is a virtue here to be a holy glutton. (J. Trapp.)

Yea, come, buy wins and milk

Wine and milk

As water, on account of its commonness and abundance, is often apt to be despised, the prophet farther speaks of the blessings of salvation under the symbols of wine and milk. (R. Jones, M. A.)

A free salvation

I. I have to preach WINE AND MILK. The Gospel is like wine which makes us glad. Let a man truly know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and he will be a happy man, and the deeper he drinks into the spirit of Christ, the more happy will he become. The Gospel is like milk too, for there is everything in it that you want, Do you want something to bear you up in trouble? It is in the Gospel--“a very present help in time of trouble.” Do you need something to nerve you for duty? There is grace all-sufficient for everything that God calls you to undergo or to accomplish. Do you need something to light up the eye of your hope? There are joy-flashes in the Gospel that may make your eye flash back again the immortal fires of bliss. Do you want something to make you stand steadfast in the midst of temptation? In the Gospel there is that that can make you immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. The Gospel was evidently meant for manhood; it is adapted to it in its every part. There is knowledge for the head; there is love for the heart; there is guidance for the foot. And I think there is another meaning in the two words “wine and milk.” Wine is a rich thing, something that requires much time to manufacture. There has to be vintage and fermentation and preservation before wine can come to its full flavour. The Gospel is like that; it is an extraordinary thing for feast days; it gives a man power to use a vintage of thought, a fermentation of action, and a preservation of experience, till a man’s piety comes forth like the sparkling wine that makes the heart leap with gladness. But milk is an ordinary thing; you get it every day, anywhere. So is it with the Gospel: it is a thing for every day.

II. Having thus exhibited the article, my next business is to BRING THE BIDDERS UP TO THE AUCTION BOX AND SELL IT. My difficulty is to bring you down to my price. Here comes some one up to the sacred desk, transformed for the moment into an auction-box, and he cries, “I want to buy.” What will you give for it? He holds out his hands, and he has such a handful; he has to lift up his very lap with more, for he can hardly hold all his good works. He has Ave-Marius and Paternosters without number, and all kinds of crossings with holy water, and bendings of the knee, and prostrations before the altar, and reverence of the host, and attending at the mass, and so on. And so, Sir Romanist, you are coming to get salvation are you? and you have brought all this with you lava sorry for thee, but thou must go away from the box with all thy performances, for it is without money and without price, and until thou art prepared to come empty-handed thou canst never have it. Then another comes up and says, “I am glad you have served the Romanist like, that” I hate the Church of Rome; I am a true Protestant, and desire to be saved. What have you brought, sir? “Oh I have brought no Ave-Marias, no Paternosters. But I say the collect every Sunday; I am very attentive to my prayers. I got to church almost as soon as the doors are open,” or “I go to chapel three times on the Sabbath and I attend the prayer-meetings; and beside that, I pay everybody twenty shillings in the pound; I would not like to hurt anybody; I am always liberal, and assist the poor when! can. I may make a little slip just now and then. Still, if I am mot saved I do not know who will be. I am as good as my neighbours, and I think I certainly ought to be saved, for I have very few sins, and what few there are do not hurt other people; they hurt me more than any one else. Besides, they are mere trifles.” I will send you away; there is no salvation for you, for it is “without money and without price;” and as long as you bring these fine good works of yours, you cannot have it. Mark, I do not find any fault with them, they are good enough in their place, but they won’t do here, but they won’t do at the judgment bar of God. Suppose I see a man building a house, and he were fool enough to lay the foundation with chimney-pots. If I should say, “My dear man, I do not like these chimney-pots to be put into the foundation, ‘ you would not say I found fault with the chimney-pots, but that I found fault with the man for putting them in the wrong place. So with good works and ceremonies; they will not do for a foundation. The foundation must be built of more solid stuff. But see another man. He is a long way off, and he says, “Sir, I am afraid to come; I could not come and make a bid for the salvation. Sir, I’ve got no larnin’, I’m no scholard, I can’t read a book, I wish I could. My children go to Sunday-school; I wish there was such a thing in my time; I can’t read, and it’s no use my hoping to go to heaven. I goes to church sometimes, but oh dear I it’s no good; the man uses such long words I can’t understand ‘em, and I goes to chapel sometimes, but I can’t make it out.” It wants no scholarship to go to heaven. Now, I see a man come up to the stall, and he says, “Well, I will have salvation, sir; I have made in my will provisions for the building of a church or two, and a few almshouses; I always devote a part of my substance to the cause of God; I always receive the poor, and such-like; I have a pretty good share of money, and I take care not to hoard it up; I am generous and liberal. Won’t that carry me to heaven?” Well, I like you very much, and I wish there were more of your sort. But if you bring these things as your hope of heaven, I must undeceive you. You cannot buy heaven with gold. Why, they pave the streets up there with it. Wealth makes distinction on earth, but no distinction at the Cross of Christ. You must all come alike to the footstool of Jesus, or else not come at all. I knew a minister who told me he was once sent for to the dying bed of a woman who was very well to do in the world, and she said, “Mr. Baxter, do you think when I get to heaven Betsy my servant will be there?” “Well,” he said, “I don’t know much about you, but Betsy will be there; for if I know any one who is a pious girl, it is she.” “Well,” said the lady, “don’t you think there will be a little distinction? for I never could find it in my heart to sit down with a girl of that sort; she has no taste, no education, and I could not endure it. I think there ought to be a little difference.” “Ah I you need not trouble yourself, madam,” he said, “there will be a great distinction between you and Betsy, if you die in the temper in which you now are; but the distinction will be on the wrong side; for you see her in Abraham’s bosom, but you yourself will be cast out. As long as you have such pride in your heart, yon can never enter into the kingdom of heaven.” The highway is as much for the poor man as the rich man; so is the kingdom of heaven--“without money and without price.”

III. I have to use A FEW ARGUMENTS with you.

1. I would speak to you who never think about these things at all.

2. I have now the pleasing task of addressing men of another character. You do feel your need of a Saviour. Remember, Christ died for you. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

The desire to bring something to Christ

I dare say in this congregation I have a hundred different phases of this singular fatuity of man--the desire to bring something to Christ. “Oh, ‘ says one, “I would come to Christ, but I have been too great a sinner.’ Self again, sir, your being a great sinner has nothing to do with that. Christ is a great Saviour, and however great your sin, His mercy is greater than that. He invites you simply as a sinner. Another says, “Ah, but I do not feel it enough.” Self again. He does not ask yon about your feelings; He simply says, “Look unto Me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.” “But, sir, I cannot pray.” Self again. You are not to be saved by your prayers; you are to be saved by Christ, and your business is simply to look to Christ; tie will help you to pray afterwards. But, says another, “if I felt as So-and-so did. Self again. “Yes,” you say, “I think He would receive anybody but me.” Please, who gave you any leave to think at all in the matter? Does He not say, “Him that cometh unto Me I will in nowise cast out”? Give up thinking, and believe. Are your thoughts as God’s thoughts, “But,” says one, “I have sought Him, but I have not found Him.” Can you truly say that you have come to Christ with nothing in your hand, and have looked alone to Him, and yet He has cast you away T Do you dare to say that? No: if God’s Word be true, and you are true, you cannot say that. If you will come down to this prince,” and take Christ for nothing, just as He is, “without, money and without price,” you shall not find Him a hard Master. (C. H.Spurgeon.)

“Without money and without price

I. THE SURPRISING NATURE OF THIS FACT, for it is very surprising to mankind to hear that salvation is “without money and without price.” It is so surprising to them that the plainest terms cannot make them understand it; and, though you tell them a thousand times a day, yet they persist in thinking that you mean some thing else. Why is it when man does see it he is surprised at it?

1. Because of man’s relation to God, and his wrong judgment of Him. Man thinks that God is a hard master.

2. No doubt, also, the condition of man under the fall makes it more difficult for him to comprehend that the gifts of God are “without money and without price,” for he finds that he is doomed to toil for almost everything he needs.

3. Again man recollects the general rule of men towards each other, for in this world what is to be had for nothing except that which is worth nothing?

4. Another matter helps man into this difficulty, namely, his natural pride. He does not like to be a pauper before God.

5. Once more, all religions that ever have been in the world of man’s making teach that the gifts of God are to be purchased or merited. Though I have thus shown grounds for our surprise, yet if men would think a little they might not be quite so unbelievingly amazed as they are; for, after all, the best blessings we have come to us freely. What price have you paid for your lives? and yet they are very precious. What price do you pay for the air you breathe? What price does a man pay for the sunlight? Life and air and light come to us “without money and without price.” And our faculties, too--who pays for eyesight? The ear which hears the song of the bird at dawn, what price is given for it? The senses are freely bestowed on us by God, and so is the sleep which rests them. It is clear then that some of the best blessings we possess come to us by the way of free gift; and come to the undeserving, too, for the dew shall sparkle to-morrow upon the grass in the miser’s field, and the rain shall fall in due season upon the rising corn of the wretch who blasphemes his God.

II. THE NECESSITY OF THE FACT mentioned in our text.

1. From the character of the Donor. It is God that gives. Would you have Him sell His pardons?

2. Because of the value of the boon. As one has well said, “it is without price because it is priceless.”

3. From the extremity of human destitution. The blessings of grace must be given “without money and without price,” for we have no money or price to bring.

III. THE SALUTARY INFLUENCE. OF THIS FACT. If it be “without money and without price,” what then?

1. That enables us to preach the gospel to every creature.

2. This fact has the salutary effect of excluding all pride. If it be “without money and without price,” you rich people have not a halfpennyworth of advantage above the poorest of the poor in this matter.

3. It forbids despair.

4. It inspires with gratitude, and that gratitude becomes the basis of holiness.

5. It engenders in the soul the generous virtues. The man who is saved for nothing feels first with regard to his fellow-men that he must deal lovingly with them. Has God forgiven me? Then I can freely forgive those who have trespassed against me. He longs to see others saved, and therefore he lays himself out to bring them to Jesus Christ. If he had bought his salvation I dare say he might be proud of it, and wish to keep it to himself Then the free gifts of grace, working by the power and energy of the Holy Spirit, create in us the generous virtues towards God.

6. I cannot think of anything that will make more devout worshippers in heaven than this. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

“Come"

Linger not, loiter not, frame not excuse, strain not courtesy, hang not off by sinful bashfulness: it is good manners to fall to your meat. (J. Trapp.)

“Without money and without price"

1. This gracious way of a sinner’s full enjoyment of Christ stands not in opposition to praying, attendance upon the ministry of the “Word, or believing.

2. This is to be understood in an opposition to the price and value of our works. You can lay down nothing that hath merit or recompense in it; that hath answerable value, or any value in it. (O. Sedgwick, B. D.)

Christ’s gracious terms

All that poor sinners need may be bought of Christ upon gracious terms. Six things demonstrate it.

1. The sinner’s insufficiency.

2. His unworthiness.

3. The inconsistency of any other way of trading with Christ Romans 4:4; Romans 11:6).

4. The invaluableness of the commodities.

5. The quality of the contract. “Ask.” “Believe.”

6. The work of the Seller.

Trying to buy salvation

Mr. Webb-Peploe tells of a wealthy man whom he had never known to give five farthings a year in charity, who sent for him once when ill with paralysis. The man said to the minister, “I am afraid [ may die. I have sent for you that I may do what is right before God; I want to go to heaven, and I want you to take a hundred pounds for the poor.” The man of God looked the sinner straight in the face and said, “Do you think you are going to buy your soul’s way to glory with a dirty hundred pounds? Give your money where you like, I will not touch it.” That was bitter medicine, but some diseases require sharp treatment. The man lived, and learned that salvation is not to be bought with money. (Christian Budget.)

Without money and without price

Roland Hill was once preaching at a fair within earshot of the rival gongs of the vagrant merchantmen. Pointing to them, he said, “They and I are both offering goods for sale. But their difficulty is to get you up to their price; my difficulty is to get you down to mine. I offer you goods without money and without price. (Christian Budget.)

Too valuable to be bought

Zeuxis gave his pictures to his native city for nothing, because they were too good to be bought with gold. To offer money for them was to undervalue them. Can I buy pardon with anything I can call mine? (Christian Budget.)

No coinage can buy spiritual good

A man lands in a far country with English shillings in his pocket, but he finds that no coins go there but thalers, or francs, or dollars, or the like; and his money is only current in his own land, and he has got to get it changed before he can make his purchases. So with a pocketful of it he may as well be penniless. And, in like fashion, you and I, with all our strenuous efforts, which we are bound to make and which there is joy in making, after these lower things that correspond to our efforts, find that we have no coinage that will buy the good things of the kingdom of heaven, without which we faint and die. (A. Maclaran, D. D.)

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Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Isaiah 55:3". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/isaiah-55.html. 1905-1909. New York.

The Biblical Illustrator

Isaiah 55:2-3

Wherefore do ye spend money

Weighing money

In the first clause there is reference to the primitive custom of weighing instead of counting money, from which have arisen several of the most familiar denominations, such as the Hebrew “shekel,” the Greek “talent,” the French “livre,” and the English “pound.
” The essential idea is that of paying
. (J. A. Alexander.)

The folly of man as a worker

I. HERE IS THE RECOGNITION OF THE FACT THAT MAN IS A VOLUNTARY WORKER. “The appeal implies that he is” free both in the expenditure of his “money and the prosecution of his “labour.’ Every part of the universe, works, but man only is a free worker. He works, not as material bodies work, by an outward force, nor as brutes, by blind impulses, but by his own deliberate purpose,--by choice and plan. There are at least four, considerations which bind, with indissoluble bonds, our faith to the doctrine of man’s voluntary action.

1. It is not impossible for the Almighty to create a being that shall be wholly free in action.

2. There is an antecedent probability that He would create such a being. A creature endowed with this independency of action would of all creatures be most like Himself, most fitted to show forth His glory. And as He created the universe for the manifestation of Himself, would it not be probable that, having the power to do would it now look to you,” says the philosophic Saxon, King Alfred, “if there were any very powerful king, and he had no freemen in all his kingdom, but that all were slaves?” “Then,” said I, “it would be thought by me neither right not reasonable if men that were in a servile condition only, should attend upon him.” “Then,” quoth he, “it would be more unnatural if God, in all His kingdom, had no free creature under his power.” Therefore,. He made two rational creatures, free angels and men, and gave them the great gift of freedom.

3. The mental constitution of man seems to provide for this freedom of action. Man is so formed that he always acts from purpose.

4. The consciousness of universal man attests the fact of human freedom.

II. HERE IS THE RECOGNITION OF THE FACT THAT MAN AS A VOLUNTARY WORKER SHOULD AIM AT THE ATTAINMENT OF MORALLY STRENGTHENING AND SATISFYING GOOD. What is the moral bread? Ask first what is the strength of the soul,--the moral stamina? Godliness. Where is the “bread” which both strengthens and satisfies the soul? Christ says, “I am the Bread of life.”

III. HERE IS THE RECOGNITION OF THE FACT THAT MAN, AS A VOLUNTARY WORKER, FREQUENTLY MISAPPLIES HIS POWER. He spends his “money” for that which is not “bread,” and his labour for that which “satisfieth not.” What is it to expend your property and labour in vain?

1. To strive after power as the chief end is to do so.

2. To strive after wealth as the chief end is to do so.

3. To strive after knowledge as the chief end is to do so. Neither scientific ideas, nor poetic creations, nor artistic embellishments are bread.

4. To strive after happiness as the chief end, is to do so. From this subject we may infer--

Folly and Wisdom

I. A FOOLISH COURSE TO BE AVOIDED,

II. A WISE METHOD TO BE PURSUED. (R. W. Pritchard, Ph. D.)

God’s provision for man’s need

What is man’s way of meeting this great need? Spending money and labour for that which does not satisfy; in other words, using every means he can command, save the only right and true means, to satisfy the cravings of his immortal nature; a course that will prove fatal to his deathless interests if persisted in. But God meets him and--

I. CHALLENGES THIS FATAL ERROR. “Wherefore do ye spend money,” etc. The “wherefore” of the text implies three things on the part of God,--benign condescension; surprise; and gentle chiding. True life is impossible where the bread of life is not eaten.

1. Observation proves this.

2. Experience sustains the same truth.

3. History illustrates the same fact.

4. The Bible affirms the same doctrine.

II. MEN WHO SEEK THESE THINGS AS THE HIGHEST GOOD ARE IN A STATE OF CONSTANT HUNGER AND UNREST. It is not bread, it does not “satisfy.”

III. GOD’S PLAN OF MEETING THE SOUL’S TRUE WANTS. Three terms are used of similar import, and that are of first importance to us, if we would put ourselves into harmony with the plan of God in relation to our good, “Hearken,” “hear,” and “incline your ear.” These terms imply humility, docility and reverent attention.

1. God credits man with the capacity to receive and obey His communications.

2. God speaks to man, revealing His will, unfolding His way of meeting the deepest needs of our nature.

3. These Divine communications relate to our highest good. “Eat ye that which is good.”

4. These provisions are richly abundant. “Let your soul delight itself in fatness.” “Delight’ and “fatness ‘ are two very prolific words and supply the fancy with almost boundless range.

5. There is life through obedience to the Divine plan. “Hear, and your soul shall live.”

6. The blessings God offers are lasting as they are excellent. “I will make an everlasting covenant with you,” etc. “An everlasting covenant” points to God’s unchangeableness, and to His being ever ready to redeem all the pledges of His love and mercy. What should be the soul’s attitude towards God while He makes these rich communications? “Hearken diligently,” “Incline your ear,” “Come unto him.” How striking the order! The attention is first arrested, then absorbed, then the soul draws near to’ God with profound interest in the revelation, ready to take the offered grace. (J. Higgins.)

The false and true in pleasure

I. THE FALSE.

1. The false is expensive. All false pleasure is sought from one or other of the following sources--sensual gratification, secular wealth, or popular fame--each very expensive. They cost what is infinitely more precious than gold--time, energy, moral peace, mental independency, and frequently health.

2. The false is not sustaining: it is not “bread.” Were it obtained, it would not strengthen. It does not give mental strength: sensuality enervates the intellect. The love of gain makes man a tactician, not a thinker. The breath of mammon is poison to a free intellect, and the love of fame fills the mind with the unhealthy sentiment of vanity; nor does it give spiritual strength--strength to resist temptation--to bear trials--to help humanity--toserve God--to face death. It destroys this.

3. The false is not satisfactory. “ Satisfieth not.”

II. THE TRUE.

1. True pleasure consists in spiritual communications from God. “Hearken diligently unto Me,” etc. Three things are implied in this language:--

2. That the pleasure thus derived is of the highest conceivable description

3. That the continuation of this, the highest pleasure, is guaranteed by the solemn assurance of God. “And I will make an everlasting covenant with you.’ Here is a pledge of its perpetuity. If a promise is not fulfilled, it must be for one of three reasons: either that the author was insincere when it was made, or that he subsequently changed his mind, or lacked the necessary power to redeem the pledge. Neither of these suppositions is admissible; therefore, this true pleasure is everlasting. (Homilist.)

Food for the soul

1. Everything that has life must have food.

2. Man has the nature and wants of an animal. He also has a higher nature that takes hold of truth and God. He has, therefore, to care for a double life.

3. The text means that we put much into one side of life, hoping vainly for an equivalent of happiness on the other. The soul must have other food.

4. For this want there is a kind of borderland provision in Church forms But religion cannot tarry in this borderland.

5. So we rise to the truth that the soups life is in God. (H. W. Thomas, D. D.)

Foolish neglect and fruitless labour

1. All the good that Christ doth offer, and all the gracious terms upon which He doth offer are sometimes slighted and refused by sinners.

2. Sinners are earnestly labouring and trading for vain and unprofitable things, when the great things of Christ are offered to them.

3. All the cost which men lay out, and all the pains which men do take for salvation from anything besides Christ, or in any other way than Christ’s way, are utterly fruitless. (O. Sedgwick, B. D.)

The folly of pursuing that which does not satisfy

I. ALL OTHER THINGS BESIDES THOSE WHICH CHRIST DOTH OFFER, ARE VAIN AND UNPROFITABLE.

II. SINNERS DO LABORIOUSLY PURSUE THEM, when yet Christ doth offer unto them the chiefest good for their souls.

III. WHY SINNERS DO THIS.

IV. THE EXTREME FOLLY OF THIS. (O. Sedgwick, B. D.)

“No bread"

The Hebrew term, “for that which is not bread,” reads more correctly, “for that which is no-bread.” It means that for which men spend their energies is “no-bread,” it is the negative of bread; it is the very opposite of bread. It is that which not only does not alleviate our hunger, but makes us more hungry! It does not fill our emptiness, but makes us more empty than ever. Not only does it fail to satisfy, but it makes us more dissatisfied! Just as salt water not only fails to quench the thirst, but aggravates it. (A. S. Gumbart.)

Hearken diligently unto Me

Hearkening and eating

Two thoughts are brought to our attention, as indicating the steps by which we bring ourselves into that blessed experience in which we may be conscious of having received the gift of God.

1. We must listen diligently. “Hearken diligently unto Me.’ That is, hearken with intense desire and eagerness. In the third verse God says: “Incline your ear, and come unto Me.’ This word “incline” is a strong word; it carries with it the idea of stretching the neck, as one anxiously, eagerly listening, or as a, hound in pursuing game.

2. The second thing is, Eat. “ Eat ye that which is good.” (A. S. Gumbart.)

God’s call should be heeded

There are six arguments which I would make use of to persuade you to embrace this counsel.

1. Christ offers you the best things--better things than the world can afford you.

2. Christ offers unto you the things that are best for you.

3. You may have these earthly things upon better terms if you could close with the things which Christ doth offer.

4. Christ alone is a portion, infinitely better than all the world alone.

5. You will lose Christ, and all these things of the world too, by neglecting Christ, and preferring before Him these things of the world.

6. You cannot drive both these trades together. (O. Sedgwick, B. D.)

Hearkening

There are five things which that word doth denote.

1. A taking into our ears sounds, words, messages, reports, spoken unto us.

2. Sometimes to hear is the same with to understand.

3. Sometimes the same with to believe.

4. Sometimes to regard and approve.

5. Sometimes to obey, to follow what is said. (O. Sedgwick, B. D.)

Diligent hearkening to Christ

I. WHAT THIS DILIGENT HEARKENING TO CHRIST DOTH CONTAIN. In it He diligently hearkens to Christ.

1. Who doth carefully and regardfully observe Christ in His gracious offers.

2. Who seriously considers all the gracious offers of Christ.

3. Who judges highly of the offers of Christ.

4. Who obeys the voice of Christ.

II. HOW IT MAY APPEAR THAT JESUS CHRIST IS EARNEST AND IMPORTUNATE WITH SINNERS, diligently to hearken unto Him.

1. By the gradations of His dealings with sinners.

(10) He is content to pass by all the days of ignorance.

(12) He disproves, confutes and shames all the carnal arguments of sinners.

(14) He rouses the drowsy, careless sinner by outward special afflictions.

(15) He breaks up the consciences of sinners, so that the terms of God fall on them.

(16) He cuts off all their confidence in this distressed condition, so that no course shall ease or quiet or help.

(17) He takes the opportunity, and, in this broken condition, sends messengers of hope and mercy to the sinner (Acts 9:10-11).

(18) He answers all the fears and doubts of sinners, both in respect of Himself (1 John 2:1; Revelation 3:20); and in respect of themselves--assuring them that neither the multitude of former sins nor abundance of present wants shall hinder mercy and salvation, if they will hearken and come.

(19) He advances instances how sinners have fared by hearkening and coming to Him, e.g the jailor, Mary Magdalene, Saul of Tarsus 1 Timothy 1:16).

(20) If none of these prevail with sinners to hearken, then doth Christ take His utter farewell of them with sighs and tears Luke 19:41-42).

2. By the qualities of His voice. It is--

III. WHAT JESUS CHRIST IS SO IMPORTUNATE WITH SINNERS TO HEARKEN UNTO HIM. There are reasons for this:

1. In respect of sinners.

2. In respect of Christ Himself.

(a) their worth,

(b) their lost condition,

(c) the wrath which will certainly befall disobedient souls,

(d) wherein real happiness lies,

(e) the difficulty of gaining souls,

(f) what power Satan hath with our souls. (O. Sedgwick, B. D.)

Eat ye that which is good

Feeding on the Word

I. Here is FOOD Eat ye that which is good.”

1. How is it presented to us? Freely. There was a word about buying; but that was soon covered up with, “Buy without money and without price.’ While it is thus presented freely as to any labour with which to procure it, it is also presented freely as to its quality, its highest quality. You are not permitted to drink freely of water, and then to purchase wine. The richest dainties of God’s house are as free as the bread He gives to hungry souls. The only limitation is no limitation at all: “ Ho, every one that thirsteth!”

2. What is this food?

3. What is the nature of this food? It is in every sense of the word “good.” It is satisfying. It is pure; no harm can ever come by eating it. This heavenly food is good for you at any time, good for you living, good for you dying. All other foods that men seek after are unsubstantial; they can surfeit, but they cannot satisfy; they can cloy, but they cannot content; but the food that has come down from heaven, if a man does but take it into himself, shall be the best food he ever ate. Moreover, this food is described here as being fatness. “ Let thy soul delight itself in fatness.” Within the Word of God, there are certain choicer truths; in Christ, there are certain choicer joys; in grace, there are certain choicer experiences than men at first realize.

II. Here is FEEDING. One of the most important words in our text is that little word “eat.” Food is of no use until it is eaten. You ought not to need any instruction on this point. We take a great many orphans into the Orphanage, and some of them are very ignorant, and we have to teach them a great many things; but we have no class for teaching them to eat. If men were hungry, they would know how to eat, if they had the bread. It is because men are not really hungry on account of sin that they come and ask us, “What do you mean by the eating?” Yet it may be that some are sincere in asking the question, so I will answer it.

1. To eat is to believe.

2. To eat is chiefly to appropriate.

3. The full process of eating includes digestion. How do I digest the Word of God? When I meditate upon it.

4. Feeding also means trusting yourself wholly to Christ.

III. WELCOME. What does the Lord say? “Eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.

1. Here is no stint. It is not said, “Here is a pair of scales; here is a plate; here is a knife. The law allows so many ounces of meat to you, just so much, and you must not have half-an-ounce over. Nothing of the kind. You are just taken to the table, and the exhortation is, “Eat to your heart’s content.”

2. As there is no stint, so there is no reserve. It is not said, “ Now you may eat those two things; but you must not touch that nice fat morsel over there; that is for the particular favourite, not for you.” No, when God invites you to His table, you may have anything there is on the table.

3. So, too, there is no end to the feast. “ Keep on delighting yourself in fatness. You will never use it all up.” I read of a country once, though I hardly believed the description of it; for it was said that the grass grew faster than the cows could eat it. Well, there is a country that I know of, where the grass grows faster than the sheep can eat it. You may eat all you will out of the Divine Word; but you will find that there is more left than you have taken; and it seems as if there were more after you had taken it, as if the grass grew deeper as you fed more ravenously upon it.,

IV. DELIGHT.

1. There is no peril in holy joy, in delighting yourself in God’s Word, and delighting yourself in Christ.

2. There will be no idleness or selfishness produced by this fat feeding.

3. May you also attain a sense of holy security!

4. Then, may you come into a state of perfect rest!

5. May you also come into a state of complete resignation to the will of God!

6. May you be filled with a happy expectancy. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

The soul’s best food

I. THE REASON FOR THE EXHORTATION IN OUR TEXT: “Eat ye that which” is good and let your soul delight itself in fatness.

1. The exceeding bountifulness of God in Christ Jesus. The invitation here given IS in accordance with the character of the God who gives it.

2. The abundant provision that He has made for the supply of our needs. If any of you prepared a feast, it would be very grievous to you if your friends did not eat what you had provided. It is the very heart of God speaking in these words, and it is the provision of God’s grace claiming to be consumed.

God’s love pleading that what He has provided so bountifully should not be lost or wasted.

3. The Divine desire for fellowship. Almost always, when fellowship is spoken of in relation to God, expressions which concern eating are used. Fellowship begins, as it were, at the passover, at the eating of the lamb. In the tabernacle in the wilderness, the offerings were not all burnt upon the altar; many of them were partaken of by both the offerer and the priest, and by God as represented by the devouring flame. So, when Jesus instituted that blessed memorial supper, “He said to His disciples, concerning the bread, “Take,. eat;” and, concerning the cup, “Drink ye all of it.” When, in the Revelation, He said to the angel of the church in Laodicea, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock.” you know how He goes on to say, “If any man hear My voice, and open, the door, I will come-in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me. This appears to be God’s favourite image to express fellowship.

4. Our exceeding great necessities. You must eat, so “eat ye that which is good.” Your soul needs the best food, so “let your soul delight itself in fatness,” in the fat and dainty morsels which the great God, who understands us even better than we understand ourselves, has so bountifully provided for us.

5. Our extreme foolishness. What a stupid animal man must be to need to be told to eat, and be urged to eat that which is good! The little lamb, in the meadow, has scarcely come into the world before it finds out where its mother’s milk is, and very soon it begins to crop the tender herbage, and to find food for itself. Most creatures, by what we call instinct, discover their own natural food; but here is man, so foolish, so mad, so much more wild than the wild ass’s colt, that he needs to be told to eat, spiritually. One part of human foolishness lies in the fact that we so often seek that which is not good for us, so that the Lord has to say to us, “Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread?” Man is described in Scripture as feeding upon ashes. It is not only that we are willing to eat that which is evil, but that we are unwilling to eat that which is good. Many persons will hear that which is good, and will even assent to our declaration that it is good; yet they do not eat it. What is spiritual eating? It is the inward reception of the truth of God into the soul. To hear the truth is, as it were, to see the bread. To think upon the truth is, as it were, to cut the bread, and put it on the plate. But this will never nourish any man; he must take the bread into his inward parts, and digest and assimilate it. There is this folly even about God’s own children, that they do not eat that, which is good according to the lavish, inexhaustible fulness provided by God. Let your soul delight itself in fatness. How very few minutes in a day most of us spend in feeding our souls I

6. Our fears. There is many a child of God, who longs for spiritual food, but he is afraid that he would be guilty of presumption if he ate it; so, when there is a very fat piece that is just going into his mouth, he says, “No, that cannot be for me,” and he draws back from it. Just look at the text: “Let your soul delight itself in fatness.”

II. THE BENEFITS OF OBEYING THE COMMAND OF THE TEXT.

1. The pleasure of it. “Let your soul delight itself in fatness.

2. The great preserving power of good spiritual food. It helps to keep us out of temptation.

3. Spiritual food comforts mourners. The analogy of this will be found in Nehemiah 8:9-10. It was of this that Mary sang, “He hath filled the hungry with good things.”

4. It revives the fainting ones.

5. Spiritual eating is also a great strength for service.

6. It fits us to feed others. Ezekiel had to go and speak to the house of Israel in the name of the Lord; do you remember his preparation for that task,--the college to which he went? He saw a hand, which held a roll of a book, and a voice said to him, “Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel.” He cannel; preach till he has eaten the roll. I believe that, in the courts of law, young men have to eat themselves into the profession; beside all other qualifications, they must eat a certain number of dinners before they can be fully certificated. It is a strange regulation with regard to earthly courts, hut it is a right and proper thing in the courts of heaven.

7. It is the best mode of fellowship. Feed on the Word of God; especially feed on the Incarnate Word; otherwise, you cannot possibly enter into true spiritual fellowship with God.

8. Feeding upon the Word is the best way of promoting praise. You know how the 103 rd Psalm begins: “Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Then, a little further on, the psalmist says, “Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” A hungry soul cannot sing well; the soul that best sings the praises of God is the one that has delighted itself with the fatness of the Divine provision. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

“Fatness”

“Fatness” in the Scriptures is used to denote the richest food (Genesis 27:28-39; Job 36:16; Psalms 65:11), and hence is an emblem of the rich and abundant blessings resulting from the favour of God (Psalms 36:8; Psalms 63:5). (A. Barnes, D. D.)

The path of life

Professor George Adam Smith talks about what he considers the greatest pathos of our life on earth--it is the fact that so many million souls are unconsciously starving right within reach of the food they need. They have only to stretch out their hands and take the bread of life, but their hands are glued to their sides.

An unsuitable diet

Some German women have fallen into the habit of “naschen,” i.e of nibbling comfits and cakes all day long. They carry “cornets “ of bon-bons in their pockets, and nibble at them continually. No one wonders that they suffer greatly from disordered digestions, and become sallow, and irritable, and old before their time. And does not plain common-sense teach us that, when people feed their souls upon a diet of novels, or of gossip, or of frivolities of every kind, they must necessarily suffer from languor of spiritual life, debility of spiritual digestion, failure of vitality, and a creeping moral paralysis. (Mrs. H. W. Smith.)

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Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Isaiah 55:3". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/isaiah-55.html. 1905-1909. New York.

The Biblical Illustrator

Isaiah 55:3

Incline your ear

God’s voice

To incline your ear and hearken diligently unto God is to follow the Divine teachings as to the aims and methods of life.
And God has a thousand voices for those who will hearken.

1. The voice of experience is His, and experience is loud and emphatic in assuring us that “if we live after the flesh we shall die; but if we, through the Spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body we shall live.”

2. The voice in the heart and conscience is His, and if you will listen in the silence of the mind you will hear the sweet parental accents speaking to your deepest filial affection, and saying, “My son, give Me thine heart.”

3. And the voice of inspiration is His, speaking through those who have seen most deeply into the Divine meaning of life, and the conclusion of the whole matter with them has been, “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”

4. And the voice of Christ” is the voice of God, and.” “Jesus stood and cried,, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink. (C. Short, M. A.)

“Incline your ear"

Hold it near the mouth of the gracious Speaker. Be willing to hear what God has to say. Take out that wool of prefudice that has prevented you from hearkening to God’s voice.(C. H. Spurgeon.)

The Divine call and promise

The institution of public worship derives a peculiar value from its tendency to dispose men to the voice of God

I. THE GRACIOUS PROPOSAL ON THE PART OF GOD. “I will make an everlasting covenant with you,” etc. The covenant here proposed is a covenant of promise, that is, a covenant in which God promises to bestow freely upon His creatures a variety of the greatest and most necessary blessings. Two things here call for our attention--

1. The extent here specified of the engagements of the covenant. “The sure mercies of David.” This covenant was first discovered to Adam, more fully to Abraham, still more so to David, who was an eminent type of Christ.

Now Christ, the spiritual David, is come; what these sure mercies are, we know more fully. But they are “sure mercied,” which lead to:

2. The ground of dependence. The covenant is founded upon the goodness of God. Think of the fidelity of His promises; of His ability; of the pledge He has given us. “He that spared not His own Son,” etc. Think of the great cloud of witnesses who all testify to the Divine character, and speak the mercies to them without exception. Sure in the effects they produce. Sure in all changes. These never fail. Sure in another state of existence, for it is an everlasting covenant administered by an Eternal Being.

II. THE MEANS OF OUR SECURING THESE SURE MERCIES OF DAVID. “Incline your car, and come unto Me.”

1. The Person speaking ought to induce attention. It is the Lord, our Maker, Preserver, Redeemer.

2. The interest we have in the subject ought to induce attention.

3. Our attention must lead us to God. “Incline your ear, and come unto Me.

4. The amazing issues which depend on our obedience should lead us at once to obey. “Hear, and your soul shall live.” (J. Bolton, B. A.)

God’s own Gospel call

This very memorable chapter may be called God’s own Gospel sermon.

I. TWO SAVING PRECEPTS, which are pressed upon you. These are of simple character.

1. “Incline your ear.” This is placed in another form, “Hearken diligently unto Me; hear, and your soul shall live. You have ears to hear w t therefore-hear. Consider and think upon eternal things. Think about Divine matters as God sets them before you. This attention, this hearkening, must be hearty, honest, continual, earnest and believing.

2. The second precept grows out of the first: “Come unto Me. “How can I come to God?’ saith one.

1. Come, at least, by thinking much of Him.

2. Come, by your desires.

3. Come, by confession of sin.

4. Come, in humble, believing prayer. These are the two precepts--“Hear” and “Come.” They are neither exacting norunreasonable.

II. To encourage you, and come to my second head, which deals with SAVING PROMISES. Here are two promises corresponding to the two precepts--

1. “Your soul shall live.”

2. “I will make an everlasting covenant with you.”

III. Urge the Lord’s own SAVING PLEAS.

1. God Himself speaks to you.

2. Your day of mercy is not ended (Isaiah 55:6).

3. He is ready and willing to forgive the whole of your past offences (Isaiah 55:7).

4. Then comes in the great persuasive of the magnanimity of God (Isaiah 55:8-9).

5. Hear how the Lord pleads the power of His Gospel (Isaiah 55:10-11). Hearken to God’s voice, and let it enter your heart; then it will quicken and save you as surely as the sun and the rain water the earth.

6. The Lord persuades men to come to Him by telling them of the joy they will obtain in coming (Isaiah 55:12).

7. He calls you to Him by the effectual nature of His work (Isaiah 55:13). (C. H.Spurgeon.)

God’s call to the needy and sinful

I. AN INVITATION, addressed to us by Jehovah Himself, to hearken diligently unto Him, to incline our ear, and to come to Him. There is something peculiarly touching in the invitations of the Word of God, which, if men would but pause and reflect, could not fail to make an impression upon their hearts. “Hearken diligently unto Me,” God says; “incline your ear. He would take you, as it were, each one separately by himself, and reason and counsel with you. The matters of which He would treat with you are too important to be handled in a crowd, too sacred to be discussed amid the noise and bustle of worldly avocations. The Lord will have sinners “come” to Him; He will have all distance annihilated between your souls and Him; He will have you brought into the closest relationship and communion with Himself; He will have you not only within hearing of His voice, but in His very embrace.

II. THE REASONS FOR OUR CLOSING WITH THIS INVITATION are two, and each of them is very weighty.

1. You will be vast gainers if you follow the leadings of the Divine Spirit, and go into conference with God, and embrace His terms. Your soul shall delight itself in fatness. Your soul shall live.”

2. To refuse the offer is to lose the soul. (A. B. Davidson, D. D.)

Salvation through the ear

God hath ordained--as it were to cross the devil--that as death entered into the world through the car, by our first parents listening to that old man-slayer, so should life enter into the soul by the same door. (J. Trapp.)

Hear, and your soul shall live

The highest life

Life is more than mere existence; it is the natural, healthful, and joyous activity of every part of the being. It is eternal life. (Christian Age.)

The way to life

I. THE MESSAGE IMPLIED. When we are commanded to “hear,” it is supposed that something is spoken: there is a voice which, in one way or other, addresses us. This is none else than the voice of Jehovah, the God of truth, the God of love, the God of all patience and consolation. He speaks to us in His good Word.

II. THE REGARD WHICH THIS MESSAGE DEMANDS. “Hear.” There can be no impropriety in understanding this literally; and, in this view, it condemns such as do not hear the Gospel when it is brought to them, and they have the opportunity of hearing it. It also reproves such as only occasionally hear the Gospel But more is meant by hearing, in the text, than your presence in the place where the Gospel is preached.

1. Hear with attention. Thus the expression is varied, both in this and the preceding verse: “Hearken diligently unto Me; incline your ear,” as persons peculiarly and closely attentive. Some marks of inattention, under the sound of the Gospel, are obvious enough. But we cannot always judge of attention by outward appearances. Then, will you hear with attention, when you arc deeply convinced of the truth of what you hear; when you feel its vast importance; when you are thoroughly satisfied that the word of the Gospel is indeed the Word of God.

2. Hear with affection. It is a great thing to love the Gospel. When the Gospel is heard affectionately, there is an earnest concern to enjoy its invaluable blessings: prejudice falls before it; there is a growing conformity to it.

3. Hear with believing application.

4. Hear with obedient compliance. This, indeed, is nearly allied to what has last been mentioned, yet it includes something farther. Thus it is said, “Incline your ear, and come unto Me” not only believe that these blessings of salvation are adapted to your state, and ready for your reception, but apply to Him who has them to bestow. He is “the Author of eternal salvation;” to whom? “to all them that obey Him.’

5. Hear with humble prayer.

III. THE ADVANTAGE PROMISED. “Your soul shall live.” Several things are here observable.

1. It is a personal advantage. Many advantages are relative and distant. Persons may attend to various means with a view to the good of others. But this advantage is personally your own.

2. It is a spiritual advantage. Your “soul.” To benefit the body is something; to preserve its life, to maintain and to improve its health, are objects of real moment; but they sink into nothing compared with what relates to the soul.

3. It is a great advantage. “Your soul shall live.” We all have some idea what life is, and we know how highly it is valued. This advantage must be of peculiar magnitude, as the soul is unspeakably more excellent than the body, and as eternity is of infinitely higher moment than the fleeting shadow of time. The life of the soul! What does it denote? What does it include? The commencement of the life of the soul is in regeneration.

4. It is a sure advantage. Application:

1. The message of the Gospel is brought to you.

2. What is the regard which you are giving to this message?

3. What is your experience of this advantage? (T. Kidd.)

Life in Christ

I. WHAT LIFE THAT IS WHICH A SOUL SHALL HAVE BY COMING TO CHRIST.

II. HOW IT MAY BE DEMONSTRATED THAT THE SOUL SHALL LIVE THAT HEARS AND COMES TO CHRIST. (O. Sedgwick, B. D.)

And I will make an everlasting covenant with you

The covenant with Israel

Nothing is required on the part of Israel but hearing and coming and taking; through these, it becomes pervaded by new life, and Jehovah presents it with an everlasting covenant, namely, the unchangeable mercies of David. (E. Delitzsch, D. D.)

Twelve covenant mercies

I. SAVING KNOWLEDGE (Jeremiah 31:31-34).

II. GOD’S LAW WRITTEN IN THE HEART (Jeremiah 31:33).

III. FREE PARDON (end of Jeremiah 31:34).

IV. RECONCILIATION (Jeremiah 32:38).

V. TRUE GODLINESS (Jeremiah 31:39).

VI. CONTINUANCE IN GRACE (Jeremiah 31:40).

VII. CLEANSING (Ezekiel 36:25).

VIII. RENEWAL OF NATURE (Jeremiah 31:26).

IX. HOLY CONVERSATION (Jeremiah 31:27).

X. HAPPY SELF-LOATHING (Jeremiah 31:31).

XI. COMMUNION WITH GOD (Ezekiel 37:26-28).

XII. NEEDFUL CHASTISEMENT (Psalms 89:30). (C. H. Spurgeon.)

God’s covenant

We should hear much less of the doubts and fears of Christians about their own acceptance, if they would think more of God and His act, His call, His promise and His covenant, than of their own unworthiness, which, indeed, is frankly assumed throughout. (G. A.Chadwick, D. D.)

The sure mercies of David

“The sure mercies of David:”

“The sure mercies of David:” i.e the mercies (loving-kindnesses) irrevocably promised to David and his house (comp. 2 Samuel 23:5; Psalms 18:50; Psalms 89:28; Psalms 89:4), and the great promise to which all these passages point (2 Samuel 7:8-16). The comparison of the everlasting covenant to these Davidic “mercies” cannot mean simply that the one is as sure as the other. It is identity rather than comparison that is implied, the idea being that the contents of the covenant are the same as the mercies promised to David, and that it will be the fulfilment of the hopes that clustered round the Davidic dynasty. (Prof. J. Skinner, D. D.)

“The sure mercies of David”

What is this “everlasting covenant”? What are these “sure mercies of David”? Two sorts of authors deserve to be heard on this article, though on different accounts, the first for their ignorance and prejudice, the last for their knowledge and impartiality. The first are the Jews, who, in spite of their obstinate blindness, cannot help owning that these words promise the advent of the Messiah. Rabbi David Kimchi gives this exposition of the words: “‘The sure mercies of David,’ that is, the Messiah, whom Ezekiel calls David, They shall dwell in the land that I have given them, they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever; and My servant David shall be their prince for ever.” The other authors, whom we ought to hear for their impartial knowledge, are the inspired writers, and particularly St. Paul, whose comment on this passage, which he gave at Antioch in Pisidia, determines its meaning. There, the apostle, having attested the truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, affirms that the prophets had foretold that event; and, among other passages, which he alleged in proof of what he had advanced, quotes this, “I will give you the sure mercies of David” (Acts 13:34). (J. Saurin.)

“The sure mercies of David”

The Gospel is the exhibition and the bestowment of all these blessings which were promised to David, as the type of Christ, and His forefathers according to the flesh. Those blessings are indeed unspeakably valuable; in them is the charter of our hope, and the record of our salvation. And this consideration above all adds value to them--they are c, sure.”

1. Sure, as respects the fountain from which they are derived, the love and compassion of the holy and eternal one.

2. Sure, as respects the intention of Him who proposes them to us.

3. Sure, because of the price at which they are offered. (H. J. Hastings, M. A.)

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Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Isaiah 55:3". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/isaiah-55.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Isaiah 55:3. Incline your ear, &c.— Vitringa is of opinion, that these words are immediately addressed to the Jews, and he paraphrases them thus: "O ye Jews, who ought to be ashamed of refusing that grace, and the blessings accompanying it, which, offered equally to the Gentiles and to you, will be received by them with avidity; apply yourselves diligently, laying aside the prejudices that you are under, to know the doctrine of the kingdom of heaven, and to consider prudently the wonderful appearances, which will render the beginning of the kingdom of God remarkable among you." The sure mercies of David, mean those promises and blessings of the new covenant, which were to be fulfilled by the Messiah, who sprung from David. There are some who by David here understand the Messiah: an opinion which they ground particularly upon the next verse. See Psalms 89:2.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/isaiah-55.html. 1801-1803.

Expositor's Bible Commentary

, Isaiah 55:1-13, Isaiah 56:1-8

CHAPTER XXII

ON THE EVE OF RETURN

Isaiah 54:1-17, Isaiah 55:1-13, Isaiah 56:1-8

ONE of the difficult problems of our prophecy is the relation and grouping of chapters 54-59. It is among them that the unity of "Second Isaiah," which up to this point we have seen no reason to doubt, gives way. Isaiah 56:9-12 is evidently pre-exilic, and so is Isaiah 59:1-21. But in chapters 54, 55, and Isaiah 56:1-8 we have three addresses, evidently dating from the Eve of the Return. We shall, therefore, treat them together.

I. THE BRIDE THE CITY

(Isaiah 54:1-17)

We have already seen why there is no reason for the theory that chapter 54 may have followed immediately on Isaiah 52:12. And from Calvin to Ewald and Dillmann, critics have all felt a close connection between Isaiah 52:13-15;, Isaiah 53:1-12 and chapter 54. "After having spoken of the death of Christ," says Calvin, "the prophet passes on with good reason to the Church: that we may feel more deeply in ourselves what is the value and efficacy of His death." Similar in substance, if not in language, is the opinion of the latest critics, who understand that in chapter 54 the prophet intends to picture that full redemption which the Servant’s work, culminating in chapter 53, could alone effect. Two key-words of chapter 53 had been "a seed" and "many." It is "the seed" and the "many" whom chapter 54 reveals. Again, there may be, in Isaiah 54:17, a reference to the earlier picture of the Servant in chapter 50, especially Isaiah 50:8. But this last is uncertain; and, as a point on the other side there are the two different meanings as well as the two different agents, of "righteousness" in Isaiah 53:11, "My Servant shall make many righteous," and in Isaiah 54:17, "their righteousness which is of Me, saith Jehovah." In the former, righteousness is the inward justification; in the letter, it is the external historical vindication.

In chapter 54 the people of God are represented under the double figure, with which the Book of Revelation has made us familiar, of Bride and City. To imagine a Nation or a Land as the spouse of her God is a habit natural to the religious instinct at all times; the land deriving her fruitfulness, the nation her standing and prestige, from her connection with the Deity. But in ancient times this figure of wedlock was more natural than it is among us, in so far as the human man and wife did not then occupy that relation of equality, to which it has been the progress of civilisation to approximate; but the husband was the lord of his wife, -as much her Baal as the god was the Baal of the people, -her law-giver, in part her owner, and with full authority over the origin and subsistence of the bond between them. Marriage thus conceived was a figure for religion almost universal among the Semites. But as in the case of so many other religious ideas common to the Hebrews and their heathen kin, this one, when adopted by the prophets of Jehovah, underwent a thorough moral reformation. Indeed, if one were asked to point out a supreme instance of the operation of that unique conscience of the religion of Jehovah, which was spoken of before, one would have little difficulty in selecting its treatment of the idea of religious marriage. By the neighbours of Israel, the marriage of a god to his people was conceived with a grossness of feeling and illustrated by a foulness of ritual, which thoroughly demoralised the people, affording, as they did, to licentiousness the example and sanction of religion. So debased had the idea become, and so full of temptation to the Hebrews were the forms in which it was illustrated among their neighbours, that the religion of Israel might justly have been praised for achieving a great moral victory in excluding the figure altogether from its system. But the prophets of Jehovah dared the heavier task of retaining the idea of religious marriage, and won the diviner triumph of purifying and elevating it. It was, indeed, a new creation. Every physical suggestion was banished, and the relation was conceived as purely moral. Yet it was never refined to a mere form or abstraction. The prophets fearlessly expressed it in the warmest and most familiar terms of the love of man and woman. With a stern and absolute interpretation before them in the Divine law, of the relations of a husband to his wife, they borrowed from that only so far as to do justice to the Almighty’s initiative and authority in His relation with mortals; and they laid far more emphasis on the instinctive and spontaneous affections, by which Jehovah and Israel had been drawn together. Thus, among a people naturally averse to think or to speak of God as loving men, this close relation to Him of marriage was expressed with a warmth, a tenderness, and a delicacy, that exceeded even the two other fond forms in which the Divine grace was conveyed, -of a father’s and of a mother’s love.

In this new creation of the marriage bond between God and His church, three prophets had a large share, -Hosea, Ezekiel, and the author of "Second Isaiah." To Hosea and Ezekiel it fell to speak chiefly of unpleasant aspects of the question, -the unfaithfulness of the wife and her divorce; but even then, the moral strength and purity of the Hebrew religion, its Divine vehemence and glow, were only the more evident for the unpromising character of the materials with which it dealt. To our prophet, on the contrary, it fell to speak of the winning back of the wife, and he has done so with wonderful delicacy and tenderness. Our prophet, it is true, has not one, but two, deep feelings about the love of God: it passes through him as the love of a mother, as well as the love of a husband. But while he lets us see the former only twice or thrice, the latter may be felt as the almost continual under-current of his prophecy, and often breaks to hearing, now in a sudden, single ripple of a phrase, and now in a long tide of marriage music. His lips open for Jehovah on the language of wooing, - "speak ye to the heart of Jerusalem"; and though his masculine figure for Israel as the Servant keeps his affection hidden for a time, this emerges again when the subject of Service is exhausted, till Israel, where she is not Jehovah’s Servant, is Jehovah’s Bride. In the series of passages on Zion, from chapter 49 to chapter 53, the City is the Mother of His children, the Wife who though put away has never been divorced. In chapter 62 she is called Hephzi-Bah, My-delight-is-in-her, and Beulah, or Married, -"for Jehovah delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married. For as a youth marrieth a maiden, thy sons shall marry thee; and with the joy of a bridegroom over a bride, thy God shall joy over thee." But it is in the chapter now before us that the relation is expressed with greatest tenderness and wealth of affection. "Be not afraid, for thou shalt not be shamed; and be not confounded, for thou shalt not be put to the blush: for the shame of thy youth thou shalt forget, and the reproach of thy widowhood thou shalt not remember again. For thy Maker is thy Husband, Jehovah of Hosts is His name; and thy Redeemer the Holy of Israel, God of the whole earth is He called. For as a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit thou art called of Jehovah, even a wife of youth, when she is cast off, saith thy God. For a small moment have I forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee. In an egre of anger I hid My face a moment from thee, but with grace everlasting will I have mercy upon thee, saith thy Redeemer Jehovah."

In this eighth verse we pass from the figure of clear through flood and storm in Isaiah 54:11. "Afflicted, Storm-beaten, Uncomforted, Lo, I am setting in dark metal" (antimony, used by women for painting round the eyes, so as to set forth their brilliance more) "thy stones," (that they may shine from this setting like women’s eyes,)" and I will found thee in sapphires": as heaven’s own foundation vault is blue, so shall the ground stones be of the new Jerusalem. "And I will set rubies for thy pinnacles, and thy gates shall be sparkling stones, and all thy borders stones of delight, -stones of joy, jewels." The rest of the chapter paints the righteousness of Zion as her external security and splendour.

II. A LAST CALL TO THE BUSY

(Isaiah 55:1-13).

The second address upon the Eve of Return is chapter 55. Its pure gospel and clear music render detailed exposition, except on a single point, superfluous. One can but stand and listen to those great calls to repentance and obedience, which issue from it. What can be added to them or said about them? Let one take heed rather to let them speak to one’s own heart! A little exploration, however, will be of advantage among the circumstances from which they shoot.

The commercial character of the opening figures of chapter 55 arrests the attention. We saw that Babylon was the centre of the world’s trade, and that it was in Babylon that the Jews first formed those mercantile habits, which have become, next to religion, or in place of religion, their national character. Born to be priests, the Jews drew down their splendid powers of attention, pertinacity, and imagination from God upon the world, till they equally appear to have been born traders. They laboured and prospered exceedingly, gathering property and settling in comfort. They drank of the streams of Babylon, no longer made bitter by their tears, and ceased to think upon Zion.

But, of all men, exiles can least forget that there is that which money can never buy. Money and his work can do much for the banished man, -feed him, clothe him, even make for him a kind of second home, and in time, by the payment of taxes, a kind of second citizenship; but they can never bring him to the true climate of his heart, nor win for him his real life. And of all exiles the Jew, however free and prosperous in his banishment he might be, was least able to find his life among the good things-the water, the wine, and the milk-of a strange country. For home to Israel meant not only home, but duty, righteousness, and God. (Isaiah 1:1-31; Isaiah 2:1-22; Isaiah 3:1-26; Isaiah 4:1-6; Isaiah 5:1-30; Isaiah 6:1-13; Isaiah 7:1-25; Isaiah 8:1-22; Isaiah 9:1-21; Isaiah 10:1-34; Isaiah 11:1-16; Isaiah 12:1-6; Isaiah 13:1-22; Isaiah 14:1-32; Isaiah 15:1-9; Isaiah 16:1-14; Isaiah 17:1-14; Isaiah 18:1-7; Isaiah 19:1-25; Isaiah 20:1-6; Isaiah 21:1-17; Isaiah 22:1-25; Isaiah 23:1-18; Isaiah 24:1-23; Isaiah 25:1-12; Isaiah 26:1-21; Isaiah 27:1-13; Isaiah 28:1-29; Isaiah 29:1-24; Isaiah 30:1-33; Isaiah 31:1-9; Isaiah 32:1-20; Isaiah 33:1-24; Isaiah 34:1-17; Isaiah 35:1-10; Isaiah 36:1-22; Isaiah 37:1-38; Isaiah 38:1-22; Isaiah 39:1-8) God had created the heart of this people to hunger for His word, and in His word they could alone find the "fatness of their soul." Success and comfort shall never satisfy the soul which God has created for obedience. The simplicity of the obedience that is here asked from Israel, the emphasis that is laid upon mere obedience as ringing in full satisfaction, is impressive: "hearken diligently, and eat that which is good; incline your ear and come unto Me, hear and your soul shall live." It suggests the number of plausible reasons, which may be offered for every worldly and material life, and to which there is no answer save the call of God’s own voice to obedience and surrender. To obedience God then promises influence. In place of being a mere trafficker with the nations, or, at best, their purveyor and moneylender, the Jew, if he obeys God, shall be the priest and prophet of the peoples. This is illustrated in Isaiah 55:4-6, the only hard passage in the chapter. God will make His people like David; whether the historical David or the ideal David described by Jeremiah and Ezekiel is uncertain. God will conclude an everlasting "covenant" with them, equivalent to the sure favours showered on him. As God set him for a witness (that is, a prophet) to "the peoples, a prince and a leader to the peoples," so (in phrases that recall some used by David of himself in the eighteenth Psalm) shall they as prophets and kings influence strange nations-"calling a nation thou knowest not, and nations that have not known thee shall run unto thee." The effect of the unconscious influence, which obedience to God, and surrender to Him as His instrument, are sure to work, could not be more grandly stated. But we ought not to let another point escape our attention, for it has its contribution to make to the main question of the Servant. As explained in the note to a sentence above, it is uncertain whether David is the historical king of’ that name, or the Messiah still to come. In either case, be is an individual, whose functions and qualities are transferred to the people, and that is the point demanding attention. If our prophecy can thus so easily speak of God’s purpose of service to the Gentiles passing from the individual to the nation, why should it not also be able to speak of the opposite process, the transference of the service from the nation to the single Servant? When the nation were unworthy and unredeemed, could not the prophet as easily think of the relegation of their office to aft individual, as he now promises to their obedience that that office shall be restored to them?

The next verses urgently repeat calls to repentance. And then comes a passage which is grandly meant to make us feel the contrast of its scenery with the toil, the money-getting and the money-spending from which the chapter started. From all that sordid, barren, human strife in the markets of Babylon, we are led out to look at the boundless heavens, and are told that "as they are higher than the earth, so are God’s ways higher than our ways, and God’s reckonings than our reckonings" we are led out to see the gentle fall of rain and snow that so easily "maketh the earth to bring forth and bud, and give seed to the sower and bread to the eater," and are told that it is a symbol of God’s word, which we were called from our vain labours to obey; we are led out "to the mountains and to the hills breaking before you into singing," and to the free, wild natural trees, tossing their unlopped branches; we are led to see even the desert change, for "instead of the thorn shall come up the fir-tree, and instead of the nettle shall come up the myrtle; and it shall be to Jehovah for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off." Thus does the prophet, in his own fashion, lead the starved worldly heart, that has sought in vain its fulness from its toil, through scenes of Nature, to that free omnipotent Grace, of which Nature’s processes are the splendid sacraments.

III. PROSELYTES AND EUNUCHS

[Isaiah 56:1-8]

The opening verse of this small prophecy, "My salvation is near to come, and My righteousness to be revealed," attaches it very closely to the preceding prophecy. If chapter 55 expounds the grace and faithfulness of God in the Return of His people, and asks from them only faith as the price of such benefits, Isaiah 56:1-8 adds the demand that those who are to return shall keep the law, and extends their blessings to foreigners and others, who though technically disqualified from the privileges of the born and legitimate Israelite, had attached themselves to Jehovah and His Law.

Such a prophecy was very necessary. The dispersion of Israel had already begun to accomplish its missionary purpose; pious souls in many lands had felt the spiritual power of this disfigured people, and had chosen for Jehovah’s sake to follow its uncertain fortunes. It was indispensable that these Gentile converts should be comforted against the withdrawal of Israel from Babylon, for they said, "Jehovah will surely separate me from His people," as well as against the time when it might become necessary to purge the restored community from heathen constituents. [Nehemiah 13:1-31] Again, all the male Jews could hardly have escaped the disqualification, which the cruel custom of the East inflicted on some, at least, of every body of captives. It is almost certain that Daniel and his companions were eunuchs, and if they, then perhaps many more. But the Book of Deuteronomy had declared mutilation of this kind to be a bar against entrance to the assembly of the Lord. It is not one of the least interesting of the spiritual results of the Exile, that its necessities compelled the abrogation of the letter of such a law. With a freedom that foreshadows Christ’s own expansion of the ancient strictness, and in words that would not be out of place in the Sermon on the Mount, this prophecy ensures to pious men, whom cruelty had deprived of the two things dearest to the heart of an Israelite, -a present place, and a perpetuation through his posterity, in the community of God, -that in the new temple a monument and a name should be given, "better" and more enduring "than sons or daughters." This prophecy is further noteworthy as the first instance of the strong emphasis which "Second Isaiah" lays upon the keeping of the Sabbath, and as, first calling the temple the "House of Prayer." Both of these characteristics are due, of course, to the Exile, the necessities of which prevented almost every religious act save that of keeping fasts and Sabbaths and serving God in prayer. On our prophet’s teaching about the Sabbath there will be more to say in the next chapter.

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Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "Expositor's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/teb/isaiah-55.html.

The Pulpit Commentaries

EXPOSITION

Isaiah 55:1-7

AN EXHORTATION TO SPIRITUALITY AND REPENTANCE. The prophet passes from the ideal to the actual, from the glorious future to the unsatisfactory present. The people are not ripe for the blessings of the Messianic kingdom—they do not sufficiently value them. Hence a tender exhortation is addressed to them by God himself, inviting them to become more spiritually minded (Isaiah 55:1-3), and fresh promises are held out to the obedient (Isaiah 55:3-5). The disobedient are then somewhat sternly exhorted to turn from their evil ways and repent (Isaiah 55:6, Isaiah 55:7).

Isaiah 55:1

Ho, every one that thirsteth! Though the mass are gross and carnally minded, there will ever be some who have higher aspirations—who hunger and thirst after righteousness" (Matthew 5:6), and desire spiritual blessings. These are invited, first of all, to come and partake of the good things provided for them in Messiah's kingdom. Come ye to the waters (on the spiritual symbolism of water, see the homiletics on Isaiah 44:3, Isaiah 44:4). Here the "peace" and "righteousness" of the Messianic kingdom (Isaiah 54:13, Isaiah 54:14) are especially intended. Our Lord's cry on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:7) is clearly an echo of this. Wine and milk. These are not symbols of temporal blessings, as many have thought. "Wine, water, and milk are," as Delitzsch says, "figurative representations of spiritual revival, re-creation, and nourishment." Without money and without price. God's spiritual gifts are freely given to men; they cannot be purchased. Being in their own nature "more precious than rubies," their value transcends human means of payment. They cannot even be earned by man's best works; for man's best works are comprised in his duty to God, and have, therefore, no purchasing power. God may choose to reward them; but if he does it is of his free grace.

Isaiah 55:2

Wherefore do ye spend money? literally, wherefore do ye weigh silver?-silver being the ordinary currency, and money transactions, in default of a coinage, being by weight (cf. Genesis 23:16; Zechariah 11:12). For that which is not bread; i.e. "for that which has no real value—which cannot sustain you, which will do you no good." The affections of the great mass of the Israelites were set on worldly things, on enriching themselves—adding field to field, and house to house (Isaiah 5:8). They did not care for spiritual blessings, much less "hunger and thirst" after them. That which satisfieth not. Worldly things can never satisfy the heart, not even the heart of the worldly. "What fruit had ye then in those things," says St. Paul, "whereof ye are now ashamed?" (Romans 6:21). Hearken diligently unto me; rather, hearken, oh, hearken unto me. The phrase is one of earnest exhortation. It implies the strong disinclination of Israel to listen, and seeks to overcome it (compare the opening words of the next verse). Let your soul delight itself in fatness (comp. Psalms 36:8; Psalms 63:5; and Isaiah 25:6). The spiritual blessings of the Messianic kingdom are richer dainties than any that this world has to offer. The soul that obtains them "delights" in them, and is satisfied with them (Psalms 17:15).

Isaiah 55:3

Come unto me (comp. Isaiah 55:1, "Come ye to the waters"). God dispenses the waters (see Isaiah 44:3). I will make an everlasting covenant with you. That the "everlasting covenant" once made between God and man had been broken by man, and by Israel especially, is a part of the teaching contained in the earlier portion of Isaiah (Isaiah 24:5). We find the same asserted in the prophecies of his contemporary, Hosea (Hosea 6:7). It would naturally follow from this that, unless God gave up man altogether, he would enter into a new covenant with him. Accordingly, this new covenant is announced, both in Hosea (Hosea 2:18-20) and in the later chapters of Isaiah, repeatedly (Isaiah 42:6; Isaiah 49:8; Isaiah 54:10; Isaiah 4:3; Isaiah 56:4, Isaiah 56:6; Isaiah 54:1-17 :21; Isaiah 61:8). Having been thus set before the nation, it is further enlarged upon by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31:31-33; Jeremiah 32:40; Jeremiah 11:5) and Ezekiel (Ezekiel 16:60-62; Ezekiel 34:25; Ezekiel 37:26-28). Almost all commentators allow that the Christian covenant is intended—that "new covenant" (Hebrews 9:15) under which man obtains pardon and salvation through the Mediatorship of Christ. Even the sure mercies of David. The "sure mercies of David" are the loving and merciful promises which God made to him. These included the promise that the Messiah should come of his seed, and sit on his throne, and establish an everlasting kingdom (Psalms 89:2-5, Psalms 89:19-37), and triumph over death and hell (Psalms 16:9, Psalms 16:10), and give peace and happiness to Israel (Psalms 132:15-18). The promises made to David, rightly understood, involve all the essential points of the Christian covenant.

Isaiah 55:4

Behold, I have given him for a witness. By ordinary rules of grammar, the pronoun "him" should refer to David; and so the passage is understood by Gesenius, Maurer, Hitzig, Ewald, Knobel, Delitzsch, and Mr. Cheyne. But, as Isaiah frequently sets aside ordinary grammatical rules, and as the position to the person here spoken of seems too high for the historical David, a large number of commentators, including Vitringa, Michaelis, Dathe, Rosenmuller, Umbreit, and Dr. Kay, consider that the Messiah is intended. It is certainly difficult to see how the historical David could be, at this time and in the future, a "leader and commander to the peoples" who were about to flock into the Messianic kingdom. A witness … a leader and commander. Christ was all these. He "came to bear witness to the truth" (John 18:37), and "before Pilate witnessed a good confession" (1 Timothy 6:13). He "feeds and leads" his people (Revelation 7:17), and is the "Commander" under whose banner they serve (2 Timothy 2:3, 2 Timothy 2:4). What he is to his people, he is also of the "peoples" generally; for they have been called into his kingdom, People … people; rather, peoples.

Isaiah 55:5

Thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not (comp. Psalms 18:43). The object of address in this verse appears to be the Messiah. He, at his coming, will "call" into his kingdom "a nation," or rather, "people," with whom he has had no covenant hitherto; and they will readily and gladly obey the call. Thus God's kingdom will be enlarged, and Israel's glory will be increased, Because of the Lord … for he hath glorified thee. The great cause of the attraction will be the "glory" which God the Father has bestowed upon his Son, by raising him from the dead, and exalting him to a seat at his right hand in heaven (Acts 2:32-35; Acts 3:13-15).

Isaiah 55:6

Seek ye the Lord. Again the strain changes. The people are once more addressed, but in a tone of reproach. Israel must "seek the Lord" without delay, or the opportunity will be past; God will have withdrawn himself from them. He "will not alway be chiding, neither keepeth he his anger for ever" (Psalms 103:9).

Isaiah 55:7

Let the wicked forsake his way; i.e. his mode of life. A general promise of forgiveness of sin upon repentance and amendment of life was first given to Israel through Solomon (2 Chronicles 7:14). The doctrine is largely preached by the prophets; but is nowhere more distinctly and emphatically laid down than in this place. God's will is to "multiply pardon," if man will only turn to him.

Isaiah 55:8-13

A FRESH ASSURANCE or DELIVERANCE FROM BABYLON. Man can scarcely conceive of the deliverance which God designs; but God's thoughts are not as man's (Isaiah 55:8, Isaiah 55:9). God's word, once pronounced, is potent to effect its purpose (Isaiah 55:10, Isaiah 55:11). Deliverance from Babylon, having been promised, will take place, and will be accompanied by all manner of spiritual blessings (Isaiah 55:12, Isaiah 55:13).

Isaiah 55:8, Isaiah 55:9

My thoughts are not your thoughts. Though man is made in God's image (Genesis 1:27), yet the nature of God in every way infinitely transcends that of man. Both the thoughts and the acts of God surpass man's understanding. Men find it hard to pardon those who have offended them; God can pardon, and "pardon abundantly.'' Men cannot conceive of coming changes, when they pass certain limits. God knows assuredly what changes are approaching, since they are his doing.

Isaiah 55:10

As the rain … and the snow. The rain and the snow are God's ministers (Psalms 148:8), and go forth from him, just as his word does. They have an appointed work to do, and do not return to him, whose ministers they are, until they have done it. It is best to translate, with Delitzsch and Mr. Cheyne, "As the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, except it hath watered the earth," etc. The writer is, apparently, aware, as the writer of Ecclesiastes is, that the water which falls from heaven in the shape of rain does return thither again in the shape of vapour (see Ecclesiastes 1:7).

Isaiah 55:11

So shall my word be. God's word is creative. With the utterance the result is achieved. Hence the sublime passage, which even heathenism could admire (Longin; 'De Sublim.,' § 9), "And God said, Let there be light: and there was light" (Genesis 1:3). Hence, too, the more general statement, "By the Word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth" (Psalms 33:6; comp. Psalms 148:5). But it shall accomplish; rather, unless it has accomplished. There is a mixture of two constructions, "It shall not return void," and "It shall not return unless it has accomplished," etc. It shall prosper. Every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God has a prosperous course. It is endued with life from God, and (as Delitzsch says) "runs like a swift messenger through nature and the world of man, there to melt the ice, as it were, and here to heal and to save; and it does not return from its course till it has given effect to the will of the Sender. "The special "word" which the prophet has here in mind is the promise, so frequently given, of deliverance from Babylon and return in peace and joy to Palestine. But he carries his teaching beyond the immediate occasion, for the benefit of the people of God in all ages.

Isaiah 55:12

Ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace (comp. Isaiah 35:10; Isaiah 40:9-11; Isaiah 43:3-6, Isaiah 43:19-21, etc.). A strong contrast is frequently drawn between the exodus from Babylon and that from Egypt. On the former occasion all was hurry, alarm, disquiet, danger. The later exodus will be accompanied with "peace" and "joy" (see Isaiah 51:9-16, etc.). (For the fulfilment, see Ezra 1:1-11; Ezra 2:1-70, and Ezra 7:1-28; Ezra 8:1-36.) The mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing. All nature shall rejoice at your deliverance, especially the noblest and the grandest parts of nature—"the mountains and the hills." Isaiah's admiration of mountains continually reveals itself throughout the work (Isaiah 5:25; Isaiah 13:2, Isaiah 13:4; Isaiah 14:25; Isaiah 22:5; Isaiah 30:17, Isaiah 30:25; Isaiah 34:3; Isaiah 40:4, Isaiah 40:9, Isaiah 40:12; Isaiah 42:11, Isaiah 42:15, etc.). It is quite in his manner to speak of nature as bursting forth into singing (Isaiah 35:2; Isaiah 44:23; Isaiah 49:13). All the trees of the field shall clap their hands. The metaphor is not found elsewhere in Isaiah, but appears in Psalms 98:8.

Isaiah 55:13

Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree. "Briars and thorns" were to overgrow the unfruitful vineyard, according to Isaiah 5:6; and to cover the land of God's people, according to Isaiah 32:13. This would be literally the case to a large extent, while the land was allowed to lie waste. The literal meaning is not, however, the whole meaning, or even the main meaning, here. "Briars and thorns" represent a general state of wretchedness and sin. The "fir" and "myrtle" represent a happy external condition of life, in which men "do righteously." It shall be to the Lord for a name. This "regenerated creation" will show forth the glory of God to mankind at large, and "get him a name" among them (comp. Isaiah 63:12; Jeremiah 13:11). For an everlasting sign. It will also he to God himself an enduring sign of the covenant of peace which he has made with his people, not to hide his face from them any more, but to have mercy on them "with everlasting kindness" (Isaiah 54:7-10).

HOMILETICS

Isaiah 55:2

The earthly objects of desire do not satisfy; the heavenly objects not only satisfy, but delight.

Man is so constituted as to desire a great variety of objects, often with extreme eagerness, but rarely to find in these objects, when they are attained, the satisfaction for which he looked. "Man never is, but always to be, blest," says one of our poets; and the fact is so nearly universal, that some tell us it is the pursuit of an object, not its attainment that gives us pleasure. Manifestly, the child's objects do not satisfy the boy, or the boy's the man; nor do the man's objects at his entrance on the struggle of life generally appear very desirable as he nears the close. Most men's history is a long series of disappointments. The boy desires freedom from restraint, and to have his time at his own disposal; but no sooner does he obtain his wish than time hangs heavy on his hands, and he does not know what to do with it. The best-loved amusement, does not please for long—the pleasures of eating and drinking pall; drunkenness and excess are found to have attached to them an overplus of painful sensations; the praise of men, distinction, fame, when they have been enjoyed for a short time, appear worthless; wealth, comfort, ease, equally fail to satisfy. Men labour, as a general rule, during the greater part of their lives," for that which satisfieth not." Only a fortunate few learn early to set their affections on objects of a different character. Heavenly objects are satisfying. He that drinks of that water of life which Christ supplies, thirsts no more (John 4:14). The heavenly things do not pass away—they remain. The water that Christ gives us becomes, in us, "a well of water springing up into everlasting life" (John 4:14). God's favourable regard, God's peace, God's blessing, are eternally objects of desire, and their possession is happiness. He who has them needs nothing more, desires nothing more, finds them sufficient for him. Nor is his state one of mere passive acquiescence—his "soul is delighted with fatness" (Isaiah 55:2). He "enters into the joy of his Lord" (Matthew 25:21).

Isaiah 55:11

The vital force of the Word of God.

There is a strange force in every utterance of God. In the account of creation given in Genesis we find, not only light, but all the other portions of the universe which it pleased God to make, created by an utterance—a word (see Genesis 1:6, Genesis 1:9, Genesis 1:11,Genesis 1:14, Genesis 1:20, Genesis 1:24, Genesis 1:26). God said, "Let there be," and at once there was. "He commanded, and they were created" (Psalms 148:5). So the Son of God, when upon earth, gave life with a word (John 11:43, John 11:44), and destroyed it with a word (Matthew 21:19); with a word cast out devils, healed diseases (Matthew 12:13), calmed the tempest (Mark 4:39), caused his enemies to "fall to the ground" (John 18:6). Isaiah, in the present place, declares three things of God's Word.

I. GOD'S WORD DOES NOT RETURN TO HIM VOID. His Word accomplishes itself. It is "sent forth," whether upon earth or in the heavenly sphere; and in either case "runneth very swiftly" (Psalms 147:15). In no case does it "return to him void." It has always an object, an end; and it would contradict the omnipotence of God that that end should be in no way advanced by a means which God made use of in order to advance it.

II. GOD'S WORD ACCOMPLISHES THAT WHICH GOD PLEASES THAT IT SHOULD ACCOMPLISH. God's Word often does not accomplish all that we might have expected from it. His offer of salvation freely to all does not effect universal salvation. His call of individuals is disobeyed by numbers of those who hear it. Yet always his Word accomplishes something; and that "something" is what he designed it to accomplish. He "knows the end from the beginning," and is not disappointed, even when the results are most scanty.

III. GOD'S WORD, IN EVERY CASE, PROSPERS IN RESPECT OF THE END WHERETO HE SENDS IT. Every work that God takes in hand "prospers" more or less. The end aimed at is often quite other from that which we should have imagined; and what seems to us failure is only failure from our point of view, not from the Divine standpoint. God cannot fail to accomplish any end that he really proposes to himself. Every word that proceeds from his mouth has an end, but that end is known only to him; and it may often be that he alone knows of its accomplishment. Its accomplishment is always, with respect to the intention, full, complete, such as satisfies him.

HOMILIES BY E. JOHNSON

Isaiah 55:1-5

The Messianic blessings.

I. THE INVITATION. "Ho!" A cry arousing attention (Isaiah 1:4) or expressing pity (Isaiah 17:12).

1. It is addressed to thirsty ones. The figure occurs in Isaiah 44:3 also. What more powerful figure can there be for desire, and for the pain of unsatisfied desire? It is especially Oriental. It brings up the image of the hot, sandy waste, and by contrast that of the cool, bubbling fountain. Hunger and thirst are the "eldest of the passions," and it may be added, in a sense, the youngest; for age cannot still them, nor constant satisfaction take off their edge. They are daily, they are recurrent, they are the expression of life itself. Hence they may well symbolize the ardent desire for salvation (cf. John 7:37; Psalms 42:2; Psalms 63:1; Psalms 143:6). And what can better represent salvation than water—the well that springs up into everlasting life? Waters, floods, overflowing streams, or copious showers, are often used to denote abundant blessings from God, especially blessings under the rule of the Messiah (Isaiah 35:6; Isaiah 43:20; Isaiah 44:3).

2. It is addressed to each and all. The invitation is bounded only by the thirst—the felt need. Not the rich, the noble, the great; not the select and the few; but those who partake of a common want, and are capable of a common satisfaction. "It proves that provision has been made for all. Can God invite to a salvation which has not been provided? Can he ask a man to partake of a banquet which has no existence? Can he ask a man to drink of waters when there are none? Can he tantalize the hopes and mock the miseries of men by inviting them to enter a heaven where they would be unwelcome, or to dwell in mansions which have never been provided?". It is addressed especially to the poor. "No man can excuse himself for not being a Christian because he is poor; no man who is rich can boast that he has bought salvation."

II. THE BLESSINGS DESCRIBED. "Buy." The word is properly used of grain. "Its use here shows that the food referred to can be called equally well 'bread' or 'wine and milk,' i.e. it belongs to the supernatural order of things" (Cheyne). And the buying is to be understood spiritually. The blessings are only to be obtained for "that which is not money and not a price." It is faith, or the hearing of the inner ear (Isaiah 44:3), which is meant. In the wine we may find a symbol of gladness ( 9:13; 2 Samuel 13:28; Psalms 104:15). The blessings of salvation cheer men amidst their sorrows; and one of the firstfruits of the Spirit is joy. Milk, again, is the symbol of nourishment (Deuteronomy 32:14; 4:1; 5:25; John 7:22; 1 Corinthians 9:7). It is joined with "wine" and with "honey" in So 4:11; Isaiah 5:1. These blessings are rich and satisfying as compared with the pleasures of the world. The latter may be emphatically described as not-bread—less satisfying. Happiness is our being's aim. But men seek it in erroneous ways. Bread is the support of life, and stands as the symbol of all that conduces to support life in the spiritual sense. "In ambition, vanity, and vice, men are as disappointed as he who should spend his money and procure nothing that would sustain life." Men toil for that which defeats their aim, because it does not satisfy. The blossom of pleasure "goes up as dust;" the fruits are those of the Dead Sea, "turning to ashes on the lips." The desire of the human soul is as insatiable as the grave. Where is the man who has been satisfied with ambition? Alexander wept on the throne of the world, and Charles V. came down from the throne to private life, because he had not found royalty to satisfy the soul. In one respect we are all like Alexander—our happiness is disproportioned to our appetites. Nature seems scanty, and, though we have never so much, we still long for something or other more. But to those who hearken to God, there is promised a perfect luxuriation (Isaiah 66:11) in good things. "Fatness" stands for the richest food (Genesis 27:28-39; Job 36:16; Psalms 65:11), and hence for the abundance of blessing flowing from the favour of God (Psalms 36:9; Psalms 63:5). "Man seems as boundless in his desires as God in his Being: and therefore nothing but God can satisfy him." All else is "love lost"—is part of "the great lie or cheat that overspreads the world."

III. THE EVERLASTING COVENANT. Mention of it is made seven times in Isaiah. The idea of the original covenant, broken by Israel and renewed by Jehovah, is specially characteristic of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31:31-33; Jeremiah 32:40; Jeremiah 50:5). The loving-kindnesses shown to David by Jehovah are meant (cf. Isaiah 63:7; Psalms 89:49; Psalms 107:43; Lamentations 3:22). "David is probably to be understood in a representative sense; he is radiant with the reflected light and spirituality of the Messianic age." These loving-kindnesses are "unfailing" (Psalms 89:28). For Jehovah's word cannot be broken, and the reward of piety extends to the latest posterity (Exodus 20:5, Exodus 20:6). David is termed a "witness to the people," apparently in the same representative sense. God, then, binds himself by solemn promises to be their God, their Protector, and their Friend. The promise was not to be revoked, was to remain in force for ever; and he would be their God to all eternity. Let them, then, hear, and their soul shall live. Religion is life (John 6:33; John 5:40; John 8:13; John 20:31; Romans 5:17, Romans 5:18; Romans 6:4; Romans 8:6; 1 John 5:12; Revelation 2:7-10). Hearing is the means whereby the soul is enlivened (John 6:45; John 5:25; Acts 2:37; Matthew 13:1-58).—J.

Isaiah 55:6-13

Exhortations and assurance.

I. EXHORTATIONS. "Seek ye Jehovah." This is the beginning of a religious life—to seek for God, to inquire for his ways (Deuteronomy 4:29; Job 5:8; Job 8:5; Psalms 9:10; Psalms 14:2; Psalms 27:8). "While he may be found" (Psalms 32:6)—"in a time of finding." For a bitter "day" will come, when woe to his foes (Isaiah 65:6, Isaiah 65:7)! It is hinted that a time will come when the offer will be withdrawn. "If a man will not do so simple a thing as seek for mercy, as ask for pardon, he ought to perish. The universe will approve the condemnation of such a man." "Who knows what a day may bring forth, and what may be the dangers of an hour's delay? This is most sure, that every particular repeated act of sin sets us one advance nearer to hell. Who can tell, while we go on our audacious course of sin, but God may swear in his wrath against us, and register our names in the black rolls of damnation? And then our condition is sealed and determined for ever." "Call upon him;" i.e. implore his mercy (Joel 2:32; Romans 10:13). How easy the terms of salvation! how just the condemnation of the sinner who calls not on God, first for pardon, then for a share in the promises (Jeremiah 29:12-14)! God (according to the manner of man's thoughts) seems to be nearer at some times than at others to men. Some special influences are brought to bear; some facilities of salvation. "He comes near to us in the preaching of his Word, when it is borne home with power to the conscience; in his providence, when he strikes down a friend, and comes into the very circle where we move, or the very dwelling where we abide; when he lays his hand upon us in sickness. And he is near to us by day and by night; in a revival of religion, or when a pious friend pleads with us, God is near to us then, and is calling us to his favour. These are favourable times for salvation—times which, if unimproved, return no more." "Let the ungodly forsake his way, and the man of iniquity his thoughts." To seek Jehovah must involve the renouncing of all other gods; the calling upon him, the cessation of prayer in heathen temples; and, with this, all the "thoughts," the habits and feelings, of impure heathen life. It is to renounce corruption and destruction for blessedness and peace, which are contained in the thoughts of Jehovah (Psalms 36:5, Psalms 36:6; Jeremiah 29:11). "He has plans for accomplishing his purposes which are different from ours, and he secures our welfare by schemes that cross our own. He disappoints our hopes, foils our expectations, crosses our designs, removes our property or our friends, and thwarts our purposes in life. He leads us in a path we had not intended, and secures our ultimate happiness in modes which we should not have thought of, and which are contrary to all our designs and desires."

II. ASSURANCE OF FUTURE FELICITY.

1. The certainty. God's purposes fulfil themselves. They are as certain as the law of gravitation, as the falling of rain and snow. In poetic religious thought these elements of nature are his angels (cf. Psalms 148:8; Psalms 102:4). They fulfil his purpose in inanimate nature; so shall his Word fulfil his purpose in the moral world—it shall not return empty, nor until it has done its work. (On truth compared to rain or dew, see Deuteronomy 32:2; Psalms 72:6; 2 Samuel 23:4; Isaiah 5:6.)

2. Its glory and joy. The exode from Babylon is not only meant, but the glorious condition of Israel after the return. It is compared to the transition from the wilderness (the misery of the exile), with its monotonous dwarf shrubs, to a park of beautiful trees (Isaiah 41:18, Isaiah 41:19), in the midst of which Israel is to walk "in solemn troops and sweet societies" (so in Isaiah 35:9).

3. The sympathy of nature. (For similar views, see Isaiah 14:8; Isaiah 35:1, Isaiah 35:2, Isaiah 35:10; Isaiah 42:10, Isaiah 42:11; Isaiah 44:23. So in Virgil, 'Ecl.,' 5:62; and in Oriental poetry generally.) When the god Rama was going to the desert, it was said to him, "The trees will watch for you; they will say, 'He is come! he is come!' and the white flowers will clap their hands. The leaves as they shake will say, 'Come! come!' and the thorny places will be changed into gardens of flowers." A change will be produced in the moral condition of the world, as great as if the useless thorn should be succeeded by beautiful and useful trees. It is of the very soul of poetry that it hints and presages spiritual events which cannot be made clear to the senses nor certain to the understanding.—J.

HOMILIES BY W.M. STATHAM

Isaiah 55:1

The soul's thirst satisfied.

"Ho, every one that thirsteth!" This is a Divine invitation, and as such shows us the nature of God, which is in itself a healing and a satisfying nature, finding expression in the incarnation and redemption of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I. THE AWAKENING SOUL. "Thirsteth." When the soul is quickened and feels new life, then is consciousness of need—need of God. New thirsts are sometimes awakened in human nature—thirsts for love and friendship; and in the intellectual nature, thirsts for knowledge and mental light. This is the highest thirst—soul-thirst—which God by his Spirit alone can satisfy.

II. THE RESPONSIBILITY or THE SOUL. "Come ye." We must seek for friendship, seek for knowledge, and so we must be searchers after God. Finding Christ, we must also follow him, and come to the waters of forgiveness, of purity, and of immortal blessedness.

III. THE CHARITY OF GOD. "God is love." Amazing, free, boundless love. Having made provision for our salvation, God says, "All things are now ready; come." The marriage-banquet is open to us all. The spread table is God's own table, and we are to be receivers of his fulness of grace, "without money and without price."—W.M.S.

Isaiah 55:2

Foolish investments.

"Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not?" This is man's great misery, that he has the "deceived heart ' which leads him to false investments.

I. SOUL-SATISFACTION. The soul is made for God, and there is no bread that will satisfy man but God himself. "I am the living Bread," says Christ. Bread of fortune, bread of gold, bread of aesthetic beauty, bread of worldly honour,—these only satisfy the outward man, and leave "the hidden man of the heart" hungry and starven. Yet men spend their money—that is, their time, strength, enthusiasm, and energy—on sham bread.

II. SOUL-ATTENTION. "Hearken diligently unto me." For God has spoken—in nature, in conscience, by the prophets and by his own Son, the express Image of his Person.

1. God, who made the soul, knows all its mysterious depths and needs.

2. God, who redeemed the soul, knows that without pardon man knows no peace, and without life in God he knows no blessedness. The "delights" of a godly man attest the change in his nature—he "joys in God, by whom he has received the atonement."—W.M.S.

Isaiah 55:5

Man's true glory.

"The Holy One of Israel, he hath glorified thee." We need to fill the word "glory," which often has such false renderings, with its true and ancient meaning.

I. TRUE RELIGION GLORIFIES MAN. He cannot he really glorified by titles or splendours of fame, but only by beauty and majesty of being. God says, "I will make a man as the gold of Ophir." Man is only truly glorified as he fulfils the great end of his being, which is to be in his moral nature like God.

II. THE HOLY ONE ACCOMPLISHES THIS. Christ took our manhood up into God. He redeemed body, soul, and spirit; so that all parts of our complex nature might be complete in all the will of God.

1. Christ glorified the body. He became man, not taking the nature of angels, but the seed of Abraham. Thus he shows us how to live a heavenly life in an earthly citizenship. False philosophies of religions had, in the East, put—as the Manichaeans did-disdain on the body.

2. Christ glorified man's estate. He lived in humble estate, and showed that the poorest framework might enclose a Divine picture of character.

3. Christ glorified the soul. He lifted man as man above all grandeur of mere outward estate and honour, and propounded this great question, "What shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own life?" That life was to be supreme in grandeur as a God-like life. "And the glory which thou gavest me," said our Saviour, "I have given them."—W.M.S.

HOMILIES BY W. CLARKSON

Isaiah 55:1

The provision which cannot be purchased.

In a country like our own we hardly know what thirst means. Few Englishmen have suffered from intense thirst. A man must live or travel in other latitudes to be exposed to this evil. But judging from the accounts of those who have suffered, we conclude that it is almost, if not absolutely, the severest and most intolerable sensation to which "flesh is heir." It may very well be taken as a picture of—

I. THE UNSATISFIED CRAVING OF THE HUMAN SOUL. The hunger and thirst of the human heart must necessarily be more serious by far than the cravings of the body; for they are the longing, the yearning, the keen and imperious demand of our higher and truer self. Man thirsts after God. Spite of all the downward tendencies, the earthward inclinations, the sensuous leanings of our human nature, it remains true that there is a profound, ineradicable crying of our soul after the living God (see Psalms 42:1; Psalms 63:1).

1. The intelligence of man thirsts for the ultimate Cause of all things.

2. The immortal spirit which man (not has, but) is, thirsts for the satisfying joy which is only found in his fellowship and his service.

3. The guilty heart of man thirsts for a thorough reconciliation with him. Man knows that he has sinned, that he is condemned, that his guilt stands as an impassable barrier between him and his God, and he earnestly longs to be forgiven and restored, so that he may again lift up his face to his Divine Father in filial confidence and joy. But he asks—How? "How shall man be just with God?" (Job 9:2). "Wherewith shall we come before the Lord?" (Micah 6:6, Micah 6:7). Beneath all the louder cries that fill the air, deep in the soul of man is the demand—What shall we do that we may live before God and with him? There can be no final rest in our heart until this question has been answered in our experience.

II. THE PRECIOUS PROVISION WHICH IS OFFERED US. In the truth which God has revealed in his Word, and more particularly in that Son of God who is himself the great Revelation of the Father, we have that which satisfies our spiritual need.

1. It is that which slakes our spiritual thirst. "Come ye to the waters." Water relieves and removes thirst as nothing else will. The forgiveness, the restoration, the reinstatement which is in Jesus Christ perfectly satisfies the intense craving of the soul. It brings a surpassing, transcendent peace.

2. It is that which nourishes the soul in all spiritual strength. "Buy … milk."

3. It is that which gladdens it with true and abiding joy. "Buy wine."

III. THE PRICELESSNESS OF THIS DIVINE PROVISION. The prophet may indeed say, "Buy;" for these provisions are worth all the wealth that the most opulent can offer. But he has to add, "without money and without price;" for these blessings cannot be earned or purchased by us. God cannot sell his love, his mercy, his restoration of erring children. He does not meet us on the ground on which a creditor meets his debtors. He is, indeed, a Divine Creditor; we owe him ten thousand talents of reverence and gratitude and service we have never paid. But he does not demand of us some pence in the pound before he certifies that we are free. We frankly confess that we have nothing to pay, and he "frankly forgives us all" (Luke 7:42). God offers us his redeeming love, everlasting life, as the gift of his grace—a glorious gift, freely offered on his part, and to be gladly accepted on ours. He necessarily imposes conditions; but these are open to every soul, and none need reject them; they are the turning away of our hearts from sin, and the acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Divine Saviour and Lord.—C.

Isaiah 55:2, Isaiah 55:3

Wasted strength.

It has often been remarked of the criminal population that, if they would only give to honest and honourable pursuits the same patient attention, the same untiring energy, the same keen ingenuity, which they now devote to illegal schemes, they would soon rise to competence and honour. Perhaps the essence of this great mistake may be found in those who are very far removed from the criminal class; there are many in all vocations and positions of life who are wasting their strength on that which is unprofitable, who might be effecting great things for others or for themselves if they would only "labour for that which satisfies." This principle will apply to—

I. THE STUDY OF THE BIBLE. What immense pains were taken by the scribes of our Lord's time in mastering the minute points of Old Testament Scripture! It ended in a barren and guilty formalism which called down the severest condemnations that came from the lips of Christ. If they had only spent their strength on gaining the heavenly wisdom with which those sacred pages are enriched, they would have been much better men, and would have received the Messiah in a very different spirit. We, too, may expend a vast amount of unprofitable labour on the Scriptures, trying to secure their sanction for our fancies or foibles, and leave untouched their springs of truth and power and life.

II. THE WORK IN THE MASTER'S VINEYARD. We shall certainly not include in wasted strength or unsatisfying labour the energy spent in laying, the foundation, although the workman may not live to see the walls of the building use; this may be the most honourable, remunerative, profoundly satisfying work of a man's life: this, indeed, was the work of the Saviour of mankind. But we shall include:

1. Labour which is merely superficial, which the wind of changing circumstance soon "driveth away."

2. The deliverance of one-sided truth—a statement of doctrine which is so partial as to be practically false. This must issue in disappointment; it is building of "wood, hay, and stubble," which will be burned.

3. Irreverent activity, on which the blessing of God is not sought, and on which, consequently, it does not descend.

III. THE PURSUIT OF PERSONAL WELL-BEING.

1. All men seek happiness; they give freely of their various resources to obtain it—money, strength, ingenuity, patience; they endure hardship and even suffering in order to secure it.

2. A very large proportion of mankind is bitterly disappointed. What promised to be bread turns out to be chaff; what looked like satisfaction in the distance proves to be weariness and heartache in experience.

3. The disappointment is due to one fundamental mistake—they adopt a false method. They risk everything on some one object—wealth, fame, power, pleasure, friendship—which either eludes their grasp or proves unsatisfying and vain. They should become the active servants of God, listening when he speaks, accepting what he offers, going whither he directs. In the earnest, faithful service of a Divine Saviour is happiness of the truest kind—blessedness, well-being, life; the pure, lasting satisfaction of the soul.—C.

Isaiah 55:4

The leadership of Christ.

These words, primarily applicable to David, are true of that Son of David whose course was to be so different, but whose work was to be so much deeper and greater than that of the King of Israel. David was a man who showed himself possessed of all the essential qualities of a great leader of men. He had the power of attaching them to his own person with a strong affection; he shared their hardships and their perils; he impressed on them his own principles and habits; he lifted them up with his own elevation. In these respects, but with a depth and fulness to which the earthly monarch can lay no claim at all, Jesus Christ is the great "Leader to the people" of God.

I. HE ATTACHES US TO HIMSELF. The devotion of his soldiers to Napoleon Bonaparte was extraordinary; but that great commander, with all his egotism, acknowledged that this was nothing compared with the devotion of Christian men to the Person of Jesus Christ. The pity with which he pitied us in our low estate, the tender interest with which he has sought and rescued us, the shame and the sorrow which he bore for us, the death he died for us, the patient love with which he has been loving us,—all this will well account for the fact that, as no king, or general, or statesman has ever done before, Jesus Christ has shown himself the Leader of men by attaching them to his Person with a passionate and unwavering devotion.

II. HE HAS SHARED OUR HARDSHIPS AND OUR SUFFERINGS. He does not bid us go the way he went not himself.

"He leads us through no darker rooms

Than he went through before."

He asks us to drink of his cup, but it is only to taste that bitter draught which he himself drained even to the dregs. Whether it be bodily pain or spiritual distress; whether it be suffering, or poverty, or loneliness, or disappointment, or desertion, or shame, or death,—Christ has himself endured darker and sadder trials than any he calls us to encounter.

III. HE CONSTRAINS US TO LIVE HIS OWN LIFE. He not only demands of us that our minds shall be possessed with his own principles, and that our lives shall illustrate them, but he has the power of constraining us to think as he thought, to feel as he felt, to do as he did, to be what he was. If this purpose of his is not accomplished or is not being wrought in us, then are we not his "disciples indeed."

IV. HE SHARES WITH US HIS OWN EXALTATION. If we bear his cross, we shall sit down with him on his throne. To us all he says, "I appoint unto you a kingdom." If we suffer with him, we shall reign with him.—C.

Isaiah 55:6

God's especial nearness.

It is one of the familiar Scripture truths, open even to the little child, that God is always near to us; and that there is no time we can think of when he may not be found by the humble, believing heart. But there are times when he is comparatively near, and when, if we are wise, we shall go to him in the spirit of full self-surrender, shall enter the kingdom of his grace, and secure his everlasting favour.

I. THE PERIOD OF YOUTH; when the mind is open, the conscience tender, the soul responsive.

II. THE DAY OF VISITATION; when the stricken and wounded heart wants a Divine Healer, and can find none but in him who binds up the broken heart and heals its wounds.

III. THE TIME SPECIAL PRIVILEGE; when we listen to the minister, read the book, have fellowship with the friend whose true and earnest voice has an unusual power to penetrate to the secret places of our soul.

IV. THE HOUR OF DIRECT DIVINE CONTACT; when God lays his hand upon us, touches the springs of our sacred thought, reveals to us our sinfulness and our need, awakens us to the seriousness of our life and the nearness of eternity, and calls us to return unto himself. Wise is it beyond all earthly wisdom then to hearken and obey, to seek the Lord while he may be found, to call upon him while he is near; foolish is it beyond all other folly to turn a deaf ear or to show a disobedient spirit then; for God may never again come so near to our souls—may never again be so readily found by our human spirits; the distance between us and our Saviour may be continually enlarging, until some great gulf of sin or hard-heartedness separate us from his side and from his service evermore.—C.

Isaiah 55:7

Distance, return, welcome.

Few more gracious words than these can be found in Scripture: they are of those which the world would not willingly let die; whole libraries could be better spared from human literature than this single verse. We may express the thoughts it offers to us by four simple propositions.

I. SIN MEANS SEPARATION—the separation of the soul from its Creator. The distance we can calculate in miles or in degrees is nothing to that which divides one spirit from another; it is nothing to that which separates the erring, guilty soul of man from the Holy Spirit of the living God. We may be in the same room with another of our race or even of our family, and yet feel further apart than if many leagues of ocean came between us. We are always near to him who is everywhere, and yet our ingratitude, our unworthiness, our guilt, may compel us to feel terribly far off from him.

II. REPENTANCE MEANS RETURN—the abandonment by the sinful soul of its evil way, and its return to the righteous God whom it has forsaken. It signifies much more than a change of creed and of profession; or than a passing emotion of sorrow, however violent the feeling may be; or than an alteration in outward habit. It signifies:

1. The aversion of the heart from the thought and love of evil. "Let the unrighteous man forsake his [evil] thoughts."

2. The consequent change of the habit of life. "Let the wicked forsake his way."

3. The return of the soul to God. The man who has neglected, forsaken, disregarded, and disobeyed God, coming back in penitent thought and with the language of confession on his lips to the Father from whom he has wandered.

III. THE WAY BACK IS OPEN. Can the sinner be forgiven? Is the way clear? Are there not insuperable obstacles in the way—grievous transgressions of Law, accumulated guilt, darkening and deepening iniquity? How can all this be removed from the path of reconciliation? The answer is m the gospel statement: "Through this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins." "He is the Propitiation for … the sins of the whole world."

IV. THE WELCOME HOME IS SURE. There is an assurance, here as elsewhere, which is "doubly sure." The mercy of God is not only enough for our necessities, it is far more than enough. It is not only a lake, it is a deep and wide sea; it is not merely a hill, it is an overtowering mountain; there are not only riches, there are exceeding riches, unsearchable riches of grace; on the repentant and believing sinner God will not only have mercy, he will abundantly pardon him; the returning prodigal will not merely be taken in when he arrives; the Father will run to meet him. and lavish upon him all possible proofs of his parental love.—C.

Isaiah 55:8, Isaiah 55:9

The human and the Divine.

Man was made in the image of God, and once bore his likeness; then his spirit was like that of the Spirit of God. Under the debasing influences of sin he has become utterly unlike his Maker, and, instead of being compared with him, he is placed in sad and painful contrast with his heavenly Father. "My thoughts are not your thoughts," etc.

I. THE SPIRIT OF THE HUMAN.

1. The spirit of man is selfish. Not that he is incapable of generosity, but the prevailing and penetrating spirit which runs through his acts and his institutions is that of self-love, self-interest. What will it profit me? What shall I gain by it? How will it affect my interests? These are the questions which come up from the depths of the human heart, and are perpetually recurring.

2. The spirit of man. is vindictive. Men hate their enemies; they wish ill to those who have in any way done them an injury. Men are secretly if not openly glad when any harm happens to those who have successfully opposed them, or to those who have outstripped them in the race, or to those whose material interests clash with theirs, or to those who have rebuked and shamed them, or to those whom they have wronged and thus made their enemies. Their thoughts are vindictive and malignant, and their ways answer to their thoughts. By pronounced hostility, or by artful intrigue, or by a criminal silence and inaction, they further the end for which they look,—the discomfiture of their fellows.

II. THE SPIRIT OF THE DIVINE.

1. The Spirit of God is beneficent. God lives to bless—to communicate life, love, beauty, joy, throughout his universe. That Son of man who "came not to be ministered unto, but to minister" perfectly represented the Spirit of the Father, who occupies his eternity and expends his omniscience in doing good to all his creation.

2. The Spirit of God is magnanimous. God delights not to give pain or to send sorrow to those who have offended him; that is his "strange work." He delights to pardon. He "abundantly pardons." He receives back and reinstates his penitent children with abounding joy. His mercy, his grace, is inexhaustible ― it is an overarching sky with no horizon-line; it is a sea without a bottom or a shore.

III. THE DIVINE OFFER. So great, so surpassing, so all-sufficient, is the magnanimity of God that we may east ourselves on his mercy with the utmost confidence. "Iniquities may prevail against us," but the pardoning grace of God will prevail against them.

IV. THE HUMAN ASPIRATION. Jesus Christ summons us to rise from the level of the human to the height of the Divine; to breathe his spirit of forgiveness, to live his life of love, to move on the noble and lofty plane of a sustained magnanimity, "that we may be the children of our Father who is in heaven;" that we may "be perfect as he is perfect."—C.

Isaiah 55:10-13

The fruitfulness of sacred truth.

It may be said that the rain and the snow do, in fact, return to the heavens whence they came, drawn up by the sun as it shines on sea and lake, on stream and river, everywhere. But not until they have done the work for which they came, not until they have "accomplished that which God pleases," until they have prospered in the purpose for which he sent them; not until they have fertilized the soil, and made it bring forth its precious fruits. The vast amount of rainfall which the earth receives during every year renders incalculable service before it returns to the skies. So also does all the outpouring of Divine truth on the mind and heart of men. There may be times when the human spokesman may question this—when he may have grave misgivings as to its utility, when it may seem unprofitable and vain. But we have the strong assurance that God's Word "shall not return unto him void"—that the issue shall be one in which all surrounding nature may well take its part with jubilant acclaim (Isaiah 55:12, Isaiah 55:13). The excellency of sacred truth will be seen if we regard—

I. OUR CONDITION IN ITS ABSENCE.

1. The unproductiveness of the human mind when thus untaught; the sad fact that men who are capable of the loftiest conceptions, the most ennobleing convictions, the most elevating feelings and aspirations, live and die without cherishing any one of these, in blank and dreary ignorance.

2. The noxious growths which flourish: the errors, the superstitions, the dark and foul imaginations. which defile the mind in which they spring up, and those also on whom these are acting.

II. THE BENIGNANT POWER WHICH ST EXERTS.

1. The outward transformations it works—great and happy reformations in the conduct, the career, the condition of individual men, of families, and of nations.

2. The inward blessedness it confers—peace, freedom, purity, love, joy, hope.

III. ITS OCCASIONAL, APPARENT FRUITLESSNESS. Even as the rain and the snow often fall on rock and sand and sea without seeming to produce any beneficent result, so does the truth of God, as preached, or taught, or printed, often seem to be unavailing; and there is discouragement, despondency, even despair, in the heart of the Christian worker. But we look at,—

IV. ITS ACTUAL EFFICACY.

1. There is much of actual efficacy which we can discover—of incidental result, bringing strength and sanctity to those whose benefit is not sought; of indirect result; of ultimate result, being "found after many days."

2. There is more which we take on trust. God has ways of using material things which long escaped our notice, and doubtless many ways which still elude our observation. Has he not ways of using our spiritual efforts, of turning them to account, so that one day we shall find that his own Word never returns to him void—that it always prospers in the thing whereto it is sent? "He that goeth forth weeping … shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him."—C.

HOMILIES BY R. TUCK

Isaiah 55:1

Man's need and God's provision.

This well-known and much-used verse is the model of gospel invitations. "Ho!" as to persons at a distance; beyond the pale, according to Jewish thought. "Wine," that cheers; "water," that refreshes; "milk," that nourishes. "Buy without money" impresses the worth, as well as the freeness, of the thing obtained.

I. THE CRY OF SOULS IS SO VARIED, THEY NEED LARGE AND COMPREHENSIVE INVITATIONS. So various, so large, so intense, so immediate, so urgent.

1. Think of the cry of creation to God, rising day and night for precise blessings, from the world of vegetable and animal life.

2. Then think of the cry of man's bodily nature. How complex are its demands if it is to be kept in vigour! But souls are altogether more wonderful, more mysterious, than bodies, and body-needs do but suggest and illustrate soul-needs. What is the cry of all souls? What is the cry of some souls? It is impossible to press the cries of souls into any one mould. There is difference between men's cry and women's cry; between the cry of the shallow and of the thoughtful; between the cry of the educated and uneducated; between the cry of the moral and the profligate. And yet there is one word in which the deep want of all men everywhere can be expressed—they want God, though so many do not know his Name, or cannot articulate it. If we carefully distinguish the cries of men, we may say,

What a cry that must be which enters into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth!

IX. NONE BUT GOD CAN MAKE INVITATIONS LARGE ENOUGH AND VARIED ENOUGH, TO MEET THE CRIES. The cry for happiness is too big for the world to meet; the cry for truth is beyond all the skill of science to satisfy. "The fountains of this earth are dried, and I am thirsty still."

1. Human conscience cries for pardon. In Christ is proclaimed "forgiveness of sins."

2. Human affection cries for love. It may spend its uttermost and best on Christ, and be fully satisfied with his response.

3. Human intellect cries for truth. Jesus, by his Spirit, leads into a]! truth.

4. Human will cries for a supreme authority. And Christ is Lord. For every want we can translate into a cry, Christ is the Supply. For every want we can feel, but cannot translate into a cry, Christ is still the infinitely adapted and all-satisfying Supply.—R.T.

Isaiah 55:1

The thirst of the soul quenched.

Compare the assurances and invitations of Christ, in John 4:13, John 4:14; John 6:35; John 7:37, John 7:38. It is singular to note that the prophet chose a form of speech very common in the East. In Jerusalem the shopkeepers cry to the passers-by, "Ho, every one that hath money, let him come and buy!" "Ho, such a one, come and buy!" They indeed expect to get full value, though they offer for nothing. God intends a free and sovereign gift.

I. THIRST. A figure for unresting desire, setting us upon pursuit and effort. Thirsting differs from hungering in this—the hungering man will quietly lie down and die; the thirsting man will spend himself in mad strivings. Illustrate from desert scenes. So thirsting is the more impressive figure of a man's condition. Everybody is eagerly wanting something. Of this there are both painful and pleasing signs. Illustrate how this thirst takes special religious forms at special times, as in opening youth, seasons of sickness, scenes of revival, death of first friend, as in cases of Luther and Norman Macleod. This restless soul-thirsting is

He may satisfy the thirsting, but it would be a sign of soul-death simply to lose it. The thirst of the soul is ever for one satisfaction—it is thirst for God.

II. THIRSTING AGAIN. This is the result of all attempts to quench the thirst of the soul by anything earth can offer. There are lines upon which temporary supplies seem to come. Man offers "cups of cold water."

1. Thirst quenched for a time in worldly pleasure. Illustrate from the familiar picture, 'The Pursuit of Pleasure.' There never were such strivings for sense-gratification as there are now. Life makes a loud noise to drown the soul's cries.

2. Thirst quenched for a time in the externalities of religion. Satiated with pleasure, men sometimes turn to religion. Illustrate from experience of Ignatius Loyola. Also see confidence in holy wells and shrines. There is a fascination at first in ceremonial religion, but it soon pails. You can soon empty these cups, and then there is nothing for your thirsty soul when you come again.

III. THIRSTING NEVERMORE. Christ does not destroy the thirsting, but sets us down close beside the living spring. And all the bitterness is gone, if the supply is close beside us, and we may drink when we please. Apply to the soul's love. The love of Christ is the satisfying response. To the soul's trust. The work of Christ is the satisfying response. To the soul's ideal. The Person of Christ is the satisfying response. To the soul's anxiety about the future. The promises of Christ are the satisfying response. The soul that has Christ has an upspringing well beside him; he lives close near to the waters of life.—R.T.

Isaiah 55:2

Vain expenditure on things.

Comp. Isaiah 44:20, "He feedeth on ashes: a deceived heart hath turned him aside." A very striking illustration of unsatisfying food is given by the Rev. H. Macmillan. "A strange plant, called the nardoo, grows in the deserts of Lento, Australia. Its seeds formed for months together almost the sole food of the party of explorers who, a few years ago, crossed the continent. When analyzed, the nardoo bread was ascertained to be destitute of certain nutritious elements indispensable to the support of a European, though an Australian savage might, for a while, find it beneficial as an alterative. And thus it happened that these poor, unfortunate Englishmen perished of starvation, even while feeding fully day by day upon food that served to satisfy their hunger." An old author, date 1600, says, "It is a thing that the Emperor Caligula is laughed at in all stories. There was a mighty navy provided, well manned and victualled, and every one expected that the whole country of Greece should have been invaded; and so it might have been; but the emperor had another design in hand, and employed his soldiers to gather a quantity of cockleshells and pebble-stones, and so returned home again. Just such another voyage doth almost every man make here in this world, were the particulars but truly cast up." J.A. Alexander makes an important distinction. "Observe, too, that he does not seek to remedy the evils which arise from perverted and unsatisfied desire, by the extinction of the appetite itself—of that immortal, inextinguishable craving, which can only cease by annihilation or by full fruition. This, indeed, is a distinctive mark of true religion, as opposed to other systems. Since the evils under which the human race is groaning may be clearly traced to the inordinate indulgence of desires after happiness, under the influence of 'strong delusions' as to that which can afford it, we are not to wonder that when unassisted reason undertakes to do away with the effect, it should attempt the extirpation of the cause; and you will find, accordingly, that every system of religion or philosophy, distinct from Christianity, either indulges, under some disguise, that perversion of man's natural desire after happiness which makes him wretched, or affects to cure it by destroying the desire itself." "While one voice cries to the. bewildered sinner, 'Cease to hunger, cease to thirst;' and another from an opposite direction bids him 'Eat and drink; for to-morrow we die;' the voice of God and of the gospel is, 'Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not?'"

I. SOUL-HUNGER CAN NEVER BE SATISFIED WITH THINGS. It is easy to confuse the soul's hunger with the bodily cry for pleasure, the mental cry for knowledge, the society cry for place and wealth, or the aesthetic cry for the beautiful. Men readily enough mistake their own longings, their own unrest. There is much that we have not, and we think the craving is to get what others enjoy. Men need to have translated for them their own restlessness and desire. Augustine does it. "Man was made for God, and can find no rest till he finds rest in him." The hymn does it—

"My heart is pained, nor can it be

At rest till it finds rest in thee."

Things can never rest and satisfy souls. Angels cannot feed on man's broad. Things can satisfy some things in man—his taste, his passions, his sentiments—but not the man himself. They who have had the most of the good in things that this world can command have complained most deeply of the yawning and yearning of their unsatisfied souls. "If a man ask a fish, will ye give him a stone?" If a man wants love, what good is it to give him gold, or fame, or pleasure? The gains and honours and so-called "good" of this world are not only brief in their duration, but unsuited, in their very nature, even while they last, to satisfy the wants of an immortal spirit.

II. SOUL-HUNGER CAN ONLY BE SATISFIED IN A PERSON. Therefore Jesus said, "I am the Bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." On Christ, as the Gift of God to us, our souls may "eat, and live for ever." There is in verse 4 a first allusion to King David, but a further final allusion to Jesus. "He that hath the Son hath life." The points which may be illustrated and impressed are suggested in the following paragraph: "The prophet, speaking in the name of God, after calling men to come to him, to hear him that their souls may live, annexes to this gracious invitation the specific promises of a sure salvation—a salvation not contingent or fortuitous, but one provided by a gracious constitution on the part of God himself; a salvation promised and confirmed by oath; a covenant of mercy, eternal in its origin and everlasting in its stipulations, comprehending in its wonderful provisions the essential requisite of an atonement, a priest and sacrifice, an all-sufficient Saviour; not a Saviour whose performance of his office should be partial, or contingent, or uncertain from the change of person, but the one, the only Saviour—the same 'yesterday, and to-day, and for ever,' the Son of God, the Son of man, the Son of David." Soul-rest in the living personal Saviour finds expression in the familiar verse

"I came to Jesus as I was,

Weary, and worn, and sad;

I found in him a Resting-place,

And he has made me glad."

R.T.

Isaiah 55:6

The time for seeking after God.

Compare "Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation." "To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." After showing the need for seeking after God, and the duty of seeking, dwell on the appropriate time for the seeking, unfolding and illustrating two points.

I. THE TIME FOR SEEKING IS NOT FIXED BY OUR CONVENIENCE. Yet men constantly act as if it were. They assume that they can find God when they please. But such an idea proves that they neither know themselves nor God.

1. They do not know themselves; for a man is not at all sure of feeling the desire when he thinks he will and arranges to. If a man plays with his deeper emotions, and puts off responding to them until some unknown time, he has no security that the feelings will return. If a man resists good inclinations, he will find that he cannot get them when he would.

2. And they do not know God; for he can never permit man to play with his offers of mercy and willingness to accept. Rejected gifts, neglected gilts, cannot he still pressed on acceptance. It is inconceivable that God can ever wait on man's convenience. We must take advantage of God's time for seekers, for he can never recognize times that seekers are pleased to arrange for themselves.

II. THE TIME FOR SEEKING IS FIXED BY GOD'S INVITATIONS. It must be; for the gift is an absolutely sovereign and free gift, and the Giver must be allowed to find his own time and way. If salvation were a matter of purchase, we might expect it to be dependent on our good will. It is wholly a matter of grace, and so absolutely dependent on God s good will. Our Lord even said, "No man cometh unto me, except the Father, which hath sent me, draw him." The general invitations of God stand in his Word; the precise and special invitations to individuals, in which we find our golden opportunities of salvation, are, in the text, called times when "God may be found," or when God is propitious towards us; and times when "God is near," or gives an impressive sense of his nearness. Such times may appear to us as

Isaiah 55:7

Man's preparations for receiving God's pardon.

Two things have to be clearly recognized, and harmoniously set together.

1. God's pardon and favour are absolutely free and priceless; they are sovereign gifts, based on no condition, won by no payment, responsive to no merit in us. He saves us purely for his "own Name's sake."

2. And yet there are conditions which those who receive the grace are reasonably required to be in, if they are to be recipients, and make right use of the grace received. These conditions are absolutely necessary, and yet there are in no sense at all any merit, or price, on which the grace is obtained. The harmonizing of the two things is not difficult. When we bestow a gift we look for a proper recipiency in those who receive. It would be to waste our gifts to bestow them where there was no preparedness to use them rightly. In this verse the preparation takes a threefold form.

I. THERE MUST BE THE PUTTING AWAY OF ALL WRONG-DOING. It would be insult for a child to ask pardon of a father while he kept on doing the disobedient thing that grieved his father. Sincerity of desire for pardon is shown in separating ourselves from the sin. Sense of the evil of the act is indicated in resolutely putting it away. This is the first thing God looks for in all who seek him. Kept sin, always and everywhere, keeps off the "grace."

II. THERE MUST BE A CLEANSING OF THOUGHT AND HEART. The love of sinning must go, and the act of sinning must cease. In the view of God, sin is not merely some positive act done. The Heart-searcher knows that the act was but the expression of evil thought, biassed will, selfish purpose. And so a man is not ready for forgiveness until his thought is changed, and exactly that changed thought is what we put into the word "repentance." Reformation of life and repentance of heart must go together to make the proper recipient attitude.

III. THERE MUST BE A POSITIVE TURNING TOWARDS GOD. The difference between evangelical repentance and worldly remorse is that repentance draws us toward God in hope, and remorse drives us from God in despair. It is distinctly expected that man will make positive efforts; and therefore we find the plea, "Come, and let us return unto the Lord." Bishop Wordsworth says, "In proclaiming God's loving promises, and the free offers of Divine grace, the prophet does not forget man's duties both in will and work." H. Ward Beecher gives the following illustration: "Every day, from my window, I see the gulls making circuits and beating against the north wind. Now they mount high above the masts of the vessels in the stream, and then suddenly drop to the water's edge, seeking to find some eddy unobstructed by the steady-blowing blast; till at length, abandoning their efforts, they turn and fly with the wind; and then how like a gleam of light do their white wings flash down the bay, faster than the eye can follow! So, when we cease to resist God's influences, and, turning towards him, our thought and feelings are upborne by the breath of the Spirit, how do they make such swift heavenward flight as no words can overtake!" When these three preparations indicate to God a readiness to receive his grace, then will that grace overflow, and he will "abundantly pardon."—R.T.

Isaiah 55:8, Isaiah 55:9

God is like yet unlike man.

We are made in his image. We are called to be "perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect." The hope of the future is that we "shall be like him." And yet we must keep up the conviction that we are but faint copies of him, and be is altogether better than we, the Infinite that is ever high above us, at once our inspiration and our despair. Apply God's unlikeness to us especially in the matter of redemption.

I. GOD CAN FORGIVE. This man finds it hard to do.

II. GOD CAN RESTORE. This man cannot do.

III. GOD CAN BLESS, HOPING FOR NOTHING IN RETURN. Man never very certainly succeeds in doing anything save for pay (see Acts 8:20).

IV. GOD CAN ABSOLUTELY KEEP HIS WORD OF PROMISE. Man is ever swift to promise, slow to perform. "The point of the comparison, in Isaiah 55:11, is that the predominance of fertility in the natural world, in spite of partial or apparent failures, is the pledge of a like triumph, in the long run, of the purposes of God for man's good over resistance. It does not exclude the partial, or even total, failure of many; it asserts that the saved are more than the lost." The betterness of God is the ground of our admiration, trust, and love; it is the incitement of a perpetual imitation. Perfection, for those who know God, is to be like God.—R.T.

Isaiah 55:10, Isaiah 55:11

Change and permanence in God's Word.

Dr. George Dana Boardman sees, in these verses, an unconscious anticipation of two great doctrines of modem science—the doctrine of convertibility of energies, or correlation of forces; and the doctrine of conservation of energy, or indestructibility of force. "We are now taught that heat, light, electricity, magnetism, chemical affinity, etc; are modes of motion, and, as such, mutually interchangeable. And we are also taught that there is no evidence of any atom of matter having ever been annihilated. Disintegration is not annihilation."

I. GOD'S WORD IS CAPABLE OF ENDLESS TRANSFORMATIONS. God's truth, coming down like rain or snow from heaven, does not return to him void, but is transfigured into Christian character. Truth, like force, undergoes metamorphosis. For instance, the motion of enterprise glides into the heat of enthusiasm; the heat of enthusiasm into the light of influence; the light of influence into the magnetism of love, and so on. The history of Christianity itself, what is it but the history of the grace of God metamorphosed into various virtues?

II. GOD'S WORD IS INDESTRUCTIBLE. "What though rain falls on barren ledges? Not a drop is lost; for the rain trickles down into rills, the rills grow into brooks, the brooks swell into rivers, the rivers broaden into the sea, and the sea forms the international exchange of the world's commodities. What though snow mantles desolate deserts? Not a flake is a failure; for the snow melts, percolates the sands, feeds unseen springs, re-emerges as the bearded wheat of autumn." We may hopefully engage in the teaching and preaching of God's Word; for not one lesson can be really lost.—R.T.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S; Spence-Jones, Henry Donald Maurice. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". The Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tpc/isaiah-55.html. 1897.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.
Incline
Psalms 78:1; 119:112; Proverbs 4:20
come
Matthew 11:28; John 6:37,44,45; 7:37
hear
Matthew 13:16; 17:5; John 5:24,25; 8:47; 10:27
and I will
54:8; 61:8; Genesis 17:7; 2 Samuel 23:5; Jeremiah 32:40; 50:5; Hebrews 13:20
the sure
2 Samuel 7:8-17; Psalms 89:28,35-37; Jeremiah 33:20,21,26; Ezekiel 37:24,25; Acts 13:34
Reciprocal: Genesis 9:16 - everlasting;  Genesis 15:18 - made;  Genesis 19:20 - and my;  Exodus 6:4 - established;  Leviticus 26:9 - establish;  Deuteronomy 28:1 - If thou shalt;  Deuteronomy 30:10 - hearken unto;  2 Samuel 7:15 - But my;  1 Kings 11:34 - for David;  2 Kings 20:5 - the God;  1 Chronicles 16:17 - an everlasting;  1 Chronicles 17:13 - I will be;  2 Chronicles 1:8 - Thou has showed;  2 Chronicles 6:42 - remember;  2 Chronicles 24:19 - but they would;  Psalm 81:8 - Hear;  Psalm 89:49 - thou;  Psalm 95:7 - if ye;  Psalm 111:9 - he hath;  Proverbs 1:33 - whoso;  Proverbs 2:2 - thou;  Proverbs 4:4 - keep;  Proverbs 7:2 - Keep;  Proverbs 15:31 - ear;  Proverbs 22:17 - and hear;  Isaiah 44:1 - now;  Isaiah 48:12 - Hearken;  Isaiah 49:1 - and hearken;  Isaiah 51:1 - Hearken;  Isaiah 54:10 - the covenant;  Isaiah 56:4 - take hold;  Isaiah 59:21 - this;  Jeremiah 30:9 - GeneralJeremiah 38:20 - and thy;  Ezekiel 16:60 - I will establish;  Ezekiel 34:23 - my servant;  Ezekiel 34:25 - I will make;  Ezekiel 37:26 - I will make;  Daniel 9:27 - confirm;  Hosea 3:5 - and David their king;  Amos 5:4 - and;  Zechariah 7:7 - Should ye not hear the words;  Matthew 15:10 - Hear;  Mark 4:24 - hear;  Luke 6:47 - cometh;  Luke 9:35 - hear;  John 10:28 - they;  Acts 3:22 - him;  Romans 11:27 - this;  Hebrews 3:7 - hear;  Hebrews 5:9 - unto;  Hebrews 8:8 - covenant;  Hebrews 11:6 - he that;  Hebrews 12:24 - new;  1 Peter 2:4 - To

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/isaiah-55.html.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.

An everlasting covenant — That everlasting covenant of grace and peace which I made with Abraham, and his seed.

Of David — Even that covenant which was made first with Abraham, and then with David, concerning those glorious and sure blessings which God hath promised to his people, one and the chief of which was giving Christ to die for their sins. David here seems to be put for the son of David.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/isaiah-55.html. 1765.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

3.This invitation is followed by a yearning call upon every one to be a partaker in the whole mass of gospel blessings embraced in the covenant made with David; a covenant made first with Abraham, and renewed with David; a covenant promise of Christ in all his humiliations, and ending with a crowned Christ, a kingly Messiah, exulting in royal victories, and a redeemed, completely redeemed, Church.

 

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Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Isaiah 55:3". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/isaiah-55.html. 1874-1909.