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Encouragements from Isaiah 55

November 25, 2020

In Isaiah 55, God calls us to a feast—one more satisfying and joyful than even the best Thanksgiving you can imagine. And all that we have to bring is the admission that we have nothing to bring. And best of all, God's invitation comes with the power of God's word, which creates in our hearts the very faith it calls us to. No matter what this year has meant for you, God's Word has something for you to be grateful for today! #Isaiah #growgroups #Jesus #gratitude #grace #gospel #satisfied


This week many of us will sit down to something like a feast and give thanks to God for the blessings that he has given to us. But because 2020 has been a year like no other, this will probably be a Thanksgiving like no other, too. But even still—even if it is different and socially distanced—there are few things better for the human soul than an invitation to a feast. That’s what God offers in Isaiah 55: “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy, and eat…without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food” (Isaiah 55:1–2). Our hearts are hungry, our souls are thirsty, and God invites us to a banquet where our every good desire can be satisfied forever. God doesn’t offer just something to tide us over, but food that is “good” and “rich.”  And perhaps best of all, he offers it at no cost or price to us. If we could ever imagine such a soul-satisfying banquet, how could we possibly pay for it? We couldn’t. We’ve tried. Our real resources get us faux food, what isn’t really bread, but our poverty provides everything we could ever want when it is joined to God’s grace. God offers to us entrance to a banquet where the ticket price for us is simply the admission that we have nothing to buy our way in. Of course, this banquet is quite unlike any other we’ve heard of. The feast is the Host himself, and what satisfies us is his faithful, steadfast love that will fulfill every promise he makes:

“Incline your ear, and come to me;  hear, that your soul may live;  and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David. Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples,  a leader and commander for the peoples. Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know,  and a nation that did not know you shall run to you,  because of the Lord your God, and of the Holy One of Israel,  for he has glorified you.” (Isaiah 55:3–5)

The invitation is issued; the Host stands ready. But how do we enter this banquet? Isaiah tells us:

“Seek 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;  let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,  and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” (Isaiah 55:6–7)

We feast on the soul-satisfying banquet of the glory of God by attentively seeking him, by genuinely striving to turn away from sin and our own plan for life indifferent to God’s will, by seeing our identity and security not in our own perfection or achievement but rather in the fact that God has been pleased to set his affection and compassion on us in Jesus Christ, our perfect righteousness. But the banquet doors don’t remain open forever. We must come while the Lord may still be found, while he is still near. We can’t put off to tomorrow our response to the invitation the Lord gives us today. If we think that we can continue to glut our souls on the fake food of sin and still be hungry enough to turn tomorrow to the rich food that will satisfy us, then we’re mistaken. But it isn’t tomorrow. It’s still today. And so if you hear the Lord’s invitation today, then take heart: You know he may still be found. He is still near. You wouldn’t hear this call and desire to respond if he weren’t. We aren’t promised tomorrow, but we can respond while it is still today. So turn continuously from your sin and begin to turn continuously toward the Lord.  And remember what you find when you turn to him: deep and tender compassion, abundant pardon that has banked enough righteousness in Christ to pay two times over for all your sins (Isaiah 40:1). And if you worry about faltering on the way to the table, then I have an even greater word of hope for you today: The power of God’s Word is so great, so infallible, so effective that it is able to evoke in our hearts the very response that it calls for. The same God who can speak a universe into existence out of nothing can create in our hearts by the power of his Word the faith he requires (Rom 4:18). Here’s how Isaiah beautifully describes it:

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven  and do not return there but water the earth,  making it bring forth and sprout,  giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;  it shall not return to me empty,  but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,  and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10–11)

So if your heart hungers today for the goodness Isaiah 55 describes, if you are ready to turn from sin in repentance and turn to the Lord in trust and righteousness, then don’t worry about coming up short and missing the feast. We must turn to him, but our trust is not in our turning. The power of the Word of God gives us confidence and comfort that God can accomplish what he purposes, even and especially where we can’t. If the Word says we will, then we’ll seek him, we’ll call upon him, we’ll repent and receive pardon, we’ll drink deeply of the joy that is in Christ and our souls will be satisfied—more nourished and energized than after the world’s most elaborate Thanksgiving dinner. Even if nothing else, that’s something this year to be grateful for.



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