Today let’s start Isaiah 55. Verse 1 says, “Come, all who are thirsty, come to the waters: and you who have no money, come, buy, and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.” “Without money” (1), in other words, this is an invitation to receive the free grace. In your life up until now how many invitations have you received? Among those invitations which one was the most valuable to you? Here God is inviting you, “Come, all who are thirsty.” (1) God is inviting us to receive the free grace. This is really the most valuable invitation. Today let’s look at three aspects of God’s invitation.
- Come, all who are thirsty (Vs. 1)
First please look at verse 1. Here it says, “Come, all who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money,” This is the response of the work of salvation accomplished by the Lord’s servant. The Lord was put on the cross and died, and 3 days later rose again. What blessing did that bring? In Isaiah 54:12 it says, “I will make… all your walls of precious stones.” By Jesus dying on the cross, to those who believe in his name the kingdom of heaven will come. There is an abundant peace. Nothing can separate them from the love of God in Christ. God is always with you pouring out the living water upon you. Therefore, here it is inviting “all who are thirsty” (1) to “come to the waters”. (1)
Recently in Japan too the amount of people that buy water to drink is increasing, but even so there is an image that water is a free drink. In other words, there is an image that it is not something expensive, but in reality it is a very precious resource. It is said that there is 1,400,000,000 km3 of water on the earth. Of that water 97% is salt water, and fresh water is only 3% of it. Also of the fresh water we can use only .8% for our life. Therefore, you can see how precious a resource water is. In Europe when you go to a restaurant and order, if you want water, you must order mineral water. You have to pay money and buy it. Moreover, there are places when water is more expensive than wine. In Israel and Egypt and the Near and Middle Eastern desert regions water is more precious. For example, in the biggest producer of oil, Saudi Arabia, water is said to be more expensive than oil. That is how precious water is.
Even so, here it says to drink for free. Not only is water received, but also food milk and wine. Of course this doesn’t just mean material blessings. Just as Jesus said, ”I am the bread of life”, it is a symbol of life. Wine is a sign of joy. Milk is the milk of the Word of God “so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.” (I Peter 2:2) It maintains life and is necessary for growth. Let’s come before God seeking such material and spiritual things that give us life, support our life, and bring joy to us.
The word “come” (1) is repeated three times. You have come here today. You came from somewhere. I don’t know where, but you came. If you don’t come, nothing will begin. By coming you are able to receive. The number one thing God is saying to us is “come”. (1)The Lord Jesus said to many people who are troubled, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28)
Jesus didn’t say to watch him from a distance or to study him. He said, “Come to me.” (Matt. 11:28) If so, “I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28) Therefore, if you want to receive grace, you must come to Jesus. The word used for “Come” is a command in a strong form. This means that if you really want to receive God’s blessings, no matter what important business you have, no matter what you are doing, you must put it aside and come.
Here it says, “come to the waters”.(1) As I said before “water” is a symbol of life, but in the book of Isaiah it refers to God’s presence. Just like if man didn’t have water, he is not able to keep life in his body, if you don’t experience the reality of God’s presence at the deepest level of your spirit, then you can’t live. That is because man is made in the likeness and image of God. If we are separated from the real creator God, no matter how good other things are, we are not satisfied in our hearts. It is the same as when there is no water, even if we drink juice and coca cola, later we get thirsty. In the end we want to drink water. In the same way, without water physical thirst is not satisfied, if God is not present in our spirit, our spiritual thirst will definitely not be satisfied. Blaise Pascal said, “There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.” Man is such a being.
Therefore, no matter how honored you are, no matter how much wealth you have, a life where God is left out of the picture is a thirsty life. Man wants to flee from that and wants status and honor, wants to get wealth, and be authoritative, but such things can not fill the vacuum in the heart. To fill our spirit we must come to God and seek him. If so, we can receive freely. You can buy food to nourish yourself and wine to for enjoyment, and milk to make you grow “without money and without cost.” (1)
When I was little my mother often said,” there is nothing more fearful than something that is free.” Something free is unthinkable. To give something for free, is to have a hidden scheme. However, God gives freely. This is called “grace”. It is the grace of God. Moreover, this is the one sided mercy of God. On our human side we can’t add any kind of help in receiving it. We don’t receive it because we did something like if we serve in the church or we pray hard or we do something devotedly. We receive it freely only by the one sided grace of God. It has no relationship to how much you have done before God. It depends only on whether we have come before God or not. It can be received only by coming before God. That is the grace of God. It is the salvation that is given by God. For God’s eyes we are all nothing. We have no value in and of ourselves. However God, by God’s grace says to those that are worthless, deep in sin, “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters…come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.” (1)
- Eat what is good (Vs. 2)
Next, please look at verse 2. “Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the riches of fare.”
Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?” (2) There are spiritual blessings that you can’t buy with money. Even though you can receive them freely, you don’t look at them even a little and why do you “Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what” (2) you can’t take to heaven and what has no purpose in heaven? Of course, this does not mean that we must not enjoy life on this earth. Rather, it means to think about what we should invest in and what should be our priorities. We should spend money on and labor for and use our time for things that will last eternally.
About this, Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matt. 6:19-21)
Even if we use the salary that we finally got by working with sweat to get rid of stress by brand items and luxury clothing our hearts can’t be fulfilled. From the moment we buy it, it is already old. There are times that even before we wear it, a bug eats it and we get a hole or we gain weight and it gets too small. There are times when the car that we finally got a loan for and bought becomes scratched and rusted. Therefore, recently I don’t worry when the car gets hit here and there. Anything that has form gets destroyed, Therefore, “store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matt. 6:20) It is not necessary to buy expensive alcohol to ease oneself. If you listen to “God and eat what is good,” (2) then you can be free from stress and you will become overflowing in joy.
Here it says, “and your soul will delight in the riches of fare.” (2) If you listen to “God and eat what is good,” (2) then “your soul will delight in the riches of fare.” (2)
“What is good” (2) and “the riches of fare” (2) is the opposite of “what is not bread” (2) and “what does not satisfy”. It is our food and what satisfies us. That is God’s Word of salvation. At this time Israel was captured by Babylon. In the midst of such a pagan life they searched for something to fill their hearts. However, there wasn’t anything that satisfied them. Even if they experienced a momentarily feeling of satisfaction, the next moment their stomachs were empty. What can really fill a person’s heart is only God and His Word. Jesus said, “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matt. 4:4) This is “what is good”(2) and what is the strength for Israel to overcome the hopeless situation they were put in.
That is the same for us. What do you “spend money on”? What do you labor for? Do you “spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?” (2) Listen to “God and eat what is good.” (2) Eat “every word that comes from the mouth of God”, (Matt. 4:4) and put your hope in them. If so, then “your soul will delight in the riches of fare.” (2) Jesus Christ will be your water of life, and your bread of life. He will also become you a wine (joy) and also your milk (nutrition for growth). Jesus Christ will be your all in all. If you eat him, in other words, live seeking him, fellowshipping with him, then your life will be overflowing with good things.
- You may live (Vs. 3-5)
The third point is the result. If you listen to God and come to God, then you will live. Please look at verse 3. Here it says, “Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live.”
You may think that you are alive, but that is a temporary thing. You don’t know how much longer you will be living. Here what this is talking about is eternal life. Even though you die, you will live. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.” (John 11:25) It is the life of living even though you are dead. This life is promised to Christians. Therefore, even if a Christian dies now, he is living. Those who are not Christians are different. If a non Christian dies tonight he will die again. Death is 2 times, the physical death and the spiritual death. The spiritual death is called the second death and means that you are separated from God eternally. It is written about in Revelations 20:14 and 15. “Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” This is in other words, hell. However, Christians only die once. Even though they die physically, they enter heaven and there live eternally with God. That is eternal life. Life on this earth is 70 or 80 years, at the longest about 100 years. No matter how long you keep going, 120 years at the longest. Everyone always dies. That is 100% so. Then after dying we spiritually die. When a person dies, it is not the end. After death too we continue to live in our spirit. It is eternally. The world after death is absolutely long. Our life on this earth is just a drop. In a flash it passes by, but your life after death is eternal. Where will you spend your eternal world? Will you spend it in heaven with God? Or will you spend it in Hell in the lake of fire where God does not exist? “Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live.” (2) If you come to God, listen to God and receive God’s salvation, “your soul may live.” (2)
There were 2 young men who made their living by picket pocking. One day when they passed by a church one of the men felt his heart sting. He thought he wanted to go inside and worship. Therefore, he said to his pal, “Let’s go in and see.” Then the friend turned down the offer. Consequently the young man went inside and worshipped, but the other young man left.
Then after 20 years the young man who refused to go in the church and went his own way, was serving a sentence in prison for a felony offense. One day while in the prison the news of the new American President came on the radio. While he heard the news tears came to his eyes. The person who became the new President was his companion that many years ago had worked picket pocketing with him. His friend that had wanted to go inside the church to worship came before God and accepted Christ and changed dramatically and became the president of the country. That person was America’s 20th President, James Garfield.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
The Gospel changes everything. If anyone comes before the Lord, following the Lord, and eats “what is good” (2), he can experience an amazing life.
Please look at the end of verse 3. Here it says, “I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.” Here in order to show how certain the promise is it is recorded as God’s “faithful love promised to David.” (3) This is II Samuel 7;12-16. This is the prophecy that from the descendants of David the Savior Jesus Christ would be born, and by Him the kingdom would be established. This would come by the one sided grace of God. David’s covenant was a covenant of grace. It is salvation only just by coming before God and receiving the grace that God gives. If we humble ourselves, just come before God and receive God’s salvation, anyone can be saved. That is the covenant of David. That became a reality by Jesus Christ who was a descendant of David. Therefore, this is a certain salvation. It has completely no connection with what we do. It is salvation by the one sided grace of God.
“And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (I John 5:11,12)
“This life is in his Son. He who has the Son” (I John 5:11) in other words, those who believe in the Son, have life.”He who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (I John 5:12) This is by the Word of God’s promise. Our emotions have nothing to do about it. “He who has the Son has life;” (I John 5:11) It is free.
Do you accept and have assurance of God’s grace that you can experience “without cost”. (1) According to the world’s economical theory, “without cost” (1) will definitely not obtain good results. However, God is the most valuable, and he says he will give the best “without cost.” (1) We only have to believe this truth, come before God, and enjoy this grace. This is thought to be a very easy thing. However, for us who are used to being on good terms with this world’s thinking it is surprisingly difficult. We question about God giving us grace without cost. We think that there is nothing more fearful than something that is free. Then we often pay the price and use effort vainly and “spend money on what is not bread, and…labor on what does not satisfy.” (2)
However, God is saying to stop using such vain effort and to listen to God’s word. If you “give ear and come to” (3) God, then “your soul may live.” (3) The nature of grace is that there is no cost, but in reality it was not completely without cost. In reality for that God paid the price that we should have paid. That was Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ died on the cross for us. That was because God loves us. Just like a mother who loves the child without conditions and raises him, God loves us, his children with no conditions and raises us up. Then he fills us with the best things. The beginning of faith is to realize and experience God’s love. Are you coming before God and seeking this grace?
Lastly, let’s look at verse 5. “Surely you will summon nations you know not,and nations that you do not know you will hasten to you, because of the LORD your God,the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.”
“Nations you know not” (5) are the Gentiles. In the course of time, even the Gentiles will come to Israel and wish that some of their blessings will rub off onto them. This grace will be such an abundant salvation. You are invited too to such huge blessings. Today this invitation has been sent to you. How will you reply to this?
In Matt. 22 “the kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who haven invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. …But they paid no attention and went off-one to his field, another to his business. The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them.” (Matt. 22:2-6) Then he told his servants to “go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone” (Matt. 22:9) they could find. “So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.” (Matt. 22:10)
Please don’t reject the invitation of the king. Come before God, and experience the blessings that God gives. If so, then “your soul may live.” (3)