A few weeks ago we read together about Jesus’s Great Commission in Matthew 28. Today we are going to read about Yahweh’s Great Invitationin Isaiah 55. It is like an ancient echo of the conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well, when He revealed himself as the long-awaited Messiah (A Leaky Bucket—John 4). The context of Isaiah 55’s great invitation is important: From chapter 40 onwards, Isaiah shines his spotlight on Israel’s final redemption and ultimate hope– the suffering Servant. This suffering Servant will bear the sins of God’s people and die in their place (Isa 53:4-6), then rise again to share the spoils of victory over sin and death (Isa 53:12). For this reason, Isaiah is often called “the Old testament evangelist” as the gospel announcement drips from his pen like honey. Today Isaiah invites us to come while God is near and satisfy our souls with spiritual water, wine and milk. The table is heaving and the tickets are free. He invites us to delight in the richest food, so that our soul may live. It reminds me of a day in the future when the doors of the great banquet hall of heaven will close. (Luke 13:24;25; Matt 25:10). Only those who have accepted the great invitation will celebrate the marriage feast between Jesus and his people. The time to come to Jesus the Saviour will be over.
This Saturday I am giving a talk on prayer at the Christ Church Midrand ladies’ breakfast, so have decided to write this devotion as a prayer in response to the great invitation of Isaiah 55. It is based on many Scriptures which I would encourage you to read as they pop up on your screen. Wherever you find yourself at this moment, Jesus is inviting you to come to him, just as you are. He knows your heart, so please adapt the prayer to your own situation and pray “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23; 24).
“Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
2 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.
3 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.
4 Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples,
a leader and commander for the peoples.
5 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.
6 “Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;
7 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.
Father, thank you that in Jesus there is pardon for sin. Thank you that you have made a way for me to belong to your chosen people, to enjoy your great banquet of salvation, completely free of charge. Today I accept your generous invitation to come. I come to you in the name of Jesus my Saviour– to drink and eat what is good. To enjoy the abundant life that Jesus has bought for me which I could not pay for myself.
Jesus, I come to you today for life-giving ‘water’ (Isa 55:1). Refresh me on the inside with your spring that never runs dry and let me drink deeply of your internal and eternal well (John 4:13; 14). Lead my tired body beside still waters and restore my weary soul and mind today (Ps 23:2-3). Jesus, give me the rest and peace with God that only you can give (2 Cor 5:20; Matt 11:28; 29; 30).
Lord, I come to you today for ‘milk’ (Isa 55:1). Nourish my soul with your word day after day. Feed me like a newborn baby craving pure spiritual milk, so that I will grow up in my salvation and continue to taste your goodness each day of my life. (1 Peter 2:2). May I never lose my eagerness to drink your rich and nourishing word, sip by sip, cup by cup.
Father, I come to you today for ‘wine’, a symbol of joy and celebration, praise and laughter (Isa 55:1). I come to you to find my true contentment and delight. Let me never settle for lesser things. Thank you that even my greatest trials are pure joy in your sovereign hands because of the faith you are growing in me (James 1:2-3). I praise you that I do not merely have to endure life, but can enjoy it to your glory too. Thank you for the people and blessings that give me joy. Thank you that your grace is everywhere I look. Help me to choose gratitude over grumbling; faith over fear; praise over pessimism.
Jesus, keep me forever thirsty and dependent on you. Do not let me become self sufficient, getting and spending my life on physical things only (Isa 55:2). Save me from a wasted life, ever searching, always wanting more, working for things that get old and dreams that cannot satisfy. Save me from being too ‘full’ and forgetting that everything I have comes from you. And save me from poverty too, “lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God” (Prov 30:9). I thirst for you today and seek you with all my heart (Jer 29:13).
Listen and Come
Lord, today I come, not just to hear you but to listen to you attentively, so that I may live (Isa 55:2; 3). Give me understanding and help me to obey you with all my heart (Ps 119:34). I love your commands because they give life and healing to me (Prov 4:22). Thank you Jesus, son of David, that through your death and resurrection I inherit the covenant promises made to your people, Israel (Isa 55:3). Thank you that I am part of the true Israel and a child of the covenant (Gal 3:6; 7; 8; 9). Thank you that this everlasting covenant rests on your steadfast love, not on my faithfulness. May your goodness and mercy follow me all the days of my life and may I dwell in your house for eternity (Ps 23:6). I trust in you, Lord and I know my times are in your hand (Ps 31:13-15).
Seek and turn
Lord, today I seek you while you may be found and call on you while you are near. (Isa 55:6). I confess my great sin against you and make no excuse for it. I ask for you to be true to your promise of abundant forgiveness (Isa 55:7) and cleansing (1 John 1:9) because Jesus took the punishment I deserve. I confess that everything is disordered in me. Even my faith is half hearted and my desires warped. Today I turn away from my sin and towards your great mercy. I draw near to the throne of grace with confidence, that I may receive mercy (Heb 4:16). Holy Spirit, help me to control my tongue (Prov 4:24) and forsake my sin and selfishness (Prov 4:27) to live a life that pleases you. Help me to guard my heart, the source of everything I do and say (Prov 4:23). Keep my eyes fixed ahead (Prov 4:26; 27), not distracted to swerve to the right or left of the truth. I seek you and turn from my sin today.
I hold your symbolic water, milk and wine in my hands and drink deeply– for refreshment, for nourishment and for joy. For life itself, flowing over and spilling into my lap.
“You make known to me the path of life, in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Ps 16:11)
In Jesus’ precious name,
The gospel invitation is open to everyone, but we must ‘come’ to Jesus. We must RSVP. Everyone had a chance to enter the ark during the 100 years Noah took to build it, but only 8 people went inside. Then came the day when God shut the door of the ark and the flood destroyed all those left outside. I pray that everyone who reads this devotion has accepted God’s great invitation to Come! Drink! Live! We do not know how long the invitation will be extended. Call on the Lord today while He is near and seek Him while He may be found. And continue to come to Him every day of your life for refreshment, nourishment and joy. That is the only antidote to half-heartedness.