Seek the Lord early…
[Isa 55:1-9 RSV] 1 “Ho, every one 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? Hearken diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in fatness. 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 nations that you know not, and nations that knew you not 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 mercy on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says 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.
I LOVE Isaiah. Traditionally, the book was thought to have been written by one man. However, current thinking is that there were three different writers of this book. Why? Over the past two hundred years, scholars believed that, because the book spans so many years in Jewish history, it could not have been penned only one man. I will tell you it matters not to me whether Isaiah was written by one man or a dozen men. Isaiah is one of the richest books in the Bible and there is wisdom and encouragement throughout.
Isaiah is divided into three groups–Chapters 1-39 include Isaiah’s call to be a prophet (Isaiah 6) and continues to warn Judah of the consequences of turning from God. Beginning with Chapter 40, Isaiah is speaking to those in Babylon and he begins by telling them their bondage is almost over. This section continues from Chapter 40 to Chapter 55, where we will find several allusions to Jesus Christ. The last part of Isaiah is found in Chapters 56-66, and during this time frame the Israelites are trying to rebuild Jerusalem.
Notice how Isaiah begins the 55th Chapter, “Ho, everyone who thirsts come to the waters…” This language would be similar to our saying, “Hey,” or “Listen to me!” He begins by calling out to those who have no money but are hungry and thirsty. Doesn’t that remind you of Jesus? I love how we find Jesus in every book of the Bible.
Isaiah then warns not to spend our money on things that do not satisfy. You see, trying to fill our longing with things instead of with Jesus is not a 21st century problem, it is a human nature problem. And then God, through Isaiah, says to listen to Him, seek Him out while He may be found. Don’t you love that?
I have considered this beckoning by God and the advice to seek Him while He may be found. We know that God is always near, but there are too many occasions in our lives where we are distracted and unable to focus on God. However, it is imperative that we approach God from a place where we recognize who He is and how much He loves each one of us. The covenant God made with David is not so dissimilar from the covenant of salvation that He has made with each of us through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Isaiah ends this section by reminding us that God’s thoughts and ways are so much higher than what we can imagine. Yet, even today we continue to try to make God into our image instead of allowing Him to make us into His likeness. I would ask that each of us read these verses not once, not twice, but three times. And then just meditate on how our God, our Creator, never ceases reaching out to us. And, know that just because we have limited understanding, God is never limited. In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Father God, we ask that You would give us the desire to seek you, to find you, and to follow you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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