Come to the Waters (Isaiah 55:1-13)
Introduction: The foundation of the great invitation offered to needy sinners is found in the sacrifice that Christ has made. Isaiah speaks of this sacrifice is Isaiah 53, the last of the four Servant passages beginning in Isaiah 42. Isaiah 53 speaks of the Suffering Servant who is the Lamb of God - the once for all sacrifice for sin. Since Christ has made this great sacrifice, all sinners are invited to drink of the salvation He accomplished. Isaiah 55 records this invitation.
You’ve been invited to buy things that are too good to be true. This invitation in v. 1 is too good to refuse. It is such an important invitation, that it is reiterated in the very last chapter of Scripture:
Revelation 22:17 (NKJV)
17And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
Isaiah 55:1 (NKJV)
1“Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.”
Everyone is to come to the waters. Everyone is to quench their thirst and buy, even though the price has been paid by Another. Jesus said:
John 6:35 (NKJV)
35“I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”
John 7:37 (NKJV)
37“If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.”
All people everywhere can experience a life filled and overflowing with satisfaction. The catch? It is provided by Christ not us. The first step in giving the Gospel is to make people see their hopeless, sinful condition before God. This passage of Scripture makes the message of the Gospel attractive. The hungry find Christ, the Bread of Life; the thirst find Christ, a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
How will the poor eat and drink? They lack money to buy even the essentials. Just so, sinners have great needs, but have no way to provide for those needs.
Isaiah 55:2 (NKJV)
2Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance.
The initial question in verse 2 is good to think about. If it’s not bread, it won’t satisfy. So, why do we continue to exchange our energy and resources for that which does not satisfy?
Once we help man understand his beggarly position, then it is our responsibility to make the Gospel attractive. God has provided for our needs. Those who are helpless have opportunity for the best of food and drink. They must accept the invitation to come:
Isaiah 55:3 (NKJV)
3Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you— the sure mercies of David.
· God offers to us the rich banquet halls of Heaven. The best satisfying foods are heaped upon platters. The richness of the food brings great joy. How is it that we gain access?
· We incline our ears and come. What are we listening to? The Word of God!
· What are the sure mercies of David?
2 Samuel 7:12-16 (NKJV)
12“When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. 15But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.” ’ ”
· God replaced Saul with David and promised the new king that His throne would be established forever. God’s mercy would not depart from David - the sure mercies of David.
· Jesus is the heir of that promise made:
Acts 13:34 (NKJV)
34And that [God the Father] raised [Jesus] from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He has spoken thus: ‘I will give you the sure mercies of David.’
· As we obey the Great Commission given by our Lord, we cast our lot with Him. The eternal promises God has made to Jesus become our own!
John 17:24-26 (NKJV)
24“Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. 26And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”
Now, the Messiah once again becomes the focus in Isaiah 55:
Isaiah 55:4-5 (NKJV)
4Indeed I have given him as a witness to the people, A leader and commander for the people. 5Surely you shall call a nation you do not know, And nations who do not know you shall run to you, Because of the Lord your God, And the Holy One of Israel; For He has glorified you.”
· David is a witness to the people, a leader and commander for the people. David shall call a nation he does not know. He does so through His line; ultimately through Jesus Christ.
Romans 1:1-5 (NKJV)
1Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God 2which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, 3concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, 4and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. 5Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name,
· When Jesus calls, what draws the nations to run to Him? The Father has glorified the Son. Ultimately through His death, burial, and resurrection - the Gospel!
Isaiah 55:6-7 (NKJV)
6Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. 7Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the Lord, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.
· Our wicked, bankrupt condition before God creates the thirst and hunger. This is the great miracle of the Gospel’s wonder-working power. God draws us with an insatiable thirst and we call upon Him while He is near.
· “Seek the LORD while He may be found”
o When we seek Him we are living lives of purpose and meaning. We jettison whatever keeps us from hearing Him.
o We don’t second-guess His will, argue with Him, or tell Him what has to happen first before we seek Him. All of our resources come to Him and His cause - reaching others.
· “Call upon Him while He is near”
o He is not far off or refusing to be found. When we call, He comes closer. What do we do?
o “Forsake our way …thoughts” - Our way and our thoughts keep us prominent and God silent. The fact of the matter is that as wicked and unrighteous people, our way and thoughts are perverse - crooked and twisted …not right!
· We must “return to the LORD.” This is repentance needed by the lost and the children of God. We must realize that the banqueting hall of Heaven contains mercy for the repentant. It contains abundant pardon for all!
Isaiah 55:8-9 (NKJV)
8“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor 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.
· Repentance is continual in our lives because God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, His ways are not our ways. God’s ways and thoughts are pure - straight and clean …always right!
· This narrow way of God is accessed by grace. Wicked people can’t get that. It just doesn’t make sense to them. When we do receive this wonderful gift of mercy in salvation, then the light begins to flicker in our souls. Our lives begin a turn that shocks us…
Isaiah 55:10-11 (NKJV)
10“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower And bread to the eater, 11So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
How is the Word of God like rain?
1. Rain is not something man sends but God sends. We desperately need it but are dependent upon God to provide it. God has made Himself knowable in His Word. We desperately need to know Him but are dependent upon His revelation.
2. When the rain falls, the dry, parched lands are satisfied and begin to flourish. The rain washes over the land bringing life. The Word of God comes down like rain upon our barren, parched souls. It comes in like a flood and causes life to spring up.
3. Rain accomplishes the pleasure and purpose of God. No one can defeat God’s Word; it will accomplish His pleasure in prospering those to whom it is sent. That can be a great encouragement as we seek to win souls to Christ.
Isaiah 55:12-13 (NKJV)
12“For you shall go out with joy, And be led out with peace; The mountains and the hills Shall break forth into singing before you, And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. 13Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress 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.”
1. Many may reject the Gospel, but sanity dictates our acceptance. Even the creation knows that the sure mercies of David through Christ are being realized.
2. The end is everlasting life and all things being subdued under the Son so that the Father may be all in all.
1 Corinthians 15:25-28 (NKJV)
25For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. 27For “He has put all things under His feet.” But when He says “all things are put under Him,” it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. 28Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.
If you will accept God’s invitation to come and even beckon others to come, then our text has at least three benefits for you…
1. Mercy - God will always show compassion to those in great need. When He sees our weakness and we admit our miserable condition, God will move Heaven and earth to meet our need.
2. Forgiveness - God solves our problem with pardon. He forgives sin only in Christ. This is the hope people need.
3. Everlasting Life - God assures us of this. We can know it. If we come to God believing, we have the absolute authority of God’s Word which states again and again: You are saved!