Isaiah 55:1 “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. (NKJV)
As an American especially, there is MUCH to be concerned about in these increasingly troublesome times. The world in general is a dangerous place for the faithful as evidenced by the TENS OF THOUSANDS of Christians every year who are beaten, tortured, imprisoned, mistreated and martyred for their faith. Traditionally safe places like America are fast approaching a time where only the “non-offensive” portions of Scripture will be grudgingly tolerated. However, as history clearly dictates, that toleration will soon be followed by complete intoleration of anything authentically Christian.
While the world cries “peace and safety”, there will be no such thing for the faithful (nor is there even now in most of the world). To ignore this fact is not “positive thinking”, it is lacking discernment – a description that sadly describes the western Church as a whole. It would be much easier (temporarily) to join the legions of Westerners, Christians included, who are concerned with little more than pop culture, sports, shopping and a prosperous lifestyle. In a nutshell, materialism and hedonism… the idols of abundance.
There is nothing wrong with enjoying those things, indeed they are blessings from God, the giver of all good things. When they become the focus of our attention, the goal of life and all consuming of our energy… then the very good gifts God gave us to enjoy become the ingredients of our downfall. And they have in many undeniable ways.
So what? Doom and gloom? All is lost?
Sackcloth and ashes? Life sucks and then you die?
Nope… not for Christians.
For Christians it means an unprecedented opportunity to trust God, depend on God, return to God and tell people about God. When I read a passage like Isaiah 55, I realize that no matter what happens in this world, if we keep our eyes on God, we will always have hope and always have eternal life and goodness to look forward to.
While the passage, in context, is a promise to Israel, it is an application of truth that all of God’s children can count on. Far from being shallow promises of material prosperity, they are eternal promises of hope for any who turn to God – no matter what their circumstances are.
It is passages like Isaiah 55 that become particularly meaningful to me when I ponder what I truly believe is happening to our country and to the world. As the violence, chaos and turmoil that engulfs most of the globe laps at our shorelines, the comfort of God’s promises hold more dear. As the persecution that is a daily reality for most of our Christian family across the planet looms on the horizon of “free” countries, the comfort of Scripture means we can have joy rather than despair. Look at these truths with me in Isaiah 55:
Everyone who thirsts, come to the water… v. 1
We all thirst. We thirst for hope, for comfort, for truth, for goodness, for answers, for hope, for purpose… as times get rough, our thirst increases and rather than thirsting for the spiritual equivalent of soda pop, we thirst for the crystal clear living and pure water of God’s Truth. EVERYONE who thirsts may come to drink from the Living Water according to the terms of the Life Giver. The invitation is open to all but will be willfully rejected by most (an interpretation that won’t sit well with my “sovereignty” brethren).
And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk Without money and without price… v. 1
God’s riches are not bought with human currency. Again, it is a shame when these types of verses are twisted out of context to support the “prosperity Gospel”. What we have here is God’s unfailing promise of spiritual blessing, eternal hope and abundant riches in Christ Jesus. We are invited to feast on them as part of God’s family, free and abundant to His children: food that satisfies the longing soul, wine that soothes the hurting spirit, and milk that nourishes our need for hope and purpose.
Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live… v.3
No matter how hard, how dangerous, how chaotic things become in this sin-cursed world, if we listen to God, our soul will live, that is, we will have hope, joy and strength both in this life and the next. When we go to God, we have life whether we live in relative comfort and safety, or whether we are chained in prison. When the storm clouds of persecution gather, when we watch the disintegration of a once Godly nation, when we grieve the powerless pop-culture nature of Jesus’ Bride, it never diminishes God’s promise to us: come to Me and live.
Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near… v.6
God will never hide from those who seek Him. Until that great and fearful Day of Judgment, God will also be near for any person to seek and find. It is ironic but painfully true that the very comforts, blessings and abundance that God graciously gives us are often the very things that grab our attention and keep us from seeking Him. In western countries, where abundance of lifestyle is the rule, God is easily ignored because we don’t “need” Him. It is in times of despair, deprivation, uncertainty, lack and poverty that we most easily understand our helpless and dependency. Won’t it be wonderful in Heaven when we will be able to enjoy endless prosperity and abundance without it ever distracting us from God?
Let 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… v.7
It is universally true that when things get tough, many more people – who otherwise wouldn’t – recognize their need for God, and become aware of their sinfulness and neglect of spiritual matters. That’s okay… whatever it takes. It doesn’t matter WHY people turn to God, only that they genuinely do (on His terms), and often it is hardship that wakes people up. Thankfully we were created by a God who is merciful and will ABUNDANTLY pardon anyone who rejects wickedness and asks God for mercy. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, how long you’ve done it, or how bad you think it was… anyone who turns from sin and unrighteousness can find gracious forgiveness and pardon from a merciful God.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts… v.8-9
And we should be glad. We mess up everything. We cause wars, violence and turmoil. The problems of this world are OUR fault. Our ways lead to destruction. Our thoughts lead to disappointment. It is a source of GREAT hope that God is above all the chaos and uncertainty of this world. As the world turns upside down, we can anchor to God’s truth. As the lack of stability and unsecurity grows, we find eternal security in the Lord. It is one of the most comforting and joyful truths that Christians can take hold of as the world turns its back on God. Our ways, are not God’s ways. Thank God.
So 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… v.11
Again, this verse has been twisted into butchered oblivion by the “health and wealth” teachers but that doesn’t mean we can’t take a fresh look at its true meaning. God’s Word (His Will) will come to pass. What He has declared as truth will never fail. God’s Word is true and right no matter what man does. We can trust God, depend on God, hope in God and live for God with 100% assurance that every single thing He has declared and ordained will come to pass. We may not understand it, recognize it, or grasp it as we live in the moment… but we can rest assured that the final outcome has been declared and is truly inevitable. This is the primary reason why Christians are forbidden to worry (Phil 4:6). There is no reason to be anxious. God is in control and He will by no means, in any way, be thwarted by anyone or anything.
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The world is a scary place. It’s getting scarier. Do you have your hope firmly anchored in God? If your comfort, freedom and abundance was gone tomorrow, would you be despondent? Would you feel hopeless? Would feel abandoned? I’m afraid that many Christians who are lukewarm with the disease of “affluenza” will not know how to respond when the “good times” end. Will you? Or are you already there (ie. living in perpetual discontent and fear)?
Lord God, help us to turn to You no matter what is going on in the world. Help us not to let turmoil and uncertainty distract us fromYou. Help us not to let prosperity and comfort distract us from You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Application: I’m saddened sometimes to realize that our material abundance and comfort have become such a way of life that we consider it a basic human right we can NOT be denied. It is apparent that the affluent western Church believes this prosperity and peace cannot, and will not, ever cease (materialistically speaking). I’m deeply concerned about the genuineness of faith that is being produced by our “social” type of religion, ie. meeting needs, entertaining and catering to group preference. It seems the Church as a whole is asleep while the storm clouds of persecution and purification gather on the horizon. I don’t want to go through that storm but it appears inevitable. For the discerning Christian, it is a time of preparation, and anticipation of kingdom opportunity.
James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?