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This is the 13th message from the book of Isaiah of the Old Testament. In my previous message, I spoke from Isaiah 54:8, “but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you”. Isaiah prophesies about the work of Christ’s redemption on the cross in Chapter 53. And the following Chapter 54, prophesies that the work of restoration will take place in Jerusalem. Isaiah speaks to Jerusalem, the abandoned city, where there is no one to live in at that time, to sing for joy. That is because the work of redemption on the cross is completed. Those who were taken captive to Babylon were also redeemed, and the work of restoration started. The God who loves us with His everlasting love, He has compassion on us, He is the one who starts the work of restoration.
In Chapter 55, Isaiah encourages us to respond to the invitation of salvation that God prepares for us. Chapter 55 is divided into two parts, and Isaiah gives us a challenge to receive salvation and to live a life following the word of God, trusting Him. We would like to respond to these invitation with genuine heart. Now, please read Chapter 55.
Isaiah 55: 1 says,「“Come, all you 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.」Here, the expression “come, buy and eat!”is highlighted. God sent the Savior Jesus to the world, He died on the cross to complete the work of redemption for the whole humanity. This is the work of God’s love that we cannot fully understand. God Himself paid for the forgiveness of human sins. The people of Israel were taken to Babylon, and as a result, they lost everything, their houses, money and even social status. To these people who are in the greatest disappointment, God speaks to them to come to the waters. In the Middle East, water is considered so valuable that people sell and buy water. Of course, other goods like grain, grapes and milk are also important as water. In order to get these necessary items, we are required to pay the certain price. However, what if God has already paid the price for us? Since the price is already paid by redemption on the cross, you can receive salvation without payment. All we need to do is to respond to the invitation of God. Isaiah uses this expression of “buying”. It is because God Himself has already paid the price for us, we can receive them for free. Verse 2 asks us a question what do we pay and work for? What is the food that you really need? It asks us if there is anything more important than believing in Christ and following the word of God. Just like Marry who sat at the feet of Jesus and listened what he was talking. (Reference; Luke10:38-42)
Verse 3 says,「Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.」(Isaiah 55:3 NIV) The covenant with David is written in 2 Samuel 7: 12-14. It is a covenant that the Savior is born to this world, inherits the throne of David, and rules the eternal kingdom. Our Savior, Jesus, is the one who inherits the throne of David and accepts us into the eternal kingdom. He is the King and commander of the peoples and nations. The first half of verse 5 says,「Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations you do not know will come running to you,」”You” in verse 5 can be understood as the Israelites who believe in Christ and it also refers to each one of us. When we follow Christ, we will be able to act as a holy nation, royal priesthood. (Reference; 1 Peter 2: 9)
From verses 6 to 13, the second invitation follows. The invitation is the most personal one, to encounter the Lord. Verse 6 says,「Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.」(Isaiah 55:6 NIV) This passage reminds us of Jesus standing outside the door and knocking the door of our hearts, which is written in Revelation 3:20. When we open the door of our heart, we will be able to have a meal with Jesus intimately. But before that, Revelation 3:19 says,「Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.」(Revelation 3:19 NIV) Repentance is required before a close fellowship with the Lord Jesus. The same is true for Isaiah’s recommendations. It requires the wicked to forsake their ways. It also encourages them to turn to the LORD, and He will have mercy on them. Just like when the Israelites sinned against Him, as a result they experienced the suffering of the Babylonian captivity, but they were freed by the grace of God. Before that, they had to reflect on themselves and set out with God’s forgiveness. In the same way, it is important for us to come before the Lord, experience His mercy and forgiveness, and take a new step of faith. There is nothing in vain in what God has said. In the same way, we are allowed to make mistakes, since we are already forgiven before God. Even through our failure and mistakes, God is able to teach us many things. God’s thoughts are much higher than ours (verse 9). And it is the Word of God that brings us a rich harvest (10, 11). Verse 12 says,「You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.」(Isaiah 55:12 NIV) Peace is given to our lives as each believer listens and follows the word of the Lord. Not only that, it is written that the natural world will also be restored and reconciled. (Reference; Isaiah 11: 6-9, Romans 8: 19-23.)
Today, we learned about two invitations we have received from Isaiah Chapter 55. It is enough just to believe and receive the Gospel of Jesus with faith. It is because the Lord has already paid the price. He is the one who waits for you to open the door of your heart. When you open the door, you will be able to experience the greatness of salvation of Jesus and the power of the word of God. As a faithful servant, and a friend of Jesus, you will be able to accomplish the work of God’s love on this earth. Let us respond to the invitation of Jesus together.
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