Reading through the Bible together

Sunday, April 20, 2014

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In this chapter, God directs Himself to the heathen. The result of His sacrifice at the cross is that doors are now wide open for people of all walks of life, from every corner of the world, to come into His family! This is a beautiful way to close this subsection of Isaiah. It is an invitation to a party, to rejoice. The death of the Servant paid for the cost of the feast.

When I read this chapter, I suspect God is trying to give us the components necessary to approach those who don’t know the God of heaven. Invitation and welcome (v.1), review of the human condition (v.2), focus on the person of Christ (vv.3-5), and appeal to seek God on the basis of His forgiveness (vv.6-7).  Also important is recognition that God is not what we may assume He is (vv.8-9), invitation to listen to God’s Word for it is trustworthy (vv.10-11), and the life abundant that is possible with Christ (vv.12-13).

Water, wine, milk, and bread represent the blessings of salvation. God invites those who have “no money” to obtain them, and yet, in the next line, He says, “come, buy and eat” (v.1). How can we be told to buy when it’s been made clear we have no money? We must buy “without money and without price.” None can pay for the salvation Jesus offers, and what He offers is invaluable, without price. What could be the price of the Son of God, the King of glory, the Creator of the ends of the earth? He is priceless.

And yet, we are urged to buy. Christ has made the purchase for our souls with His shed blood, this the Bible makes clear (Rev 5:9). What does it mean, then, that we should buy salvation? Jesus Himself explained it, centuries later. Just like the man who found a great treasure hidden in a field, and like the man who found the pearl of great price, both sold all that they had in order to obtain what they found (Matt 13:44-46).  We must be willing to part with everything we hold dear in order to receive the One for whom our soul longs. It’s more about letting go than about having powers to buy.

God’s plea is simple: “Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way,…let him return to the Lord” (vv.6-7). You know where the treasure is. You don’t yet know the enormity of its value, but you suspect it is the greatest thing you’ve ever known. God says, don’t wait. Don’t get distracted with lesser things. Know that what He says actually comes to pass (v.11). Make haste while it is day and leave all behind, so you may enjoy this great Treasure now.

If you do this, “you shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth with singing…, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands” with joy (v.12). You will perceive all nature as new and alive. Life will be worth living, and God worth loving, throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity.

Come to the waters…today!

Ron E M Clouzet
NAD Evangelism Institute Director
Professor of Ministry and Theology
Andrews University Seminary