The Best Invitation

Posted: December 12, 2013 in Isaiah

Isaiah 54-55, “The Best Invitation”

This time of year always seems filled with invitations.  There are parties at work, at school, for the kids’ sports teams, at church, etc.  Every time we turn around there is another event going on – and we need to pick & choose what we can do & what we need to turn down.  Some invitations we prioritize more than others – and understandably so.  After all, there are only 24 hours in a day.

What if you received an invitation from God?  No doubt, that would be one to RSVP!  That’s one we wouldn’t turn down.  We’d likely frame the envelope it came in, and treasure the personal invitation we received.

Of course, we DID receive such an invitation through Jesus Christ.  In Him, God invites all the world to be saved.  He promises forgiveness and life through faith in His Son, who suffered & died for us.  That same invitation is what God gives to both the nation of Israel & the nations of the world.  The price has been paid, and all are invited to come to God & drink of His grace.

Isaiah 54

  • Blessing out of barrenness (vss. 1-3)

1 “Sing, O barren, You who have not borne! Break forth into singing, and cry aloud, You who have not labored with child! For more are the children of the desolate Than the children of the married woman,” says the LORD.

  • These are joyful words, but we don’t want to read them in a vacuum.  This comes in a broader context of Isaiah 53.  Isaiah has just written of the Suffering Servant – the Messiah of God, who would come and pay the terrible price for the sin of Israel (and of all the world).  Ch. 53 went into great detail of the redemption price that was paid for salvation.
  • It’s with all that in mind that Ch. 54 begins so joyfully.  Why should Israel sing?  Because the price has been paid!  The Servant of God has already suffered on their behalf.  The sufferings they experienced in the Babylonian captivity are nothing in comparison with the suffering that the Servant of God would bear for their sins.  So yes, the people of Israel did suffer in captivity, but because the price of their sin has been paid, now they have a reason to rejoice.  They had experienced barrenness – a national leanness as they suffered in virtual slavery.  Other nations prospered while they languished.  But now that time was over, and from an eternal perspective they were given something far better.
  • The picture of blessing here is one of family.  A woman who was barren in ancient times bore a great shame.  In their captivity, Israel is pictured as barren/childless.  But just like Sarai was renamed Sarah by the Lord as a symbol of the many descendants that would come from her, so does God bless desolate Israel as bearing many more children in the future.
  • Salvation is a reason to rejoice!  We of all people have reason to “break forth into singing!

2 “Enlarge the place of your tent, And let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; Do not spare; Lengthen your cords, And strengthen your stakes. 3 For you shall expand to the right and to the left, And your descendants will inherit the nations, And make the desolate cities inhabited.

  • The family picture continues as extra space is needed for all the extra children.  Just as expecting parents today might build an addition to their home, or get a larger vehicle, so would a Bedouin nomadic family stretch out their tent stakes a bit further. 
  • How much further?  A lot!  God doesn’t prepare Israel to receive 1 or 2 more children; He prepares them to receive the world.  “Your descendants will inherit the nations.”  In the Millennial Kingdom, that is exactly what will happen.
  • God’s faithful covenant (vss. 9-10)

4 “Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed; Neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame; For you will forget the shame of your youth, And will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore. 5 For your Maker is your husband, The LORD of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth.

  • Shame” or its concept is repeated 4 times in verse 4.  Obviously, God is making a point.  Israel HAD been ashamed, and rightly so.  They had sinned against the Lord God, and they had been removed from the land of promise, made to serve under Babylonian overlords.  They had once turned away world superpowers with only a handful of people who were empowered by God Almighty – and now, they were weak and alone.  They experienced punishment from the Lord, and isolation away from Him.  For 70 years, the Jews lived in embarrassment and shame.  But no more!  God declares it to be done.  They HAD experienced shame, but now they would no longer “be put to shame.”  The blessing they would experience from God would be so marvelous that (if possible) they would even “forget the shame of [their] youth.”  Like a widowed woman who discovered her husband was still alive, all that was shameful and sad would be totally cast away & the nation would live in joy.
    • Do we understand the similar blessing of our salvation?  It’s so easy to take our salvation for granted, or perhaps not grasp how incredible it is that we are made the children of God.  Here’s the reality: we’ve gone from shame and death, to blessing and life.  We’ve gone from being enemies of God, to being children of God.  We’ve gone from a destiny of eternal suffering, to a reality of abundant eternal life.  The ideas are so extremely opposite, it’s difficult to put it into words.  We are so blessed in our relationship with God, that it’s easy to forget what it was like to be estranged from God.  We are so completely forgiven by Jesus, that no stain of our shame is left clinging to us at all.  We have been changed – all through God’s grace!
  • And it is the goodness of God that is the reason behind it all.  As vs. 5 says, “For your Maker is your husband.”  The widowed woman is widowed no longer.  The estranged wife is reconciled to her husband.  The relationship between God and Israel is restored to its magnificent fullness, as the nation is reaffirmed that it belongs to the Amazing Creator God.  Who is He?  He is:
    • Their “Maker
    • The LORD of Hosts
    • Their “Redeemer
    • The Holy One of Israel
    • The God of the whole earth
    • This is OUR God!  This is the One who has made us His own children through Jesus Christ!

6 For the LORD has called you Like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, Like a youthful wife when you were refused,” Says your God. 7 “For a mere moment I have forsaken you, But with great mercies I will gather you. 8 With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,” Says the LORD, your Redeemer.

  • God has disciplined His people as an ancient husband might have disciplined his disobedient wife.  He had forsaken them for a time – but only for a time.  God loved the Jews enough to bring discipline upon them, but His intent for them was never for them to remain in that place of discipline.  His desire was for merciful restoration.  The discipline of God was only for a moment, but His mercies are everlasting.
  • Through Christ, we are brought into those same mercies.  We personally experience the “everlasting kindness” of God.  Think about it – there will never be a time that we stop living in the mercies of Christ.  No matter how many eons pass – thousands upon thousands of years – we will always be in loving relationship with our Lord Jesus.  We will always know His kindness and mercy.
  • An example of God’s temporary wrath?  The flood.  See vs. 9…

9 “For this is like the waters of Noah to Me; For as I have sworn That the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth, So have I sworn That I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you. 10 For the mountains shall depart And the hills be removed, But My kindness shall not depart from you, Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,” Says the LORD, who has mercy on you.

  • The Bible tells us that it rained for 40 days, and the waters remained on the earth for 150 days. (Gen 7:4, 8:3)  No doubt the wrath of God was monumental.  After all, all but 8 humans were completely destroyed.  But at the same time, God’s wrath was temporary.  Once it was poured out, it was done.  Once God did it, no more would be needed – and in fact, God swore that He would not do it again until the final judgment at the end of the world.  That’s the same idea He gives for the Jews.  They had indeed experienced God’s anger, but just as the flood waters subsided, so did the anger of God towards them subside.  Once His wrath was done, it was done, and He would no longer “be angry with [them] or rebuke [them].” 
  • Notice what could happen in the meantime: the whole earth could have upheaval, and God’s mercies with His people would still remain intact.  Everything else might be destroyed, but not God’s covenant promises.  BTW, that is exactly what will happen when Jesus comes back at His 2nd Advent.  The earth will be destroyed, but God’s love for us as His people will eternally remain.  2 Peter 3:10, 13 "(10) But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. … (13) Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells." []  THIS earth will be done away with, but there is a NEW earth that is coming, and that is an earth to which we can anticipate.  After all, we will be the ones dwelling there.  How so?  By the everlasting mercies of Christ Jesus.  We are brought into an eternal “covenant of peace” with Him.
  • It’s that Millennial time (and also the eternal state) that Isaiah writes of next…
  • Millennial & eternal blessings (vss. 11-17)

11 “O you afflicted one, Tossed with tempest, and not comforted, Behold, I will lay your stones with colorful gems, And lay your foundations with sapphires. 12 I will make your pinnacles of rubies, Your gates of crystal, And all your walls of precious stones.

  • The actual city of the New Jerusalem isn’t pictured in Scripture until after the Millennial Kingdom takes place, but there is little doubt that it is referenced here.  John describes it in incredibly similar terms: Revelation 21:18–21, "(18) The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. (19) The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, (20) the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. (21) The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass." []  Words seem to fail in describing the city, whether it’s John’s description or the description given by God to Isaiah.  No doubt, the city is visually striking – it will be an absolutely incredible place, unparalleled with anything else seen in history.
  • The fact that the city is so amazing is what provides the wonderful contrast for the Jews of Isaiah’s day.  They were going to be taken into Babylonian captivity, and the city of Jerusalem that they knew was about to be destroyed.  The city would endure so much trauma that not even the city walls and gates would be raised up out of the fiery ruins for all 70 years.  Truly, that is a city “tossed with tempest!”  Yet God speaks of a day in which the city would rebuilt, and the glory it would have in that day would far surpass anything that had ever experienced in the past.  Not even during the days of Solomon did the city of Jerusalem have this kind of beauty.  This is a future time that would be beyond their imagination.  Even when the city was rebuilt after the captivity, it didn’t capture anything close to this beauty.  (In fact, some of the people wept because the city didn’t capture the lesser beauty it held before the captivity!)  No doubt, this is a reference to God’s future blessing upon the city – beginning in the Millennial Kingdom, and continuing on through the eternal state.
  • There’s something better than the beauty of the city itself…it’s Who indwells it…

13 All your children shall be taught by the LORD, And great shall be the peace of your children.

  • This is the best aspect of all!  Sure, it’s wonderful to have gemstones, gold, and crystal be the elements of construction (it sure beats timber & drywall!), but what is far better is the Person who lives in this wondrous city: “the LORD.”  Yahweh God will dwell among His people – a reference to Jesus, Immanuel (God with us).  No longer will the people of God be estranged from God – they will be so closely related with God that they will actually be taught by Him.  They will live in an ongoing personal relationship with the Everlasting I AM.
  • That is the relationship the Jews look forward to – that is the relationship we experience now!  We HAVE this kind of personal relationship with the Living God!

14 In righteousness you shall be established; You shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; And from terror, for it shall not come near you. 15 Indeed they shall surely assemble, but not because of Me. Whoever assembles against you shall fall for your sake.

  • Once in the city, they will be kept safe by the Lord.  They will come under His protection, and no matter what enemy dwells on the outside, they will all “fall.”  Question: in the Millennial Kingdom, will there be any enemies of Israel?  Yes!  Satan will be chained for 1000 years, but after that time is completed, he will be released from the bottomless pit and he will lead one final rebellion against God and His people.  And just as God writes through Isaiah, it is clear that the rebellion will fail.  Satan and his army will surround the saints of God & their city, and then God will send fire from heaven and devour them (Rev 20:9).  It’s at that time the devil will be tossed into the lake of fire for all eternity.
  • The point?  God protects His people.  Again, we need to keep this in the context of the contrast with the Babylonian captivity.  The Jews were about to be overrun – they were about to rightfully experience much “fear & terror.”  But God promises a time when that would never happen again.  Even in the worst circumstance, with the worst enemy coming against them, God would protect His people because He had a covenant of peace with them.
    • And what is the foundation for this covenant of peace?  The Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53!

16 “Behold, I have created the blacksmith Who blows the coals in the fire, Who brings forth an instrument for his work; And I have created the spoiler to destroy. 17 No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their righteousness is from Me,” Says the LORD.

  • Just to emphasize God’s protection of His people, God shows His sovereignty over it all.  He was the one who “created the blacksmith,” and gave him the skills to forge a weapon from the fire.  God is the one who “created the spoiler/destroyer to destroy” – He knows all the skills of even the most fierce warrior.  God knows what enemies can and cannot do to Israel (or to anyone), thus He is more than able to thwart anything they can do or make.  When God says “no weapon formed against you shall prosper,” He means it!  There’s no weapon that can be forged that will be a threat to Israel in the Millennial Kingdom, because God Himself serves as their Covenant Protector.  God raises up His people to judge and rule over the world (alongside of Christ the King), and thus God’s people will not be judged or truly condemned by anyone.
  • This is the inheritance of the people of God!  This is what we look forward to in the Millennial Kingdom & eternal state as we live & reign with our Lord Jesus.  What great news to those who suffer today!  What great news to those who are persecuted, or unjustly condemned!  One day, all of that will fade.  Even today, the condemnation of others does not truly matter because it does not truly last.  Who can condemn but God?  Only the judgment of God lasts for all eternity, and if God does not condemn us, who can?  As Paul writes to the Romans, “if God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31)  There’s not a single thing that world or the devil himself can throw at us that will affect us for all eternity.  Our souls are in the hands of the Living God!

 

Isaiah 55

  • God’s gracious invitation (vss. 1-7)

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. 2 Why 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.

  • Israel is blessed as God’s people for all time, but they are not the only ones invited to relationship with the Living God.  ALL people are invited to come!  “Everyone who thirsts” is invited to “come to the waters” and drink.  The invitation of God goes out into all the world to come and experience the blessings of a relationship with God.  How can this be possible?  Again, because the Suffering Servant has already paid the price.  The death and resurrection of Jesus not only provided for the forgiveness of the Jewish people, but it is far more valuable than that – He provided for the forgiveness of all the world!  All peoples everywhere are invited to come and partake of the blessings that Jesus makes possible.
  • This is a similar idea to what Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well.  He was willing to give living water to anyone who came to Him in faith – including this woman who had lived in sin and doubted the promises of God.  John 4:13–14, "(13) Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, (14) but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”" []  What Jesus gives is truly satisfying!
  • So if we can acknowledge that, we should come!  That’s our repeated invitation from God: “come to the waters…come, buy, and eat…come, buy wine & milk…listenlet your soul delight…”  Notice all of the actions – these are things that WE must do.  God has already made the relationship possible through Jesus’ death & resurrection.  God has already done all of the work.  All that is needed is a response from those who would receive.  So COME, receive!  Come, partake!  As Psalm 34:8 says, “Taste & see that the LORD is good!”  This is something that we need to do more than just hear about, but that we must personally experience for ourselves.
    • Too many people hear the invitation of Christ & never respond to Him.  They know the promise of forgiveness that is made through Jesus, but they never do anything with it.  No one get saved through osmosis.  No one receives eternal life by staying silent to the invitation of God.  You MUST personally respond to what Jesus offers…you have to come.
    • BTW – that doesn’t stop once we have knowingly believed upon Jesus as our Lord.  Someone doesn’t taste of the living water of Christ and never go to Him again for anything else.  We only need to be saved once, but we need His power for living every day.  Time spent with Jesus is not an “option” or “extra” for a Christian – it’s not something that proves a Christian is “super-spiritual” – it’s something that essential for every believer!  We need to continually COME to our Lord & God!

3 Incline 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. 4 Indeed I have given him as a witness to the people, A leader and commander for the people.

  • God had invited the entire world to come, and specifically reiterates His promise to Israel.  They had the offer of “an everlasting covenant” with God.  They had the promise of the Messiah King, through the covenant that God had made with David.  The same Messiah who would come as the Suffering Servant of Ch. 53 would also come as the “leader and commander” of Israel & all the world during the Millennial Kingdom.  He will come in power & victory, and that is the God & King that the world is invited to personally know by the “mercies” of God.

5 Surely 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.”

  • Ch. 54 had told Israel to prepare to enlarge the borders of their tent in preparation to inherit the nations – the same idea is repeated here.  All the nations of the world will come to Israel during the Millennial Kingdom because of the blessings of God.
  • Obviously, the nations do not yet flock to Israel today, but Gentiles do come to the Messiah King of Israel every day in faith.  We have been saved because we have run to “the Holy One of Israel,” believing upon Him as Lord.

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, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.

  • Verse 1 began with God’s invitation to come & drink – and the invitation is emphasized here, underscoring the urgency of it all.  All peoples everywhere are to come, and they aren’t to wait.  The time is NOW!  Today is the day of salvation & it’s not something to be put off.  Contextually for Israel, the application was no different for them than it is to us.  God was offering His love & grace after their time of captivity.  This was no time to turn away in indifference; they needed to seek Him “while He may be found…while He is near.”  When the Lord calls, THAT is the time to respond.
    • It’s reminiscent of the parable of the soils – Jesus spoke of the birds that would come and snatch away the seed from the ground.  It was a reference to Satan who comes and snatches away the word of God from someone before it has an opportunity to take root.  When you know God is calling you to respond in faith, that’s not a time to wait & see what will happen later down the line.  The devil will assuredly come along and snatch away the urgency of the gospel from you.  No, when you know God is speaking to you, you need to respond right then & there!
  • How were people to seek the Lord?  Through repentance.  Repentance is a turning away from sin & a turning to God in faith – which is exactly what God describes through Isaiah.
    • Let the wicked forsake his way” = turn away from sin.  Whatever it is that you do that causes you to walk away from God, stop it!  Stop right in your tracks & turn around.  It’s not that you need to clean up your life before coming to God (we couldn’t, if we tried!), but we cannot continue to flagrantly rebel against God and hope to ask for His forgiveness at the same time.  That’s not even logical.  How would you respond to someone who asks for your forgiveness for hitting you in the face while they continue to draw their fist and pound you?  True repentance begins with an acknowledgement that sin is indeed sin, and that it needs to stop with the help of God.
    • Let him return to the LORD” = For the people of Israel, they would indeed return to the God whom they left behind in unbelief.  For those of us who never knew God in relationship, we have an initial turning to Him.  Either way, the idea is the same: there is a turning FROM sin, and a turning TO the Living Creator God.  In faith, we turn to Jesus, actively believing Him to be our God & King who died upon the cross and rose from the grave in resurrection power.  We respond to the invitation that God has already given to come to the waters & drink of His grace and goodness.
      • Without turning TO God, turning away from sin doesn’t really do a hill of beans worth of good.  After all, someone can clean up their life and still go to hell as a moral pagan.  Cleaning up our bad habits and forsaking sin doesn’t give us eternal life – the grace of God can only come from the hand of God.  And the only way that comes is when we turn to Jesus in faith.
  • What is the promise to those who repent?  God “will have mercy on him…He will abundantly pardon.”  Forgiveness!  Mercy!  Grace!  We will have a real relationship with the Living God for all eternity – we will be cleansed of the penalty of our sin, and we can experience the abundant life that God desires for us (both now, and in the future).  There need be no doubt of the forgiveness of God for those who repent in faith…this is His promise! 
  • God’s sovereign plan of mercy (vss. 8-11)

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.

  • In case there were any doubts about God’s intent to fulfill His promise, He lays it to rest here.  From a human point of view, the idea of forgiveness and abundant life doesn’t make any sense.  After all, we’ve sinned too much against God.  Any one single sin is enough to send us to an eternal death separated from God in hell.  We’ve already been born with a fallen nature of sin, so the sin we commit simply compounds and confirms what it is we already are.  Humanly speaking, if someone sinned against us the way we sin against God, we would seek all sorts of revenge.  We would call down fire from heaven (if we could) to deal out retribution and justice.  We certainly wouldn’t love someone enough to send our only child to pay the price for their crimes, and suffer & die on their behalf.  That’s the way we think; but not God.  God’s ways aren’t like that at all.  We cannot even conceive how high God’s ways and thoughts are.  His mercy and love can be experienced, but not fully understood – they are infinitely higher than us.  God’s plan for our salvation and the redemption of the created universe are founded in eternity past, and we simply see the outworkings of it today.
  • What does that tell us?  To trust God – He knows what He’s doing!  We might not be able to understand it all, but God does.  If we cannot truly understand the extent of His love for us in Christ Jesus, how could we expect to understand all the intricacies of His sovereignty over the other areas of our lives?
  • The really amazing thing about this is that although we can never fully understand God, we CAN still know God.  In fact, that is exactly what He invites us to do.  He wants us to know Him in spirit and truth, which is why He invites us to repent and drink of the living water in Jesus.  His ways are beyond our understanding, but His revelation is not.  Jesus came incarnate in the flesh precisely so that we would know the revelation of God!

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, 11 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.

  • God had spoken of His ways & thoughts being higher than our own (and that of Israel).  We may not know how God’s plan is all going to work out, but God does.  And that’s His point here.  God has a plan at work, and His plan will do exactly as He intends for it to do.  The example is the water cycle.  Water comes down in the form of rain and waters the ground to produce fruit & vegetation – that is what God intended for the cycle of evaporation, condensation, precipitation, etc.  Likewise, God’s word & plan will do exactly what God set out for it to do.  It will accomplish what He wants it to accomplish.
  • Contextually, God had spoken many times of His future plan for Israel.  He would bring them out of captivity, give them the Messiah, and they would experience the blessings of the Millennial Kingdom in which their influence spreads all over the world.  They could trust in God’s spoken & written promise.  He said He would do it, and He would do it.  God’s word is effective.  When God spoke the word, the universe took its form.  God’s word has power.  When He promises something, it is far greater than any promise of man which is words spoken in thin air; God’s promises carry the weight and the power of Almighty God.  His word WILL “accomplish” what God pleases to do with it.
  • That is true with Israel, and it is true with our salvation.  Again, the context here is greater than Israel, but is an invitation for all the world to repent in faith and be saved through the accomplished work of the Suffering Servant.  When God says that He will have mercy on the one who repents, we can trust God will have mercy.  When God says that He will abundantly pardon, there is no doubt that God will actually pardon.  God’s word WILL do what God says it will do.  Our salvation is not based upon the promises, conjectures, and imagination of men; it’s based upon the word of God.  And God’s word is effective.
  • Principally, this is true beyond the basic gospel message, but for all of God’s word.  We can trust that God’s word will never “return void.”  When we raise our children up in the Scriptures, it has not been a waste of time if our children rebel.  The word of God will still work in ways within their hearts that we cannot see.  When we share the gospel with loved ones who reject Christ, we know that our time has not been spent in vain.  The Holy Spirit will continue to convict them of sin, righteousness, and judgment, even when we are no longer in the room with them.  We never need doubt the effectiveness of God’s written word – it’s far more effective than what we give it credit for.  God uses it in supernatural ways to accomplish His plans and purposes.
  • Millennial blessings (vss. 12-13)

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. 13 Instead 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.”

  • Just as Ch 54 showed the blessings that God would bestow upon Millennial Israel, so Ch 55 does as well.  The nation would leave Babylon in “joy [and] peace,” but something so much better awaited them beyond the exodus out of Babylon.  The “mountains and hills” did not sing for joy when the waves of refugees returned to the land – but they will upon Jesus’ 2nd coming.  All the earth will rejoice in the 2nd Advent of its King, and the physical creation will lend its blessing to the people of God.  The nation of Israel won’t experience thorns & briers (as in the days of suffering), but blessing & restoration.
  • For how long?  For eternity!  The blessing Israel experiences will be “an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”  The Kingdom of God comes into fruition during the Millennium, but the blessing does not end after 1000 years – it will go on & on into eternity.
    • We will always experience the blessing of God!  We will know His goodness forever & ever, amen!

Conclusion:
Israel had been estranged from her Heavenly Husband – she had been isolated from her God because of her sin.  The nations had been estranged from God due to sheer rebellion and wickedness.  We had no relationship with our Creator God, and we were cut off from the covenant promises.

Yet something happened that changed everything.  What was it?  The Suffering Servant, Jesus the Messiah.  Jesus bore the wrath of God for us when He submitted His body to be bruised, beaten, and afflicted for us.  He shed His own blood for us in His death, and because it was not possible for the grave to hold Him, He offers us life in His own resurrection.  All of this came through His labor & work, and as a result now all peoples everywhere can experience His marvelous grace.

For Israel, the nation who was once estranged is estranged no longer.  God would bless His covenant people, so much so that all the nations of the world would look to Israel in the restored Millennial Kingdom.  God would never take His blessings away – everything that He had promised them through Christ would indeed be fulfilled.

For the Gentiles, the nations of the world that were once cut off from any relationship with God are personally invited by God Himself to come and drink of His love & grace.  All people are implored upon to repent and seek the face of God while He may be found.  Jesus made it possible for us to be saved – all we need to do is respond to His invitation.  As a result, we will experience eternal blessings from God that are beyond our imagination – but never beyond His.

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Comments
  1. Marilyn says:

    Awesome message! Thanks for being diligent to preaching the Word. 🙂

  2. timburns says:

    🙂

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