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You're Invited! RSVP (part 3)

Updated on February 16, 2013

By Harold Markham

Back to part 1

Continued from part 2

III. We are invited to trust God’s perfections. vv. 8-13

As we approach this last section of chapter 55 I feel the need to inform you that this section may be the most needed and beneficial of the entire chapter because it focuses us on the divine nature God. In fact I would rather deal with this section apart from the first part of the chapter so that we could plum the depths of theology proper. This is where we can get our glimpse of God. Oh we have seen Him already in this chapter, but now the zoom lens is on target and we see God in His perfections. This view answers the why question “Why are we able to trust God?” because…

A. God’s nature is distinct. vv. 8-9

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways My ways,” declares 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. Isaiah 55:8-9

In these verses we see a few key aspects of God. First notice His thoughts. Notice how our thoughts are contrasted with God’s. Have you ever considered this contrast? (Suggested overhead idea below—needs to be expanded)

Our thoughts and actions

  • Tainted with sin. Influenced by a deceitful heart. Jer. 17:9
  • Known by God. Ps.139:2, 23

God’s thoughts and actions

  • Holy Is.6:3
  • Incomprehensible by man Is. 40:28; 55:8-9

God’s thoughts and deeds are immeasurably higher than man’s. They are too wonderful for us (Ps. 139:6) God’s very make up is holy, exalted, perfect and complete. If that was not a good enough reason to trust God, Isaiah moves away from the mind and acts of God to the verbal expression of them—His Word.

B. God’s Word is powerful. vv.10-11

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth, And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:10-11

This section inspires much commentary, but it is really straightforward in its message. Isaiah uses a simile with rain being like God’s Word. Just as the rain has a “heavenly” origin and does not go back up into the atmosphere until it has accomplished its purpose in the hydrological cycle i.e. watering plants and causing them to bud producing seed eventually winding up as wheat cakes of bread and meeting physical needs. God’s Word will accomplish all that God intends it to accomplish and it will meet our spiritual needs. In context it seems like this is giving us a reason why we can trust God’s invitation especially the promises to David and concerning Messiah. God’s Word will accomplish these tasks.

Just how reliable is God’s Word? Here is an example of how powerful God’s word is.

Did you know that a little over two generations ago the Word of God was being attacked because it mentioned the Hittites? The critics laughed at the Scriptures because secular history had no record of any Hittite. “It’s a fairy tale!” they exclaimed. All that changed when a professor at the Univ. of Berlin, Winckler started excavations at Boazköy. In 1906-7 he discovered over 10,000 cuneiform tablets in Hittite (or Kanesian), a principal source for knowledge of the Hittites . The tablets represent the official archives of Hattusas, the capital of the Hittite empire, and detail foreign relations with the Egyptians, Babylonians, Cypriots, and Greeks (c.1300 BC). The tablets were deciphered in 1924 and all of a sudden the Bible is correct. No dear friend, the Word of God was true all along—it was man’s understanding that was flawed.

When God’s Word runs counter cultural—trust it. When His Word is attacked by the skeptic—trust it. When the flesh rebels against the Word mortify it. “Forever, O Lord, Thy word is settled in heaven.” Psalm 119:89

We can trust God’s perfections because His nature is distinct, His Word is powerful, but also because…

C. God’s plan is assured. vv. 12-13

“For you will go out with joy, And be led forth with peace; The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, And all the trees of the field will clap their hands. “Instead of the thorn bush the cypress will come up; And instead of the nettle the myrtle will come up; And it will be a memorial to the Lord, For an everlasting sign which will not be cut off.” Isaiah 55:12-13

The phrase “go out” brings visions of Exodus. Leupold points out that even though Babylonian captivity will come according to God’s plan, it will also end with great joy! Motyer seems to see a future prophecy when under the Messiah’s rule even the land will be free from its curse and break forth with joy. Worthless nettle transforms into myrtle. Mountains sing and tress clap-- obviously this passage is poetic and Isaiah employs a type of personification to express the great joy that will accompany such deliverance. [6]

In this world that we live in now all of creation groans under the curse of sin. Look to God, trust His perfections. He alone is able to renew the Earth and deliver us from this cursed existence. Remember God knows what He is doing. Everything is working according to His plan. He is not up there reacting to events that happen below. He is sovereignly orchestrating events according to the counsel of His will-- working all things together for the good of them that love Him. Bringing glory (renown-- Motyer) to His name. Since this is true we can rest in Him. It can be well with our souls.

Conclusion

No wonder Wesley at the age of 88 chose Isaiah 55 for the text of his final sermon. I can almost hear this words now thundering out even in advanced age, admonishing us to “Seek the Lord!” My dear friends will we seek Him? Will we trust Him? He has invited us today to…

I. Trust in His plan. God has made us wonderful promises and made provision to fulfill them. Trust Him.

II. Trust in His path. Seek the Lord in repentance and cry out to Him today. Turn from your sin to God and you will find compassion and pardon.

III. Trust in His perfections. His holy character, His powerful Word, His sovereign eternal plan are at work in this world we live in. Trust Him.

“Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk Without money and without cost.” Isaiah 55:1

It’s RSVP time. How will you respond? For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” Romans 10:11

END NOTES

[1]Morgan, R. J. 2002. Nelson's Annual Preacher's Sourcebook : 2003 edition (electronic ed.) . Thomas Nelson Publishers: Nashville

[2] “Wine” (/y]y~) is associated with divine blessing in Isaiah such that the lack of it is understood as YHWH’s judgment (16:10; 24:11; cf. 1:22; Ps 60:5; Hos 14:7; Amos 9:14 and the restoration of the Davidic dynasty). An abundance of “milk” (bl*j*) is also regarded as an eshatological blessing in 7:22 and represents the riches Israel will acquire from other converted nations in the eschaton (60:16; cf. vv. 3, 5, 11). Milk is closely related to dwelling in the land of promise (Deut 6:3; 11:9; 26:9, 15’ 27:3; 31:20) and is used, in the Song of Moses, in connection with wine to express God’s good gift of the land (Deut 32:14). Thus both the image of “wine” and “milk” speak to God’s great eschatological blessings and are linked to the Davidic covenant and blessing on the nations as well (Herrick quoting from Stacy and Young).

[3]MacArthur, J. J. 1997, c1997. The MacArthur Study Bible (electronic ed.) . Word Pub.: Nashville

[4] “seek the fear of the Lord, while ye are alive.” Is a Targum referenced by Gil. An interesting understanding of when the Lord may be found.

[5] Alexander leads us to conclude that once again a contrast between God’s plans/actions and wicked man’s plans/actions is suggested here. Because of God’s character He will not compromise His covenant and is planning to act accordingly—unlike the backslidden nation.

[6] MacArthurs says concerning these verses: “In the Davidic kingdom positive changes in nature, including the reverse of the curse (Gen. 3:17), will be an ongoing testimony to the Lord’s redemption of His people (44:23; Rom. 8:19–23).”

About The Author

Harold Markham is the host of the ER Podcast. He studied to be a pastor and holds degrees in Bible, pulpit speech as well as a Masters in Biblical studies.
Click here for more articles by Harold Markham.

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