Invitation to the Thirsty (55:1-13)

Bible Passage: Isaiah 55:1-13

In this chapter, Isaiah lays a compelling invitation before his hearers to come to the Lord. This offer is totally free, and satisfies our deep longings in a way that the things of this world cannot match. As someone accepts God’s offer they find mercy and pardon for their sins. All this comes about because of the power of the word of God, which is effective in accomplishing what he sent it out to do. This word leads people to salvation and the joy that comes with knowing the Lord.

God’s Invitation (v1-5): The chapter begins with an invitation to come to the waters. This is an invitation to come to God, and it points to the idea that God can satisfy the deep desires of our soul. By contrast, the things that we work so hard for in life are described as ‘that which is not bread’ and ‘that which does not satisfy’. This offer is freely made, and available for those with ‘no money’. Satisfaction in God is not something that we can earn or acquire by our own merits, but it is given as a gift that is entirely of grace, and all are invited to come and enjoy.

God’s Mercy (v6-9): In these verses, the invitation is issued again, this time with more urgency  as there is a time when the invitation will no longer be open. This time, things are spelled out in a less poetic way. There is a call to repentance, and people are urged to turn from wicked ways to return to the Lord. As people do this they will find that God responds with mercy and pardons sin. The satisfaction in God that was discussed earlier can come because he deals with our sin and reconciles us to perfect relationship with him. This may not be the way humans would do things, but God works in ways that are higher and better than our ways.

God’s Word (v10-13): Here the topic seems to switch to God’s word, but this does link with what has already been said. God’s word is powerful in producing life, just like rain from heaven produces a harvest, so God’s word is effective and brings about exactly what God purposes it to. In order for someone to repent and turn to God, accepting his invitation, there needs to be a work of new life in their heart, and it is through the gospel word that God brings this new life. When this happens and someone is drawn to God, they are drawn up into the joy of all creation – this is the satisfaction that has been spoken of earlier.

Potential Applications:

  • The straightforward application is to extend the same invitation to people that the passage does – for all who are thirsty to come to God.
  • The passage reminds us of the power of God’s word, and you could challenge people to make a priority of their own Bible reading.
  • The passage speaks of the joy and satisfaction found in God. You can reflect that in a time of upbeat and joyful praise in response to the preach.