Kia Ora Cambridge Baptist and friends,
I am sure your household like mine is adjusting to the new normal. One of things we have noticed in our family bubble is that shopping for food has now become much more of a chore than it used to be, with limits on certain items and long lines for staples like bread and meat. And to my two daughters’ dismay, who love baking, acute shortages on baking products like flour and yeast. However, when it comes down to it we are so blessed in New Zealand to have a secure food supply during this crisis and to have plenty to eat, although not always exactly what we want to eat.
In today’s devotion from Redeemer from Isaiah 55:1-7 the topic is also about shopping for food. Through the prophet Isaiah God invites his people to come and shop for “rich and satisfying food” and for “wine and milk”, and he will cover the cost – yet as we shall see despite removing all the barriers to its purchase, few are interested in the rich bounty God offers.
Invitation to the Thirsty
55 “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.
2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare.
3 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.
4 See, I have made him a witness to the peoples,
a ruler and commander of the peoples.
5 Surely you will summon nations you know not,
and nations you do not know will come running to you,
because of the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel,
for he has endowed you with splendor.”
6 Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake their ways
and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
In this passage God is pleading with his people to be nourished and sustained by the drink and food he offers rather than by worldly things they have worked so hard to obtain but clearly do not satisfy. It is an emphatic call to come and drink from the eternal spring of living waters.
Verses 2 and 3 of the passage make it clear that the water God offers them is the Word of God. So, the invitation is to drink deeply: to receive the word, reason with it, delight in it, to listen to it like they had never listened before. The repetition of “Listen-listen!” in verse 2 is a call to listen attentively to God’s Word, it’s a call for undivided and sustained attention. Ultimately, this word is meant to save them (v. 3), transform them (v. 7), and make them a blessing to the entire world (v. 5). They are being invited into communion with their compassionate God (v. 7). But they refuse to hear his plea (6:9).
As we continue to move towards Easter and remember the sacrifice that Jesus made for us on the cross, this is a good time for us to admit that we have same tendencies displayed by Isaiah’s audience. We are prone to doing our shopping for spirit sustenance elsewhere. We are prone to neglect God’s word, and ultimately, God himself.
If we neglect reading God’s word long enough a kind of spiritual amnesia sets in and we forget the taste of it a as the Psalmist says in Psalm 19:10 is sweeter than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb (Psalm 19:10).
God has given many of us during this lock down a rare opportunity free from the daily grind of work to return to that well and to drink deeply. To see Christ as the woman at the well came to see him — as the pure, limitless satisfaction for our thirsty souls. Jesus said whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life (John 4:14).
The question this morning are we going to hear God’s invitation or going shopping elsewhere?
Gracious Lord, loving heavenly father, remove the scales from our eyes and unveil for us the wonders of your word. Your glories are revealed there. Be our delight. Be our satisfaction. Awaken in us a new sense of expectancy during this lock down time. Glorious LORD, we are yours. In Christ’s Name, Amen.
May God’s peace and protection be with you.
God bless Jonathan