The great invitation
The book of Isaiah is divided into two distinct halves. In chapters 1 to 39 the prophet denounces the sins of the people of Judah and warns about the judgement that is soon to come. In the second half of the book (chapters 40-66) we find that Judah has indeed been judged and the people have gone into exile in Babylon. But all is not lost. God has a plan to bring his people back to Judah and back to himself. This glorious plan is clearly seen in Isaiah 53 where Isaiah speaks of one who will be “pierced for our transgressions” (Isaiah 53:5). This, of course, is referring to Jesus’ death on the cross. Now we come to a glorious invitation to the people of Judah and ultimately to us: turn from sin and trust God’s servant, Jesus.
Reflect: God’s gracious invitation
- The word “come” is used four times in this verse. Why do you think this is significant?
- Who is included in this invitation? See also John 7:37
- How do you think the exiles in Babylon might have felt when they heard these words? How do you feel?
Come! Come! Come! Come! There is no better invitation than this. And Jesus himself repeated this invitation. Those who thirst for real life can come to the waters and be satisfied. Those who are empty can come and be filled. Those who are poor can come because no money is needed. It is free, it is abundant and it is available to all. What a wonderful picture of the gracious generosity of our God who invites us to feast at his table. (See Isaiah 25:6)
Reflect: where do I find true satisfaction?
- What does the prophet say about the things people spend their money on?
- What do these people hope to gain?
- Read John 6:35. How does what Jesus says here relate to this verse in Isaiah?
Think about all the ways that people today try and fill their empty lives: work, social activity, busyness, sport, television, hobbies, travel etc. Of course all these things can be enjoyed, but they should never be substitutes for the reality of knowing, loving and serving God. When we come to him we will never be hungry, and when we believe in him we will never be thirsty. Jesus satisfies the deepest longings of our hearts. Let’s delight in him!
Reflect on the promises of God
- Verses 3 – 5 give a beautiful description of how God’s servant (Jesus) will fulfil the covenant God made with David.
See 2 Samuel 7:16. How do these verses show that the invitation is not just for the people of Judah?
- How does verse 6 tell us about the time frame of God’s invitation?
- What must we do as we turn to the Lord? What does he promise to give those who turn to him? (v 7)
God shows mercy and gives pardon to all who turn to him by faith. How have you responded to this invitation? The invitation is for everyone. But it will not be open forever. We must come without delay.
Take time to share
- This great invitation is meant to be shared. Think of someone you know who needs to hear about God’s mercy and pardon and promise of life. Pray about how you might share the good news with them. Then share it.
Something to sing about
You may like to listen to one or more of these songs as you mediate on God’s invitation to come to Him.
Living Waters (Keith and Kristyn Getty); Jesus Strong and Kind (Colin Buchanan); For Those Tears I Died (Marsha Stevens);