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ISAIAH 55:1-4

1 Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

2 Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.

3 Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.

4 Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.

 

 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
II Timothy 2:15

 

 

 

 

Here's a verse by verse study of one of the greatest "invitations" in the whole Bible. Let it speak to your heart today.

 

LESSON 1 ... ISAIAH 55:1

I think it's one of the greatest invitations in the whole Book of Isaiah.  (And Isaiah is nearly a "Gospel" unto itself!  Just think of the great 53rd chapter alone!)

I am specifically speaking of Isaiah 55:1.

"Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price."

Just read it again!

Have you even seen such lovely language of grace?

It reminds me of something Jesus said in Matthew 11:28 --- "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

Then He immediately added even to that great promise:  "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls."  Matthew 11:29

Again our Isaiah verse here reminds me of the last great invitation in the Bible! Revelation 22:17 --- "And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."

Today we shall just look at the little interjection "Ho!"

In Hebrew it is spelled "hoi."  It is (according to a Hebrew grammar text) "an exclamation arousing attention!"

The Lord wants us to hear the Gospel invitation!

That's why He has sent preachers of the Gospel.

"Hoi" also involves a touch of sympathy, according to Hebrew scholars.  God invites us to partake of His Grace out of a love and concern for us as sinners!

And some teachers even go so far as to say the our little word implies "pity" on those invited!  Pity is defined as "sorrow aroused by the suffering of another."  I deserved Hell forever!  God knew of my just fate ... and offered me pity!

Ho!  Come to Jesus!

But in the King James Bible "hoi" is translated "woe" 36 of 52 times!  Woe!  Come to the waters and drink!  That nearly makes it sound like a warning, doesn't it?

It is a warning.

Salvation is free ... but judgment is sure!

Be warned ... and be saved.

Jesus said in John 3:36 --- "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." Warning ... if unsaved, you face God's wrath!  Come to Jesus and believe!

Here's another example ... from Jesus again!  John 3:18 --- "He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."  Condemned already!  How very fearful!

I am so glad that before this great invitation was ever extended, God took careful pains to get the attention of a lost and dying world!

"Ho!"

Come and drink of the water of life freely!

Praise the Lord.

                                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2 ... ISAIAH 55:1

I can't get Isaiah 55:1 off my mind!  (What a blessing!)

Here it is again:

"Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price."

It is an invitation for sure!

It is for those who "thirst."  The first time that verb (Hebrew = "tszame") is used in the Bible (Exodus 17:3) the Jews are thirsting (and grumbling about it) in the desert after they have left Egypt.  The Lord told Moses what to do.  Climb the rock ... strike it with the rod ... and water will flow to quench the thirst of the dying people!  What a picture!  We as sinners are also dying of thirst (for the Water of Life)!  Our tongues are sinfully loose too!  God sent His Son Jesus (The Rock) Who was smitten of God (via the Rod on the Cross of Calvary) whereby Water flowed!  Everlasting Water!  And if we drink ... our thirst is quenched!  To me this gives the "thirst" of Isaiah 55:1 new meaning!

Notice the word "waters" is plural!  (Masculine plural!  It is speaking of Jesus!)  The "plural" suggests plenty of waters!  An abundant supply!

Someone invited me to count the "imperatives" (commands) in this fairly short verse. I did.  There are six!  You count them too!  Here they are:  Come!  Come (again)!  Buy! Eat!  Come (a third time)!  And ... Buy (again)!  In Bible numerology "six" is the symbol for lost mankind ... without Christ and without hope!  Look what God says to sinners!  Come!  Be ye saved!

Salvation here is pictured as a command!  BUT it is also a gift!

The first Bible use of the verb here translated (3 times) "come" is found in Genesis 2:14 where the River Hiddekel (meaning "rapid") GOETH toward the east!  The verb "goeth" is our verb "come" in this text!  God's "come" should be answered by our "going" toward the east, the place of sunrise!  (I really should say the place of SON-RISE!)  And upon hearing God's great "come" ... we should respond rapidly too!

The first time it is used as an imperative is in Genesis 29:7 where one is told to GO and feed the sheep.  (Here God's "come" is answered by another "go!"  Go feed the sheep!)  That's pretty good sheep food!  Jesus is COME and calleth for thee!  (John 11:28)

The verb "buy" (Hebrew = "shabar") comes from a word that means to deal in grain ... but in this sense: grain that is "broken" to pieces!  We can enjoy the bread (the Bread of Life ... Jesus) because He was broken on Calvary for our sins!  (Wow!)

By the way ... how did that word "buy" get into a text about the free Grace of God? Hear me.  Salvation is a gift to us through our Lord Jesus Christ ... BUT a vast redemption Price had to be paid for us to receive this gift  of eternal life!  There was payment made!  Propitiation was accomplished!  The Blood of Jesus bought us!  In Acts 20:28 Paul mentions ... "The Church of God, which he hath purchased with His own Blood." 

And the verb "eat" is in Hebrew "akal."  This is where man first got into trouble (in the Garden of Eden)!  God told Adam and Eve they could EAT freely of all the garden except one tree!  Disobedience in eating plunged us all into the sea of iniquity! Therefore our Lord God provided us again the right thing to eat!  Salvation! 

By the way ... water is essential!  Wine and milk are luxuries!  God here freely offers both!  He has come to give us life ... but not just life barely!  No!  Life more abundantly!  Jesus said that in John 10:10 --- "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."

The noun money is most often translated "silver" in the King James Version.  (Money = 112 times!  Silver = 287 times!)  But our money (silver) will not redeem us!  No money, please!  Peter says this best:  "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot."  1 Peter 1:18-19

And that noun "price" is first used in Deuteronomy 23:18 where God rejects a filthy price being offered to Him!  No price we can pay is worthy for salvation!  God abhors it!  The only acceptable price is Jesus.  And the transaction is finished, praise the Lord!

I do believe we have found the "Gospel" in Isaiah 55!

Water ... a necessity!

Wine ... a joy!

Milk ... a source of strength!

It's all found ... in Jesus!

Praise His dear Name!

Lord willing, more tomorrow!

                                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3 ... ISAIAH 55:2

Today we shall study Isaiah 55:2.  (Or at least part of it!)

"Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness."

That first question in our verse is amazing!  It accuses the people of Isaiah's day of having the wrong priorities! 

God has just offered water, wine and milk without charge (verse 1)!  Surely the bread is free too!  Their concept of bread would be that of the "manna" God (freely) sent down from heaven for 40 years!  These people are literally trying to "buy" something that God has offered to freely give them!  Sounds like things today.

Salvation (the Bread of Life, the Lord Jesus) is free by grace!  The Gift of God! 

Yet mankind strives to buy it or earn it via baptism or good living or financial gifts or religious deeds of some kind.

The "money" of the Israelites is going to trivial things ... while the big issue (their salvation) remains ignored!  The verb for "spend" is really their word "to weigh."  They would weigh their silver or gold to tell how much was being given for a product. What do things "weigh" in your life?  How much do you spend for pleasure?  (Then ... how much does pleasure "weigh" to you?)  Or health care?  Or groceries?  The "weight" paid for those things determines their value.

And that is the very concept God uses for our estimate of Him!  What is the "glory" of God to you?  How much "glory" does your Saviour have in your life?  The noun glory ("kabod") in Hebrew means "weight!"

The first use of the word "bread' (in Hebrew = lechem) in Scripture is in Genesis 3:19 where man by the sweat of his brow earns his living!  So there are two kinds of "bread."  The kind that one must earn by labour ...and the kind God gives freely. One is temporary ... the other eternal!

The word "labour" is "gegiya" and means hard work!  (Its verbal root means "to gasp!" To work so hard you are out of breath!)  It is only used 17 times in the whole Bible!

But  even then ... such labour does not "satisfy."  The word means "to eat to one's fill." To be satiated.  (To fill to satisfaction)  Using this word ... God's man describes Israel in Haggai 1:6 --- "Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes."

You could look over the first half of this second verse and write the word: INSUFFICIENT! Man's attempts are insufficient!  He cannot save himself or even help save himself! Only God can do that!

Lord willing, more tomorrow.

In fact, I am planning a whole series on Isaiah 55:1-3.  It will be about five lessons.

                                                                      --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4 ... ISAIAH 55:2

The Lord today asks the people to "hearken diligently" to Him.

"hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness."  Isaiah 55:2

In order to be "saved," one must hear the Word of the Lord.  That's what "hearken diligently" means.  "Shama" means to listen (with interest or concern)!  The term is a Qal infinitive verb ... suggesting continuous action!  The Lord asks us to hear him in a habitual manner!

Listen to how Jesus says we are to be saved.  John 5:24 --- "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life."

"Eat" (in Hebrew = "akal") is a Qal imperative verb --- a command from the Lord! Salvation is also a command!  For example, here are a couple of "salvation" imperatives: Isaiah 45:22 --- "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else."

God here compares salvation to eating a meal!  Again, listen to Jesus.  John 6:53 --- "Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you."

And in John 6:51 --- "I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."

The Lord here calls His plan of Salvation "good!"  Eat that which is "good!"  The Hebrew adjective "tob" means pleasant, agreeable, excellent, appropriate, or even well! I can agree with that! 

God further advises that He offers "delight" in our lives!  Salvation is delightful! "Anag" is the word used here for delight.  The root background of the word is "soft" or "delicate!"  (Dainty or pampered!)  God's salvation surely does "pet" us very well!  (Once it is translated "sport" in Isaiah 57:4.)  Our very salvation should be a constant source of encouragement to us!

"Fatness" means "deshen."  It is the Hebrew word for "ashes."  (Ashes = 7 times and fatness = 6 times)  These meanings are derived from the idea that God loves the "fat" in sacrificial animals ... which are sacrificed and burned unto Him!  Then the fat is turned into ashes!  So the "fatness" of our salvation is given us to enjoy by means of the Sacrificial death of the Son of God! 

What a series of promises and lovely word pictures concerning our salvation!

Well, I said "our" salvation.  Really it's the Lord's!  See Jonah 2:9 --- "Salvation is of the LORD." And again in Psalm 3:8 --- "Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people."

 

He just "gives" it to us by faith in His Son Jesus!

Thank God for these "nuggets!"

                                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5 ... ISAIAH 55:3

We have been investigating the Gospel Invitation of Isaiah 55.  It's one of the very brightest in the whole Bible!

Notice part of the glorious third verse with me!

"Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David."    Isaiah 55:3

It literally is an invitation from the Lord!

"Come" is the word used.  (The Hebrew verb is "yalak" and means "to walk.")

It's an imperative!  God here issues a command!

Jesus also does this in the New Testament. 

In Matthew 11:28 He says: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."  This "come" also is an imperative!

So is the next verse full of commands!  "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls."  (Both "take" and "learn" are demands of God!)

But the Lord also asks us to do something with our ear!

"Incline" your ear!  This too is a command (imperative) meaning to stretch out, to extend or to bend.  Its first Bible use is in Genesis 12:8 where Abraham "pitched" his tent!  (To stretch out!)  It seems that God literally expects us to put effort into hearing His Word!  (The verb can at times mean to bend AWAY as well as bend toward an object!  Which way we are to bend here is quite obvious!)  For the "negative" example, see Isaiah 30:11 where it's translated "turn aside" out of the path!

Then ... the verb "hear" is used.  (Another imperative!)  This is much like the language of the town crier or the herald of the King commanding the city to prepare for the royal arrival!  (Wow!)

"Shama" (hear) means to perceive by ear!  It means to listen intelligently!  Hearing is a part of the plan of salvation I believe.  Jesus said so in John 5:24.  "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life."

And the results of inclining and hearing and coming? 

Life!

"You soul shall live!"

The verb "to live" translates "chavah."  (To preserve alive!)   This seems to be life on a very high level of quality too!  One source says that it can also mean "to revive."  Every time you come to Jesus ... you WILL be "revived."  I'll promise you that!

The "time" sense of the verb (imperfect) means on-going continual life!  I call that (based on the New Testament) "eternal life!"  Once you receive it ... it never ends!

Again, this is as good an explanation of the plan of salvation as you will ever read in the Old Testament.

If you  are saved ... rejoice in the "Life" He has given you!

If you are lost ... the best thing I can do for you is repeat the verse:  "Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live." 

Aman!

Today's "nugget" is worth its weight in pure gold!

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6 ... ISAIAH 55:3

God speaks in Isaiah 55:3 of making an everlasting covenant with His people! 

"... and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David."

That's a thrilling thought!  The very verb "make" is great! 

It is "karath" in Hebrew and means "to cut!"  (To cut a covenant?)  It seems that in God's view any real "covenant" is signified and ratified by taking an innocent little animal and sacrificing it (cutting it into 2 pieces) thereby shedding its blood!  (This is indeed a blood covenant!)

Every time God entered into "covenant" relationship with anyone ... this type of "cutting" was done!

I believe it is a foreshadowing of the Cross of Calvary!  The GREATEST of all covenants is our eternal salvation!  And it surely was guaranteed when the precious Son of God was slain (pierced, His blood shed) and "cut" for you and me!

And we do enjoy an "everlasting" salvation, don't we?  (It means with no end in sight!  And if God can't see the "end,"  there isn't one!)  It is eternal!

Now for Israel there are some everlasting covenants too.  God has promised them the land ... and they're going to get it ... every square inch of it!  (And that's a whole lot more real estate than they now occupy!)  Also God has promised them a Throne of David on which the Messiah will sit!  (That's coming too!)

But I am happy with soul salvation!  What a covenant relationship we enjoy with our dear Lord!

What is meant by the "sure mercies" of David?  The sure mercies promised to David consist of his having a descendant on the throne of Israel.   (I believe that based on Acts 13:34 the real "Sure Mercies of David" are all wrapped up in Christ Jesus!  "And as concerning that He raised Him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, He said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David.")

The adjective "sure" translates the Hebrew term "aman."  It IS our very word aman or amen too!  It means truthful or faithful!  God just said AMAN to His Promises!  (When you say "aman/amen" at church ... you're really saying to the preacher ... TRUE!  IT IS SO!  You are encouraging the man of God!)

The word "mercies" translates a great Old Testament noun, "hesed" or "chesed."  It means lovingkindness!  It is a first cousin to the Bible word GRACE!  God "bent down" to where we filthy sinners where and saved our lost souls!  What Grace this is! And it's sure and faithful!

God is here saying that He will keep His Word!

He will SAVE those who come to Him!  (Those who heed His invitation!)

What a promise of salvation!

Enjoy this "nugget" today!

I surely plan to do so!

                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7 ... ISAIAH 55:4

What an invitation we have been studying!

Here it is again:

"Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.  Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people."   (Isaiah 55:1-4)

Isn't that amazing?  And it's in the Old Testament!

Today the Lord has laid upon my heart verse 4 of that great chapter.  I believe it speaks of Jesus, our Lord and Saviour.  This will be our final study in this particular text.

 "Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people."   Isaiah 55:4

Now some Bible teachers say that these words apply to David.  However, these words don't really seem to fit just any human being. 

They undoubtedly apply to the One Who brings the "sure mercies of David" as mentioned in Isaiah 55:3.  BUT that One was not David ... but the Greater Son of David, the very Son of God!

At least that's what Paul said as he preached in Acts 13:34 --- "And as concerning that He raised HIM up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David."

Additionally, the opening word (an interjection), "Behold," often is used in Hebrew grammar to speak of something or someone coming in the future!  "Hen" (behold) means (as expressing surprise) Lo! 

The verb given ("nathan" in Hebrew)  means to deliver, to grant or to yield!  God gave His Son to meet the needs of lost mankind ... to die on the Cross that we might be saved!  (The "time" sense of "given" is that of completed action.  God gave Jesus to die ONCE ... but never again!)

The noun "witness" translates "ed" and means one who gives testimony (in a solemn and often legally binding sense)!  It comes from a root verb that means "to duplicate or to repeat!"  (Tell me the Story again!)  The stem verb means to admonish, to charge, to protest, to testify or to give warning!  Sounds like "preaching" to me!

The noun "people" (used twice in our verse) is "leom" and means a gathered assembly!  But even with that meaning it is translated 10 times in the King James Version as "nations" and even once as "folk(s)!"  That one time is in Jeremiah 51:58 where Scripture mentions the "folk in the fire!"  (A judgment verse!)  Jesus is a Witness to folks headed for the fire!

The next noun, "leader" translates the Hebrew term "nagiyd" which means "ruler, prince, captain, governor or noble one!"  ("Nagad," the stem verb, means "to be in front!"  To be the leader of the line!)  That's the exact meaning of a Greek word used of Jesus:  "archegos."  It means "arche" (the beginning, the first, the chief) and "ago" (to lead)!  Jesus is the line Leader!  Using our very word here Peter in Acts 3:15 calls Jesus the PRINCE of Life!  And again in Acts 5:31 --- "Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins."  Plus Hebrews 2:10 where Jesus is called the CAPTAIN of our salvation!  But Hebrews 12:2 (still using our word "archegos") says Jesus is the AUTHOR and Finisher of our faith!  (Glory to God!)

The last word we'll study is "commander!"  Jesus is the Commander!  In Hebrew it is "tzsvah" and means the One Who gives the orders!  Its first use (in verb form) is in Genesis 2:16 --- "And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat."  (So it is God commanding in Genesis 2 in the Garden of Eden and it is still God commanding in Isaiah 55 in this Gospel invitation!) Our word is framed in verbal form here in our verse and is a "Piel" stem. That means the action described is intensive!  Jesus commands fervently, diligently!  (And we had best obey!)

I've surely enjoyed studying our verse today!

We are glad you have visited us ... with a Bible in your hand!

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

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