Isaiah 55 gives us great insight into the way that God’s word can supply the power to restore. Consider the principles we find here:
The thirsty (those who desire) recognize their need (they have no money), yet have the ability to act (come) and are motivated to do what is right (buy without cost). He says, “come to the waters,” and buy “wine and milk.” Not only does God supply what we need, but gives an abundance of that which nourishes, strengthens, and sustains. These are the spiritual blessings we share. “Buy without money” is a paradox. The price of what God gives us is purchased, but not with our money. Actually, He purchased us, not with silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ (1 Pet. 1:18-19).
Contrast that with spending time and resources on that which does not matter (vs. 2). Through Christ, we are given the bread of life (John 6). Why waste our time and resources on that which ultimately does not feed us, sustain us, or nourish us spiritually? Instead we ought to “Listen carefully… Delight yourself…” (vs. 2). These are fundamental attitudes of the righteous (see Psalm 1; 119:14, 111). All of this is done “that you may live” (vs. 3). This is the simple message of the Gospel.
The blessing of life is “according to the faithful mercies shown to David.” Paul used this passage to reference the resurrection of Jesus as fulfillment (Acts 13:34). Just as surely as God blessed David, made a covenant with him, and brought about fulfillment through the resurrected Messiah who now sits on David’s throne, so we participate in this glorious kingdom and share in that resurrection promise. God gave His word. It was sure. His word is faithful because it flows from His nature. Further, the promise God gave to David extended beyond Israel (vs. 5). It was a covenant with far-reaching implications, reaching finally to all nations, who, upon seeing its value and price, will run to the Lord to buy it without money.
Therefore, “seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near” (vs. 6). The process of restoration requires us to seek God according to His word. The power of God’s word will always be there, but if we don’t seek God through it, then we will never benefit by it.
Verse 7 contrasts our ways with God’s. “Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts” is to be contrasted with God’s ways and thoughts. This shows a basic distinction in authority and power. What authority does a man’s ways and thoughts have? God says to forsake those so that you can listen to Him and partake of His ways and thoughts. “From heaven or men” is still the question to ask (Matt. 21:23-27). Shall we take God’s thoughts or man’s thoughts? Yours or His?
The distinction between men’s thoughts and God’s thoughts is especially seen in the concept of forgiveness. Note the progression from vs. 7 to vs. 8. “He will abundantly pardon. For My thoughts are not your thoughts…” We may have our own ideas of mercy, grace, pardon, and forgiveness, but God’s ways are what matter. True forgiveness can only come through listening to God’s thoughts on the matter.
The only way to know God’s thoughts is through the revelation of His mind (1 Cor 2:10-13). We cannot know the thoughts of God unless He has revealed those thoughts to us. This is the point of the word of God – a revelation of His ways and thoughts. We must never presume to know what God thinks!
We cannot even begin to comprehend the power and magnitude of God’s thoughts. We think we have so much figured out, yet we know virtually nothing. We cannot imagine what God is able to do and think (Eph. 3:20). We must not put Him in a box, try to limit His power and knowledge, or minimize the authority of His Word!
“He will abundantly pardon” (vs. 7) on His terms, not ours. This fact helps us appreciate His grace. That He has communicated anything to us is amazing, let alone given us an opportunity to be restored to Him through the death of His Son. If this doesn’t motivate us to seek Him, what will?
God’s word accomplishes exactly what God intends (vs. 11). People reject God’s message, yet that is not a failure of the message, but of the hearts of those who so reject it. We may not always understand how or why God’s plans are fulfilled, but we leave that up to God and simply trust Him for the results.
The psalmist perfectly captured how we should view God’s mind:
“How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with You.” (Psa. 139:17-18)
May God bless us as we seek to know and understand His will through His revealed word.