Isaiah 55:1-131NIV New International Version Translations
1 “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. 8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. 12 You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. 13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the Lord’s renown, for an everlasting sign, that will endure forever.”
Isaiah prophesied in the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. He has been called the evangelical prophet, on account of his numerous and full prophesies concerning the coming and character, the ministry and preaching, the sufferings and death of the Messiah, and the extent and continuance of Christ’s kingdom. Under the veil of the deliverance from Babylon, Isaiah points to a much greater deliverance, which was to be effected by the Messiah; and seldom does he mention the one, without alluding at the same time to the other. Isaiah is often so enthralled with the prospect of the more distant deliverance that he often loses sight of that which was nearer, and dwells on the Messiah’s person, office, character, and kingdom.
Chapter 55 discusses our invitation to receive freely the blessings of the Savior. (1-5) and God’s gracious offers of pardon and peace. (6-13)
Verses 1-2: The word pictures of familiar things to eat and to drink show God’s great care for his people. His free gifts truly satisfy what people need.
Verse 3: The Lord will repeat the covenant that he made with David long ago (see 2 Samuel 7:8-12 and Psalm 89:33-37). This time the covenant will not be with David’s family (see 2 Samuel 7:16), but with the whole nation of Israel.
Verse 4-5: David’s extraordinary defeat of much greater armies was evidence to the nations of the power of David’s God (see Psalm 18:43-45).
Verse 6: God is not a distant God. People can easily reach him. He is close to them. He hears their prayers.
Verse 7: God tells evil people to repent and to return to God and to live in His way. Then God will forgive them completely.
Verse 8: God’s plans are totally different in nature from human plans. There is no certainty that human plans will succeed. But there is no doubt that God will carry out his plans perfectly.
Verse 9: God uses ‘sky’ and ‘earth’ as picture words to show how different are God’s actions from human actions
- The sky is far above the earth. And God’s plans are much more wonderful than any human plan.
Verses 10-11: God’s kind purposes are for the benefit of all people. That is why he carries out his purposes.
- See Isaiah 40:8 for another passage about the nature and effect of God’s word.
Verses 12-13: The state of the people of God’s relationship with the Lord also affects all that he has created. The negative effect appeared as early as the events soon after God created the world (see Genesis 3:17-18).
It is not just the people themselves who sing on their journey home. Isaiah describes how mountains, hills and even trees join in. The people now have a right relationship with God. And this fact affects everything that surrounds them.
Items for Discussion
- God describes a different way to satisfy thirst and hunger – How is this different from physical thirst and hunger?
- We live in a time when social programs abound to remove many of the physical distresses of poverty – How do the social programs of the “church” differ from those of government?
- Why is God’s “bread” truly filling to the “human?”
- What are God’s expectations (our behavior) that He assigned to His Covenant? In other words, what is our responsibility to receive His blessings?
- When we translate God’s model of generosity to our society today, what would you expect to see?
- Where is today’s society failing?
1 Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” 6 Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. 7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ 8 “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”
The Apostle Luke is believed to have been a physician, and a companion of the apostle Paul. The style of his writings, and his acquaintance with the Jewish rites and usages, sufficiently show that he was a Jew, while his knowledge of the Greek language and his name, speak to his Gentile origin. He is first mentioned Acts 16,10 and 11 as being with Paul at Troas, where he travelled with Paul to Jerusalem, and was with him in his voyage, and in his imprisonment at Rome. This Gospel appears to be designed to supersede many defective and unauthentic narratives in circulation at that time, and to give a genuine and inspired account of the life, miracles, and doctrines of our Lord, learned from those who heard and witnessed his discourses and miracles.
Mention is made to Christ of the death of some Galileans. This tragic story is briefly related here. In Christ’s reply he speaks of another event, which, like it, gave an instance of people taken away by sudden death. Towers, that are built for safety, often prove to be men’s destruction. He cautioned his hearers not to blame great sufferers, as if they were therefore to be accounted great sinners. As no place or employment can secure from the stroke of death, we should consider the sudden removal of others as warnings to ourselves. On these accounts Christ founded a call to repentance. The same Jesus that bids us to repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand, bids us to also repent, for otherwise we shall perish.
This parable of the barren fig-tree is intended to enforce the warning given just before: the barren tree, except if it brings forth fruit, will be cut down. This parable in the first place refers to the nation and people of the Jews. Yet it is, without doubt, for awakening all that enjoy the means of grace, and the privileges of the visible church. When God has borne long, we may hope that he will bear with us yet a little longer, but we cannot expect that he will bear always.
Items for Discussion
- What are several characteristics about our God that become apparent after reading Christ’s Words in the Gospel according to Luke?
- Using the characteristics of our God you just discussed, how would you describe a repentance that God would approve of?
- If a tree is cut down which bears no fruit, then in what way should we as a people, church or nation, bear fruit so that we are not the tree to be cut down and discarded?
- How would you measure our “fruit”?
- How does the Church today help its members “bear fruit” that God approves of?
- 1NIV New International Version Translations