How do we respond to an invitation? I’ve received several invitations lately. A friend invited me to a party. I wondered what I should bring. We were invited to dinner. I worried about what to wear. A family member invited me to help with an important project. I thought I might not be capable. My junk mail often invites me to get rich. I try to spot the scam. But how often do we receive a true invitation with no strings attached?
the great invitation
s - “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. 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.” Isaiah 55:1-2
o – This great invitation comes just after the prophet has foretold of Jesus’ suffering and death (ch 53) and the blessings (ch 54) that will come as God rescues and restores not only his people, but the created world. It’s an invitation to experience God and to experience life to its fullest. The invitation is totally free – and yet there are still some things we must do. But if we only read a modern translation, we miss one important point. The KJV starts chapter 55 with “Ho!” and this is an important word. It is a call from the Lord. An interjection imploring His people to wake up and respond.
Here is what Spurgeon says of this simple word: “Remark the wonderful condescension of God, that though the gifts of his grace are so precious that all the world could not buy them, yet he condescends to ask his creature to have those gifts…God desires you infinitely more than you desire him; and he invites you to come to him. Do not delay”
Even if you have no money, come and buy. It’s free…and it’s the only thing you really need. Come.
In reading the whole chapter, here are a few things I notice as I consider what we are invited to and how we must respond. God calls us to receive “water, wine and milk,” or all we need for life as he promises to make an everlasting covenant with all of the thirsty and poor who come to receive what they could never afford or earn. Come near. Buy without money. Listen. Eat what is good. Seek the Lord while He may be found. And then what? “You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace.”
a - How are we to come near to God? How are we to seek the Lord while He may be found? How are we to respond to the great invitation? We must receive freely what we could never buy. We must stop spending
(wasting) our money on the things that could never satisfy. We must identify and forsake those things. And we must remember that God comes near–we seek the Lord–primarily through two means: scripture and prayer. God is inviting us to experience the fullness of life He has for us… and it’s an invitation repeated at the very end of the Bible, when in Revelation 22, as things foretold in Isaiah are finally realized, we read these beautiful words:
The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come!’ Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life” (Rev. 22:17).
p – God, thank you that our deepest and fullest desires can be met in you and only in you. Thank you for this great invitation that you have set before us. This isn’t an invitation to a one-time transaction, but to a whole new way of living…a way of living in the life, freedom, abundance, and goodness that you have made possible for those who will come near. Show us what it means to accept this invitation. May we walk in obedience and may we follow Christ as Savior, Lord, and King.