“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?” (Isaiah 55:1-2a)
Isaiah’s words are filled with images and promises that excite and comfort us. Yet they were first written to a people who were going into exile. To such people undergoing such travail, the words be seem to be empty promises, like a dream compared to what they were actually experiencing. They were urged not to look at what is and so be discouraged, but look to what Israel as a people had experienced throughout her history. As they did, they would realize that God had always been faithful to His word even whether He was promising victory and blessing or judgment and tribulation. Thus His promises made here are as good as realized.
As we watch so many people in our nation display their frustration with anger, bitterness, and violence we should be saddened as well as perplexed. With Isaiah we should ask why they do not accept the Lord’s offer of salvation and peace? Why do they rage against authority? Why do they spend money and effort on things that do not bring true or lasting satisfaction or joy? Do they not know or believe what God has given us in Christ Jesus? Well if they have heard apparently they have rejected it and believe that salvation and peace come from government or force. They do not. They come by trusting in God who keeps His promises.
One of the great things the Lord tells us is that salvation is freely given without cost to us. This does not mean that every human being is saved. This is not cheap grace. The offer of free salvation is bestowed only on those who acknowledge that they are sinners and that they need God’s mercy. Those who request His help will definitely find that He is there to lift them up. They will be comforted in this life for they know they will experience the eternal joy of heaven.