Come – Listen – Believe – Enjoy - Live
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? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David. Isaiah 55:1-3 ESV
God gives us a personal invitation to come to Him as the source and origin of all life and love. Because He is the source, it is only in Him that we find the satisfaction, significance, and fulfillment we are all longing for. He is trying to persuade us to listen to the truth, buy it or believe it, and eat it or receive it into our hearts that our souls may live. We gain faith as we come to God, listening to the truth, then believing and receiving the truth in our hearts. God has given us a new covenant full of eternal, infinite, divine promises, and all we need to do is come to Him, listen to His voice, believe what He tells us, and receive it into our souls that we may live.
A person’s belief system is in the midst or core of his being, which determines who one truly is. We are not so much defined by what we do, but instead by what we believe. We do what we do because we believe what we believe. When Jesus was asked by His disciples, how they can work the works of God, he replied that they believe on Him.
Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. John 6:28-29
It takes a courageous and humble person to approach God’s Word and ask Him to reveal the truth to us even if it contradicts what we have believed to be true for the past 30 years. Our faith should be in a “Who” instead of a what. Put your faith in Jesus Christ, instead of a dogma or a list of doctrinal absolutes. The invitation is for us to come to God, we do that through Jesus Christ. Then He invites us to listen to Him, buy the truth, and enjoy His life so we may live.
In our text, the prophet Isaiah asked a question.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
He is asking us here why we buy into or believe things that are not true, why we believe the lies of the enemy and why do we work toward things that can never satisfy us? The answer is because we believe the lie conveyed to us that the thing we are chasing will satisfy. The enemy always makes us think we can find satisfaction or fulfillment in anything other than God. Jesus told us to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees (religion) and the leaven of Herod (the world.)
And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod. Mark 8:15
Unfortunately, most Christians somewhere along the way become un-teachable. They become satisfied with their relationship with God. The church of Laodicea was rich, increased with goods and in need of nothing. In other words, ‘I know enough to get into heaven, so I don’t want my belief system challenged any further’. The more religious someone becomes, the more difficult it is for them to ever learn anything new in God as they become corrupted with the leaven of the Pharisees. The Pharisees were a religious group that believed they were absolutely correct about everything they believed. They were quite certain of it to the point that they considered themselves superior to all others. Jesus came to them with grace and truth, but they were unmoved in their dogma to the point of rejecting and finally crucifying Jesus Christ, the truth.
The leaven of Herod, or the corruption of the world works in a similar fashion to the leaven of religion, because it again is simply believing a lie instead of the truth. Religion will tell you that you can earn God’s favor or acceptance by being morally good or keeping the law. The harder you work at it, the more convinced you become that you have become a righteous person, which is legalism. The world influences us to be apathetic concerning God’s acceptance or favor, but rather offers the lie that we can decide for ourselves what is good and evil. You can be your own god and therefore, decide what will satisfy and fulfill you. In your rebellious independence from God, you are demonstrating that you believe the lie from the enemy instead of buying or believing the truth.
Personally, just being aware that I do not operate in perfect love at all times, nor experience joy and peace at all times, makes me continue to hunger and thirst after God’s truth. I desire to be in God’s personal presence as much as possible. I desire to hear His Word and for my soul to listen to what God is telling me. I’ve learned to read the Word of God with an open mind, realizing that because I previously attached a certain meaning to a passage of scripture, I may not be hearing or seeing what God intends to communicate to me. It is important to read our Bibles while asking God for His intended message to us, instead of reading our Bibles to reinforce what we already believe.
God loves us and desires a personal relationship with us so much so that He continually gives us an invitation to come and dine with Him. God wants communion with us, in fact, He desires it much more than we do. If only we knew how rewarding it is to come into His personal presence and receive from Him. He is so generous that He makes it clear that it will not cost us to dine with Him, instead. He wants to give generously to us. Grace is free to us, but it cost God everything, His very own Son.
When we receive an invitation from a Senator, a Governor, or a very rich, powerful person of great significance, we are usually honored and excited to attend this event. Just think how much more special this invitation is from God Himself. A personal invitation from God to come and drink of His waters and eat at His table, at no cost to me is the greatest invitation I will ever receive. All I must do is accept His invitation, show up, listen to what He says and believe it, then I can enjoy the beauty of His countenance and the pleasures of His Word, which are more valuable than silver, gold, or precious stones.
It is sad that billions of people all around this world never come to God and never drink from His fountain of life. The devil has convinced most of mankind that they can be their own god and live their lives independently of their Creator and Redeemer. Going their own way, doing their own thing, adopting their own version of religion, which produces a belief system that always leaves them empty, hungry, thirsty, and never satisfied. Jesus told the woman at the well that His waters are waters of everlasting life.
But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. John4:14
When the disciples accepted Jesus’ invitation to follow Him, they dropped everything they were doing and abandoned all to go. They did not take their old dogma with them, or cares of the world, leaving all to listen to Him with open hungry hearts, and receive His words into their souls. We do well if we accept God’s invitation today, wherever we are, whatever condition we are in; just come to Him. He is always ready to receive us into His presence. Oh, what a Savior! God loves us unconditionally and He wants to pour His love into our hearts and souls. He wants to feed us with the bread of life that will encourage, strengthen, and cause us to live an overcoming victorious life. He wants us to drink deeply from His eternal well-spring of living water, the water that never fails to satisfy.
In our text, we see God inviting us to come to him; then we see Him telling us to incline our ears to hear and listen diligently to Him. We are usually so busy talking that it takes some discipline to really learn how to listen to God. Listening is not just hearing what the preacher says, or reading your Bible. So many times, we are taking in information, but in reality, not listening to what God is trying to tell us. We read our Bibles many times to reinforce what we already know to be true about God instead of asking God to show us what He is trying to communicate through the Scriptures. To come to God, but not listen to Him is where many people go wrong. It is not enough to attend church or to have a private time each day to study your Bible. We all need to get still, be quiet, and learn to listen to His voice.
There are so many sounds, so many voices speaking in our ears that if we are not careful, we will allow the enemy to lead and guide us because we are not hearing the voice of our Shepherd. As a pastor, I am amazed at how some people persistently try to influence me to take the church in the direction they think it should go. I must use great restraint and discipline to shut out all voices, making sure I only listen to the voice of God. The Holy Spirit is here with us and in us, and He wants to lead and guide our every step. It is our job to simply listen and then obey.
When the Prophet Isaiah used the word buy, I believe he was using it as a metaphor for believe. Frequently we may hear someone make a statement and we respond by saying, “I’m not buying it.” Or maybe even, “Yes, I hear what you are saying, but I’m still not buying it.” To buy the truth is to believe the truth, and trust what God says in His Word, even if it goes against a long-held belief.
Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding. Proverbs 23:23
Often, when presenting the Gospel to people who have spent a lifetime steeped in religion, they resist because the Gospel just seems too good to be true. Even though they hear the truth and read it in their Bible, they don’t buy it, because it goes against everything they have believed. The Gospel says that it is all about what Jesus did and not what we do. Conversely, religion always has a system of good works where success depends upon what we do. Therefore, the Gospel is very hard to accept if you have had years of religious training. Thus, the Pharisees simply could not, and would not accept Jesus as their Savior, because they believed it was up to them to save themselves. They simply would not buy the Gospel.
To teach Christians that God accepts them into His Beloved Son the day they get saved is a difficult task since many have a hard time believing this. They just don’t want to buy the truth that we are now “in Christ.” Again, it just seems too good to be true, so few will buy it. Being “in Christ” means that I am a child of God, a joint heir with Jesus Christ and a citizen of heaven. It means that I have been made righteous, I am justified, I am holy and God calls me a Saint instead of a sinner. When the Father looks at me, He doesn’t see my old nature anymore, because I was crucified, buried, planted, and baptized into Jesus Christ and my new nature was raised with Him to walk in the newness of life. Now God sees me covered by the righteousness of Christ. I am dead and my life is hid with Christ in God. This is the truth whether you buy it or not, but as for me, I am totally “bought in” to what God says is true about me!
For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. Colossians 3:3
We can look at the analogy of the process of receiving food into our lives. We go to the grocery store; their doors are open and they have invited us in. Then we put the groceries into our carts (we listen), then we go to the check-out counter and buy the groceries. But what good would any of that do us if we don’t take the food home and eat it? We need to learn to enjoy the abundance of God into our own souls. The text states that “our souls may live.”
Sure, we are supposed to share the bread with others, but so many people, especially preachers, tend to just buy food to sell it to others. If we don’t eat for ourselves we will become malnourished, sick, and spiritually weak. Working with the homeless at our church attracts many people from the community that realize this is pleasing to God, so they come and volunteer to help us. However, I see several of them that love doing service and showing love to the vulnerable, but don’t take the time to come to God for themselves and get fed. If we have all the water flowing out and none flowing back in, it won’t take long before we’re empty with nothing to give. Yes, it is good to help others, but we all need to eat for ourselves. Like the stewardess says when we fly the airlines, if the oxygen mask comes down, put your mask on first, then help others. If we die, we cannot help anyone else.
Our text likens our response to God’s invitation to come, listen, and believe what He tells us, as coming to dine with Him and upon Him. God likened His provisions for the seeker as water, milk, wine, and bread. He said, “eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.” This analogy should be easy for us to grasp because we all have this natural hunger and thirst every day of our lives. About 3 times a day my stomach cries out for some food and I drink water throughout the day. I know to continue to live naturally, I must have food and water. How sad it is that many Christians do not even realize they need spiritual food and water recurrently every day to live a healthy spiritual life so that their souls can live.
And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. Luke 4:4
Jesus took this one step further when He came to this earth to save mankind from their sins. Although the Holy Spirit inspired the writers of the Old Testament to write the Word of God, now the living Word of God walked on the earth, speaking to mankind personally. Jesus is the living bread of life and the waters of life. Man needs only to turn to Him and believe on Him.
And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. John 6:35
I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. John 6:51
In this passage, Jesus made the remarkable statement that they needed to eat His flesh and drink His blood to have eternal life. Of course, He was not speaking naturally, but His words were a figurative analogy that He was God, the Son of God, and if anyone was going to have eternal life, it would only come by a faith and a trust in Him. We eat of Him and drink of Him when we believe and obey His Words of life. We all need to buy in to everything Jesus is and everything Jesus tells us to do. We need to follow Him with an absolute abandonment because He is Life.
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. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. John 6:53-57
It was at Calvary’s cross that Jesus broke His body (the bread), poured out His Blood and gave us all an invitation to eat and drink of Him. As we repent of our sins and come to God by returning to Him, then we can put our trust and faith in Jesus Christ to save us, redeem us and put His righteousness upon us. We enter the New Covenant by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. God then gives us a born-again spirit, a new man and a new identity as Christ comes to live within us. God also places us in Christ. I agree it sounds too good to be true, but it is the Gospel truth and I am buying it. So should you. Let’s eat, drink, and allow God to nourish us with His truth and favor. As we do, we can enjoy the new covenant and all the promises that God gives to His children.
Bill Hudson Jr.