An Invitation to Fulfillment Isaiah 55:1-9


Dr. William S. Epps, Senior Pastor

Sunday, March 20, 2022
1Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. 2Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. 3Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. 4Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people. 5Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the LORD thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee. 6Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: 7Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.  8For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” 
Isaiah 55:1-9 (KJV)


This is the third Sunday in Lent. Remember this forty-day period is a time to do like Jesus and realign your appetites, readjust your ambitions and reassess your allegiances. 

The passage today is from the prophet of Isaiah. Let me remind you the function of prophets. Prophets in Israel had a threefold function. First, they interpreted the activity of God in the events of people’s lives. Second, they kept alive the memory of God’s past activities as they reinterpreted the meaning of faith for the present. 
Third, they also proclaimed the will of God in times of crises. Prophets brooded over the condition which people faced and with clarity of insight, gave a divinely informed understanding of the developments. It is unfortunate that they have been depicted as soothsayers and future tellers.  

Believers always need an interpretation of events in light of faith in God. Persons of faith interpret and reinterpret their faith in light of the unfolding events of their lives in order to understand how the present has been shaped and the future is being directed. “Is there any word from the Lord?” is the way Jeremiah said it
(Jeremiah 37:17). 

While each of the prophets has their unique place in Israelite history, Isaiah is in a class all by himself. Read through the book which bears his name. His language is breathtakingly captivating. He’s poetic with his depictions. He is musical with his descriptions. No wonder Handel used Isaiah when he was seized by the spirit to compose “Messiah.” 

It has been said that Isaiah is a miniature of the Bible. The Bible has 66 books. Isaiah has 66 chapters. The Bible is divided into two major divisions. Isaiah is separated into two parts; the first part describes the judgment of God and the second half describes the mercy of God. The first major division of the Bible has 39 books and the second major division has 27. Such is the case with the book of Isaiah; the first part has 39 chapters and the second part has 27 chapters. 

Joy resonates throughout these lines because Israel’s God is a God of mercy and grace. “He’s got the whole world in his hands, and the future of all humankind is one of justice and peace under the Lord’s sovereign rule. 

Consider what it means that prophets interpreted the activity of God in the events of people’s lives. They kept alive the memory of God’s past activities
as they reinterpreted the meaning of faith for the present.
They also proclaimed the will of God in times of crises.
Monday, March 21, 2022
Verses 1 and 2 are an invitation to feast on God’s amazing love. It is quite possible that the prophet had Proverbs 9:5-6 in mind, for this metaphor is strikingly similar to the one found there. The question is asked: Why waste one’s precious resources on things that do not satisfy or sustain life? Israel’s gracious God has flung wide the door of the banquet hall and is insisting that all who eat at the tables there do so without cost to themselves. The food is good and rich, sustaining life and hope. For the dispossessed exiles in Babylon who must have experienced lean years, the metaphor of a free banquet with wholesome food would have been particularly striking. God’s unequivocal intention is that the people be fed, and that joy and hope flourish. 

The person of David is used to define God’s relationship to the people not only in the past but also in the present and future. Reaffirmation of the Davidic covenant is the means through which God’s grace will be bestowed on Israel and on all humankind.  

The prophet then admonishes the people that there is a crucial significance to the present moment in the life of the people, a moment that may not continue indefinitely“Seek the Lord while he may be found” suggests urgency. The time is ripe now. The passage closes citing the reality that God so transcends the normal pattern of human thought and understanding that an enormous gulf will always exist. We can never completely understand God or the way of God. What we can understand and respond to is the love of God. What we can incorporate in our lives is the compassion of the God who brought Israel out of Egypt and out of exile, the God whose Son died and rose again.

Consider what it means to seek the Lord while the Lord may be found.  
Tuesday, March 22, 2022
The passage begins with an interjection to get the attention of the hearers
“Ho everyone that thirsts.” In that first phrase you find the invitation, the ones to whom it is addressed and the condition which it meets. The invitation is to come to the waters.  Everyone is invited - those who thirsts as well as those who do not have resources to purchase what they need. The condition that is met is satisfaction.  

Thirst is a part of life. We are reminded of what is necessary for living. We thirst for love and friendships, knowledge and understanding, fortune and fame, pleasure and power, safety and security to name a few. We thirst for peace in our war torn world, unity in our divisive, disruptive reality and hope for a tomorrow that brings a different future.   

Thirst conveys the idea or notion of craving, desiring, longing or yearning.  We all have our laundry lists of desires for which we thirst. We all desire something. There is not a single soul who doesn’t have a want of some kind. 

We are taught that every living thing adapts to its environment. Isaiah is saying that in the ultimate sense, God adapts the environment to fulfill the need; God adapts the environment with what is necessary to fulfill the need. 

When rain is sent, it feeds the plants, which in turn feed us. Rain comes and grows the plants, producing flowers and seeds and grain. Once the water has accomplished multiple purposes, it returns to the heavens to be recycled and sent again when it is needed.

In the same way, we are the living people of God. God sends words by which we can live and thrive with purposeful intention. We are mistaken to think that the Bible is just a book. It is so much more. It is the Word of God that has been sent to invite us to fulfillment while providing that for which we thirst. What is more, just as it is natural and inevitable that water will nourish plants, God’s word will do what God sent it to do. My word that proceeds from my mouth will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
Isaiah 55:11  

What is the purpose of God’s word? To give life. We are most familiar with this idea because Jesus repeated it many years later. I came that you might have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10

Moses said it first:
He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that people do not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.
Deuteronomy 8:3 TNIV
We desire a variety of things with extreme eagerness. The child’s desires do not satisfy the teenager's, nor do the teenager's desires satisfy the adult, nor do the desires of the adult satisfy the desires of the senior. Most people have a long history of disappointment. The child desires freedom from restraint and to have his time at his own disposal, but no sooner than he obtains his wish he realizes that he does not know what to do with it. The best loved amusement does not please for very long. The pleasures of eating and drinking are short lived also. The praise of people, distinction, and fame, once they have been enjoyed, evaporate as a vapor. Wealth, comfort and ease equally fail to satisfy. Novelty has a short shelf life. 
There is a song whose lyrics say, what you gonna do? When the new wears off and the old seeps through. You find out its not love nor lust. What you gonna do? 

Consider what it means to thirst for the Lord. 
Wednesday, March 23, 2022
We labor - as a general rule - during the greater part of our lives for that which does not satisfy. Hunger and thirst are two prevalent desires that we all seek to satisfy. Age does not stop them nor does our constant satisfaction stop our continuing need to seek to fulfill them. They are daily recurring expressions of life itself. Hunger and thirst may well symbolize the desire for salvation. What can better represent salvation than water, the well that springs up to everlasting life. Waters, floods, overflowing streams, and showers often denote abundant blessings from God.   

Those who thirst are invited to come to the waters. In Isaiah, water is the common metaphor for divine grace. The symbolism pervades the book. Water is a precious commodity, an indispensable element, and a marvelous substance
God satisfies our thirst.
Consider a few of the characteristics of water and the implications of its symbolism as it is used here. 

First, water is abundant and available. It is the most prevalent substance on earth. It covers more than 70 percent of the earth’s surface. It fills oceans, rivers, lakes and is in the ground and in the air. Water is everywhere. What the Lord offers is available and abundant. The Lord’s grace, love, mercy, and provisions are abundant and available. The Lord is present to us in all of life’s changing scenes whether good or bad, happy or sad, sick or healthy, impoverished or abundant. 
That constant and abiding presence gives us courage for our circumstances, direction for any difficulty and strength for each situation.   

Consider what it means that the Lord’s grace,
like water, is abundant and available. 
Thursday, March 24, 2022
Second, water is necessary for life. Without water there can be no life. Every living thing, plants, and animals and human beings need water to live. Every living thing consists of water. Our bodies are two-thirds water. A chicken is about three-fourths water. A pineapple is about four-fifths water. Water is that without which we cannot live. Faith is that with which we cannot live. We all have faith of some kind. The assumptions on which we habitually act demonstrate that fact. 

Third, water regulates the climate. Water keeps the earth from getting too hot or to cold. Land absorbs and releases heat from the sun quickly. But the oceans absorb and release the heat from the sun slowly. So breezes from the oceans bring warmth to the land in winter and coolness in summer. We need a mind regulator and a heart fixer.  

Consider what it means that what the Lord offers is
necessary for life as a mind regulator. 
Friday, March 25, 2022
Fourth, water is constant. We live in a state of change and flux. There is always some shift which alters what is happening. There is as much water on earth today as there ever was or ever will be. Almost every drop of water we use finds its way to the ocean. There, it is evaporated by the sun. It then falls back to earth as rain. Water is used and reused over and over again. It is never used up. What we have in God cannot be exhausted. 

The Lord is the same today, tomorrow and forever. 
Hebrews 18:8

Consider what it means that the Lord is the same,
today, tomorrow and forever.  
Saturday, March 26, 2022
Fifth, water is the only substance on earth that is naturally present in three forms, a liquid, a solid and a vapor.       

We believe in the Father, the maker of heaven and earth. We believe in the son our Lord and Savior. We believe in the Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father and the Son who continue to imbue us with power, truth and understanding.   


I heard the voice of Jesus say. 
“Come unto Me and rest; Lay down, thou weary one,
lay down Thy head upon My breast.” 
I came to Jesus as I was, Weary and worn and sad;
I found in Him a resting place, And He has made me glad.
I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“Behold, I freely give The living water; thirsty one,
Stoop down, and drink, and live.”
I came to Jesus, and I drank of that life-giving stream;
My thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
And now I live in Him.
I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“I am this dark world’s Light; Look unto Me, thy morn shall rise,
And all thy day be bright.” I looked to Jesus,
and I found In Him my Star, my Sun; And in that light of life I’ll walk,
Till trav’ling days are done.
I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“My Father’s house above Has many mansions;
I’ve a place Prepared for you in love.”
I trust in Jesus—in that house, According to His word,
Redeemed by grace, my soul shall live Forever with the Lord.

Consider what it means to that the Lord like water is discovered
in the forms that continue fulfill life. 

2412 Griffith Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90011 
Phone: (213) 748-0318