Isaiah 55




REPENTANCE. The prophet passes from the ideal to the actual, from the

glorious future to the unsatisfactory present. The people are not ripe for

the blessings of the Messianic kingdom — they do not sufficiently value

them. Hence a tender exhortation is addressed to them by God Himself,

inviting them to become more spiritually minded (vs. 1-3), and fresh

promises are held out to the obedient (vs. 3-5). The disobedient are then

somewhat sternly exhorted to turn from their evil ways and repent (vs. 6-



v. 1 - “Ho, every one that thirsteth!” -  Though the mass are gross and

carnally minded, there will ever be some who have higher aspirations —

who “hunger and thirst after righteousness” and desire spiritual blessings.

These are invited, first of all, to come and partake of the good things

provided for them in Messiah’s kingdom.


 "Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness for they

shall be filled" – Matthew 5:6


God's spiritual gifts are freely given to men.  They

cannot be purchased - they are more precious than

rubies - their value transcends human means of

payment  - neither can they be earned by man's

best works - they have no purchasing power.


v. 2 - "wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread?" - that

            has no real value, which cannot sustain you, which will do you

            no good?


Many Israelites did not care for spiritual blessings,

much less "hunger and thirst" after them?


"that which satisfieth not" - worldly things can never satisfy the heart  -



Man seems as boundless in his desires as God in His

Being:  therefore, nothing but God can satisfy him.


Dwight Moody said that "man's heart was too big for

the world to fill"


Most men's history is a long series of disappointments.


Men labor the greater part of their lives "for that which

satisfieth not"


Col. 3:1-2


"hearken diligently" - implies the strong disinclination of Israel to listen.


"let your soul delight itself in fatness" - Heavenly objects not only satisfy  -



The spiritual blessings of the Messianic kingdom are richer dainties than

any this world has to offer!


v. 3 - "Come unto me...I will make an everlasting covenant with you

            even the sure mercies of David" - Pardon, Salvation, Peace,



“the sure mercies of David” are the loving and merciful promises which

God made to him. These included the promise that the Messiah should

come of his seed, and sit on his throne, and establish an everlasting

kingdom (Psalm 89:2-5, 19-37), and triumph over death and hell

(Psalm 16:9, 10), and give peace and happiness to Israel (Psalm 132:15-18).

The promises made to David, rightly understood, involve all the essential

points of the Christian covenant.


v. 4 – “Behold, I have given Him for a witness to the people, a leader

            and commander to the people.”  - CHRIST WAS ALL THESE!

            He “came to bear witness to the truth” (John 18:37), and “before

            Pilate witnessed a good confession” (1 Timothy 6:13). He “feeds and

            leads” his people (Revelation 7:17), and is the “Commander”

            under whose banner they serve (2 Timothy 2:3, 4).



v. 5 - “Thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not”(comp.

Psalm 18:43). The object of address in this verse appears to be the

Messiah. He, at his coming, will “call” into his kingdom “a nation,” or

rather, “people,” with whom He has had no covenant hitherto; and they will

readily and gladly obey the call. Thus God’s kingdom will be enlarged, and

Israel’s glory will be increased, “Because of the Lord… for He hath

glorified thee.” -  The great cause of the attraction will be the “glory” which

God the Father has bestowed upon his Son, by raising him from the dead,

and exalting him to a seat at his right hand in heaven (Acts 2:32-35;






v. 6 –“Seek ye the Lord” -  Again the strain changes. The people are

once more addressed, but in a tone of reproach. Israel must “seek the

Lord” without delay, or the opportunity will be past; God will have

withdrawn Himself from them. He “will not alway be chiding, neither

keepeth he His anger for ever” (Psalm 103:9).


v. 7 –“Let the wicked forsake his way” -  i.e. his mode of life. A

general promise of forgiveness of sin upon repentance and amendment of

life was first given to Israel through Solomon (2 Chronicles 7:14). The

doctrine is largely preached by the prophets; but is nowhere more distinctly

and emphatically laid down than in this place. God’s will is to “multiply

pardon,” if man will only turn to him.



BABYLON. Man can scarcely conceive of the deliverance which God

designs; but God’s thoughts are not as man’s (vs. 8, 9). God’s word,

once pronounced, is potent to effect its purpose (vs. 10, 11). Deliverance

from Babylon, having been promised, will take place, and will be

accompanied by all manner of spiritual blessings (vs. 12, 13).


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vs. 8-9 - Though man is made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27), yet the

nature of God in every way infinitely transcends that of man. Both the

thoughts and the acts of God surpass man’s understanding. Men find

it hard to pardon those who have offended them; God can pardon, and

 “pardon abundantly.’’


"He will abundantly pardon" – God is also “abundant in goodness and

truth” – Exodus 34:6-7  and is “plenteous in redemption” – Psalm 130:7


Man can scarcely conceive of the deliverance which God designs!


WORLD BEGANRevelation 13:8


v. 9 – “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my

            ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your









The scale is the literally astronomical when you think of the

universe – Our Milky Way galaxy is said to be 120,000 light years

wide or long – this means that it is the distance that light travels at

282,000 miles per second times 120,000 years – they say that

looking through the Big Dipper that there are thousands of


be that great!  Therefore we should “GIVE UNTO THE LORD

THE GLORY DUE UNTO HIS NAME”  - Psalm 29:2 (CY – 2009)


v. 10 – The rain and snow have a work to do and they do it!


v. 11  God’s Word, like them, has a work to do!


“So shall my word be” -  God’s word is creative. With the

utterance the result is achieved. Hence the sublime passage, which even

heathenism could admire (Longin., ‘De Sublim.,’ § 9), “And God said, Let

there be light: and there was light” (Genesis 1:3). Hence, too, the more

general statement, “By the Word of the Lord were the heavens made; and

all the host of them by the breath of his mouth” (Psalm 33:6; comp.

Psalm 148:5). But it shall accomplish; rather, unless it has

accomplished. There is a mixture of two constructions, “It shall not return

void,” and “It shall not return unless it has accomplished,” – “It shall

prosper” -  Every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God has a

prosperous course. It is endued with life from God, and (as Delitzsch says)

“runs like a swift messenger through nature and the world of man, there to

melt the ice, as it were, and here to heal and to save; and it does not return

from its course till it has given effect to the will of the Sender.


He sendeth forth His commandment upon the earth:  His word

runneth very swiftly” - Psalm 147:15


v. 12 – “joy….peace” – things that the modern world is looking for

            but in all the wrong places


“the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into

singing.  All the trees of the field shall clap their hands”  - all

nature shall rejoice at God’s deliverance – compare what Paul

said in Romans 8:22 – “the whole creation groaneth and travaileth

in pain together until now”









v. 13 - "an everlasting sign"


“Briars and thorns” represent a general state of wretchedness and sin.

The “fir” and “myrtle” represent a happy external condition of life, in which

men “do righteously.  It shall beto the Lord for a name.”  This

“regenerated creation” will show forth the glory of God to mankind at

large, and “get Him a name” among them (comp.Isaiah 63:12;

Jeremiah 13:11 “but they would not hear).   For an everlasting sign” –

It will also be to God Himself an enduring sign of the covenant of peace

which He has made with His people, not to hide His face from them any more,

but to have mercy on  them “with everlasting kindness” (Isaiah 54:7-10).




                                                ADDITIONAL NOTES


Ver. 2. The earthly objects of desire do not satisfy; the heavenly

objects not only satisfy, but delight. Man is so constituted as to

desire a great variety of objects, often with extreme eagerness, but

 rarely to find in these objects, when they are attained, the satisfaction

for which he looked. “Man never is, but always to be, blest,” says one of

our poets; and the fact is so nearly universal, that some tell us it is the

pursuit of an object, not its attainment that gives us pleasure. Manifestly,

the child’s objects do not satisfy the boy, or the boy’s the man; nor do

the man’s objects at his entrance on the struggle of life generally appear

very desirable as he nears the close. Most men’s history is a long series

of disappointments. The boy desires freedom from restraint, and to have

his time at his own disposal; but no sooner does he obtain his wish than time

hangs heavy on his hands, and he does not know what to do with it. The

best-loved amusement, does not please for long — the pleasures of eating

and drinking pall; drunkenness and excess are found to have attached to them

an overplus of painful sensations; the praise of men, distinction, fame, when

they have been enjoyed for a short time, appear worthless; wealth, comfort,

ease, equally fail to satisfy. Men labour, as a general rule, during the greater

part of their lives, “for that which satisfieth not.” Only a fortunate few learn

early to set their affections on objects of a different character. Heavenly

objects are satisfying. He that drinks of that water of life which Christ

supplies, thirsts no more (John 4:14). The heavenly things do not pass away —

 they remain. The water that Christ gives us becomes, in us, “a well of water

springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14). God’s favorable regard, God’s

peace, God’s blessing, are eternally objects of desire, and their possession is

happiness. He who has them needs nothing more, desires nothing more, finds

them sufficient for him. Nor is his state one of mere passive acquiescence —

his “soul is delighted with fatness” (v. 2). He “enters into the joy of his Lord”

(Matthew 25:21).








Ver. 5. —Man’s True Glory.  “The Holy One of Israel, he hath glorified thee.”

We need to fill the word “glory,” which often has such false renderings, with its

true and ancient meaning.


I. TRUE RELIGION GLORIFIES MAN. He cannot he really glorified by

titles or splendours of fame, but only by beauty and majesty of being. God

says, “I will make a man as the gold of Ophir.” Man is only truly glorified

as he fulfils the great end of his being, which is to be in his moral nature

like God.


II. THE HOLY ONE ACCOMPLISHES THIS. Christ took our manhood

up into God. He redeemed body, soul, and spirit; so that all parts of our

complex nature might be complete in all the will of God.


  • Christ glorified the body. He became man, not taking the nature of

      angels, but the seed of Abraham. Thus He shows us how to live a

      heavenly life in an earthly citizenship.


  • Christ glorified mans estate. He lived in humble estate, and showed

      that the poorest framework might enclose a Divine picture of character.


  • Christ glorified the soul. He lifted man as man above all grandeur of

      mere outward estate and honor, and propounded this great question,

      “What shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and lose his

      own life?” That life was to be supreme in grandeur as a God-like life.

      “And the glory which thou gavest me,” said our Saviour, “I have

      given them.”



Vers. 6-13. —Exhortations and Assurance.


I. EXHORTATIONS. “Seek ye Jehovah.” This is the beginning of a

religious life — to seek for God, to inquire for His ways (Deuteronomy 4:29;

Job 5:8; 8:5; Psalm 9:10; 14:2; 27:8 Jeremiah 29:13). “While he may be found

(Psalm 32:6) — “in a time of finding.” For a bitter “day” will come, when woe

 to His foes (Isaiah 65:6, 7)! It is hinted that a time will come when the offer

will be withdrawn. “If a man will not do so simple a thing as seek for mercy,

as ask for pardon, he ought to perish. The universe will approve the

condemnation of such a man.” “Who knows what a day may bring forth,

and what may be the dangers of an hour’s delay? This is most sure, that

every particular repeated act of sin sets us one advance nearer to hell. Who

can tell, while we go on our audacious course of sin, but God may swear in

His wrath against us, and register our names in the black rolls of

damnation?  And then our condition is sealed and determined for ever.”

Call upon him;” i.e. implore His mercy (Joel 2:32; Romans 10:13). How

easy the terms of salvation! How just the condemnation of the sinner

who calls not on God, first for pardon, then for a share in the promises

(Jeremiah 29:12-14)! God (according to the manner of man’s thoughts) seems

to be nearer at some times than at others to men. Some special influences are

brought to bear; some facilities of salvation. He comes near to us in the

preaching of his Word, when it is borne home with power to the conscience;

in His providence, when He strikes down a friend, and comes into the very

circle where we move, or the very dwelling where we abide; when he lays

His hand upon  us in sickness. And He is near to us by day and by night;

in a revival of religion, or when a pious friend pleads with us, God is near

to us then, and is calling us to His favour. These are favourable times for

salvation — times which, if unimproved, return no more.” “Let the ungodly

forsake his way, and the man of iniquity his thoughts.” To seek Jehovah

must involve the renouncing of all other gods; the calling upon Him, the

cessation of prayer in heathen temples; and, with this, all the “thoughts,” the

habits and feelings, of impure heathen life. It is to renounce corruption and

destruction for blessedness and peace, which are contained in the thoughts

of Jehovah (Psalm 36:5, 6; Jeremiah 29:11). “He has plans for

accomplishing His purposes which are different from ours, and He secures

our welfare by schemes that cross our own. He disappoints our hopes, foils

our expectations, crosses our designs, removes our property or our friends,

and thwarts our purposes in life. He leads us in a path we had not intended,

and secures our ultimate happiness in modes which we should not have

thought of, and which are contrary to all our designs and desires.”


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