Isaiah 55:1-5

Sunday Morning Bible Study

May 14, 2000


In Isaiah 53, we saw the description of the "Suffering Servant", the Deliverer, the Messiah, who would pay for the penalty of sinners by dying in their place. In Isaiah 54, we saw a picture of how this Messiah would affect His people. He would be taking desolate, rejected people, and make them prosperous. He would be taking afflicted people and giving them a new life. He would never again forsake these people, but would love them forever.

I think the place you get to when you’ve studied this far is to wish you could a part of that special people who would be healed and restored.

:1 Ho, every one that thirsteth … and he that hath no money

Hohowy – ah!, alas!, ha!, ho!, O!, woe!


God’s invitation to the world

If you’re interested in God doing a work in you like He promises to do to Israel, you need to meet two requirements:

1) You need to be thirsty.

2) You need to be broke.

God’s invitation doesn’t go to those who think God would be lucky to have them. It goest to people who are needy and have nothing to offer God.

You may have come here this morning reluctantly because you don’t think you really have anything to offer to God. You are just the person He’s looking for.

:2 Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not?

God is asking us why we take our money and spend it on things that really don’t satisfy.

Eating food that doesn’t really satisfy is a lot like being on a diet. I want you to know that I have done much research on the subject of diets.


Important Notes on Dieting (by Lewis G.)

    1. If you eat something, but no one else sees you eat it, it has no calories.
    2. When drinking a diet soda while eating a candy bar, the calories in the candy bar are canceled by the diet soda.
    3. When you eat with someone else, calories don't count as long as you don't eat more than they do.
    4. Cookie pieces contain no calories. The process of breaking the cookie causes calorie leakage.
    5. Late-night snacks have no calories. The refrigerator light is not strong enough for the calories to see their way into the calorie counter.


Real satisfaction.

Seriously, this is all about how we spend so much on things that just don’t satisfy us.

The prophet Jeremiah gave a similar warning.

In ancient Jerusalem, there were two main sources for water. One was to get water from springs, known as a "fountains of living water". The second way was to cut a large basin out of the solid rock and collect rain water in it. These basins were called cisterns. But sometimes a cistern might be cut out of solid rock only to find that there were cracks in it, and it wouldn’t hold water. Jeremiah said:

(Jer 2:13 KJV) For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.


America is said to have the highest per capita boredom of any spot on earth! We know that because we have the greatest number of artificial amusements of any country. People have become so empty that they can't even entertain themselves. They have to pay other people to amuse them, to make them laugh, to try to make them feel warm and happy and comfortable for a few minutes, to try to lose that awful, frightening, hollow feeling; that terrible, dreaded feeling of being lost and alone.

-- Billy Graham

When you really connect with Jesus, you will find that He totally satisfies.

Jesus said,

(John 7:37-38 KJV) …If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. {38} He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

:2 hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good,

(Isa 55:2 NLT) …Listen, and I will tell you where to get food that is good for the soul!

:2 and let your soul delight itself in fatness.

soulnephesh – soul, self, life, mind, living being; this is your inner person

delight ‘anag – (Hithpael); to be of dainty habit, be pampered; take exquisite delight

fatness – whole milk, not skim. Extra rich Baskin Robbins, not ice milk.

In Bible times, you didn’t always know where your next meal was coming from. We know nothing of this in America.

Last week Bradley Antolovich was sharing with us about how the immigrating Russian Jews would react when they arrived in Israel. He said there were instances of people fainting when they visited their first grocery store. They were used to standing in lines for bread, not seeing aisles and aisles of food stacked to the ceiling.

So, in Bible times, "fatness" was good. It meant that you were well taken care of.


Overdose on the goodness of the Lord.

You can never get too much of the Lord.

Go on the right kind of diet. The kind that makes you gain weight.




1/2 Grapefruit

1 slice Whole Wheat Toast

8 oz. Skim Milk


4 oz. lean Broiled Chicken Breast

1 cup Steamed Zucchini

1 Oreo Cookie

Herb Tea


Rest of the package of Oreo Cookies

1 quart Rocky Road Ice Cream

1 jar Hot Fudge


1 large Mushroom and Pepperoni Pizza

2 loaves Garlic Bread

1 six pack of root beer

3 Milky Ways


Entire Cheesecake eaten directly from the freezer

Except this isn’t a diet for the body, we’re talking about a diet for your soul.

Ps 36:7-9 How excellent [is] thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. 8 They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures. 9 For with thee [is] the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.

:3 Incline your ear … and your soul shall live;

inclinenatah – (Hiphil); to stretch out; to spread out; to turn, incline, bend down

shall livechayah – to live, have life, remain alive, sustain life, live prosperously, live for ever. I think this is the "fatness".

(Isa 55:3 NLT) "Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, for the life of your soul is at stake.

This is the path to a fat soul.


Soul fatness comes from paying attention to the Lord.


There is a story about two people who wanted to immigrate to America. They scraped up all their money to buy two tickets on an ocean liner headed for New York. With their last bit of money, they were able to buy enough bread and cheese to live on for the two week journey across the ocean. For the first couple of days, the bread and cheese were okay. But by the tenth day, the bread was getting pretty hard and the cheese was starting to mould.

Every day they would take walks out on the deck and wander by the dining room where they would watch the other passengers lining up and the huge buffet tables filled with all sorts of incredible foods.

Finally, they approached one of the cabin stewards and begged if there was any way they could perhaps work to earn enough to buy maybe one meal up in the dining room. But to their surprise, they found out that all their meals were paid for with the price of their tickets. If they had paid attention when they bought their tickets, they could have spent the entire trip in the dining room feasting on roast beef instead of cheese and crackers.

Is your relationship with Jesus a feast, or just cheese and crackers?

Where do you find out about the feast? Listen to the Lord. Where can you best hear the Lord? By getting into His Word and then doing what it says.

:3 and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.

covenantb@riyth – covenant, alliance, pledge; treaty

sure ‘aman – (Niphal); to be established, be faithful, be carried; to be carried by a nurse. There’s a hint of tenderness in this word. Tenderness you can count on.

merciescheced – goodness, kindness, faithfulness. One definition of "mercy" is "not getting what you deserved". If you deserve punishment for a crime, but don’t receive that punishment, you’ve received "mercy".

What are the "mercies to David"? It’s a promise of "everlasting" mercy that God made to David:

(2 Sam 7:15-16 KJV) But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. {16} And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.

(Psa 89:2-4 KJV) For I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever: thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very heavens. {3} I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant, {4} Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. Selah.

God is saying to those who come to Him, that He will make an agreement of mercy that will last forever, just like He did with David.

Paul would quote this verse (Acts 13:34), saying that because Jesus was raised from the dead, never to die again, that Jesus was the one who makes possible this everlasting contract of David’s, one of "sure" mercies.

(Acts 13:34 KJV) And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David.

It works like this – The gospel:

God is a just God. He will one day make sure that everything is made right. Every one who has sinned will have to pay their bill. Unless that is, someone else comes along and pays your bill for you. The bill for sin is death, and that’s not a price any of us would really want to pay. But Jesus came and died on a cross, laying down His own immortal, sinless life to take the place of ours. When He rose from the dead, He proved that He not only paid for our sins, but even had some change left over! And now God can offer you a deal where you have your sins paid for if you are willing to trust and follow Jesus. God offers you a gift of everlasting mercy. But like all gifts, it is of no value to you unless you choose to "receive" that gift. Unless Mom opens that Mother’s Day package, how will she get to enjoy the perfume you gave her? You need to open your heart to Jesus and ask Him to pay for your sins.

:4 Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people

him – meaning "David" of verse 3. I believe God is talking here of Jesus, who was of the "house of David".

This probably isn’t talking about King David himself, but more likely the "house of David". David was the first of a long line of kings. Every King of Judah was to be a descendant of David.

Ezekiel speaks of a time when Israel would be restored as a kingdom and he speaks of who will be king:

(Ezek 37:24-25 KJV) And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. {25} And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children's children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever.

Again, this isn’t talking about a resurrected David himself, but a king who would be of the line of David. He’s talking about Jesus.

witness ‘ed – witness; testimony, evidence (of things)

leadernagiyd – leader, ruler, captain, prince

commandertsavah – to command, charge, give orders, lay charge, give charge to, order

:5 Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not

thou – I believe God is speaking to His people the Jews.

callqara’ – (Qal) to call, cry, utter a loud sound; to call unto, cry (for help), call (with name of God); to proclaim; to read aloud, read (to oneself), read; to summon, invite, call for, call and commission, appoint, call and endow; to call, name, give name to, call by

God is saying that the Jews would be used to reach out to the Gentiles, a "people" they didn’t know.

:5 and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee

runruwts – to run. These people, the Gentiles, wouldn’t just respond by walking but in running.

(Isa 55:5 NIV) Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations that do not know you will hasten to you

I think this may be talking of the early Jewish church reaching the Gentile world for Jesus, but it also may have a fulfillment just before Jesus comes back when God is once again working through the nation of Israel. This nation that has been rejected by the world, that has been battered and abused, will one day be the place where everyone wants to go to.

:5 for he hath glorified thee.

glorifiedpa’ar – (Piel) to glorify, beautify

Why would everyone want to pay attention to Israel? Because of what God has done for them.


Being an attractive witness for Jesus.

Has God been doing such a work in your life that when people see you, they "run" to you? Or are they trying to "run" from you? Are you a person that "attracts" others to Jesus.

It can only happen if you are letting Jesus to continue to work on you, making you less like the world and more like Him.

If you’re no different than anyone else in the world, why would they want to be like you?

Sometimes the attractive things come through difficult times.

(Rom 5:3-5 KJV) And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; {4} And patience, experience; and experience, hope: {5} And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

(Heb 12:11 KJV) Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

These attractive qualities of patience, experience (or "proven character"), hope, peace, and righteousness come as we learn and work through difficult times.


Last year at the Men’s Retreat, Bob, one of the brothers from Moreno Valley was sharing with me how he had come to know the Lord. He works as a fireman paramedic in Anaheim. One of the other firefighters was a Christian. And Bob watched him. He watched as Bob didn’t do all the kinds of bad things that the other firemen did in their spare time. He watched as the other firemen made fun of this guy. He watched as this guy never said a bad thing about anyone else in return. He wanted to be like this guy. And this guy led him to the Lord.

Sometimes the attractive things come from taking a bath.

It’s through being washed in the water of God’s Word.

(Eph 5:25-28 KJV) Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; {26} That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, {27} That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. {28} So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

The purpose of the passage is to teach men how to love and care for their wives, and how their wives will grow to be more beautiful as the husbands learn to love them like Jesus loves us. But one of the lessons here is that Jesus is in the process of making us, the church, more and more beautiful by washing us in His Word.

We don’t always have to go through difficult times to grow in the Lord. I think God prefers that we grow and change by simply learning to read and obey the things that are found in the Scriptures.