Isaiah 55:1-13
Ho, Everyone Who Thirsts!

This chapter constitutes one of the greatest gospel calls to be found anywhere in the Word of God! The language it’s written in is as universal as all humanity, and the opening words of verse one leave no doubt that redemption is offered to all mankind as a result of the sacrifice of the Messiah which was so graphically portrayed in chapters 52 and 53 of Isaiah. You just can’t miss the wonderful universality of the offer of salvation found throughout this chapter.

Isaiah 55:1: "Ho, 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."

This invitation is offered not only to the Jew but to all the nations of the entire world!

This makes it especially plain that, after Israel had rejected God’s invitation, we can make a marvelous application to the Gentiles of the New Testament era here. But the Old Testament prophets didn’t seem to understand that, it was hidden from those prophets. Paul wrote this, in Ephesians 3:2-7. “(If) ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: 3: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4: Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 5: Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 6: That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: 7: Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.”

This passage in Isaiah was written almost 700 years before Christ was born, and it envisions the gospel going out to the ends of the earth, not as a result of Israel's rejection of it, but by her eventual acceptance of it at Christ's second advent and Kingdom Age.

Chapter 54 is a preview of Israel's response to the gospel and restoration for Kingdom blessing. Chapter 55 sees the gospel call going out to all the nations of the millennial earth. Until that time I don’t think you could say that it has gone out to all the nations of the earth.

Verse 1a. "Ho! every one who thirsts! There are a lot of references to water and thirsting in connection with spiritual things in Scripture. Here are a few:
Psalms 63:1: “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;”
John 4:14: “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.”
John 7:37-38: “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, 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.”

There is only one qualification - the sinner who is thirsting must have a strong sense of need;

Matthew 5:6: "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”

The fact that this is addressed in the plural [everyone that thirsteth] indicates that there is a more than adequate supply of God’s grace available to all who seek salvation and spiritual blessing. The blessing of salvation can only come from the offering made by God’s Servant, Jesus Christ, Who provided our redemption.

Using water as a term to prefigure salvation is very fitting because water is necessary to maintain physical life. It’s a proven fact that a person can go without food for several weeks and still survive but water is so necessary to our survival that you will only survive without water for about three days. The “water of life,” the blessing of the gospel and salvation are our only means of eternal survival!

Verse 1b. "Come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price." It seems strange in this day of pre-occupation with finances that we’re asked to come and buy something of such great value without money (or a Mastercard) or even having to work for it. Salvation, which is God’s priceless gift to us, no way can be bought or worked for. It’s an outright gift. The apostle Paul wrote about this priceless gift in 2 Corinthians 9:15. “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.”

A gift can’t be purchased under any circumstances or it ceases to be a gift. The gift of God is already bought and paid for and everyone is welcomed to accept it, even though every one of us is utterly bankrupt spiritually. We have nothing to offer. We are completely dependent on the free grace of God. Ephesians 2:8-9. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

The gospel invitation here in Isaiah is directed specifically to Israel, but it also includes all sinners. Since the time of Christ’s first advent and His death on the cross, the Gentiles have been most responsive to God’s offer, but many of the Jews will return to Him at His second advent. This fact is recorded in Hosea 14. When this occurs, God’s anger will turn away, and the Jews will be restored into Kingdom blessing during Christ’s millennial reign.

Verses 2-4. “Wherefore 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. 3: Incline 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. 4: Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.”

God asks the logical question here, “Why do ye spend money for that which is not bread and your labor for that which satisfieth not?” That’s a legitimate question when we’re really spiritually bankrupt. Also, why do we continually work for and seek after the things that don’t satisfy the deepest longings of the soul? Why, God asks, don’t you listen closely to Me and accept My invitation to salvation. He likens it to sitting down to a free banquet of great food, and indeed:

Salvation is a spiritual banquet, free to all who will accept it. A person doesn’t go from a banquet hungry and salvation will fill your soul's needs and desires.

Verse 3 really is the fore-runner of John 3:16. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” It means receiving the gift of eternal life and your soul shall live eternally. The death of Christ and His resurrection make possible the everlasting covenant guaranteeing the sure mercies of David - the mercies of God's grace covenanted to David that were made possible and confirmed by Christ’s atoning death and sealed by His resurrection.

The "new covenant," recorded in Jeremiah 31:31-34, has application to the conversion of Israel in reference to the Davidic-Messianic earthly Kingdom that is yet to come. The covenant is "everlasting" because it is based on the "sure" mercies that were made-firm by the Messiah's atoning sacrifice. It’s irrevocable and unfailing and guarantees all believers eternal salvation.

Verse 4. “Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.” This Witness and Leader that God has promised is the resurrected and eternally living Messiah, David's greater Son and Lord. He will return to Israel and the nations as “KINGS OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS" for a witness to all the peoples of the earthly Kingdom and the thousand year reign of Christ.

The application of all this to the calling out of the Gentiles in this age is implicit, but it wasn’t explicitly revealed to Old Testament saints; it constitutes the mystery of the church revealed to the apostle Paul as we already read in Ephesians 3:5.

Verse 5. “Behold, 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.”

In the last part of verse 5 the Lord describes the future Israel in Kingdom blessing when she is restored to Him and again identified with Him. This reference to Israel as “a nation that Thou knowest not” is the present day Israel. They have, by and large, rejected God’s Messiah at His first advent so God refers to them as “a nation He doesn’t know,” actually as a nation who doesn’t know Him. At Christ’s second advent, not only will the nation of Israel “run to Him” but many from the Gentile nations will also come to Him and glorify Him.

This refers to the success of the gospel invitation in Israel's own conversion at a later time, and the remarkable evangelistic and missionary witness she will have to the millennial nations. This will come after her own acceptance of the message of redeeming grace at the Messiah's second advent; it also is a prophecy that the Gentile nations of the Kingdom age will be eager to embrace Israel's Lord and Savior. The apostle Paul alluded to this time in history when all Israel will have a ministry to the nations such as he, as a saved Israelite, had individually and, in a sense, prematurely, in his day. His inference is to himself, that God made him a minister of the Gospel in the church age rather that at the later time of Israel’s conversion. He stated, in 1 Corinthians 15:8, “And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.”

Verses 6-7. “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: 7: Let 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.”

The invitation here involves four things: [1] It involves a call to seek the Lord while He is to be found, while the day of salvation is still here. [2] It involves calling on Him while He is near, as He will be in the Kingdom age. [3] It involves repentance-the wicked forsaking his evil way of life and the unrighteous man his evil thoughts. [4] It involves faith - returning to the Lord and receiving God's salvation and pardoning grace.

Verses 8-11. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9: For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10: For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 11: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”

These four verses contain some of the most profound proof of God’s omniscience (all knowing), omnipotence (all powerful), omnipresence (everywhere at once) that can be found anywhere.

Verse 8 proclaims that God Himself, by His wisdom and power, accomplishes His glorious plan of grace. The gospel of salvation by grace through faith is totally apart from human merit or works and is very emphatically not after man's thoughts or man's ways. No human being would ever have attempted to save the eternal soul of another by becoming a sacrifice for their sins, yet that is just what God, in the person of Jesus Christ, did for us.

In verse 9, God states that His words and ways in the salvation of man are as infinitely above man's words and ways as the heavens are higher than the earth.

In verses 10 and 11 He gives an illustration that we all can relate to. It is the blessing of moisture from heaven that causes our food to grow to nourish our bodies and it’s also a picture of His word going forth to bring salvation and blessings to us spiritually.

In very dramatic fashion in verse 11, God declares the power of His holy Word and the gospel of saving grace which it proclaims when He states “and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”

The rain and snow water the earth and it produces seed for the sower and bread for food. In the same manner, in declaring His gospel and promising the salvation of Israel and the nations, God's word will not return to Him without accomplishing what He desires and has planned. It will succeed in the matter for which He sent it.

Verses 12-13. "For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. 13: Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off."

Although there have been millions of people saved already, before the final fulfillment of chapter 55, the actual realization of verses 12 and 13 in the salvation of Israel and the Gentiles at Christ's second advent, is still future in the millennial day. All these, past, present, and future, will only be saved by the Messiah's redemptive sacrifice.

I like to paraphrase verse 12a. like this; “All the saved of Israel at Christ's second coming, will forsake unbelief and sin and gather from the various countries where they were scattered, to their own land with joy and live in peace with the Messiah as their Leader.”

In the second part of verse 12, all nature will rejoice. The mountains and the hills are pictured as singing at the redemption of Israel. The trees of the field are portrayed as clapping their hands for joy because the satanic world system has been destroyed at Christ's second advent. Satan and his demons will be chained where they can’t torment man and the curse of sin will at least partially be lifted for the next thousand years.

Verse 13: "Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off."

The thornbush is the emblem of the curse of sin from back in Genesis 3 when Adam and Eve sinned and the briar pictures the wickedness of sin. Instead of those there will be fir trees picturing godliness and myrtle trees which are a symbol of restored Israel as is mentioned in Zechariah 1.

The transformation of Israel and her land will become a memorial for the Lord as a perpetual commemoration of the Lord's glory in fulfilling His plan and keeping His Word as He promised in verse 11. “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”

I’m going to ask you to search your heart
and find if you know for sure that you have taken the “water of life”
that God so freely offers in verse 1.
To accept the “water of life” simply means to
honestly admit to God that you are a lost sinner
and need the forgiveness
for your sins that only Christ can offer
and to accept this salvation
and claim Him as your Savior today.
You will spend eternity in heaven with Him.
God’s Word backs this promise.
Please accept His salvation right now.