(1) Attention! All you who are thirsty!
Come to the water.
All who have no money!
Come, buy food and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
with no money, and no charge!
(2) Why do you spend money for something that is not food,
Or your hard work for something that doesnâ€™t satisfy?
Listen to me carefully!
Eat good things!
Satisfy yourself with fine food! â€” Isaiah 55:1-2
Yesterday I presented a picture of a town with two shopping malls, one that offered excellent products but gave them away free, while the other charged high prices for things that were useless. I’m guessing that nobody felt yesterday that they would choose that high priced mall with its useless products. In physical matters we are pretty good at making this sort of choice.
Our problem in finding God is beautifully illustrated by this physical analogy. Even better, we could call this our problem with letting God find us. While in physical things we have no problem making such a choice, in spiritual things we not only don’t take the good things that God provides for us, we provide substitutesâ€”expensive substitutesâ€”in their place.
This is fundamentally the sin problem. We often talk about helping our friends to find Jesus, and that’s good. But at the same time we need to understand that they must give up all of the substitutes. It’s the things that we substitute for God that make it so hard to find the real thing. The substitutes look easier, but turn out harder.
Righteousness by worksâ€”working our way into heavenâ€”is something like this. It looks so much easier to grasp. If I just take charge of my own life, organize my own activities, overcome my weakness, and build my strengths, then I’ll be good enough for God to accept. The tragedy is that all of our hard work is for something that doesn’t satisfy. We never quite get to the point of assurance in our relationship with God that way.
But there is another tragedy. What we’re working for is already available free. It may look simpler to earn it, but we can’t. We’ll never get there. We put all our effort into getting something we can never quite get hold of, when all the time God is trying to present it to us free, no charge, no work on our part. It’s almost like the original sin was stupidity!
These two verses are the perpetual call to revival. They are God’s call for salvation, and God’s continuing call to get closer to him. It’s the one we reject day after day, even when we’ve initially accepted it.
This is why God has to let us fail, let us get to rock bottom. Psalm 55 was addressed to the Israelites in just that position. It’s only when we finally realize that all our idols have failed that we will realize that the only answer to our spiritual needs is God.
God’s call is to good things and complete satisfaction. Are you ready to accept it?