Good morning to you all, I am going to base our thoughts this morning on the verses from chapter 55 of the book of Isaiah. You might find it helpful to have the scriptures open in front of you.
This passage is all about an invitation. Now I don’t know about you but I love to receive an invitation to something; a party, a special occasion or even just tea with a friend. An invitation makes me feel wanted. We have been invited to a wedding in June and I am so looking forward to it.
In this passage God sends an invitation to His own people-three times in the space of three verses He says:
We recall that at this point in time God’s people had turned away from Him and had begun to worship idols and so had suffered the consequences of their actions. But God, who is rich in mercy calls His people back to Himself.
He identifies them as ‘those who are thirsty and those who are hungry’ not just physically, but a people who are longing to receive satisfaction.
At this time in our own history, who among us is not longing to find satisfaction? Perhaps to the questions that have been fermenting in our hearts over the past couple of years.
God says: “Come to me”.
All around us we see people searching for meaning and purpose, in all sorts of ways, but God’s word is this; why spend labour looking for things that don’t satisfy? Like God’s people of old, we too in this country have, by and large turned away from God. We live in a post Christian age.
God amplifies His invitation to come to Him by saying: Come and listen. Listen to what I’m actually saying.
We are daily bombarded by sound and information, very little, if any, of it reflecting God’s Word. But God says: “Come and hear what I have to say.”
People nowadays have very little idea of what is in the Bible. I like to watch quiz shows on the television but whenever there is a Bible question, you can be almost certain that 90% of the contestants will ‘pass’ on the answer. Unless of course there is a clergyman on the panel and they don’t always get it right!!
But God speaks through His Word and so often the still small voice is drowned out by the clamour of the world around us.
Coming to God and listening to Him ensures that our souls are fully alive. Jesus said: “I am come that you might have life, and that you might have it more abundantly”.
Here in this passage we see also the witness of King David who had experienced God’s goodness and glory first hand. You can read about it in Psalm 63 which is also set for today.
Then we see, in verse 5, that coming to God and receiving His faithful love makes us attractive to those around us. God’s church and His people are supposed to be “endowed with splendour” as this passage puts it. It is our birth right and our heritage as Christians and draws people to the light that is in us.
Finally, our response. Just as I have replied to my wedding invitation - it would be rude not to - we must reply to God’s invitation to us; we must seek God while He is near; while He is calling us; while His invitation is still on the table.
For the wedding I shall hopefully have some new clothes and some new shoes! I shall prepare myself by looking clean and presentable - I won’t be going in my gardening clothes.
In the same way, God asks us to get cleaned up, to turn away from sin and turn to the Lord who will freely pardon and forgive us and in Christ Jesus make us holy and right with Him.
Throughout time and throughout His Word God has been calling people to come to Him. He is still calling. Will you respond to His invitation?