Are you Hungry? – Are you Thirsty?
Isa 55:1-9 "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labour on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David. See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander of the peoples.
Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations that do not know you will hasten to you, because of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendour." Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
The exiles in Babylon had been there for years, some all their lives, they’d grown roots, acquired property, prospered, they were secure, settled.
The prophet from God throws into the quiet pool of their complacency a disturbing pebble as he asks: “Does all this really satisfy you?” Your money, your work, your possessions, your reputation, your prosperity – do they really satisfy? Is this what it’s all about – is this it?
Can you say before God who searches the heart, “I am satisfied, I have no sense of thirst, no nameless craving?” Are you satisfied? I don’t mean are you tolerably contented and comfortable on the whole? I mean satisfied as in the deep under-the-surface rest and complete satisfaction of your very heart, a filling of its emptiness, a stilling of all its cravings? Not in the exciting wow times, but when you’re alone, when you lie awake at night, when you’re shut away by yourself.
The apostle Paul says in Phil 4:12 “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” I find that a very challenging statement because it talks about a complete satisfaction and contentment, no matter what’s going on. So what stops me/us attaining this satisfaction? What’s the secret?
I think I may have begun to get an inkling of what it is. During the time when my husband was having a heart attack and I came face to face with the possibility of his death, even in the midst of it all I had a deep-down peace that I can only explain as being the peace of God which passes all understanding. Thinking about this more I’ve come up with a lovely phrase: falling on the promises of God. Think about some of his promises that we can fall on: “I will never leave you nor forsake you”; “underneath are the everlasting arms”; “do not let your hearts be troubled”; “Trust in God, trust also in me”.
Jesus said in John 6:35, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”
Verse 2 of Isaiah 55, in the Living bible, says, “Listen and I’ll tell you where to get good food that fattens up the soul!” Think about the condition of your soul today, how fat, or thin, is it? Does it need fattening up? We’ll starve spiritually without this food as surely as we’ll starve physically without our daily food.
It’s sounds so simple, and it is; come to Jesus, listen to what he says, find food and drink for your souls. This is true satisfaction, we so often make things much harder than they need be, it’s almost as though it’s too easy. You mean all I have to do is come to Jesus and I’ll find this true satisfaction you’re talking about? Yes, in the words of a popular song, “All I desire, all I require, it’s all found in you Jesus.” For us very often the truth is that we can hang on to worries and cares instead of casting them onto him who cares for us.
Do you know this true satisfaction that can only be found in Jesus?
Moving on in our scripture reading, to verses 6 and 7, here we find the prophet pleading with the people, challenging them about the fact that they’d been drifting away from God in their complacency and prosperity:
“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.”
He was calling them back to repentance, they’d been trusting in all the wrong things. Does this seem like a familiar message? Down through the ages isn’t this what man continually does? It’s fascinating that this is a timeless message, as relevant today as it was to the original hearers. We need to be reminded again and again to trust in the Lord and not to our own understanding.
Verses 8 and 9 say:
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Let’s think for a moment about God’s ways and God’s thoughts as opposed to our ways and our thoughts.
All his ways are just: Deut.32:4 “He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.”
His way is perfect: 2 Sam 22:31 "As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless.”
The ways of the Lord are right: Psa 145:17 “The Lord is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made.” Hosea 14:9 “The ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.”
The ways of the Lord are beyond our wisdom and knowledge: Rom 11:33 “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!”
What about our ways? It’s quite simple, we want our own way! Very often, isn’t that the case?
Jer 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Psa 139:17 “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.”
Psa 92:5 “How great are your works, O LORD, how profound your thoughts!”
Consider your thoughts for a moment, what do they consist of? What are you thinking right now? Is your mind wandering? Are there worries or fears?
2 Cor 10:5 says, “…take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Every unkind thought, every false thought, every wicked thought – can all be taken captive and made obedient to Christ. It’s a good one to memorise at 2 o’clock in the morning when you’re unable to sleep, the more you try to stop thinking that thought, the more it insists on being there. Take it captive to Christ and experience the victory over it.
Here’s another lovely scripture for those times when you struggle with wrong thoughts: Phil 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.”
Here’s another lovely thought; God’s thought was to send Jesus. He was the only way in which we could be brought back into that intimate relationship with him, and he still is the only way. The only way we can approach the Father is through the Son, the only way was for Jesus to die in our place to make a way for us to be forgiven, reconciled, brought from darkness into the light of God’s presence. Hallelujah!
Do you know this Jesus?
Do you know the true satisfaction that can only be found in him?
Are you hungry? Are you thirsty?