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[Begin with aside from Matt. 23 about the Pope’s visit this week to the United States – what would Jesus say of the Pope and the message of salvation offered by the Roman Catholic Church?]

Chapters 54 and 55 are the response that God calls for to His completed work of redemption accomplished by His faithful Messiah/Servant on the cross of Calvary. Remember what we studied last week from chapter 54:

Review – chap. 54



— Fruitful, Growing Family

— Committed Love in Marriage

— Glorious Fortified City

Now in Chapter 55 – let’s read the entire chapter to see how it all fits together; then today we will spend our time on the first 5 verses



Who is invited to come to God? — Graciousness of God

The Gospel of God is Superior in terms of its Universal and Grace Oriented Invitation


How can anyone be saved by God? — Wisdom and Power and Sovereignty of God

The Gospel of God is Superior in terms of its Power to Save


What will be the outcome of God’s saving work? — Majesty of God

Our God Saves and Our God Reigns Forever!

The Gospel of God is Superior in terms of its Outcome

Jer. 2:13 “For my people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water.”




Who is invited to come to God? The Graciousness of God

The Gospel of God is Superior in terms of its Universal and Grace Oriented Invitation

A. (:1-2) Free Universal Gospel Invitation

1. (:1) Everything You Need Offered Without Charge – No Salvation for the Self Righteous

a. Free Water and Bread of Life

“Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters;

And you who have no money come, buy and eat.”

3 Prerequisites:

– You must recognize that you have need

– You must recognize that you are bankrupt and cannot afford to pay to have that need satisfied

– You must have the desire to come to God for salvation

Motyer: Yet alongside this emphasis on freeness, the verb buy is repeated. The thought of purchase is not set aside; this is no soup-kitchen, even if the clients are beggars. There is a purchase and a price, though not theirs to pay. They bring their poverty to a transaction already completed. . . There is enough for all but each must personally respond.

b. Free Wine of Joy and Milk of Nurturing

“Come, buy wine and milk

Without money and without cost.”

David Thompson: There are three different drinks mentioned in verse 1 – water, wine, milk. The waters represent that which gives life; the wine represents that which gives joy; and the milk represents that which gives growth. God offers every sinner a full abundant life. God offers every sinner a fulfilling, joyful, and purposeful existence. He offers any sinner a refreshing, fulfilling, and happy, and developing life. All He asks is that you be honest enough to admit you thirst for it.

In the Middle East, water was a premium commodity. Having an abundance of water was considered to be a special blessing of God (Isaiah 41:17; 44:3). Wine and milk and bread were staples of the diet. What God does is offering them a free everything. Everything they were working for, God offers to give them by pure free grace.

Ladies and Gentlemen, see what God is saying here because this is totally foreign to every false religion. Every false religion presents the idea that you can be saved and fulfilled if you give it your best and if you try your hardest. The Pharisees in Jesus day had all kinds of things you could do to be right with God. The Islamic religion in our day has a strict list of demands which include prayers and pilgrimages and bizarre rituals to be saved. The Catholics have a merit system they have invented that if you follow, such as masses, money and candles, you will be saved. Many Protestants have developed their laws and rituals for guaranteeing salvation. All of these systems are based on the idea that sinful man can make a bargain with God. Salvation becomes, as Spurgeon once said, “an auction mart, where each man bids as high as he can … to procure salvation” (Spurgeon’s Sermons, Vol. 10, p. 93).

God does not make deals with men. He offers free grace. God offers infinite, free grace without any cost to you at all. God doesn’t require your promises, your commitments, your works, or your pledges. All He requires is that you recognize your sinfulness; and if you have a thirst for God, the moment you believe on Jesus Christ or turn back to Jesus Christ, that thirst will be fully quenched.

Piper: Water corresponds to the need for refreshment. When you are most thirsty and most desperate, most dehydrated, it’s water that you want and nothing else. “He leads me beside still waters, he restores [refreshes] my soul.” God invites you this morning to receive refreshment, restoration, reviving, a new beginning.

Milk corresponds to the need for ongoing nourishment. When someone is gasping for life, you give them water. But when you want a little baby to grow day after day, you give it milk again and again. God is not just for emergencies and mountain peaks. He is for health in the long haul. He invites you not only to come alive with water, but also to be stable and strong with milk.

Wine corresponds to the need for exhilaration. We want to live and not die. We want to be strong and stable instead of weak and wavering. But that is not all we need in life. No matter how stoic, unemotional, phlegmatic, laid-back, or poker-faced we may seem to others, there is a child inside of every one of us that God made for exhilaration—for shouting and singing and dancing and playing and skipping and running and jumping and laughing.

Parunak: If Zion is issuing the invitation, the Gentiles are the guests. v. 4 offers the Messiah, not to the “people” singular, but to the peoples, an expression that Isaiah uniformly applies to the Gentiles. The nation, now restored, turns her message toward the Gentiles. . .

The story of Joseph reminds us of a time when the Gentiles provided physical food to Israel and his family. Now Isaiah anticipates a time when Mother Zion, restored from her folly, offers spiritual food to the Gentiles. . .

When Joseph loads their sacks on the second trip, again he returns the silver they have brought:

Gen 44:1-2 And he commanded the steward of his house, saying, Fill the men’s sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put every man’s money in his sack’s mouth. 2 And put my cup, the silver cup, in the sack’s mouth of the youngest, and his corn money.

Israel was hungry for physical food. They sought to buy food from the Gentiles, but in fact, they received it “without money and without price.” Try as they might, they couldn’t pay for it. Now Isaiah anticipates a day when the tables are turned, and Israel invites the Gentiles to come and buy food without payment.

2. (:2) Only God Can Satisfy – No Salvation for the Self Sufficient

a. Futility of Seeking Satisfaction From Fleshly Striving (Broken Cisterns)

“Why do you spend money for what is not bread,

And your wages for what does not satisfy?”

Piper: Describes the Self Sufficient — So two kinds of people are invited by the Lord: the thirsty who are broke and cannot pay; and the thirsty who think they can pay and work their way to satisfaction. The first kind of person is spiritually bankrupt and knows it. They are thirsty and broke. But the second kind of person isn’t there yet. He’s got money and he is spending it. He’s got strength and he is laboring.

b. Fulfillment of Receiving Satisfaction From God’s Grace

“Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,

And delight yourself in abundance.”

Constable: After getting their attention, Isaiah, speaking as God and for God, called the thirsty to come and drink freely, and to the hungry to enjoy a free meal (cf. Prov. 9:5-6; Matt. 5:6; John 4:13-14; 6:32-35; Rev. 22:17). Water, that formerly represented the Holy Spirit (cf. 32:15; 44:3), was now available to the people because of the Servant’s work. Jesus extended a similar invitation to those in His day to come to Him to receive this water (i.e., eternal life through the Spirit; John 4:10-14; 7:37-38). The Lord’s offer was to buy what was free. The only way to do this is to use someone else’s money to purchase it. It was the Servant’s payment for sin that made salvation free for those who count His “money” good.

Oswalt: The first section (vv.1-5) calls the people to listen to and receive God’s wonderful promise of a new covenant based on the earlier Davidic one. Part of the wonder of that covenant is that it is free. Whereas the gods of this world require a high price for what is ultimately dust and ashes, the Lord offers for free a relationship that will never end and that has universal implications.

Application: God is a very Inviting God

B. (:3-5) Missionary Vision for the Messiah and His Followers

1. (:3) Messianic Missionary Provision for the Gentiles

a. Invitation Issued

“Incline your ear and come to Me.

Listen, that you may live;”

Commanded to come to God who alone can grant life; who alone can satisfy

b. Promise Confirmed

“And I will make an everlasting covenant with you,

According to the faithful mercies shown to David.”

Inclusion in God’s gracious everlasting covenants – initially with Abraham; but here the emphasis is on the Davidic covenant

2. (:4) Messianic Missionary Posture (Roles) Towards the Gentiles

a. Witness

“Behold, I have made him a witness to the peoples,”

Beall: The pronoun “him” in v. 4 could thus refer either to David or to the object of the “faithful mercies of David,” namely the Servant Himself. It is difficult to decide for sure. If it refers to David, it refers to his future role in the Millennium (see also Ezek 34:23-24; 37:24-25). The term (“leader”) used here is also used of David in 1 Sam 13:14 and 25:30; but it is also used of the Messiah in Dan 9:25. In light of the overall context (and the work of the Servant so in view in these chapters–see esp. 49:6), it is probably best to see v. 4 as referring to the Messiah. Because of the work of the Servant, Israel would summon nations from afar (nations she did not know), and nations that did not heretofore know Israel would run to her. Salvation would be open to all, and thus all nations would come to Israel to learn of the Lord, Israel’s God and the Holy One of Israel, who had glorified her. The picture is that of Israel and the nations in the Millennium, similar to that of Isa 2:2-4.

Motyer: The idea of world testimony is rooted in the Davidic psalms (e.g. 9:11; 18:49; 57:9-11; 108:3-4; 145:21).

Young: He is a witness, not in the sense of a witness in court, but as one who through his life and words proclaims the truth to the nations. He will be a witness both against sinners (Mal. 3:5) and on behalf of the truth (John 18:37). To the nations the truth was not known as it was to Israel, and hence it is to them that the Messiah is a witness.

b. Leader and Commander

“A leader and commander for the peoples.”

Parunak: Ps 89 describes this promised seed as “a faithful witness in heaven.” Zion goes on in v. 4 to recall that promise, quoting God (chart). Here’s a paraphrase:

I [Zion] offer to you Gentiles an everlasting covenant, the same one that God promised to David in Ps 89. Here is God’s promise: “Behold, I have given him, the Davidic king, for a witness to the peoples, by which I mean a leader and commander to the peoples.”

We will study this promise in more detail, but we should pause to grasp the flow of the thought. The literal food and drink that Zion offers her guests is the Messiah. God’s covenant promise to her through David is not for her to hoard selfishly. As Gentile Egypt once fed Israel with physical food, she is now to feed the Gentiles with spiritual food, the promised Messiah. As Egypt’s corn was purchased by others and provided free to Israel, so the spiritual sustenance that the Gentiles crave is available to them “without money and without price,” because another has purchased it at great price.

The heart of the covenant is a Person, who is described in the next verse. This notion of covenant-as-person recalls the Lord’s words to his servant in 49:8,

Isa 49:8 I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people.

“leader” — The word literally means “the one who is in front”

“Commander” — The emphasis here is that the promised Davidic seed will not only rule his people as leader, but also instruct them as Moses did.

Motyer: Leader is used thirteen times of the kings of Israel and Judah (of which seven refer to David) and is predominantly used to stress the divine appointment of the king. It is probably used for that reason here. Commander is used only here as a title, signifying the authoritative nature of the royal voice.

3. (:5) Messianic Missionary Promises Relating to the Gentiles

a. Inclusion of Gentile Nations

“Behold, you will call a nation you do not know,

And a nation which knows you not will run to you,”

Motyer: Such will be the magnetism that not even the jingoistic barrier of having to acknowledge the God of another nation will prevent the ingathering of the world.

b. Invocation of the Name of God

“Because of the LORD your God,

even the Holy One of Israel;”

c. Intention of Glorifying the Messiah

“For He has glorified you.”

Piper: The missionary thrust of the church will be most successful when the glory of God is most evident in the daily life of the church. When we let our light shine and when people see our good works, they will glorify our Father who is in heaven. . . The beautification of the body of Christ is an invitation to a broken world.

I intend that unknown peoples around the world be called to the banquet of salvation. And I intend that when they are called, they will come running. I will accomplish this by sending my church to call them to the banquet, and by beautifying the church with holiness and grace. And I have appointed the Son of David as witness and leader to the peoples—he will go forth in word and power, and his word will not return empty but accomplish that for which I send him. To join him in this great work is not a burdensome caboose behind the boxcars of blessing. If one box car is full of water to give life, if another is full of milk to give growth, this is the boxcar full of wine—the most exhilarating cause to live for in the world.


– What a gospel message we have to proclaim to the world!

– Why would someone want to hew out for themselves broken cisterns that cannot hold the water of life and of peace and of joy?

– Why would someone refuse the gracious offer to Come to God who has paid the price in full and graciously gives salvation at no cost?

– Why would someone not want to participate in the blessings of the covenant that God made with David – allowing us to live in an environment where God reigns in peace and righteousness?



Last week we looked at the first 5 verses and answered the question: Who is invited to come to God for salvation? The gospel of good news is truly a “whosoever” gospel. It doesn’t matter if you are Jew or Gentile. It doesn’t matter if you are black or white. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor. It doesn’t matter if you are well-connected or a nobody. You are invited – in fact commanded – to come and buy the water of life, the milk of nourishment and the wine of a joyful, fulfilled life. And to buy without any cost to you; in fact it is futile to carve out for yourself broken cisterns that cannot satisfy. Only God can provide salvation.

The Gospel of God is Superior in terms of its Universal and Grace Oriented Invitation




How can anyone be saved? The Wisdom and Power and Sovereignty of God

The Gospel of God is Superior in terms of its Power to Save

A. (:6-7) God’s Pardon Must Be Sought by Repentance and Faith

1. Requirements to Receiving God’s Gracious Invitation

a. (:6) Respond While the Opportunity Remains – Seek and Call in Faith

“Seek the LORD while He may be found;

Call upon Him while He is near.”

We see here that God demands a Seeker mentality. Wait a minute, you must be saying. How many times have I heard you preach from this pulpit that

Rom. 3:10-12 “There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; All have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one.” Quoting Psalm 14:2

Heb. 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”

In fact there are many Scripture passages that speak to both sides of this equation. What gives?

Clearly, there are different types of seeking. There is that which comes from human effort, from the flesh which has no desire or power to cleave to God in genuine faith. Then there is that seeking which is a result of the work of the Holy Spirit drawing someone to God in repentance and genuine faith. That is why we can criticize the methodology of the church growth movement which seeks to minimize the role of doctrine and of the Word of God and appeal to man’s desire to be entertained. Their emphasis on man’s felt needs and their accommodation of the gospel message to try to make it more appealing to the world stems from their false presupposition that man can seek and find God if they are just attracted with alluring bait. Just present the human intellect with the right arguments and allow man’s reason to seek the truth. They are ignorant to the fact that all men are spiritually blind and dead and unable to respond to the gospel apart from the convicting and drawing ministry of the Holy Spirit. So they design their church approach accordingly to cater to what they imagine is this sincere, Seeker Mentality.

The Seeker Mentality which God demands here is Isaiah 55 is far different. There is no minimizing of the reality of sin. There is no reduction of the attributes of God so that He is just a God of love. He is presented as the Holy One of Israel. It is clear that our sins have put us at enmity with a God whose standards we break all of the time in both thought and deed. We must come to the point where we are broken over our depravity and desperate for the salvation that only God can provide. The seeking and the calling here are those inspired by faith and those that are expressed in repentance from sin. This requires the work of God in the heart of man.

But the emphasis on this passage is not on how to seek after God or how to call upon Him in faith; rather it is on the urgency of responding to this free offer of salvation. Today is the day of salvation. There is a day and hour coming when there will be no more opportunity. There will be no second chance when Jesus returns to this earth – only judgment and condemnation. And in the life of each individual, who knows how God is working. Certainly every rejection of the gospel leads to a further hardening of the heart; at some point it is too late for you as an individual. Seek and call before it is too late. God will not always be findable; He will not always be accessible.

Oswalt: Isaiah tells his people that it is not information that they should seek from God, but his presence and his character, gifts that he longs to give to them. . . In Ezekiel the prophetic (and divine) disgust with those who were constantly seeking a word from the Lord but were never seeking the Lord himself is explicit (e.g., 20:1-4).

Ps. 95:7-11 “Today, if you would hear His voice, do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah”

Translated “rebellion” – the place in the wilderness where the Jewish people of the Exodus complained against the lack of water and expressed their rebellious hearts and their lack of faith

(Ex. 17:1-7; Num. 20:13 “Those were the waters of Meribah, because the sons of Israel contended with the Lord, and He proved Himself holy among them.”

b. (:7a) Repent — Turn Away From Wickedness

“Let the wicked forsake his way,

And the unrighteous man his thoughts;”

Motyer: The whole chapter pivots on the call to repent. On the one hand, repentance is the way to enter the great, free feast; on the other hand, the call to repent is a word of God bringing with it its own power of accomplishment. As the rain furnishes both seed and bread, so the word of God plants the seed of repentance in the heart and feeds the returning sinner with the blessed consequences repentance produces.

Repentance lies at the heart of the gospel message. It is at this point that we must stop and examine the type of false gospel that seems to be sweeping over Christendom in our day. It is a gospel which sees no need for genuine repentance from sin. It has watered down the biblical demand for repentance to mean just an intellectual change of mind about who God is – as opposed to a fundamental inner change of heart and mind that leads to a change in action as we re-orient ourselves to the rightful Lordship of our God. So there are many evangelists who will call for a decision to receive Jesus as if He represents a life insurance policy against eternal punishment in hell – but only as a Savior who can be tacked on to your existing lifestyle as an appendage with no real conversion and life change. So we invent terms like carnal Christians to describe that vast multitude who have professed at some point in time some decision for Christ but have no fruit to demonstrate any life change. So we invent artificial distinctions like a post-conversion decision to commit ourselves at some point to the Lordship of Christ and take that step to elevate ourselves from just being a child of God with eternal benefits to now being a true disciple of Jesus Christ. That was never the gospel message that Jesus preached.

Helpful books:

Walter Chantry – Today’s Gospel – Authentic or Synthetic? Published back in 1970

By elevating unity over truth, we have lowered the content of the gospel message to the lowest common denominator so that we can get more groups and missionary societies to work together. But the result has been a gospel that dethrones the Lord Jesus Christ. We have a gospel message without any emphasis on:

– The character of God – especially His holiness

– The law of God – what truly constitutes sin and how does the Holy Spirit convict men of sin – it is not enough to try to convince men that they are not perfect – they need to see themselves at the core of their being as sinful

– The necessity of repentance and what that involves

“Today men are properly told to confess their sins and to ask forgiveness. But evangelists and pastors are forgetting to tell sinners to repent. Consequently this misinformed age imagines that it can continue in its old ways of life while adding Jesus as a personal Hell insurance for the world to come.”

– The true understanding of assurance of salvation deriving from the work of the Holy Spirit – not just promising them assurance based on some decision they have just made that may not have involved the new birth experience from a sovereign God

John MacArthur – The Gospel According to Jesus – What does Jesus mean when He says “Follow Me?” published in 1988 He traces through the various gospel incidents that demonstrate the approach which Jesus took in calling sinners to Himself – that approach differs drastically from much of what is called evangelism today

“The gospel Jesus proclaimed was a call to discipleship, a call to follow Him in submissive obedience, not just a plea to make a decision or pray a prayer. Jesus’ message liberated people from the bondage of their sin while it confronted and condemned hypocrisy. It was an offer of eternal life and forgiveness for repentant sinners, but at the same time it was a rebuke to outwardly religious people whose lives were devoid of true righteousness. It put sinners on notices that they must turn from sin and embrace God’s righteousness. It was in every sense good news, yet it was anything but easy-believism.

Our Lord’s words about eternal life were invariably accompanied by warnings to those who might be tempted to take salvation lightly. He taught that the cost of following Him is high, that the way is narrow and few find it. He said may who call Him Lord will be forbidden from entering the kingdom of heaven (cf. Matthew 7:13-23).”

Acts 17:30 “God now commands all men everywhere to repent”

Faith and Repentance are always two sides of the same coin – where you find one, you find the other

c. (:7b) Trust — Turn to the Lord

“And let him return to the LORD,”

Look at the example of how the Prodigal Son returned to his loving father – he forsook his life of following the lusts of his flesh and returned to his father

This returning involves an embracing by faith and dependence that is much more than mere intellectual assent of who God is

2. (:7c) Response on the Part of the Lord

a. Mercy and Compassion

“And He will have compassion on him;”

God’s salvation is rooted in His mercy and compassion towards us; Look at how Jesus went around on earth demonstrating His heart of mercy and compassion

The verse does not say that God “might” have compassion – that would not be good news

We are commanded to repent and believe; God promises to have compassion and forgive

b. Pardon and Forgiveness

“And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.”

What a gospel!

– Is there anyone who has sinned beyond the ability of God to pardon?

– Will we ever find God’s forgiveness to be inadequate to deal with the depths of our sin?

Remember the story of the cleansed lepers that Jesus healed – only 1 came back to fall at His feet and offer up thanksgiving

We who have been forgiven much need to forgive others as well – What should be the limits of that forgiveness that we offer?? Abundant

B. (:8-9) God’s Plans are Inscrutable and Majestic – He Alone Has the Solution We Need

1. (:8) Different Than Man’s Eternal vs. Finite

“’For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the LORD.”

Mark 10:23-27 apart from God salvation would be impossible

Oswalt: (Re second section, vv. 6-13) It may seem that God should be unable to offer restoration to wicked people and that it would be futile to seek the Lord as the prophet is urging, but he says we should do it anyway (vv. 6-7) because:

(1) our understanding is not the measure of what God can do (vv. 8-9);

(2) God’s word is absolutely dependable [and efficacious] (vv. 10-11); and

(3) God promises wonderful results (vv. 12-13).

Oswalt: what is wrong with human ways and thought and requires one to turn away from them is that they are not God’s thoughts and ways. This same point is made in Prov. 16:1-3 (cf. also Prov. 3:5-6; 21:2). Our ways and thoughts have been perverted by original sin, and it is only as we turn from them to God and his mercy that we can ever have peace with him and live lives that will be truly productive.

2. (:9) Superior to Man’s Infinite and Majestic vs. Finite and Creature-like

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”

Beall: God’s salvation is beyond human comprehension and accomplishment

Young: the ways and thoughts of God are incomprehensible to man. Even though God reveal them to man, he cannot fully understand them

Parunak: The idea that a holy God could forgive his rebellious people is remarkable. The fundamental ethical problem in the Bible is how a sinful people can live in fellowship with a holy God. That is why the confession of Exod 34:6 is so important, and why it is quoted so often throughout the OT. Zion has invited the people to come and drink freely, though they cannot merit the refreshment that they crave. Isaiah has invited them to seek the Lord, even though they are wicked and unrighteous. A thoughtful reader will ask, “How can this be? How can the truth of my wickedness and God’s mercy meet together? How can God’s righteousness and my peace kiss each other? (Ps 85:10)?”

People do not behave this way. They do not give away food and drink for nothing. If they are wronged, they demand retribution.

Jim Bomkamp: God’s people, the Israelites, were slow to learn and understand the ways of the Lord, as really most of us human beings are in this life. The glorious and grandiose plans that the Lord had for Israel, especially as she sat as a miniscule remnant captive and humbled in Babylon, must have been hard to imagine or comprehend. Only the eye of faith could see that what God had promised that He was able and could be trusted to fulfill. The people could only through faith trust in a God who is able to do abundantly beyond what they were able to ask or think, in restoring them as a nation and honoring and exalting them over all the nations for all of eternity.

C. (:10-11) God’s Purposes are Achieved by the Productivity of God’s Word

1. (:10) God’s Word Comes From Heaven to Bring Blessing to the Earth

a. Comes From Heaven

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,”

b. To Bring Blessing to the Earth

“And do not return there without watering the earth,

And making it bear and sprout,

And furnishing seed to the sower

and bread to the eater;”

Piper: The Word of God is a Seed of Life:

1. it waters the earth,

2. it makes it bring forth,

3. it makes it sprout,

4. it gives seed to the sower, and

5. it gives bread to the eater.

Motyer: There is a gift which comes from heaven; it is absolutely given (it does not return), effectively brings life (making it bud and flourish) and provides totally for human need (seed and bread). The parallel between the life agency of rain and the effective word is exact. Each has a heavenly origin and power of effectiveness and neither fails.

2. (:11) God’s Word Accomplishes God’s Purposes

a. God Sends it Forth

“So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth;”

b. God Prospers its Mission

“It shall not return to Me empty,

Without accomplishing what I desire,

And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”

Piper: The Word of God is Sovereign and Triumphant.

What an incentive to evangelism! There are many who have criticized the doctrines of grace (election, effectual calling, limited atonement, etc.) as somehow decreasing the motivation to evangelize – God is going to save whoever He will, so why do I need to make such an effort??

But actually the opposite is true. Since God has pledged to bless His word with power and effectiveness, we who have been called as the agents to dispense that word throughout the world must be about the work of the Great Commission.



What will be the outcome of God’s saving work? — Majesty of God

Our God Saves and Our God Reigns Forever!

The Gospel of God is Superior in terms of its Outcome

Celebration by both parties – the saved celebrate in their experience of joy and peace and the Savior celebrates as His saving work becomes and eternal monument to His legacy of grace and power and majesty

A. (:12a) Imagery of Victory Parade – Joy and Peace

“For you will go out with joy,

And be led forth with peace;”

B. (:12b-13a) Illustrations of Joy and Restoration

1. (:12b) Illustration of Joy

“The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you,

And all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”

2. (:13a) Illustration of Restoration

“Instead of the thorn bush the cypress will come up;

And instead of the nettle the myrtle will come up;”

The Fall brought God’s curse upon all Nature so that man’s work was frustrated by the inhibiting forces acting against fertility and productivity

Rom. 8:22 reverse of the curse “For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.” Full redemption of all creation

C. (:13b) Immutable Memorial

“And it will be a memorial to the LORD,

For an everlasting sign which will not be cut off.”

Importance of a legacy – here we have the eternal legacy of the Lord

Just like the rainbow was a significant sign which the Lord gave to the world that He would never again judge the world with a universal flood; now all of restored creation stands as an everlasting sign to God’s graciousness; His wisdom and power and sovereignty, and His majesty

Constable: The transformation of the world following the lifting of the curse will be observable. While this description is obviously figurative—hills do not shout for joy, and trees do not clap their hands literally—it represents a real change in nature, not just the joy that will pervade all creation. This is a description of millennial conditions on the earth after Jesus Christ returns to the earth to rule and reign (cf. 35:1-2; 41:18-19; 44:3). If it were not so, there would be no everlasting sign. As the Passover was a sign to the Israelites of God’s first redemption of them from Egyptian bondage, the transformed earth and people will be a sign to all God’s people of His second redemption of them from Satan’s bondage.

Beall: God’s salvation results in everlasting joy (55:11-12). Vv 11-12 conclude this section by explaining that the redemption accomplished by the Lord would result in the people’s going forth in joy and peace. Emphasis in v. 11a is on the words “joy” and “peace,” not on the going forth. The picture is that of the redeemed marching from captivity to Zion. As Young states, the verb “go out” may have its roots in the exodus from Egypt, and “if there is any reflection upon an exodus from Babylon, such a departure is only one example of the deliverance intended” (p. 385). In fact, because of the rest of vv. 12-13, it seems best to see the time frame as the Millennium, where there will be true peace (54:10; Isa 9:6-7). The mountains and trees are depicted poetically as rejoicing along with the people: all of nature rejoices in their salvation (see Rom 8:22: “The whole creation groans and travails in pain”). Instead of thorn and brier (from the curse of Gen 3:18, though different terms are used here), will grow the cyprus and the myrtle. During the Millennium, the land will indeed become quite fertile, as other verses in Isaiah have stated as well (35:1-2; 41:18-19). These natural phenomena will be for an everlasting sign that will not be destroyed. They will show the greatness of the Lord, the superiority of His ways, and the wonder of His redemption.

Parunak: At this point Isaiah’s voice returns, marked by the third person reference to the Lord. This shows that this final clause is not a part of 12-13a, but a separate paragraph, and in fact it gives the significance of God’s work of forgiveness. Vv. 8-13a tell us that God’s thoughts are different from ours, but why should they be different? The answer lies in God’s overall purpose to exalt himself.

and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.–This final clause is critical. Why does God think thoughts of good toward his people? It is not first of all for their sake, but for his own, to make himself a reputation before the watching universe. This is the same motive we saw at the end of the first invitation, in v. 5. God promises to make many nations subject to the covenant witness-leader-teacher, not for their sake, or even for his, but “for the sake of the Lord thy God.” Forgiveness is God’s great self-glorification before the universe, manifesting at once his authority as the law-giver, his power as judge, and his mercy and grace as the one who provides a way of forgiveness.

Motyer: The transformed people in a transformed world will be an everlasting sign, will “signify” who and what the Lord is. When people respond to the Lord’s word calling them to seek, forsake and return (6-7), the effective power of that word (10-11) brings them into an experience of the love, forgiveness (7) and peace (12) of God and lifts them into membership of a new world of eternal duration. This is what the Servant accomplished.

Young: Human kings and conquerors erect memorials to testify of their mighty deeds. The King of Kings also has a memorial, the redemption of the creation. The inscriptions of human kings are often destroyed, or their letters become blurred . . . No later king, however, will ever undo the deeds of Israel’s King, nor will any later conqueror ever erase His words. He has redeemed His people, brought them out of the servitude and bondage of sin unto Himself, established them in the heavenly life, and brought about a new heaven and a new earth. His sign will never be cut off


Rev. 22:1-5, 17

This tone of celebration should prepare us to properly celebrate the Lord’s Table together this morning.