Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD...
I took time to hear Joe Ewen's message, "Come", preached in Harvest Church on January 21st of this year. I mentioned it in yesterday's blog, at the very end. (I won't ask you to do something I am unwilling to do myself.) I had not heard it again, other than the night he first preached it, when I wrote yesterday's piece. But it was heavy on my spirit to listen to it again. So I finished blogging, hit "publish", and then re-played the Scotsman's sermon.
It is a lavish message of grace. I was deeply encouraged, because by the mouths of two or three, every word is established. The compass of Harvest Church, in this season, is established.
Interestingly, it occurred to me how often I have heard the Scripture (at the top of the blog) preached as though thundering from heaven. It occurred to me, with a bit of disappointment, that some might listen to Joe's great sermon, and that one portion of Scripture will be what they hone in on. Sad.
Let's put this portion in context with its own chapter, and the chapters preceding. Context is everything. I've heard it said that a text, taken out of CONtext will con you, every time. You will be ripped off and deceived. Too bad many of us have grown up, spiritually, with bits and pieces taught to us out of context. It makes for a shakey foundation.
Here is the immediate context, before and after:
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.
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. 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.
Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people. 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.
Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: 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.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
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: 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. 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.
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.
This is a message from Mt. Zion! How is it, that some only hear Sinai's thunder? This passage begins and ends in grace. What fool wouldn't want to turn from where he is, presently, and go where the wine and the milk are free? I'd change my mind in a New York Minute, to receive the sure mercies of David, abundant pardon, and to be led forth with peace, with trees clapping their hands for me. That sort of kindness has already led me to many a repentence.
Well, I am out of time. I wanted to further place the "let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts" into the flow of the whole chapters preceding Isaiah 55, where it is found. I suppose that will be another blog for another day.
Suffice it to say, its huge. Huge, huge grace. Unfathomable covenant mercy. Context is everything. I am intent on putting all of Scripture, every verse, in the context of the character of God and the reality of the New Covenant - because Christ was THE PLAN, from before the foundation of the world. Everything God said and did, from Adam to us, has been with His glory and our redemption in mind. It is certainly not a stretch to put all Scripture in that context.