Saturday

“Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near.” (v. 6)

Isaiah 55:1-11 Saturday 17 January 2015

Psalm: Psalm 81


Background

Today's passage focuses on the concluding verses of the secondpart of Isaiah. They offer an invitation to "everyone" (verse 1) tocome and be satisfied by God's abundant generosity. No one need beexcluded, the offer is open to rich and poor; indeed no amount ofmoney can buy what God is offering (verse 2). It's also aneverlasting offer (verse 3), an eternal commitment being made byGod to all people that his love for them will last for ever.

For a people with the recent experience of conquest and exilethat must have been just what they wanted to hear. Their recentmemory of "com[ing] to the waters" (v. 1) was to the rivers ofBabylon, where "we sat down and ... we wept when we rememberedZion" (Psalm 137:1). It had been a long, difficult andpainful period in their history, when all had felt lost. Now thoughsomething altogether more hopeful was not only on offer but feltlike a reality.

However the people also needed to be reminded that this newbeginning meant that they had to leave their old ways behind. Theycould not just return to Jerusalem and make the same mistakes astheir predecessors did. The covenant being offered was a two-waycommitment. A people who once again felt near to God should reflectthat in the way they lived their lives, giving up their wicked waysand thoughts (verse 7). It means, as Paul suggested (Romans6:1-11), leaving behind the dead life of sin and instead movingin to a new relationship with God that will bring with it a newstart and a new life.


To Ponder

  • Be still, feel God's nearness to you and "call upon him whilehe is near".
  • Give thanks for the many ordinary yet wonderful thingsthat youtake for granted each day such as fresh water, food and shelter,and pray for those who cannot take these things for granted.
  • Read the Covenant Prayer and, if possible, commit tolive by it. 
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