Singing, “see Him in Jerusalem – see Him there upon the hill”. I let my mind caress that scene and I am thinking how the whole of the history of the world before then had waited with bated breath for that moment. Then I remember the events of the weekend at Noordhoek, where I met Him face-to-face for the first time. My whole life up to then was a preparation for that moment and that moment determined the path of the rest of my life. I think of Jesus’s suffering and relate that to my life – I don’t know that depth of suffering but I have experienced the fallenness of the world.
“As you move through this week in anticipation of next weekend, relate the week to your life so far in this world – remember Sunday when the light of the resurrection breaks through. There will be a moment when your faith will be turned to sight – and you will see Me face-to-face – in My brilliant glorious light – where there is no darkness anymore.”
Returning to Chapter 55. Look at the word, repeated four times in the first verse. “Come“. Further down we see another invitation in vs 6; “Seek the Lord“. Can there be a clearer invitation in this Holy week to move beyond the intellectual acceptance of the events prophesied in chapter 53?
There are a couple of conditions that are applied to the invitation which we should take seriously:
- We are to buy without money. A strange statement, don’t you think? Yet it is quite clear what is meant. What God is offering, is absolutely free. It is, in fact, an affront to offer Him something in return for what He wants to give us. This is such an important principle, which everyone, including us, should take seriously. We cannot earn what God wants to give us free. No matter how we may think our efforts are winning more approval for ourselves, we negate this basic principle.
- How do we receive the enormous benefits He is offering? Vs 3; “Pay attention to Me; Listen, that you may live“. We continue to be confronted by this command. His word is meaningless, unless we listen to it. Not just superficially, but in our hearts, and act on it.
- Vs 6 reminds us of the urgency of this invitation. “Seek the Lord, while He may be found“. It is never too late to be saved, yet the invitation fades if it is not accepted, while He may be found.
- The central point of the New Covenant is what the whole of ch 53 represents. The forgiveness of sins vs 7 b. That is what removes the barrier between us and God. Therefore the whole benefit of the New Covenant only becomes a reality when that forgiveness is received. For it to be received, there must be repentance, 7 a.
- The statement about God’s thoughts, in the immediate context, means we need to allow God to renew our whole thinking. cf Romans 12:2. (It also has a much broader application).
- Verses 10 and 11 remind us that God’s promises are absolutely sure. We can trust them completely.
Lastly, not a condition, but a reminder of the fact that the benefits of the New Covenant extend to the whole world cf vv 3b,4,5.
For me personally, this is a reminder that God continues to call us to “come to Him and to seek His face”. This is not just a once-off action. The more we come to Him, the closer we will get, as we remember all that this chapter is reminding us of. May the happenings in Jerusalem 2000 years ago be vivid in your imagination this week as we approach Easter.