Come And Drink

Monday, March 03, 2014, 12:37 a.m. – The song “Songs in the Night” has been playing in my mind for about an hour now, and I cannot sleep, so I got back up to hear from the Lord. Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 55 (NIV).

To The Thirsty

“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."

Those who are thirsty are those who are desiring, craving, longing, and are hungry or are yearning for something they do not presently have. To desire something is to want it strongly. To crave something is to feel a great need or desire for it. [Resource: Encarta]

These are not the casual observers, nor are they the generally curious, or even the slightly interested. These are those who sense a deep need for something or someone beyond their natural ability to grasp or perhaps even to understand. They might not even know what they are hungry for, but they know something is missing in their lives – something they may not even be able to explain with words, but something deep down inside feels empty. They have a God-void in their hearts, whether they realize it or not, and only he can fill it.

They are invited to come to the waters – to come to salvation by faith in Jesus Christ alone. There is no exchange of money involved in receiving these waters, for Jesus Christ already paid the penalty for our sin when he died on the cross for our sins. There is nothing we can do to deserve or to earn our salvation. It is a free gift of God’s grace. All we must do is believe in Jesus’ sacrificial atonement (payment) for our sin, by God’s grace, through faith – a gift from God - a faith which allows the Spirit of God to transform our hearts away from the control of sin over our lives, to a walk of faith – a walk in the Spirit of God – in his righteousness and holiness within us.

What Doesn’t Satisfy

Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare.
Give ear and come to me;
listen, that you may live…

I believe all humans have a built-in need for God. He is our creator. He is the one who breathed life into us. In Romans 1 it says that all people know about God, i.e. God has made himself known to us through what he has created. We can see his divine character and qualities in the sunrise and the sunset, in the birth of a newborn baby, in laughter, in sorrow, in the stars in the sky, and in the intricacy of the human body and how it all works, etc. So, we all have this ingrained knowledge of and need for God, though some people may suppress it, while others will look other places, and to humans, and to the gods of this world to fill that void. Yet, only in Christ Jesus can that need (thirst; hunger; longing) be truly satisfied. All other things and people will still leave us feeling empty inside, continuing to crave for more, seeking after what will never satisfy the deep longing of our souls.

I believe this passage applies, though, not only to those outside of faith in Jesus Christ, but also to those who have come to know Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives. Sometimes we get lost and we forget our way, and we begin to turn to other gods of this world and to humans to fill this hunger and thirst that only God can fill. So, we come up empty every time – hurting, guilt-ridden, and/or sorrowful over our sins of rebellion against God, or else we suppress the quiet voice of the Spirit within us and we close our ears and eyes so we cannot hear and see, and so we can continue down the path we know is wrong, but for what ultimate end? Oh, why do God’s people persist in wandering from him and his truth, following after what will never satisfy, only to come up empty?

Seek the Lord

Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.
Let the wicked forsake their ways
and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

In the previous section of this passage we are counseled to listen to the Lord’s voice, to eat what is good (him and his salvation), and to come to (approach; move toward) him, and we will live (spiritually speaking - given everlasting life). Here we are also called to seek him while he may be found; to call on him while he is near. Not one of us knows how much time we have on this earth. We can’t count on tomorrow, for it may never come. So, we must seek (run after; pursue; follow) God/Jesus while we still have the opportunity to do so.

We are counseled with urgency to listen to God. To listen involves much more than just engaging our physical ears to hear what another is saying. We can hear without really listening, in other words. To truly listen to someone we must make a conscious effort to hear what the other is saying, not just in audible words, but also in intent, meaning, and in heart. It means that we give our full attention to what the other person is saying and then we take into account what we hear, processing it through our minds and hearts, and sometimes, as such as is the case here, then to take to heart what is said and thus to make the necessary changes in thought, heart, attitude and/or behavior that would demonstrate that we truly did listen (See Jas. 1:22-25).

The necessary changes here are that we stop looking elsewhere to have our God-need met, that we stop running after other gods, and that we seek (run after) God with all our hearts in response to his invitation to his great salvation. It means forsaking our lifestyles of living for self and sin, being transformed of the Spirit of God in heart and mind, and turning to the Lord Jesus to have our needs met, instead of seeking after the gods of this world. All this is the working of the Spirit of God within our hearts as we cooperate with that work through faith. The Holy Spirit does not possess us and overtake us so that we become puppets on a string. We must choose to follow God with our lives, and we must daily yield to and submit to his Lordship over our lives. Then we will be satisfied with “the richest of fare.”

His Thoughts / Our Thoughts

“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.
As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

We are not to rely upon human reasoning and understanding. We are not to try to do God’s will our way. God doesn’t think like we do. We are not to try to find our fulfillment and satisfaction in what is sinful or in what will never satisfy. We are also not to make up our own version of the gospel, or of Jesus Christ, thinking God is like us, for he is not. He tells us over and over in scripture that to come to him we must turn from our sins, forsake our idols, and that we must turn to him, and follow him and his ways (See Lu. 9:23-25; Eph. 4:17-24; Gal. 2:20; Ro. 6; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Jn. 1-5).

Again, this turning from sin and turning to follow Christ and his ways is the working of the Spirit of God within us. This is not based on human effort to gain salvation, yet we must cooperate with that work through allowing God to change our hearts and by submitting to the Spirit’s work in transforming us away from lifestyles of sin to walks of faith in Christ’s righteousness and holiness. God’s word will be fulfilled, whether we choose to believe it or not. There is salvation in none other than Jesus Christ. He is the only way to the Father in heaven. True faith involves submission, surrender, yielding, repentance and following our Lord in obedience, not in the flesh, but in the Spirit of God and in his strength within us.

Go in Joy

You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.
Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper,
and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the Lord’s renown,
for an everlasting sign,
that will endure forever.”

When we cease looking for love, joy, peace, satisfaction and fulfillment in the things of this world, and in the people of this world, and we submit to the Lordship of Christ in our lives, running after him with our whole hearts, we will know true joy and peace that only God can give, and we will rejoice in our salvation, because Jesus Christ set us free from slavery to sin, and he gave us new lives to be lived in his righteousness and holiness within us. Amen!

Songs in the Night / An Original Work / December 18, 2013

“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God,
And the other prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:25 NIV ‘84

Lord, I praise You forevermore.
You, my Savior, I now adore.
Hope in heaven awaiting me,
Because You died at Calvary.

I have been forgiven,
And I’m bound for heaven.
Jesus set me free from
All my sin, I say.
I will praise Him always!

Lord, I love You for all You’ve done:
Overcame death, my vict’ry won!
Jesus saved me, and now I’m free!
I rejoice in His love for me.

I will walk in vict’ry!
My sin is but hist’ry!
I am free to please Him
With my life today.
I will love Him always!

Lord, I thank You for giving me
A new life bought at Calvary.
Loving Jesus, I meet with Him.
Tender mercies now flow within.

Lord, I am so thankful;
Through my Lord, I’m able
To sit at His table;
Fellowship with Him.
I will thank Him always!