The Ways of the Lord | Part 3: Benefits

Continuing in our passage in Isaiah 55, we are offered water, wine, and milk.

“Come, everyone who is thirsty, come to the water; and you without silver, come, buy, and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without silver and without cost!  (Isaiah 55:1)

These three beverages—water, milk, and wine—correspond to deep needs that every one of us has.

Water corresponds to the need for refreshment. When you are most thirsty and most desperate, most dehydrated, it’s (Diet Coke … er, I mean) water that you want and nothing else. In this passage, God is inviting us to refreshment … to restoration … to revitalization … 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. What this means is that God is not just for times where we have nowhere else to turn or no choice but to thank Him. We need Him all the time to sustain and grow us.

Wine corresponds to the need for exhilaration. Regardless of how sour or introverted you may be, God made you for exhilaration—for shouting and singing and dancing and playing and skipping and running and jumping and laughing. To know God is to be joyful, playful, festive, or happy. 

So the invitation to both the needy and the self-sufficient is for each to recognize that they both need water. They both need milk. They both need wine.

Now, if the compelling reasons to come aren’t as compelling to you just yet, then consider vv. 6-7. The Lord changes verbs and it adds a new nuance to the invitation.

6 Seek the LORD while he may be found; 
call to him while he is near. 
7 Let the wicked one abandon his way 
and the sinful one his thoughts; 
let him return to the LORD, 
so he may have compassion on him, 
and to our God, for he will freely forgive. 

Notice the relationship between seeking (turning toward) the Lord, and forsaking what we are currently worshipping. To seek and call after the Lord requires us to abandon our current idol.

One commentator on this text used this analogy:

It would be like a man who leaves his wife, moves into his own apartment, has a regular affair alongside his marriage, and then gets on the phone and “calls” his wife and “seeks” his wife. And she says, “Have you forsaken this woman?” And he says, “No, I can’t.” Then she will rightly say, “Then you are not seeking me. Your call is empty. You will seek me and find me as your wife when you forsake her and all others for me alone, just like you vowed!” (Piper)

You should want to seek the Lord because until you seek the Lord, your ways and his ways and your thoughts and his thoughts are as far apart as heaven and earth.

 

NOTE: This sermon series coincides with our church-wide study of Gentle and Lowly by Dane Ortlund.

 

Rob Tims

Rob is Teaching Pastor at Blackman Baptist Church.