On Aug 31, 2014, pastor Darin preached from Isaiah 55:1-3a, 6-11, Bread that Satisfies. In this passage, God, through the prophet Isaiah, speaks to His people who would be in exile due to their rebellion against God, seen in their worship of idols (false gods). In essence, they sought joy and satisfaction in other things besides God. But God now calls His people not to labor for that which cannot truly satisfy and give life, but to come and freely partake of that which truly satisfies: the true waters and rich food of life that are only found through faith in Christ. So, the key idea in the text is that God wants our soul to experience delight by pursuing satisfaction through faith in Christ alone. 2 points to look at:
1. The common pursuit of happiness
a. Labor Day is a good time to reflect on what we’re searching for in our work. Blaise Paschal sums it up: “All men seek happiness. This is without exception…The will never takes the least step but to this object...” All of our actions are motivated by a pursuit of joy. Jesus’ “food” (joy) was to do the will of the Father (John 4:34), seen supremely in His sacrificial death on the cross for our sins so that we could have life and experience His joy (Heb 12:2; John 15:11). Is your food to do God’s will in your life? What is your “food”?
b. The big scam of the world (and our flesh and the devil) is the promise of satisfaction in things other than God: money, sex, body image, power, family, comfort, etc. Verse 2, and all of Scripture, opens our eyes to this scam. Nothing on earth should be made ultimate in our lives, because this is deeply offensive to God (those things become our “gods”), and they cannot give us the lasting joy that only God can give. The goal of pastors (and all church ministry) is to see our joy in God increase (2 Cor 1:24). Let us submit to God’s Word as it is preached from the pulpit and other venues. Get plugged into the life of the church and its ministry and service.
2. How to get the satisfaction God designed for us
a. Recognize our condition. In v. 3, we’re told to come to the Lord so that our soul would live. Apart from God, we may be physically alive, we are spiritually dead (Luk 9:60; Eph 2:1)—we “live in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind.” (Eph 2:3). But God created us with desires that can only be satisfied by His hand, not the world. CS Lewis puts it well: “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”
b. Recognize that in Christ, God gives us a new nature and new desires. In Rom 6:11, the one that is alive to Christ is dead to sin. We have a new nature through faith in Christ that yearns for God, and seeks to grow in the Lord, not out of duty, but out of love for Him. Henry Scougal puts it well: “The love which a pious man bears to God and goodness, is not so much by virtue of a command enjoining him so to do, as by a new nature instructing and prompting him to it; nor doth he pay his devotions as unavoidable tribute only to appease the divine justice, or quiet his clamorous conscience; but those religious exercises are the proper emanations of the divine life, the natural employments of the new-born soul.”
c. Recognize our on-going struggle against idolatry. We are reminded of Israel’s ongoing problem with idolatry. What is idolatry? An idol draws us in on a promise of temporal pleasure, and then it begins to destroy us.
d. We must respond to the invitation from God to “come” “seek,” etc. He invites us to experience a foretaste of heaven now on earth: communion with Him and His presence.
1) How? The pathway to life is listening diligently to God (v.2). Note: This is true in all areas of life: in conflicts, we need to ask if we have truly listened to the other person.
a) Verse 8: God wants to turn us away from the way we have been thinking. When we read His Word, we never exhaust it. God doesn’t tell us merely to read, but to meditate. The desired effect is change.
b) Verse 7: we must forsake our sinful ways. Pray that God would make you aware of sins, and then let them go. Seek trusted folks in the church who can help you. Then ask how you can set a rhythm to your daily grind so that you can commune with God everyday through prayer and His Word.
2) Compare Isaiah 55:3, 7 with John 7:37–38 - Isaiah looks forward to the day when His everlasting covenant—the New Covenant—would be realized through the true King from the line of David, Jesus Christ. The Lord will abundantly pardon all those who turn from their sins and trust in King Jesus alone because His blood was poured out on the cross for us. And now, for those in Christ, rivers of living water flow out of our hearts!
Have you tasted and seen that the Lord is good? Are you still drinking out from the polluted waters of this world? Come now by faith and eat and drink of the body and blood of Christ! In Christ alone is fullness of joy, and eternal satisfaction! Let us each day turn from the scam of the empty promises of our false idols, and rest in Christ by faith through prayer and God’s Word.