In the first part of Chapter 55, Isaiah describes the glorious and abundant banquet that God has prepared and bids all to attend — both Israel and the Gentle nations. This banquet is none other than the life offered through the work of his Servant, Jesus Christ. It is a banquet far more satisfying and fulfilling than anything else we can imagine and it is offered to all who hunger and thirst free of charge and entrance requirement. Isaiah is astonished that anyone would refuse such an offer.
We saw that the way into the feast was to listen and believe. Now we’re going to see that part of that listening and believing is repentance and that people refuse the banquet because they don’t want to turn from their old ways.
Definition of Repentance (55: 6-7)
- Repentance (“turn and return”) is a 180º turning away from old habits and thoughts.
- Repentance is actively seeking God.
- For contrast read the story of Saul and the Amalekite plunder in 1 Samuel 15.
- Repentance is not mere sorrow; it’s not distress over the consequences of sin and neither is it self-pity.
- Repentance is not a work we do on our own power in order to gain God’s favor.
- Repentance is a response to grace, not a cause of it.
- God is accessible, near and truly forgiving (55:6-7).
- Consider the story of King Manassah (2 Chronicles 33).
The Necessity of Repentance (55:8-9)
- The difference between God’s holiness and our sinfulness is greater than the chasm between heaven and earth.
- The bridge between them is the Servant and the cross.
The Hope of Repentance (55:10-13)
- Like the rain which does not return without making the earth fertile, so God’s word will not return to Him without accomplishing His purposes.
- His purpose is leading His people out of bondage to sin and into a new creation.
- In other words, He will solve the problem of our sin. And we can have confidence that what He said He will do, He will accomplish.
For more: Servant Song Overview Chart