Isaiah 55 Commentary

God’s free provision (55:1-13)

Many of the Jews had made life reasonably tolerable for themselves in Babylon. The prophet knew that they were so settled that they might not want to uproot themselves and face the hardships of life back in their desolated homeland. Many were more concerned with making life easier for themselves than with knowing God and looking to him for their provision. God warns against this self-centred attitude and invites them to trust fully in him. The blessings he gives are free. They cannot be bought with money, but they bring more satisfaction than all the temporary benefits that people might manage to gain (55:1-2).

If the people respond to God’s purposes for them, the divine blessings will extend far beyond the borders of the restored nation. When God’s people take his message to other nations, people who previously had no knowledge of God will become followers of the God of Israel. God’s people will see his covenant promises to David fulfilled beyond their expectations (3-5).

First, however, God requires repentance. When people turn from their sin to God, he forgives them freely according to his mercy (6-7). This mercy is so great that it is beyond human understanding. What God has prepared for his people is greater than they have ever imagined (8-9).

As surely as rain soaks into the ground and makes plants grow (it does not float back up to the clouds), so will God’s promise of Israel’s restoration come true (it will not return to God fruitless). God will lead his people out of Babylon and back to their homeland. The world of nature will rejoice along with God’s people, and their land will become fruitful again (10-13).

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