The Provision Which Cannot be Purchased
Isaiah 55:1
Ho, every one that thirsts, come you to the waters, and he that has no money; come you, buy, and eat…

In a country like our own we hardly know what thirst means. Few Englishmen have suffered from intense thirst. A man must live or travel in other latitudes to be exposed to this evil. But judging from the accounts of those who have suffered, we conclude that it is almost, if not absolutely, the severest and most intolerable sensation to which "flesh is heir." It may . very well be taken as a picture of -

I. THE UNSATISFIED CRAVING OF THE HUMAN SOUL. The hunger and thirst of the human heart must necessarily be more serious by far than the cravings of the body; for they are the longing, the yearning, the keen and imperious demand of our higher and truer self. Man thirsts after God. Spite of all the downward tendencies, the earthward inclinations, the sensuous leanings of our human nature, it remains true that there is a profound, ineradicable crying of our soul after the living God (see Psalm 42:1; Psalm 63:1).

1. The intelligence of man thirsts for the ultimate Cause of all things.

2. The immortal spirit which man (not has, but) is, thirsts for the satisfying joy which is only found in his fellowship and his service.

3. The guilty heart of man thirsts for a thorough reconciliation with him. Man knows that he has sinned, that he is condemned, that his guilt stands as an impassable barrier between him and his God, and he earnestly longs to be forgiven and restored, so that he may again lift up his face to his Divine Father in filial confidence and joy. But he asks - How? "How shall man be just with God?" (Job 9:2). "Wherewith shall we come before the Lord?" (Micah 6:6, 7). Beneath all the louder cries that fill the air, deep in the soul of man is the demand - What shall we do that we may live before God and with him? There can be no final rest in our heart until this question has been answered in our experience.

II. THE PRECIOUS PROVISION WHICH IS OFFERED US. In the truth which God has revealed in his Word, and more particularly in that Son of God who is himself the great Revelation of the Father, we have that which satisfies our spiritual need.

1. It is that which slakes our spiritual thirst. "Come ye to the waters." Water relieves and removes thirst as nothing else will. The forgiveness, the restoration, the reinstatement which is in Jesus Christ perfectly satisfies the intense craving of the soul. It brings a surpassing, transcendent peace.

2. It is that which nourishes the soul in all spiritual strength. "Buy... milk."

3. It is that which gladdens it with true and abiding joy. "Buy wine."

III. THE PRICELESSNESS OF THIS DIVINE PROVISION. The prophet may indeed say, "Buy;" for these provisions are worth all the wealth that the most opulent can offer. But he has to add, "without money and without price;" for these blessings cannot be earned or purchased by us. God cannot sell his love, his mercy, his restoration of erring children. He does not meet us on the ground on which a creditor meets his debtors. He is, indeed, a Divine Creditor; we owe him ten thousand talents of reverence and gratitude and service we have never paid. But he does not demand of us some pence in the pound before he certifies that we are free. We frankly confess that we have nothing to pay, and he "frankly forgives us all" (Luke 7:42). God offers us his redeeming love, everlasting life, as the gift of his grace - a glorious gift, freely offered on his part, and to be gladly accepted on ours. He necessarily imposes conditions; but these are open to every soul, and none need reject them; they are the turning away of our hearts from sin, and the acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Divine Saviour and Lord. - C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

WEB: "Come, everyone who thirsts, to the waters! Come, he who has no money, buy, and eat! Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

The Proclamation and Expostulation of Mercy
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