"Come, all of you who thirst, come to the waters; and you without money, come, buy, and eat! Come, buy wine and milk, without money and without cost!
1. It is addressed to thirsty ones. The figure occurs in Isaiah 44:3 also. What more powerful figure can there be for desire, and for the pain of unsatisfied desire? It is especially Oriental. It brings up the image of the hot, sandy waste, and by contrast that of the cool, bubbling fountain. Hunger and thirst are the "eldest of the passions," and it may be added, in a sense, the youngest; for age cannot still them, nor constant satisfaction take off their edge. They are daily, they are recurrent, they are the expression of life itself. Hence they may well symbolize the ardent desire for salvation (cf. John 7:37; Psalm 42:2; Psalm 63:1; Psalm 143:6). And what can better represent salvation than water - the well that springs up into everlasting life? Waters, floods, overflowing streams, or copious showers, are often used to denote abundant blessings from God, especially blessings under the rule of the Messiah (Isaiah 35:6; Isaiah 43:20; Isaiah 44:3).
2. It is addressed to each and all. The invitation is bounded only by the thirst - the felt need. Not the rich, the noble, the great; not the select and the few; but those who partake of a common want, and are capable of a common satisfaction. "It proves that provision has been made for all. Can God invite to a salvation which has not been provided? Can he ask a man to partake of a banquet which has no existence? Can he ask a man to drink of waters when there are none? Can he tantalize the hopes and mock the miseries of men by inviting them to enter a heaven where they would be unwelcome, or to dwell in mansions which have never been provided?" (cf. Matthew 9:28; Mark 16:15; John 7:37; Revelation 22:17). It is addressed especially to the poor. "No man can excuse himself for not being a Christian because he is poor; no man who is rich can boast that he has bought salvation."
II. THE BLESSINGS DESCRIBED. "Buy." The word is properly used of grain. "Its use here shows that the food referred to can be called equally well 'bread' or 'wine and milk,' i.e. it belongs to the supernatural order of things" (Cheyne). And the buying is to be understood spiritually. The blessings are only to be obtained for "that which is not money and not a price." It is faith, or the hearing of the inner ear (ver. 3), which is meant. In the wine we may find a symbol of gladness (Judges 9:13; 2 Samuel 13:28; Psalm 104:15). The blessings of salvation cheer men amidst their sorrows; and one of the firstfruits of the Spirit is joy. Milk, again, is the symbol of nourishment (Deuteronomy 32:14; Judges 4:1; Judges 5:25; John 7:22; 1 Corinthians 9:7). It is joined with "wine" and with "honey" in Song of Solomon 4:11; Song of Solomon 5:1. These blessings are rich and satisfying as compared with the pleasures of the world. The latter may be emphatically described as not-bread - less satisfying. Happiness is our being's aim. But men seek it in erroneous ways. Bread is the support of life, and stands as the symbol of all that conduces to support life in the spiritual sense. "In ambition, vanity, and vice, men are as disappointed as he who should spend his money and procure nothing that would sustain life." Men toil for that which defeats their aim, because it does not satisfy. The blossom of pleasure "goes up as dust;" the fruits are those of the Dead Sea, "turning to ashes on the lips." The desire of the human soul is as insatiable as the grave. Where is the man who has been satisfied with ambition? Alexander wept on the throne of the world, and Charles V. came down from the throne to private life, because he had not found royalty to satisfy the soul. In one respect we are all like Alexander - our happiness is disproportioned to our appetites. Nature seems scanty, and, though we have never so much, we still long for something or other more. But to those who hearken to God, there is promised a perfect luxuriation (Isaiah 66:11) in good things. "Fatness" stands for the richest food (Genesis 27:28-39; Job 36:16; Psalm 65:11), and hence for the abundance of blessing flowing from the favour of God (Psalm 36:9; Psalm 63:5). "Man seems as boundless in his desires as God in his Being: and therefore nothing but God can satisfy him." All else is "love lost" - is part of "the great lie or cheat that overspreads the world."
III. THE EVERLASTING COVENANT. Mention of it is made seven times in Isaiah. The idea of the original covenant, broken by Israel and renewed by Jehovah, is specially characteristic of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31:31-33; 32:40; 50:5). The loving-kindnesses shown to David by Jehovah are meant (cf. Isaiah 63:7; Psalm 89:49; Psalm 107:43; Lamentations 3:22). "David is probably to be understood in a representative sense; he is radiant with the reflected light and spirituality of the Messianic age." These loving-kindnesses are "unfailing" (Psalm 89:28). For Jehovah's word cannot be broken, and the reward of piety extends to the latest posterity (Exodus 20:5, 6). David is termed a "witness to the people," apparently in the same representative sense. God, then, binds himself by solemn promises to be their God, their Protector, and their Friend. The promise was not to be revoked, was to remain in force for ever; and he would be their God to all eternity. Let them, then, hear, and their soul shall live. Religion is life (John 6:33; John 5:40; John 8:13; John 20:31; Romans 5:17, 18; Romans 6:4; Romans 8:6; 1 John 5:12; Revelation 2:7-10). Hearing is the means whereby the soul is enlivened (John 6:45; John 5:25; Acts 2:37; Matthew 13). - J.
For this is as the waters of Noah unto Me.I. WHAT MEN HAVE MOST TO FEAR. All men who are unsaved ought, with fear and trembling, to dread the wrath of God — the wrath present, and the wrath to come. The text speaks of the Lord's being wroth, as of an evil to be feared. Man has cause to be afraid of "the rebuke of God" — that stern rebuke of the Holy One which is the prelude to the lifting-up of His unsheathed sword, and the destruction of His adversaries.
1. Gods wrath is matter for fear, because to be in union with God is necessary to the happiness of the creature.
2. This wrath of God is to be feared all the more because there is no escaping from it. A man who is under the wrath of a monarch can escape to another kingdom; a man who has incurred the anger of the most mighty enemy can find, somewhere in this great world, a nook wherein he can conceal himself from his relentless pursuer. But he that has exposed himself to the wrath of God cannot save himself from the Almighty hand.
3. There is this also to be dreaded in the wrath of God, that there is no cure for it. Nothing can possibly give a man ease or safety when the rebuke of God has gone forth against him. He may be surrounded with temporal comforts, but his riches will only mock his inner poverty. Friends may utter words of cheer, but miserable comforters shall they all be. Instead of the mercies of this life becoming any comfort to him, when a man has the wrath of God resting upon him, it is written, "I will curse all your blessings."
4. The rebuke of God, if we live and die impenitent, is one against which we cannot harden ourselves. We cannot gather strength to endure when God strikes at the heart and dries up the spirit.
5. Remember the overwhelming fact that the wrath of God does not end with death.
II. WHAT THE SAINTS NEED NEVER FEAR. Dreadful as it is, and more than sufficient to overwhelm the spirit with dismay, a fear of the wrath of God need never disturb the believer's heart. God has sworn that He will never be wroth with His people. He does not say that He will never be so angry with their sins as to chasten them sharply; for anger with our sins is love to us. He does not say that He will not be so angry as to punish us; although there would be great mercy even in that; but He goes much further, and says that He will never be so wroth with His people as even to rebuke them. "What! say you, "then doth not God rebuke His people?" Ah, verily, that He doth, and chasten them too! but those rebukes and those chastisements-are in love, and not in wrath. The text before us is to be read thus: "I will not be wroth with thee so as to rebuke thee in indignation." There shall never be so much as a word of wrath from the lips of God, touching any one of His servants whose righteousness is of Him.
1. This, to make us sure of it, is first of all confirmed by an oath. We ought to believe God's bare word: we are bound to accept His promise as certainty itself; but who will dare to doubt the oath of the Eternal?
2. As if further to illustrate the certainty of this, He is pleased to draw a parallel between His present covenant oath and that which He made in the days of Noah with the second great father of the human race.(1) The covenant made with Noah was a covenant of pure grace. This covenant is paralleled by the covenant in your ease.(2) The first covenant with Noah was made after a sacrifice. The same reason so works with God that He will not be wroth with you, nor rebuke you.(3) That covenant which God made with Noah was openly propounded in the ears of the whole race. Noah and his sons heard it, and we have all heard it. Now, when a man makes a promise, if it is in private he is bound by it, and his honour is engaged thereto; but when his solemn promise becomes public, he stakes his character among men upon the fulfilment of his word. Now, since the Lord has made public this gracious word — "I will not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee, does He not intend to do as He has said?(4) God never has broken the covenant which He made with Noah. If the Lord be so faithful to one covenant, why should we imagine, even in our worst moments, that He will be unfaithful to His other word which He has spoken concerning our souls?
3. If this be the ease, that God will not be wroth with us, nor rebuke us, then the greatest fear that can ever fall upon us is gone, and it is time that all our lesser fears were gone with it. For instance, there is(1) the fear of man. When we clearly understand that God is not wroth with us, we feel raised above the rage of mortals.(2) So, too, we need not fear the devil. If God will not be wroth with me, nor rebuke me, why should I fear though all hell's legions should march against, me? If God will never be wroth with us, nor rebuke us, we need not fear any of the chastisements which His may lay upon us. There is a vast difference between a blow that is given in anger and a pat that is given in love.(4) How this alters the look of death. If death be a punishment to a believer, then death wears gloomy colours; but if death itself has changed its character, Show delightful is this!(5) After death shall come the judgment, and in that last great day the Lord will not be wroth with His people; if the reading out of all His people's sins before an assembled world must imply a rebuke, then it shall not be done, for He will not rebuke them. So then, what should we fear? What indeed? The Lord grant us to be afraid of being afraid!Conclusion: If it be so, that God has sworn that He will not be wroth with us, then —
(1) (2) (3) (4) ( C. H. Spurgeon.)
(2) (3) (4) ( C. H. Spurgeon.)
(3) (4) ( C. H. Spurgeon.)
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
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