(1) "Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters;
And you who have no money,
Come, buy and eat.
Yes, come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without price.
(2) Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And let your soul delight itself in abundance.
(3) Incline your ear, and come to Me.
Hear, and your soul shall live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you—
The sure mercies of David.
(4) Indeed I have given him as a witness to the people,
A leader and commander for the people.
(5) Surely you shall call a nation you do not know,
And nations who do not know you shall run to you,
Because of the LORD your God,
And the Holy One of Israel;
For He has glorified you."
(6) Seek the LORD while He may be found,
Call upon Him while He is near.
(7) Let the wicked forsake his way,
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
Let him return to the LORD,
And He will have mercy on him;
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon.
(8) "For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD.
(9) 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
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This paragraph presents an overall and continuous solution to this weakness in the lives of the converted. First, notice that this paragraph is in the form of a command. It is not a mere suggestion but a direct charge from our Creator. As the reference to David indicates, it is addressed to His people, so His audience already knows Him to some degree. The word "return" (verse 7) confirms this, indicating that He and they already have a relationship, but those He is speaking to have lost some resolve and drifting apart has occurred.
The mention of David appears in verses 3-4. When this was written, David had been dead for about 250 years, so this inclusion inserts some symbolism and moves the time-setting, making it a prophecy that fits it into the end time as well as Isaiah's lifetime. David is a type of Jesus Christ in His office as King, which further confirms that God is commanding this of those who already know and have a relationship with Him. Not only have these people drifted away, but they are also not making the effort to "seek" Him to strengthen the relationship.
The responsibility of those who have made the covenant with Him to seek Him is thus not that of striving to find Him in order to establish a relationship as a relationship already exists. Rather, it is seeking Him in order to be like Him and become more fully intimate with His will.
Verses 1-3 remind us that our relationship with Him is not without cost. This paragraph begins with an urgent command: "Come!" The sense is that paying the cost of seeking is obligatory if the relationship is to continue.
We need to understand our position here. God not only loves us, but He also greatly desires us to be in His Kingdom. At the same time, He wants us to show voluntarily that we desire the relationship. In addition, to reinforce our obligation, we must grasp and fully accept that He has every legal right to command us to do this.
In Isaiah 55:1-3, our part in this relationship is clearly not costly in terms of money, but it is in terms of our lives and how we spend them. Our lives must be lived by faith in the One who redeemed us. Paul describes the Christian life as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1).
— John W. Ritenbaugh