Isaiah 54-57
(Thy Word Is Food for My Soul)
July 30th

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

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Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.

- Isaiah 55:3 (KJV)

Summary of Chapters

This group of chapters continues the broader topic of the servant of Jehovah. Chapter 54 describes Israel as a barren woman who is about to bear young. God says he briefly abandoned her because of her sins, but will bring her back. He commits to never again rebuke her in the same way, just as he made his promise to Noah. Although he will continue to allow man’s free will: “If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing (Isa 54:15 - NIV).”

In Chapter 55, the LORD calls all who are thirsty to eat and drink and most importantly to listen to the word, which is food for the soul.

    Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.

    - Isaiah 55:2 (KJV)

Chapter 56 explains that the salvation will be for all people:

    Let no foreigner who has bound himself to the LORD say the LORD will surely exclude me from his people.
    - Isaiah 56:3 (NIV)

    The temple will be for all people, “for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations."
    - Isaiah 56:7 (NIV)

Where in the New Testament have you seen that last verse quoted?

In the second part of the chapter the LORD admonishes the leaders of Israel who were more concerned with leisure than caring for their people.

In chapter 57, the prophet describes how the righteous perished but entered into peace. Meanwhile the idolaters who sacrificed their children and abandoned God for wood and stone will never have peace. The final section of the chapters offers comfort, as God says he was angry with the people of Israel, but he will offer to heal them and give them a new language for worship. However, he ends by repeating his statement from an earlier chapter that “there is no peace…for the wicked (Isa 57:21 - NIV).”

Reflection and Application

The analogy of eating and drinking appears often in the Old and New Testament because this is an activity that everyone can relate to, even those in our modern era.

In Chapter 55, the LORD says that his word is food for the soul. What does that mean? The Message translates one of the verses from chapter 55 as "Why do you spend your money on junk food, your hard-earned cash on cotton candy? Listen to me, listen well: Eat only the best, fill yourself with only the finest (Is 55:3)."

Our bodies need food to operate. We can fill our bodies with nutritious meals or junk food. Both might seem good to the taste, but only one can truly sustain us. Likewise, our souls need something to sustain them. We can try to fill it with possessions or idols of our creation or false religion, which are the equivalent of junk food. But those will never satisfy our souls, and we will not find peace by pursuing them.

God created our bodies to be fueled by a balance of fruits, vegetables, healthy proteins, and liquids. If we try to put something else in our tanks, then our engines will fail, either that same day or over time. God also created our souls, and the only way to truly satisfy the soul is a relationship with God based on his word, his commands, and fear (respect) for him.

Therefore, God calls us to listen to him. We can listen by reading what Isaiah and other authors say in the Bible and we can also listen throughout our day because we never know when God is going to reach out and grab us. Maybe he will speak directly to us or maybe he will speak through the work of someone who went before us. Take some time to look around you throughout your day for scripture displayed by other people in unexpected places. One might be a message for you.

The answer to one of the questions from above is provided here. The verse in Isaiah 56:7 was quoted by Jesus in the book of Matthew when he overturned the tables of the moneychangers because they were taking advantage of the people buying sacrifices for the temple:

    Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. "It is written," he said to them," 'My house will be called a house of prayer,' but you are making it a 'den of robbers'

    - Matthew 21:12-14 (NIV)

It seems reasonable to conclude that few things arouse the anger of God more than the desecration of his house. We are called to ensure that all of the activity in our places of worship is appropriate for God’s house. If not, we are called to challenge the people who are violating God’s command. We don’t need to turn over tables the way Jesus did, but should approach the organizers with a civil discourse. If that does not work, then bring one or more members or elders for a follow up discussion.

Blessings, written and performed by Chance the Rapper

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

Related Questions
  1. What is your favorite vegetable and why?
  2. How does your weekly percentage of leisure time compare to the weekly percentage of worship and service or ministry time? Is there room for some degree of re-allocation?
  3. In what way is God's word feeding you today?

Recommended Prayer
Father in heaven, we know you have offered salvation for all people. Help us to spread the word to everyone.

Suggested Prayer Concerns
Organic Farmers

Looking Ahead

Tomorrow's reading: Isaiah 58- 60 (The Coming of the Glory of the LORD)

Comments and Questions
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