A light bulb came on in my mind this morning as I read Isaiah 55. I saw four distinct parts to the chapter, leading up to a great conclusion.
First, the part about listening to God.
“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters…”
“Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?”
“Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good…”
“Give ear and come to me, hear me, that your soul may live.”
“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.”
“Let the wicked forsake HIS way and the evil man HIS thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD…”
God’s been showing me, for a while now, how much he longs for me just to listen to him and come to him, willfully removing everything that gets in the way. So reading this started turning on the light bulb…
Then why listen?
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways…”
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Again, this lines up with something God’s been showing me. I’m only really content when I have paid attention to God and know his thoughts and ways. My mind’s workings sink in worth in my eyes when I consider how I’ve seen that God’s workings are perfectly timed and appropriate. Man, he really knows what he is doing…I must appear pretty stupid when I pretend that I know.
How perfect are his ways?
“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth. It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
Okay, so if I recognize that God’s ways are SO much better than mine, and I start to quiet my arrogant heart and stop trusting in my own ways and listen to “the word that goes out from his mouth,” that word CAN NOT FAIL to do its work in me. And, what is more, if he chooses to speak through me, then those words CAN NOT FAIL! How awesome is that! No more weak, forced, and obligatory speech. The words will be perfectly timed, and appropriate for the exact situation that is being addressed. They will achieve their goal, every time. They will sink deep into the heart of the person to whom they are being spoken, and stay there until that person deals with them.
And the climax…
“You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands!”
“Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow!”
“This will be for the LORD’s renown…”
So if I quit trying to feed myself on bread and milk that do not satisfy, but I get the real stuff from God, he will let his word be in me, and speak through me. Then I will go out confidently in joy, and BE LED forth in peace. Nasty dead things (thornbush, briers) will be replaced by beautiful living things (pine tree, myrtle), in my life and others’ lives. The awesome thing is, these things will happen more despite me, than because of me. I will be led forth in peace…the mountains and hills will burst into song, and the trees of the fields will clap their hands, not because of something that I did, but because of Someone doing it through me. “This will be for the Lord’s renown!”
So why drink from the stagnant cistern, when there is a well? Why spend all your hard earned money on bread and wine and milk that just won’t fill you?
–LISTEN, LISTEN TO ME AND EAT WHAT IS GOOD, AND YOUR SOUL WILL DELIGHT IN THE RICHEST OF FARE–