May 1, 2017: Verse of the day


55:6, 7 The pathway of blessing lies in seeking the Lord and in forsaking sin. Those who thus return to the Lord will find Him full of mercy and pardon.[1]

6–7 The call of vv. 1–3 is echoed here, but with a stronger moral emphasis. Earlier the folly of self-willed waywardness was stressed, while here it is its wickedness. Verse 6 implies both a promise and a warning. There is urgency in this call, for the time is not unlimited (cf. 61:2). Both in his lifestyle and the attitudes that lie behind it, the sinner is wrong, so repentance must touch the inner man as well as the outward deeds (cf. Mt 5:21–22, 27–28). The call here is not simply uttered to the people as a group, as in ch. 54, but to the individual (“wicked” and “evil man” are singular). The promise of God’s pardon is assured (cf. 1:16–20; 44:22; et al.).[2]

55:6, 7 Here is one of the clearest OT invitations to salvation now and kingdom blessing later. It gives an excellent example of how people were saved during the OT period. Salvation grace and mercy were available to the soul that was willing to 1) seek the Lord (Dt 4:29; 2Ch 15:4) and 2) call on Him while He is still available (65:1; Ps 32:6; Pr 8:17; Mt 25:1–13; Jn 7:34; 8:21; 2Co 6:2; Heb 2:3; 3:13, 15). Such true seeking in faith is accompanied by repentance, which is described as forsaking ways and thoughts and turning from sinful living to the Lord. A sinner must come, believing in God, recognizing his sin and desiring forgiveness and deliverance from that sin. At the same time he must recognize his own inability to be righteous or to satisfy God and cast himself on God’s mercy. It is then that he receives a complete pardon. His sin has been covered by the substitution of the Messiah in his place (chap. 53). This OT pattern of salvation is illustrated in Lk 18:9–14.

55:7 forsake. An integral part of seeking the Lord (v. 6) is a turning from sin (1:16).[3]

55:6 Seek the Lord while he may be found. Since this is God’s offer, he is free to withdraw it; therefore people should not be foolish and delay (cf. Ps. 32:6). The offer of salvation should never be despised or rejected, for the opportunity may end at any moment.[4]

55:6 Seek the Lord while he may be found. The offer of salvation is not permanently open; it is necessary to respond to God’s gracious invitation while one may do so.

55:7 wicked … unrighteous. God requires living faith, which is demonstrated in repentance and change of behavior (James 2:18; 1 John 1:3–5).

compassion … abundantly pardon. The prophet repeats the invitation of 1:18 with great boldness and directness.[5]

[1] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 982). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[2] Grogan, G. W. (2008). Isaiah. In T. Longman III, Garland David E. (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Proverbs–Isaiah (Revised Edition) (Vol. 6, p. 813). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Is 55:6–7). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[4] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1341). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[5] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2015). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (2015 Edition) (p. 1228). Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust.

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