Invitation to the Thirsty (55:1–13)
6–7 Seek the LORD while he may be found. There is a sense of urgency in this passage: if we do not seek the Lord now, it may be too late to do so later. The Lord waits patiently for us to turn to Him, but He does not wait forever (see Jeremiah 29:13–14).
This passage is really about repentance; repentance involves a positive response (seeking) and a negative response (forsaking): Let the wicked forsake his way (verse 7). Notice that the wicked person must forsake not only his “way” but also his thoughts—his wicked desires, his wicked plans. God knows our self-centered thoughts and motives; these we must forsake. We must take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).
If we turn to the LORD, He will freely pardon us. If we confess our sins, he . . . will forgive us (1 John 1:9). And in this He has given us an example to follow: just as He freely forgives us, so we must freely forgive others (Matthew 6:14–15). Jesus said: “Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8).
8–9 God’s thoughts and ways are much, much higher than ours, but they are not unknowable; God has revealed Himself in Scripture and through His Holy Spirit. God’s thoughts and ways are governed by His holiness, and we are to conform our thoughts and ways to His (Romans 12:2; 1 Peter 1:15–16).
10–11 Just as rain always waters the earth and makes it flourish, so God’s word always accomplishes what He desires (verse 11). God’s speaking and His acting are never separated; His word is as good as His act. We too, when we speak God’s word, can expect results; we may not see the results ourselves, but we can be confident that His word will not return . . . empty.
12–13 When God’s people—in this instance, the exiles—repent and come back to Him, then the way is also open for them to come back to the land, back into His fellowship, His love, and His peace. You will go out in joy, says Isaiah (verse 12). Figuratively, the whole creation rejoices when God’s people are restored to Him. God’s gracious acts of forgiveness and deliverance serve as an everlasting sign of His goodness (verse 13); His acts will never be forgotten.