A Covenant of Peace: Isaiah 54, 55 (4)
Pray Psalm 43.5.
Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God;
For I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.
Read Isaiah 55.4-7.
1. In verse 4, “him” refers to “David” (v. 3), but beyond David, to Whom? For what purpose did God give “him” to the people?
2. What is necessary if we are to seek the Lord?
The “him” mentioned in verse 4, who is “a witness” and a “leader and a commander for the people,” refers to David (v. 3). But it seems to me that “David” is a symbol for the coming Anointed One and Servant, Jesus Christ, Who is the focus of this section of Isaiah’s book. Thus, the pronouns in verses 4 and 5 refer to Jesus (him, you, your – we should capitalize them all). God will make the Servant a Witness to the Lord and a Leader and Commander of His people. And He will glorify this One as the Desire of All Nations (v. 5), the One to Whom the world rushes for the salvation of the Lord.
But all who would know the blessings of the Lord must seek Him and call upon Him (v. 6). They must repent of their wickedness and turn to the Lord for mercy and forgiveness (v. 7). The salvation that Jesus has gained does not come automatically to everyone. Only those who desire Him, and who turn from their sins and call upon Him can expect to know the saving mercy of the Lord.
Our calling is to proclaim the Good News of what Jesus has done, and what God offers us through Him. If we will call them, the nations will come, as many as the Lord calls (v. 5, cf. Acts 2.39). But we must tell people to turn from their sins, humble themselves before the Lord, and cry out to Him for mercy and grace, to forgive their sins and give them new life in Jesus. The urgency of so doing is suggested in verse 6, that people should turn to the Lord when He is right there in front of them, speaking to them through His witnesses about the grace that can cover their sins and make all things new. Now is the day of salvation! People must be urged to repent and believe, lest the Lord move away from them, and they fail to lay hold on His grace.
1. We are appointed as witness to Jesus (Acts 1.8), to call others to seek the Lord and call on Him. How’s that work going in your Personal Mission Field?
2. How would you explain the ideas of seeking the Lord and calling upon Him to an unbelieving friend? What do these require?
3. The promise of verse 5 depends on the mandate of verses 6 and 7. Explain.
Let the wicked forsake his own way, in which he sins; let the unrighteous abandon his thoughts with which he despairs of the forgiveness of sins and according to the prophet’s statement, “return to the Lord, for he will abundantly pardon.” In this “abundantly,” nothing is lacking. Here mercy is omnipotent and omnipotence is merciful. For so great is the kindness in God that there is nothing that he is unable to loose for the converted person. Fulgentius of Ruspe (467-532 AD), Letter 6
You have appointed me as Your witness, Lord, so help me today to…
Pray Psalm 43.
Use this psalm to seek the Lord for forgiveness, strength, guidance, and joy. Let it lift your soul into the very presence of our King
Sing to the Lord.
Psalm 43 (Hyfrydol: Jesus, What a Friend for Sinners!)
Vindicate me, Jesus, plead for me! Make my case against my foes.
Rescue me, do not ignore me, God of strength, relieve my woes!
From deceitful men and spirits, from oppression, mourning sore:
Heed my prayer, receive and hear it, keep me to You forever more.
Let Your light and truth precede me, bring me to Your holy hill.
To Your holy altar lead me, let me dwell within Your will.
Lord, my joy and consolation, You, Who grace to me impart,
hear my joyful adoration; I will praise You from the heart.
When my weary soul is troubled, when despair upon me falls,
let my hope in You be doubled, let me on Your mercy call.
God, my help, my great salvation, I will praise You to Your face.
In Your care my soul I station; let me know Your glorious grace!
T. M. Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006).All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).