April 29th 2010

Whose Voice Do We Listen To?

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labour on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.”

Isaiah 55:1-3 (NIV) 

Humanity, even if it denies it, has a great spiritual hunger that is not being satisfied. Here God invites us to come to him for everything we need to satisfy the deep spiritual hunger in our lives. This is one of the most famous passages in scripture and a favourite of many. The imagery here is of a market, specifically the marketplace in Jerusalem. If you’ve been to a souk in Morocco or Turkey, you will have an idea of the picture Isaiah paints. In a souk traders are everywhere, the streets and alleyways are narrow and crowded, goods are stacked in the pathways and all around the entrance to the many little shops. Market traders almost physically drag you in to look at what they have to sell—they offer deals and bargains, special prices ‘just for you’ and use all manner of persuasions to get you to buy. Noisy people are shouting, traders and people are haggling, there are competing voices all trying to get you to buy from them. That’s the setting for the offer we read about here; and in this cacophony of traders crying, come to me, buy from me, the voice of God himself says, “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.” 

God makes us an offer of salvation—it’s free, he says, even if you don’t have any money—come and buy. You can have it without cost because my Son has already paid in advance for you. Sounds unbelievable, doesn’t it? And that is all that God asks of you—that you believe it! God offers us salvation through his Son. It’s free and we don’t have to do anything to get it, apart from believe. Incredible—what an offer! It’s better than any offer you will get in any souk anywhere on earth. 

But even though God has touched our lives and given to us this great salvation, we do live in today’s world where there are many distractions and we still hear the competing voices of the marketplace yelling, “buy from me”.  The voices of materialism and consumerism, among others, can distract and tempt us. But the voice of God says to us, “Come to me, come to me.” 

This favourite passage of many contains much for us. One key lesson though, is let’s not keep listening to those voices of the marketplace that are all around us; don’t let them distract—instead listen and respond to Gods invitation to satisfy our deep spiritual hunger and to set us free to eternal joy happiness and salvation. 


With all the things vying for our attention in this world today, Lord, help us to listen to your voice. May we drink of the fountain and eat the priceless bread of life.


Study by Ray Walker 

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