First Reading: Isaiah 55:1-3

YHWH's Invitation

Do you like the idea of a no-cost, "all you can eat" buffet? Why or why not?

1 Come, everyone who thirsts, to the waters! Come, he who has no money, buy, and eat! Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. 2 Why do you spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which doesn't satisfy? listen diligently to me, and eat you that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. 3 Turn your ear, and come to me; hear, and your soul shall live: and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.

World English Bible

These few verses from Second Isaiah represent God's invitation to the people for a heavenly banquet. In the time of the author, the elite of Jerusalem lived in exile at Babylon. While Cyrus the Persian was posed to conquer the city and return the Jews to their homeland, some considered the Babylon their home, while others doubted the reality of return. A general malaise descended over the Jewish quarter in Babylon.

How did God's invitation connect with the depression of the exiles? The better question to ask would be: where was heaven on earth for the Jews? Second Isaiah pointed to Jerusalem! The city of David would provide the gift of spiritual refreshment (water and bread without cost). [55:1] Rebuilding the city would give the people a renewed sense of national purpose (good food and fat). [55:2] And, on the city heights lie the place to hear the word of God proclaimed and renew the covenant, the Temple. The place of divine indwelling! The city and its monuments made the invitation to divine intimacy tangible. The people only need respond to the call of return. Rebuilding the city would provide national renewal.

These verses have remained fresh despite the fact the Holy City's topography has changed and the Temple is long gone. For the invitation to union with God fulfills a deep universal need. As human beings, we were made for God. Without him we are incomplete. With him, we are truly fulfilled.

When and where has God invited you to a closer walk? How does his invitation to "eat and drink without cost" appeal to you? How can you renew a relationship with him?