21 days of prayer and fasting - Isa 55
If you were asked to describe freedom, what would you say?
No pain? No restrictions? No one dictating your every move? These are all very negative. We often think of freedom as getting away from something.
Freedom however is more about getting into something good and life-giving.
Isaiah gives us some positive images of freedom in this chapter.
1. First, freedom as a feast. Refreshing and life-giving water is available freely (as Jesus proclaimed in John 7:37). But there is more: we are free to come and dine.
Have you ever thought about how much God loves parties? Throughout the Bible feasts are significant, celebrating different events and opportunities for people to enjoy time together over a lovely meal.
Even the Law contained three significant feasts when all true Israelites were expected to be together to celebrate, and all have significance for the New Testament people of God:
Passover - celebrating deliverance from Egypt - in Jesus we have freedom from the world and slavery to sin
Pentecost (first fruits) - celebrating the first harvest - in Jesus we have freedom to live in the Spirit
Tabernacles - celebrating the full harvest - in Jesus we have freedom for ever, the completion of God’s purposes when He returns.
Then in the gospels we see much of Jesus’ ministry was over a meal table, and according to John his first miracle was turning water into wine at a wedding!
And the scriptures draw to a close with a feast, the wedding celebration of the marriage of the Lamb: God and His people fully and finally united!
2. Second, relationship with God. Isaiah proclaims we are free to come to God. He offers a new covenant like the one with David. He invites us and all people: Seek the Lord while He may be found!
3. Third, we are free to enjoy the blessings God speaks over us. His word bears fruit. His word is not empty but achieves what He says. If He promises joy and peace then it will surely happen.
The image of trees clapping hands resonates with Romans 8. Creation is subject to ‘futility’ (or entropy or a tendency to decay, or however we like to describe it). But the time is coming when what God says will come to pass and there will be a new heaven and a new earth!
When we break bread (holy communion) we are anticipating the heavenly feast and proclaiming now what will come to pass. As well as looking gratefully back to the Cross, and inviting one another to seek the Lord while He may be found, we are looking forward to the completion of His purposes.
Freedom is worth celebrating!