Accepting God’s Mercy

KEY VERSE: “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near.” —Isaiah 55:6


THE Prophet Isaiah in the preceding chapter announced prophetically the end of the Law Covenant arrangement and the activation by the birth of Jesus of the Sarah feature of the Abrahamic Covenant. It was under this feature of the Abrahamic Covenant that the seed of blessing, Christ and his church, was to be developed. (Gal. 3:16,26-29) The opportunity to be a part of that seed was extended to the nation of Israel first.

We believe the message of the prophet in the fifty-fifth chapter was directed principally to the nation of Israel, admonishing them to take advantage of the wonderful opportunity that was to be held forth to them. In the first verse the prophet indicates that this privilege is held forth to those who “thirst.” For the most part the Jews were satisfied with their status under the Law and this was particularly true of the scribes and Pharisees and other leaders of Israel. The Apostle John stated of Jesus, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” (John 1:11) But a few, a remnant (Rom. 11:5), did hunger and thirst after righteousness and partook of the waters of truth. This privilege was by the grace of God and without price.

The second verse seems to be directed especially toward those Jews who were satisfied with the Law arrangement, the thought being that if their hearts were right, they should recognize they were not receiving the nourishment that would give them life. With some seventeen hundred years of experience it should have been evident that regardless of how hard they tried they could not keep the terms of the Law perfectly, which was necessary if their yearning for life was to be satisfied. It is only the Gospel message that will lead to life and an opportunity to be a part of the seed of blessing.

In verse three the Lord through the prophet holds forth the hope that those who accept the invitation to follow Jesus will have an opportunity for immortal life and to share with Jesus the promise of the sure mercies of David. The promise to David was: “My mercy shall not depart away from him [David] as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established forever before thee: thy throne shall be established forever.” (II Sam. 7:15,16) Jesus was from the line of David and David was a type of Jesus. The essence of the promise is that Jesus and his footstep followers—those who have responded to the invitation—will inherit the kingdom and be the agency used by God to bless humankind in the Millennial Age which will operate under the terms of the New Covenant.

In verse four, the Lord through the prophet states that he has given him (Jesus) “for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.” We know from our study of the Gospels that Jesus was such a witness, not only by word of mouth but by the mighty miracles he performed through the power of God.—Isa. 61:1,2; Matt. 11:1-6

In verse five, the prophet indicates that God, through his fore knowledge, knew that only a remnant of Israel would respond to the gracious call of the Gospel message, and because of that, the Lord would turn to the Gentiles to fulfill the number foreordained. “Behold, thou shalt call a nation [people] that thou knowest not, and nations [peoples] that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel, for he hath glorified thee.” (Isa. 55:5) The Prophet Hosea also foretold of these days: “I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and will say to them which were not my people, thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.”—Hos. 2:23

The Gospel call was extended exclusively to the nation of Israel for seven years in order to fulfill the prophecy in Daniel 9:25-27, which stated that Messiah would confirm the covenant with the nation for one week (or seven years), but that in the midst of the week (after three-and-one-half years) Messiah would be cut off (crucified). But the message continued to be presented to the Jews for the balance of the time. This accounts for the prophet’s urgent admonition, “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near.”—Isa. 55:6

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