In an age of so much, why do we act as if we have so little? Why is satisfaction so elusive? Why do we struggle to be content?
I want to examine the first seven verses from Isaiah 55 and study this thing called satisfaction. I think there are 4 helpful principles that we can extract:
1. EVERYONE IS HUNGRY & THIRSTY
This passage opens with, "Come, everyone who thirsts..." (55:1). Isaiah never writes that only a particular group of people are seeking satisfaction. Every person who has ever drawn breath has sought satisfaction.
In His divine wisdom, God built spiritual hunger and spiritual thirst into the heart of every human being. Everyone is seeking fulfillment, hope, and meaning and purpose. Whether they know it or not, there's a void in their soul that can only be filled by God.
This hunger and thirst for satisfaction is both a grace and a danger. It's a grace, because we can hunger and thirst for God, but at the same time, we'll chase after dangerous things, hoping they'll satisfy the twisted desires of our heart.
Here's what you need to understand: everyday you'll wake up hungry and thirsty, and everyday, you'll chase after something in the hopes of satisfaction. What are you chasing? Be honest and don't be too quick to say, "I chase after Jesus."
2. CREATION DOESN'T SATISFY
The passage continues with, "Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food." (55:2).
Isaiah makes it clear that there are two contrasting substances available: those which satisfy the soul and those which don't. We know from Scripture that the creation fails to satisfy the soul, but from the beginning of time, we've bought the lie that somehow we can find life outside of God.
Maybe it's an achievement. Maybe it's a possession or collection of possessions. Maybe it's a relationship. Maybe it's an experience. Here's a helpful diagnostic: ask yourself, "If only I had ________, then I would be happy." What created thing occupies that blank space?
If the created world doesn't satisfy, then what does satisfy? The answer, of course, is Jesus. Without getting into too much detail, verses 3-5 are referenced in the New Testament by the Apostle Paul (Acts 13) and point to the person and work of Christ.
My point is that sometimes we think "church-y" things will satisfy our soul. By all means, you should attend Sunday worship, participate in a small group or Bible Study, and serve in various ministry capacities. But you shouldn't do those things in the hope that they will satisfy you.Jesus is not something to simply study or participate with. He's a person that we’re called to literally feed on, finding our life and breath in Him. I'm concerned that, especially in Western Christianity, we try to squeeze Christ into the available slots of an all-too-busy schedule.
4. NOW IS THE TIME TO BE SATISFIED
Our passage for today ends with a time-sensitive response: "Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near ... for He will abundantly pardon." (55:6-7)You're probably thinking, "Paul, I've already accepted Christ as my Savior. By God's grace, I responded to this time-sensitive call." In one sense, you're completely right. Your salvation is a one-time decision with eternal pardon, so you can live today at peace.*
But in another sense, God calls you to seek after Him everyday. New morning mercy is extended to you with each sunrise, inviting you to quit chasing after the hollow promises of creation and find satisfaction in Christ.
*One final thing: if you have responded to the time-sensitive call for eternal pardon, there are those around you that haven't. One of the best ways to win people for Christ is to show how satisfied you are in Him.
Certainly, verbal explanation will be necessary, but if your lifestyle is characterized by a deep satisfaction in something other than the created world, people will contrast their hunger and thirst to your satisfied soul and wonder what you're eating and drinking.