Exhortations and Assurance
Isaiah 55:6-13
Seek you the LORD while he may be found, call you on him while he is near:…

I. EXHORTATIONS. "Seek ye Jehovah." This is the beginning of a religious life - to seek for God, to inquire for his ways (Deuteronomy 4:29; Job 5:8; Job 8:5; Psalm 9:10; Psalm 14:2; Psalm 27:8). "While he may be found" (Psalm 32:6) - "in a time of finding." For a bitter "day" will come, when woe to his foes (Isaiah 65:6, 7)! It is hinted that a time will come when the offer will be withdrawn. "If a man will not do so simple a thing as seek for mercy, as ask for pardon, he ought to perish. The universe will approve the condemnation of such a man." "Who knows what a day may bring forth, and what may be the dangers of an hour's delay? This is most sure, that every particular repeated act of sin sets us one advance nearer to hell. Who can tell, while we go on our audacious course of sin, but God may swear in his wrath against us, and register our names in the black rolls of damnation? And then our condition is sealed and determined for ever." "Call upon him;" i.e. implore his mercy (Joel 2:32; Romans 10:13). How easy the terms of salvation! how just the condemnation of the sinner who calls not on God, first for pardon, then for a share in the promises (Jeremiah 29:12-14)! God (according to the manner of man's thoughts) seems to be nearer at some times than at others to men. Some special influences are brought to bear; some facilities of salvation. "He comes near to us in the preaching of his Word, when it is borne home with power to the conscience; in his providence, when he strikes down a friend, and comes into the very circle where we move, or the very dwelling where we abide; when he lays his hand upon us in sickness. And he is near to us by day and by night; in a revival of religion, or when a pious friend pleads with us, God is near to us then, and is calling us to his favour. These are favourable times for salvation - times which, if unimproved, return no more." "Let the ungodly forsake his way, and the man of iniquity his thoughts." To seek Jehovah must involve the renouncing of all other gods; the calling upon him, the cessation of prayer in heathen temples; and, with this, all the "thoughts," the habits and feelings, of impure heathen life. It is to renounce corruption and destruction for blessedness and peace, which are contained in the thoughts of Jehovah (Psalm 36:5, 6; Jeremiah 29:11). "He has plans for accomplishing his purposes which are different from ours, and he secures our welfare by schemes that cross our own. He disappoints our hopes, foils our expectations, crosses our designs, removes our property or our friends, and thwarts our purposes in life. He leads us in a path we had not intended, and secures our ultimate happiness in modes which we should not have thought of, and which are contrary to all our designs and desires."


1. The certainty. God's purposes fulfil themselves. They are as certain as the law of gravitation, as the falling of rain and snow. In poetic religious thought these elements of nature are his angels (cf. Psalm 148:8; Psalm 102:4). They fulfil his purpose in inanimate nature; so shall his Word fulfil his purpose in the moral world - it shall not return empty, nor until it has done its work. (On truth compared to rain or dew, see Deuteronomy 32:2; Psalm 72:6; 2 Samuel 23:4; Isaiah 5:6.)

2. Its glory and joy. The exode from Babylon is not only meant, but the glorious condition of Israel after the return. It is compared to the transition from the wilderness (the misery of the exile), with its monotonous dwarf shrubs, to a park of beautiful trees (Isaiah 41:18, 19), in the midst of which Israel is to walk "in solemn troops and sweet societies" (so in Isaiah 35:9).

3. The sympathy of nature. (For similar views, see Isaiah 14:8; Isaiah 35:1, 2, 10; Isaiah 42:10, 11; Isaiah 44:23. So in Virgil, 'Ecl.,' 5:62; and in Oriental poetry generally.) When the god Rama was going to the desert, it was said to him, "The trees will watch for you; they will say, 'He is come! he is come!' and the white flowers will clap their hands. The leaves as they shake will say, 'Come! come!' and the thorny places will be changed into gardens of flowers." A change will be produced in the moral condition of the world, as great as if the useless thorn should be succeeded by beautiful and useful trees. It is of the very soul of poetry that it hints and presages spiritual events which cannot be made clear to the senses nor certain to the understanding. - J.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:

WEB: Seek Yahweh while he may be found; call you on him while he is near:

Duty and Privilege
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