The Greatest of Invitations

Isaiah 55:1-5

August 2nd and 3rd, 2008


            I would imagine that many of you gathered here this morning have invitations of one form or another placed near your bulletin board or filed away at home.  These could be wedding invitations, anniversary invitations, birthday party invitations, or other types of invitations. .  Some are probably more important to you than others,  and while cards or gifts are needed for some, it usually is not a life or death situation is you chose to go or not to go to the event. 

            Our text from Isaiah 55 is the ultimate invitations.  It is written to a people who are  thirsty, hungry desert wanderers, who simply do not have the resources to bring anything to the invitee..  A wanderer that is on the verge of dehydration and starvation, a wanderer that has been fooled by many mirages that looked like they could satisfy, but simply could not deliver.   This ultimate invitation arrives and with it comes a drink that really quenches, and food like you would not believe.    Imagine this scenario.  There you are in the middle of the desert, a voice brings you this invitation offer, and here is the kicker.  He comes a Hummer, that’s right the vehicle kind of hummer.  It is    airconditioned, and full of food and drink.  .  Being to weak he picks you up, brings you in the vehicle, and gives you rest.  Now mind you the doors are unlocked so you  can get out at any time and try our own hand at surviving in the desert. 

            This invitation comes to us in the desert;  and so it assumes that we are thirsty.  It originally came to a people who were taken from their country and were living in a foreign land (exiles).  They lived in a place they couldn’t call home, and even their worship center, the temple, was very far away.  The question for us this morning is this.   Are we really in the desert? Could our predicament be that desperate?   

            For most folks religion is a little like being on The Price is Right.  Here you are standing with Bob Barker, and choosing three different doors.  In other words your life is ok with or without religious choices, but it might be helpful.   Now if you choose a door that isn’t all that religious, your life may be tougher, but hey life is pretty good.   A I would set before you today, that our situation is more like the man in the desert than an individual on The Price is Rght. 

            So how do we get out of this predicament.   Does it take some sort of give and take, like most transactions in this world.  So what’s the catch?   Anything that sounds to good to be true ,buyer be ware.  After all doesn’t God has to expect something of us in order to be saved or at least to be  sure we are saved.   Again lets go back to our text. “He who has no money”…come buy and eat.  “Come buy wine and milk without price.”.   How can you buy something, if you don’t have anything to buy that object with?  There is a transaction that takes place, but it is not you doing the transacting.  Jesus says in John 7 “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me as the scriptures has said streams of living water will flow from him.” In Matthew 11:28 Jesus says “Come unto me all you who are weak and heavy laden, and I will give you rest”.  Who is making the payment?  Jesus does. Revelation 5:9 says about Jesus “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.”

            The writer then writes, why do you spend your efforts, your money, on what does not satisfy.  We really think that if a certain income could take place in our working life or income in our retirement life that we would be secure and satisfied.    We think that as long as we work hard, and are sincere, at least that has got to give us credit for something before God.  If this were the case our tombstone would read, “He wasn’t perfect, but at least he tried.  So many promises are laid out there in front of us, get rich quick schemes, health antidotes.  Not that investments, and healthy living are bad.  They are not, rather these are not the be all and end all. 

            In Matthew 22 Jesus invites people to a wedding banquet.  He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.  They were in effect getting out of the Hummer.  Then he sent some more servants and said, “Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner:….everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.  But they paid no attention and went off-one to his field another to his business, and others seized the servants and killed them.  Now its sounds like the wedding banquet should be called off, but no he tells his servants to go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you can find.  So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled.”  However, there  was one who didn’t have the wedding clothes.  This person  didn’t trust that Jesus truly does love him, and that he truly does forgive his sins, and that he truly will continue to be provided for into eternity. 

            My fellow desert travelers, the invitation has been given, your given a seat in the Hummer.  The cool air of God’s forgiveness is just for you.  No matter that you have been toward your God.  Maybe you have been luke warm, you’ve ignored him, or you have ignored him by failing to care for your neighbor.  Remember though that the good and bad are invited.  Which includes you   The meal is ready, and only sinners allowed.  To those who are weak and heavy laden, Jesus says come unto me for I will give you rest.    

            Those of you with young children know that they can be headstrong.  To the point that as a parent/grandparent  and you wonder what in the world to do with a kid who throws such fits, and stubbornly refused to listen to you.  However, children can change their tune in a heart beat.  Imagine this, after a particular toddler blow up, that same child falls and scrapes his knees and elbows.    He comes running to you  holding up his  arms wanting your embrace.  You lift, this previously rebellious, but now hurting child in your arms, and you hold him.  You just hold him, no medicine, no talking, just his tears, and your embrace.  .     For that moment there’re could not be a better place for that child to be, and   as a parent you wouldn’t have it any other way.  This morning go ahead, and rest in the resurrected Savior whose resurrected arms are opened to you.  With Jesus who bids you to come to drink from the waters of everlasting life, you are safe, complete, and are where you are meant to be.  Amen.