Freely Pardoned

Opening Prayer

Thank You, God, that You keep Your promises, that You freely pardon repentant sinners, and for genuinely good news.


Read Isaiah 55:1–13

“Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare.
3 Give ear and come to me;
listen, that you may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
my faithful love promised to David.
4 See, I have made him a witness to the peoples,
a ruler and commander of the peoples.
5 Surely you will summon nations you know not,
and nations you do not know will come running to you,
because of the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel,
for he has endowed you with splendor.”

6 Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake their ways
and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
12 You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper,
and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the Lord’s renown,
for an everlasting sign,
that will endure forever.”

Reflect

What is the best meal you have ever eaten? God’s covenant is even better!

The best of everything—and it’s absolutely free! What an offer! Who wouldn’t want to enjoy a gourmet meal that makes your mouth water (2)?! And who wouldn’t want to enjoy the benefits flowing from God’s covenant with David—to experience his faithful love?! Being clothed in splendor (5) sounds pretty good!

Although money can’t buy these blessings there is a sense in which they have to be bought (1)—with true repentance (6,7). We don’t have to grovel because, like a true King, God loves to “freely pardon”—and because of the redeeming work of his servant Jesus he can do so.

God’s way and his plans are always far greater and more wonderful than we could have imagined (8,9). His Word has incredible life-giving power (11). His Word is living and active (Heb. 4:12; cf. John 6:63). “It will not return to me empty but will accomplish what I desire,” says the Lord. The Gospel message is the best example of this—it is “the power of God that brings salvation to all who believe” (Rom. 1:16). When responded to in faith, it results in a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17)—with joy and fruitfulness (12,13).

Apply

“Come to the waters… buy and eat!” (1). Spend some time meditating on the Gospel until joy and peace begin to fill your heart.

Closing prayer

God of wonder, teach me what it means to come to You, to lay my burdens down and be at peace in Your presence.

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Terry Schneider