Print this article


  Hungry Sheep don’t lie Down Isaiah 55:1-13: “Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your earnings for what does not satisfy? Hearken diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness [the profuseness of spiritual joy].” (v2)

We come now to the final element which is necessary before a sheep can lie down contentedly –freedom from hunger. This is implied in the words: ‘He makes me lie down in green pastures’. Do you see it? It is also said, that a hungry man is an angry man! It is because of hunger that many people are in diverse crime today, seeking ways both good and bad to satisfy their hunger and hungry soul, no wonder our good Shepherd makes us lie down in green pastures! Nothing delights a shepherd as much as seeing his sheep well and truly fed, for it is only then that they will lie down to rest and ruminate. Ruminate means lie or sit thinking deeply about something. One eastern shepherd makes this comment: ‘Whenever I see one of my sheep moving around discontentedly, always on its feet, looking here and there and everywhere, I know that the sheep is hungry. And hungry sheep do not thrive. I make it my goal to immediately try to ascertain what is wrong, for I know that unless the matter is soon rectified, the sheep will languish and lack vigor and vitality.’ This is how it is with human beings too! A shepherd sometimes has to work extremely hard to bring his sheep into ‘green pastures’. He has to go ahead of them and reconnoiter the best grazing areas, then plan how to get them safely to the spot he has selected –all of which requires diligence, energy and determination. Reconnoiter means making a military observation of a region. And sometimes, when all of this has been accomplished and the sheep are safely settled in ‘green pastures’, a shepherd will spy one or more of the sheep nibbling at inferior forage instead of enjoying the lush pasture that he has provided. For a shepherd, spying and discovering one or more of the sheep nibbling at inferior forage instead of enjoying the lush pasture is a disappointing and frustrating moment. Did you hear that? Think of how our good Shepherd is feeling about the whole of Biafra land where His sheep is nibbling at inferior forage instead of enjoying the lush pasture of the land! Now taking from the pasture of nature to the pasture of the word; how do our divine Shepherd feels, I wonder, when, after having supplied the ‘green pastures’ of His Word on which we may feed, we attempt to live day by day off the barren ground of the world around us instead of feeding and enjoying the lush pasture of our Lord God Almighty? Allow Lord Jesus, your good Shepherd, to feed and sustain your soul with His Word instead of chasing worldliness to the ruin of your soul and life.

  YOU CAN NOT HIDE FROM GOD. Isaiah 55:1-13:

Now let us read Isaiah 55:1-13; Wait and listen, everyone who is thirsty! Come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Yes, come, buy [priceless, spiritual] wine and milk without money and without price [simply for the self-surrender that accepts the blessing]. 2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your earnings for what does not satisfy? Hearken diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness [the profuseness of spiritual joy]. 3 Incline your ear [submit and consent to the divine will] and come to Me; hear, and your soul will revive; and I will make an everlasting covenant or league with you, even the sure mercy (kindness, goodwill, and compassion) promised to David. 4 Behold, I have appointed him (Him) [David, as a representative of the Messiah, or the Messiah Himself] to be a witness [one (One) who shall testify of salvation] to the nations, a prince (Prince) and commander (Commander) to the peoples. 5 Behold, you [a][Israel] shall call nations that you know not, and nations that do not know you shall run to you because of the Lord your God, and of the Holy One of Israel, for He has glorified you. 6 Seek, inquire for, and require the Lord while He may be found [claiming Him by necessity and by right]; call upon Him while He is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have love, pity, and mercy for him, and to our God, for He will multiply to him His abundant pardon. 8 For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. 10 For as the rain and snow come down from the heavens, and return not there again, but water the earth and make it bring forth and sprout, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return to Me void [without producing any effect, useless], but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. 12 For you shall go out [from the spiritual exile caused by sin and evil into the homeland] with joy and be led forth [by your Leader, the Lord Himself, and His word] with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. 13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree; and it shall be to the Lord for a name of renown, for an everlasting sign [of jubilant exaltation] and memorial [to His praise], which shall not be cut off.

  Introduction:

The cypress tree is used scripturally to symbolize the heavy nests of the stocks to highlight the way God cares for His creation see Psalm 104:15-17, these trees which were not planted deliberately but grew spontaneously, are also watered and satiated by the powerful hand of God. Scripturally cypress encourages us to see the natural transitions within the cycle of life; on the other hand, myrtle tree symbolizes love, beauty and loyalty, seen more in Europe and across the Middle East, this tree is associated with romance, devotion, beauty and love, brier is a superior type of thorns than the one mentioned before. There was one thing for certain that I knew when I was a child. That was that when I had been caught in a misdeed and Mom or Dad came at me with the switch or belt, I had better not run. Oh, I knew I could out run them but sooner or later they would catch me and the punishment would be twice as harsh. Many of us will acknowledge that we cannot run from the law or hide from our own conscience yet we will think nothing about trying to hide, run, steal, trick, lie, betray, deny or avoid facing God. But if we cannot run from the law and many of our worst sins are known to our neighbors, then why do we think it is possible to conceal ourselves or our sins from He God who sees all and knows all? The problem with some of us is that we are not well conscious of the fact that our God is judging us continually but because we do not have the ability to follow the divine trends of thing, we do not know that virtually all of the ill things that come our way many of them are direct consequence of our life errors and misdeed and wickedness on our path of life! Who is invited to come to God for salvation? The gospel of good news is truly a “whosoever” gospel; and know that whosoever is a case of choice based on decision on God’s Word. It doesn’t matter if you are Jew or Gentile or good or bad or wicked. It doesn’t matter if you are black or white. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor. It doesn’t matter if you are well-connected or a nobody. You are invited – in fact commanded – to come and buy the water of life, the milk of nourishment and the wine of a joyful, fulfilled life. And to buy without any cost to you; in fact it is futile to carve out for yourself broken cisterns that cannot satisfy. Only God can provide salvation. No matter how you want to do it, life trends is divided into two parts: the physical and the spiritual, the physical is the part we are all enjoying now on earth and you are alerted and warned to know that all your deeds in this life on earth determines what your other life which is the spiritual will be: good, heavenly or bad, hellishly. Heavenly means you will be where our Lord Jesus Christ is in eternity, that paradise which He promised us He will go to prepare for us. While hell is the spiritual part of eternity where you suffer exclusively all the exemplified sufferings on earth perpetually without ending. The Gospel of God is Superior in terms of its Universal and Grace Oriented Invitation:

  I. YOU CAN NOT HIDE FROM GOD.

(Prov. 28:13) -- "He who covers his transgressions will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes his sins will obtain mercy. [Ps. 32:3, 5; I John 1:8-10.]” A. No sinner ever expects to get caught in his sin; 1. (ill) -- Men broke jail in Ohio and fled into Kentucky, were followed by 500 law officers in cars and helicopters. When caught they said, "We didn’t expect to get caught." So it is with all of us as human beings, whenever we broke God’s jail with our sinful life style and run thinking nobody know about it, but one day we are going to be caught by God and His laws! 2. Time should convince us that we cannot escape the judging hand of Almighty God. People do all manner of ill things with impunity without knowing that fearful consequences that are waiting for us, some whom God wants to forgive come across some of the consequences of their ill life, instead of them to take and welcome it with joy, they add more ill into it by murmuring and complaining, so know it today that it will be good if we take our ill outcomes of life with joy only begging God to help see us through them all, and when God do that for us, let us try learning our lessons and try making amends following the Word of God. B. The first act of sinful man was to try to hide from God. (Gen. 3:8); -- "8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” 1. In their innocent and perfectly created state Adam and Eve had no reason to be ashamed of the nakedness of their bodies. 2. But once they had sinned against the commands of God then the once innocent became the corrupt container of a sinful soul. Their bodies had been created as the beautiful vehicle of a perfect and sinless soul but in sin the body became the broken cistern containing putrid waste. 3. They were ashamed of what they had done to God’s creation and tried to hide themselves from Him. By these examples, we agree that these three lines are correct of every man’s deed! C. In reality, But no man hides from God; Not even Adam and Eve and not even you or me. Adam and Eve had to meet God and pay the consequences for their sins and so must you and I. God is too big for you to lose yourself in the crowd. God is too big for you to fool or trick with all your seeming smartness! II. YOU CAN NOT RUN FROM GOD. (Psa. 139:7-10) 7 Where could I go from Your Spirit? Or where could I flee from Your presence? 8 If I ascend up into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol (the place of the dead), behold, You are there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning or dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 10 Even there shall Your hand lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me. A. David’s point was that no matter where he might wander God would be there as a companion. B. But many people have the idea that they can commit sin and then get away before God; yet here you see that you can do anything about it. God will always find you at the due time. 1. Others think they can disobey the voice and will of God at random. Then they simply run when God begins to demand they pay the price of disobedience. It is vital you know that everywhere on earth belongs to God! God must always find you when He wants. 2. For instance Jonah heard the call of God to do a certain job. The worst mistake Jonah ever made was in believing he could go to a place where God could not find him. But you and I know all what happened, how God showed Jonah a lesson he never expected. And so it is with all of us but for us when God begin to show us His surprises, we do not understand and we lack the divine ability to link what is happening to us with our ills of life. The Song of Moses; Preach this inspiring sermon on God's faithfulness to Israel and encourage your congregation to hold fast to God's unfailing love throughout the generations. A. Why is it that many Christians think they can rely on the grace of God to save them and see them through the trials of life and the pains of death and never feel they owe God anything in return? B. Ananias and Saphira. It never occurred to them that they were lying to God, they felt it was just to men. A and B here are illustrations because people like to read the meaning they like or want to God’s Word, many people feels God’s Grace will always see them across all their ills of life but they fail to reason and remember that God said, will you remain in sin and want the grace of God to abide, God forbid! III. YOU CAN NOT TRICK GOD; A. I have been preaching and Pastoring Churches long enough to know that there are a certain number of people who profess to be saved Christians which are not saved at all. 1. But they think that they can put on a hypocrites mask and fool the Pastor, Church members and everyone else. But they discount the all-seeing eye of God. The fact remains that we are not as divinely Scriptural as we ought, otherwise from history we ought to know that God sees. 2. Simon the sorcerer (Acts 8) pretended to accept Lord Jesus as his Savior and followed after the apostles. But his mind and heart was on what he could make in the way of worldly gain out of the power the apostles ability to cast out demons. 3. "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." (Gal. 6:7-8) this goes to show us everything about God, it even go a long way to tell us about the current deceptiveness of our present Christianity, deception is the order of the day. IV. YOU CAN NOT LIE TO GOD; A. Many have tried and failed. Why is it that we will hesitate to lie to one another and not think a thing of lying to God? 1. For instance, many times we will commit sin if we think we are immune to discovery. "Nobody is going to see me. Why not have a little sinful fun?" and see what happens, sometimes if you do lie it might appear as if you have succeeded, but no sooner you will discover that you have only fooled yourself because you will find yourself struggling with how to keep covering it as it is about to be exposed!

  Conclusion:

GOD OFFERS JOY AND PEACE AT NO COST TO ANYONE WHO WILL SEEK HIM IN REPENTANCE BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE. We will look at different commentaries in expanciating this and as they are here thus; Motyer: There is a gift which comes from heaven; it is absolutely given (it does not return), effectively brings life (making it bud and flourish) and provides totally for human need (seed and bread). The parallel between the life agency of rain and the effective word is exact. Each has a heavenly origin and power of effectiveness and neither fails. Piper: The Word of God is Sovereign and Triumphant. What an incentive to evangelism! There are many who have criticized the doctrines of grace (election, effectual calling, limited atonement, etc.) as somehow decreasing the motivation to evangelize – God is going to save whoever He will, so why do I need to make such an effort? But actually the opposite is true. Since God has pledged to bless His Word with power and effectiveness, we who have been called as the agents to dispense that Word throughout the world must be about the work of the Great Commission. Beall: God’s salvation results in everlasting joy (55:11-12). Vv 11-12 conclude this section by explaining that the redemption accomplished by the Lord would result in the people’s going forth in joy and peace. Emphasis in v. 11a is on the words “joy” and “peace,” not on the going forth. The picture is that of the redeemed marching from captivity to Zion. As Young states, the verb “go out” may have its roots in the exodus from Egypt, and “if there is any reflection upon an exodus from Babylon, such a departure is only one example of the deliverance intended”. In fact, because of the rest of vv. 12-13, it seems best to see the time frame as the Millennium, where there will be true peace (54:10; Isa 9:6-7). The mountains and trees are depicted poetically as rejoicing along with the people: all of nature rejoices in their salvation (see Rom 8:22: “The whole creation groans and travails in pain”). Instead of thorn and brier (from the curse of Gen 3:18, though different terms are used here), will grow the cypress and the myrtle trees. During the Millennium, the land will indeed become quite fertile, as other verses in Isaiah have stated as well (Isa. 35:1-2; 41:18-19). These natural phenomena will be for an everlasting sign that will not be destroyed. They will show the greatness of the Lord, the superiority of His ways, and the wonder of His redemption. Parunak: At this point Isaiah’s voice returns, marked by the third person reference to the Lord. This shows that this final clause is not a part of 12-13a, but a separate paragraph, and in fact it gives the significance of God’s work of forgiveness. Vv. 8-13a tell us that God’s thoughts are different from ours, but why should they be different? The answer lies in God’s overall purpose to exalt Himself. And it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.–This final clause is critical. Why does God think thoughts of good toward His people? It is not first of all for their sake, but for His own, to make Himself a reputation before the watching universe. This is the same motive we saw at the end of the first invitation, in v. 5. God promises to make many nations subject to the covenant witness-leader-teacher, not for their sake, or even for His, but “for the sake of the Lord thy God.” Forgiveness is God’s great self-glorification before the universe, manifesting at once His authority as the law-giver, His power as judge, and His mercy and grace as the one who provides a way of forgiveness, a way out of our sins, and a way out of the consequences of our life error and mistakes and disobedience. Motyer: The transformed people in a transformed world will be an everlasting sign, will “signify” who and what the Lord is. When people respond to the Lord’s word calling them to seek, forsake and return (6-7), the effective power of that word (10-11) brings them into an experience of the love, forgiveness (7) and peace (12) of God and lifts them into membership of a new world of eternal duration. This is what the Servant accomplished. Are you truly a servant? By their fruits, we shall know them! By their fruits, by their accomplishing the desire of the command to spread the truth of the Gospel. Young: Human kings and conquerors erect memorials to testify of their mighty deeds. The King of Kings also has a memorial, the redemption of the creation. The inscriptions of human kings are often destroyed, or their letters become blurred . . . No later king, however, will ever undo the deeds of Israel’s King, nor will any later conqueror ever erase His words. He has redeemed His people, brought them out of the servitude and bondage of sin unto Himself, established them in the heavenly life, and brought about a new heaven and a new earth. His sign will never be cut off. Amen!
O Father, forgive me that so often I attempt to draw my nourishment from the dry and barren ground of the world, when indeed You have supplied me with such rich and verdant pastures in Your Word. Help me to reverse this situation and turn back to Your Green Pasture and remain feeding on there all the days of my life. In Your name Lord Jesus Christ I pray. Amen!