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Chinese8/19/2006English
經文:以賽亞書五十五至五十七章
鑰節:「你們一切乾渴的,都當就近水來……」(55:1)
提要

        上帝邀請所有口渴的人,來到祂的泉源飲水,並且接受無需付代價的救恩,是因信耶穌而得(53章);這救恩不是用動物來做祭物(來10:4),也不是守律法而得(羅3:20),只是單靠上帝的恩典相信耶穌(弗2:8~9)。耶穌說,人若渴了,可以到我這裡來喝(約3:37;啟22:17;太5:6)。許多人想盡方法,甚至忍受痛苦或賠上金錢,想要得到靈裡的滿足,但他們所尋到的,都不能真正滿足他們(55:2;約4:13~14;耶2:13),只有耶穌是我們靈魂唯一的拯救,祂是活水泉,是生命糧(約6:35;詩36:8~9),藉著祂口中的話,我們靈魂能甦醒成長(太4:4)。耶穌是信心的見證人(啟1:5),祂帶來上帝的好信息,傳給以色列人及全地之人,而外邦信主的人也將和以色列人(約10:16)聯合,在上帝的國度中獲得上帝所應許給大衛的恩典(徒13:34;耶30:9;結34:23~24),也就是永遠的生命和從祝福之約來的喜樂。

        在上帝許多奇妙的應許之中,以賽亞特別提到,全地的罪人不要遲延回應上帝的邀約,趁有機會快尋求主,若等主的門關上,就再也找不著了(約7:34;8:21;箴1:28),再悔改也來不及了。以賽亞以美麗的文字來形容,上帝的慈愛和赦免罪人的心意,那些認真尋找祂、相信祂、存心悔改的人,祂對他們的慈愛和恩典,是超過人所能了解的(羅11:33~36),上帝的話傳給人時,是活潑有功效的(來4:12),目的是帶出上帝的救恩(彼前1:23;林後9:10);有信心和順服上帝話語的,將經歷到祂的救贖,並從罪中得釋放,免於永遠的沈淪,進入上帝的喜樂和平安中(約5:24),全地受造物將分享上帝賜給人的恩典。你曾經歷上帝的恩典,亦讓祂的話在你生命中發生效用嗎?願主賜下渴慕的靈,進入我們的生命中(詩42:1~2;63:1,5;摩8:11)。

        雖然救恩是白白賜下的,而且信祂的人也被應允得到永生的回報,但我們讀五十六、五十七章時,得知在現實的生命中,我們仍要遵守誡命和履行責任。活在邪惡世代中的公義信徒,被鼓勵要保守生命中敬虔的見證及遵守上帝的誡命。在舊約中上帝的子民守安息日,是為記念上帝的創造和上帝將他們從埃及中帶領出來,同時也是上帝子民對祂忠心獻身的記號(出20:8~11;31:13~17;申5:15),因此安息日是一個歡樂的日子,上帝的子民榮耀祂時,上帝也賜下歡樂(58:13)。而耶路撒冷被毀的一個主要原因,是上帝的選民不守安息日(尼13:5~22;耶17:19~27;結20:11~21);猶太人從流亡地回到家園時,他們都守安息日,為表示對上帝的忠心。舊約中安息日是遵行律法,以表明跟隨上帝,到了新約,因耶穌成全了律法(包括安息日),所以守安息日是一個影子,實體乃是耶穌自己(西2:16~17)。如今我們不是活在律法之下,乃在恩典之中,故此早期的基督徒們守安息日(這一天休息不工作,專心崇拜主榮耀祂),而現在我們選在星期日,是為記念耶穌復活的日子,這一日只有新造的人,才能真實的慶祝歡樂。

        五十六章後半和五十七章,以賽亞指責教會中的長老、祭司和猶大先知,當信徒犯罪時,他們無法警告信徒,也不照顧也不牧養(結3:17,18)。聖經上形容他們是:瞎的、啞的、睡著的、懶惰的、貪婪的、自我的、無知的、貪戀酒色的、逼迫殺害公義的人(57:1,2),導引信徒走歧途的(28:7~9;結34;耶50:6~7),用活人獻祭的(57:5),如此敗壞的情景,普及在瑪拿西王的時代,直到以賽亞離世之日(王下21:6,9);上帝的子民離棄上帝,犯姦淫的罪又拜假神,行上帝所厭惡的事,使審判臨到他們,上帝說:邪惡的人沒有平安,他們像翻騰的海,湧出淤泥和污穢之物(57:20~21;48:22;猶13)。上帝的忿怒使祂厭棄他們,而他們拜的偶像,也絲毫不能幫助他們(57:13),但因上帝的慈悲,祂的怒氣不會長存,否則他們都要死(57:16;詩103:9)。

        以賽亞的責難之中,仍給予公義信徒一線希望,因他們熱心向上帝,上帝要賜他們生命中的真平安(57:1~2,13~18)。那位超越物質的永生上帝(詩90:2),是至高至尊住在高天的,現降卑和那些存心悔改謙卑的人同住,他們敬畏上帝,上帝也住在他們生命中(57:15;詩34:18;51:17;68:4~5;約14:16~17)。上帝醫治、引導、安慰和賜平安給祂的子民(26:3;腓4:7;約14:27),無論遠(外邦)近(猶大)的人都是一樣(弗2:13~14,17)。

禱告

        大能的上帝!我們渴望存謙卑的人來到您面前悔改認罪,因信飲於您的活水泉,讓我們飢渴的心得滋潤,也讓我們能和其他的人分享您的活水泉,奉主耶穌聖名,阿們!

English

Scriptures:Read Isaiah 55,56&57
Key Verse:"...Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters..."(Isaiah 55:1)
Overview

        God graciously extends His invitation for all who thirst to come to His waters and receive His free gift of salvation which is offered because of the great price that Jesus paid to procure it for us (as detailed in chapter 53). It is not through the animal sacrifices (Heb. 10:4) nor the works of the Law (Rom. 3:20), but by His grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-9). Jesus declared, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink" (John 7:37; cf. Rev. 22:17; Matt. 5:6). Many people take great pains and expense attempting to obtain satisfaction through other means, but all they find is that which "does not satisfy" (55:2; John 4:13-14; Jer. 2:13). Jesus is the only way of salvation for one's soul. He is the Living Water and the Bread of Life (John 6:35; Ps. 36:8-9). It is through His Word that one receives delight and spiritual nourishment (Matt. 4:4). Jesus is the faithful "witness" (Rev. 1:5) who brings God's message through His emissaries of the Gospel, not only to the people of Israel but to all nations. Now they will flock to join spiritual Israel (John 10:16), and in Him they will obtain "the sure mercies of David" (cf. Acts 13:34; Jer. 30:9; Ezek. 34:23-24), which are eternal life and present enjoyment of the covenant blessings.

        In view of these many wonderful promises of God, Isaiah urges sinners of every nation not to delay, but respond to Jesus' invitation and seek Him while there is still time; for the time is coming when the way will be closed (John 7:34; 8:21; Prov. 1:28), and after death there will be no repentance. Isaiah beautifully expresses God's mercy and willingness to forgive those who sincerely seek Him through repentance and faith. His grace and mercy is something which surpasses human understanding (Rom. 11:33-36), and it is guaranteed by God to be active and effective through the preaching of His Word (Heb. 4:12), for His Word does not return void, and God has purposed to bring salvation (1 Pet. 1:23; 2 Cor. 9:10). Those who respond with faith and obedience to God's Word will experience His redemption, be freed from the bondage of sin and death and enter into the joy and peace of the Lord (John 5:24). Along with the rejoicing angels, all nature will share in the joy of God's grace extended to man. Have you experienced God's grace and the effectiveness of His Word in your life? May God put this thirst after Him into our lives (Ps. 42:1-2; 63:1, 5; Amos 8:11).

        Although salvation is a free gift and believers are promised eternal rewards, there are still demands and responsibilities for the present time, as we read in chapters 56 and 57. The righteous who live in an ungodly world are encouraged to keep their testimony of a godly life and observe the commandments of God. The keeping of the Sabbath is emphasized. For the old covenant children of Israel, the Sabbath was a remembrance of God's power in creation and in delivering them from Egypt, as well as a covenant sign of their saving faith and commitment to God (Ex. 20:8-11; 31:13-17; Deut. 5:15). The Sabbath was to be a delight, a gift from God to His people wherein they honoured Him (Isa. 58:13). One of the main reasons for the destruction of Jerusalem and the Captivity was that the people did not keep the Sabbath (Neh. 13:15-22; Jer. 17:19-27; Ezek. 20:11-21). After the return from the Exile, the keeping of the Sabbath was the sign of the faithful remnant. For New Testament believers, however, the Old Testament observance of the Sabbath is fulfilled in following Jesus, for He fulfilled the Law, which included the Sabbath; it was but a "shadow" (Col. 2:16-17). We now are not under the Law but under grace. Therefore, the earliest Christians, still keeping the principle of the Sabbath (a day of worship and honour to the Lord in resting from normal labour), chose to observe Sunday in commemoration of Jesus' resurrection — a day that only the new creation can truly celebrate.

        In the last few verses of chapter 56, and in chapter 57, Isaiah condemns the corrupt leaders, priests, and prophets of Judah who failed to take spiritual care of the people by watching and warning them when they sinned (cf. Ezek. 3:17-18). They are described by such words as blind, dumb, asleep, lazy, greedy, self-seeking, ignorant, and gluttonous drunkards. They persecuted and killed the truly righteous ones (57:1,2) and led the people astray (28:7-9; Ezek. 34; Jer. 50:6-7). Isaiah is likely describing the wicked society full of witchcraft, idolatry, and even human sacrifice (57:5) that prevailed under Manasseh towards the end of Isaiah's life (cf. 2 Kings 21:6, 9). They were guilty of harlotry in leaving God, their husband, and running after false gods. Because of these abominations, judgment was in store for them; for as the Lord says, "there is no peace for the wicked" who are like a raging sea that does not stop bring up the mire and dirt (57:20-21; 48:22; Jude 13). In His wrath God would forsake them, and their useless idols could not help them (57:13). But because of His mercy, God's wrath would not persist forever, for if that were the case, all would die (57:16; Ps. 103:9).

        In the midst of his condemnation, Isaiah offers hope to the righteous, for their compassionate God will give them peace, even peace in the life hereafter (57:1-2, 13b-18). The transcendent, eternal Lord (Ps. 90:2), who is "the High and Lofty One", dwelling in "the high and holy place", condescends to live with and help those who have a "contrite and humble spirit"; they are those who fear the Lord and have repented, making Him the Lord of their lives (57:15; Ps. 34:18; 51:17; 68:4-5; John 14:16-17). God heals, guides, comforts, and gives peace to His people (26:3; Phil. 4:7; John 14:27), whether they be "far off" (Gentile converts) or "near" (Jewish converts; Eph. 2:13-14, 17).

Prayer

        Mighty God, we desire to have contrite and humble spirits as we come to You today. By faith we drink of You and our spiritual thirst is quenched. May we now share Your living water with others. Amen.


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