Isaiah 55: Free Food!

March 1st, 2010

By Nicholas Detweiler-Stoddard, EMS student

Read: Isaiah 55:1-9

Sometimes Lent gets a bum rap for all its demands about giving up yummy food, The Bachelor and 24-7 Facebook updates. Today’s passage seems a little more appealing than all that Lenten fasting stuff. I like food and drink and I really like free food and drink. I would love to find out where I can go for this abundance of free “wine and milk” (which, by the way, is not a very appetizing menu, free or not)!

And yet, the invitations in this scripture, written as the voice of God, really are the same invitations of the Lenten season: “Why do you spend all your time and resources on food that cannot really fulfill true hunger and thirst? Listen here; eat what is actually good for you.” As much as this sounds like dietary advice from God (milk and wine, seriously?) it is really a call to do what we do when we fast. It is an invitation to give up our pursuit of things that cannot truly satisfy our needs so that we may, instead, find what actually fulfills us and “delight in its abundance.”

So, what good eats is God is calling to in Isaiah 55? The opening invitation is to eat free food we don’t have to buy. Sounds good so far. God’s second invitation starts to get at the heart of the matter: “Come on over and listen well so that you can really live. If you listen, you will be attractive to the world and people will flock to you, just as I promised and fulfilled for King David.” Okay, still sounding good. The last invitation is the one that really strikes home. “Go looking for the Lord. God isn’t far, you can find God.”

Now there is a message of hope! Our habits and our thoughts may not be exactly as high as God is aiming for, but if we go searching for the Lord, searching for the higher ways of living, God will have compassion. God will “abundantly pardon” our less-than-perfectness. Lent can be tough, but there is hope: If we search out and listen for God and the high thoughts and ways of God, we will find an abundance of good, attractive, free food to fill up on!