“Never Settle”  Isaiah 55:1-9

Never settle for something that is but a bunch of crumbs from the table.  But settle, find your peace and strength, in Jesus. 

Seventeenth Sunday After Pentecost  September 23-24, 2023

“Never Settle”  Isaiah 55:1-9

Rev. John R. Larson  Ascension Lutheran Church  Littleton, Colorado

             I was talking to one of our members a few years ago and she remarked that her niece was getting married.  I offered my congratulations but I quickly learned that I should not have said “hooray” but “I’m sorry”.  She said, “I think she is just settling.”  She felt her niece’s choice of a husband could have been much better.

            I guess she could have picked someone better.  Better looking.  Better physique.  Taller.  More hair – maybe less.  Smarter.  More money.  Better family.  Better social skills.  But, I guess she got desperate and just settled.  I wonder if someone had those remarks about you or me, “You know, there is nothing particularly amazing about them, I think they just settled.” 

            We hear that a lot these days.  Someone is in search of their “dream job”.  Their present job is but a placeholder until they find something better.  Someone is looking for their “forever home”.  The dump that they’re living in, though appraised for $800,000, won’t do anymore.  Right now they are just settling.  We have to find the right car, right school, even the right dog – if not, we are just settling.

            Sometimes it is just our greed and our pride that thinks we deserve something better.  But in a whole different light God tells us that we should never settle.  With a generous heart God wants to give us more.

            Never settle in the complacency of your sin.  Never let it become something that is part of your daily living and has long ceased to bother you.  You’ve settled.  You have taken the low road and that will never change.  There was a friend of mine who was going through a nasty divorce.  Ugly.  Bitter.  But he failed to own up to his part in it.  I remember him quoting the lyrics of a song as to what went wrong in that relationship.  He said, “There ain’t no good guy, there ain’t no bad guy, there’s only you and me and we just disagree.”  To me that was just settling.  He spoke of little personal accountability.

            Never settle to a sin that wants to take over your life.  Our reading from Isaiah gives this word, “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near.  Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts.  Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.”  (Isaiah 55:6-7)

            Never settle for a false substitute to the only true God.  We live in a world that says that pleasure is the ultimate aspiration in life.  That pleasure may come in many ways.  If you drink enough, it will give you your pleasure.  If you take the right drug, or smoke enough marijuana, it will give you the high that you seek.  Maybe that substitute god is success at work, owning more things than you can ever use, or seeking the adoration of all who know you.  If that is what secures your life, or my life, we have simply settled for less than what God wants us to have. 

            Jesus is quite direct concerning a life that has taken aim of the wrong target, “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.  What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world and yet forfeits his very soul?  Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?”  (Matthew 16:25-26)  When life curves in on self we find that we have settled for the wrong kingdom and the wrong ruler.

            I heard a preacher open his sermon with a strong assessment of life in America.  There were thousands of people gathered and he began speaking to them, “America has no need for God.”  He explained.  “We have security.  We have wealth.  We have enough to live on and retire with.  We have answers to most of our health problems.  America really has no need for God.”  After catching the attention of those who were thinking of falling asleep during his sermon, he went on to tell all of them that we as a nation, and as each individual, truly need God.  But he told them that too many people have settled into that life of keeping God far from them.  They have a false security.   

            Never settle for anything that will not fulfill your life.  The beginning verses of Isaiah 55 speak clearly, “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.  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 your soul will delight in the richest of fare.  Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live.”  (Isaiah 55:1-3) 

            Never settle for something that is but a bunch of crumbs from the table.  But settle, find your peace and strength, in Jesus.  Isaiah uses the picture of bread and water as life sustaining.  “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!”

            Jesus expands on that image as to what He will bring to us.  In John 4, in a conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well, Jesus said to her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that ask you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water…Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.  Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water, welling up to eternal life.”  (John 4:10,13-14)

            In John 6 Jesus then expands what He comes to bring with the picture of bread.  “I am the bread of life.  Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died.  But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die.  I am the living bread that came down from heaven.  If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.  This bread is my flesh which I give for the life of the world.”  (John 6:48-51)

            Don’t ever settle for the needs of your body without meeting the needs of your soul.  This gift of living water and the bread of life comes from Jesus.  Trust Him.  Did you know that this gift is free?  No cost – at least to us.  This eternal life is for the asking.  What an invitation – “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.”  Free.  We call that grace.  Every priceless gift from God – forgiveness of sins, eternal salvation, is free to us.  We simply trust His promise, His word, and receive it with joy.  In the last book of the Bible, the book of Revelation, we read these words, “To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.”  (21:6)  “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’  And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’  Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.”  (22:17)

            Settle – find rest – in Jesus.  Settle – find rest – in His grace.  Settle – find rest – in His higher ways. In this gracious chapter of Isaiah 55 we read, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.  As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  (verses 8-9)

            Too many people are faithless and God-less and Christ-less.  Don’t settle for that.  That is not life.  Life includes God’s higher thoughts, God’s higher ways.  It includes faith in God’s design, trust in Jesus’ sacrifice for sins and His resurrection for eternal life. 

            Never settle for less than God wants to bring.  Always settle in the wounds of Jesus, in the gift of cleansing water, and life bringing bread, in His plans and thoughts and ways that are higher and better than ours could ever be.  Be at peace and settle always in our great God.  Amen!!        




Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *