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Isaiah 55:6 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— Seek ye Jehovah while he may be found; call ye upon him while he is near:
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— Seek ye Jehovah while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Seek Yahweh, while he may be found,—Call ye upon him, while he is near:
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— Seek ye Jehovah, while He is found, Call ye Him, while He is near,
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— Seek ye the Lord, while he may be found: call upon him, while he is near.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— Seeke ye the LORD, while he may be found, call ye vpon him while he is neere.
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— Seek ye the Lord, and when ye find him, call upon him; and when he shall draw nigh to you,
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— Seek ye Yahweh while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
Seek 1875
{1875} Prime
A primitive root; properly to tread or frequent; usually to follow (for pursuit or search); by implication to seek or ask; specifically to worship.
<8798> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperative (See H8810)
Count - 2847
ye Yhw יָהוֶה 3068
{3068} Prime
From H1961; (the) self Existent or eternal; Jehovah, Jewish national name of God.
while he may be found, 4672
{4672} Prime
A primitive root; properly to come forth to, that is, appear or exist; transitively to attain, that is, find or acquire; figuratively to occur, meet or be present.
<8736> Grammar
Stem - Niphal (See H8833)
Mood - Infinitive (See H8812)
Count - 240
call 7121
{7121} Prime
A primitive root (rather identical with H7122 through the idea of accosting a person met); to call out to (that is, properly address by name, but used in a wide variety of applications).
<8798> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperative (See H8810)
Count - 2847
ye upon him while he is x1961
(1961) Complement
A primitive root (compare H1933); to exist, that is, be or become, come to pass (always emphatic, and not a mere copula or auxiliary).
near: 7138
{7138} Prime
From H7126; near (in place, kindred or time).
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Isaiah 55:6

_ _ The condition and limit in the obtaining of the spiritual benefits (Isaiah 55:1-3): (1) Seek the Lord. (2) Seek Him while He is to be found (Isaiah 65:1; Psalms 32:6; Matthew 25:1-13; John 7:34; John 8:21; 2 Corinthians 6:2; Hebrews 2:3; Hebrews 3:13, Hebrews 3:15).

_ _ call — casting yourselves wholly on His mercy (Romans 10:13). Stronger than “seek”; so “near” is more positive than “while He may be found” (Romans 10:8, Romans 10:9).

_ _ near — propitious (Psalms 34:18; Psalms 145:18).

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Isaiah 55:6-13

_ _ We have here a further account of that covenant of grace which is made with us in Jesus Christ, both what is required and what is promised in the covenant, and of those considerations that are sufficient abundantly to confirm our believing compliance with and reliance on that covenant. This gracious discovery of God's good-will to the children of men is not to be confined either to the Jew or to the Gentile, to the Old Testament or to the New, much less to the captives in Babylon. No, both the precepts and the promises are here given to all, to every one that thirsts after happiness, Isaiah 55:1. And who does not? Hear this, and live.

_ _ I. Here is a gracious offer made of pardon, and peace, and all happiness, to poor sinners, upon gospel terms, Isaiah 55:6, Isaiah 55:7.

_ _ 1. Let them pray, and their prayers shall be heard and answered (Isaiah 55:6): “Seek the Lord while he may be found. Seek him whom you have left by revolting from your allegiance to him and whom you have lost by provoking him to withdraw his favour from you. Call upon him now while he is near, and within call.” Observe here,

_ _ (1.) The duties required. [1.] “Seek the Lord. Seek to him, and enquire of him, as your oracle. Ask the law at his mouth. What wilt thou have me to do? Seek for him, and enquire after him, as your portion and happiness; seek to be reconciled to him and acquainted with him, and to be happy in his favour. Be sorry that you have lost him; be solicitous to find him; take the appointed method of finding him, making use of Christ as your way, the Spirit as your guide, and the word as your rule.” [2.] “Call upon him. Pray to him, to be reconciled, and, being reconciled, pray to him for every thing else you have need of.”

_ _ (2.) The motives made use of to press these duties upon us: While he may be foundwhile he is near. [1.] It is implied that now God is near and will be found, so that it shall not be in vain to seek him and to call upon him. Now his patience is waiting on us, his word is calling to us, and his Spirit striving with us. Let us now improve our advantages and opportunities; for now is the accepted time. But, [2.] There is a day coming when he will be afar off, and will not be found, when the day of his patience is over, and his Spirit will strive no more. There may come such a time in this life, when the heart is incurably hardened; it is certain that at death and judgment the door will be shut, Luke 16:26; Luke 13:25, Luke 13:26. Mercy is now offered, but then judgment without mercy will take place.

_ _ 2. Let them repent and reform, and their sins shall be pardoned, Isaiah 55:7. Here is a call to the unconverted, to the wicked and the unrighteous — to the wicked, who live in known gross sins, to the unrighteous, who live in the neglect of plain duties: to them is the word of this salvation sent, and all possible assurance given that penitent sinners shall find God a pardoning God. Observe here,

_ _ (1.) What it is to repent. There are two things involved in repentance: — [1.] It is to turn from sin; it is to forsake it. It is to leave it, and to leave it with loathing and abhorrence, never to return to it again. The wicked must forsake his way, his evil way, as we would forsake a false way that will never bring us to the happiness we aim at, and a dangerous way, that leads to destruction. Let him not take one step more in that way. Nay, there must be not only a change of the way, but a change of the mind; the unrighteous must forsake his thoughts. Repentance, if it be true, strikes at the root, and washes the heart from wickedness. We must alter our judgments concerning persons and things, dislodge the corrupt imaginations and quit the vain pretences under which an unsanctified heart shelters itself. Note, It is not enough to break off from evil practices, but we must enter a caveat against evil thoughts. Yet this is not all: [2.] To repent is to return to the Lord; to return to him as our God, our sovereign Lord, against whom we have rebelled, and to whom we are concerned to reconcile ourselves; it is to return to the Lord as the fountain of life and living waters, which we had forsaken for broken cisterns.

_ _ (2.) What encouragement we have thus to repent. If we do so, [1.] God will have mercy. He will not deal with us as our sins have deserved, but will have compassion on us. Misery is the object of mercy. Now both the consequences of sin, by which we have become truly miserable (Ezekiel 16:5, Ezekiel 16:6), and the nature of repentance, by which we are made sensible of our misery and are brought to bemoan ourselves (Jeremiah 31:18), both these make us objects of pity, and with God there are tender mercies. [2.] He will abundantly pardon. He will multiply to pardon (so the word is), as we have multiplied to offend. Though our sins have been very great and very many, and though we have often backslidden and are still prone to offend, yet God will repeat his pardon, and welcome even backsliding children that return to him in sincerity.

_ _ II. Here are encouragements given us to accept this offer and to venture our souls upon it. For, look which way we will, we find enough to confirm us in our belief of its validity and value.

_ _ 1. If we look up to heaven, we find God's counsels there high and transcendent, his thoughts and ways infinitely above ours, Isaiah 55:8, Isaiah 55:9. The wicked are urged to forsake their evil ways and thoughts (Isaiah 55:7) and to return to God, that is, to bring their ways and thoughts to concur and comply with his; “for” (says he) “my thoughts and ways are not as yours. Yours are conversant only about things beneath; they are of the earth earthy: but mine are above, as the heaven is high above the earth; and, if you would approve yourselves true penitents, yours must be so too, and your affections must be set on things above.” Or, rather, it is to be understood as an encouragement to us to depend upon God's promise to pardon sin, upon repentance. Sinners may be ready to fear that God will not be reconciled to them, because they could not find in their hearts to be reconciled to one who should have so basely and so frequently offended them. “But” (says God) “my thoughts in this matter are not as yours, but as far above them as the heaven is above the earth.” They are so in other things. Men's sentiments concerning sin, and Christ, and holiness, concerning this world and the other, are vastly different from God's; but in nothing more than in the matter of reconciliation. We think God apt to take offence and backward to forgive — that, if he forgives once, he will not forgive a second time. Peter thought it a great deal to forgive seven times (Matthew 18:21), and a hundred pence go far with us; but God meets returning sinners with pardoning mercy; he forgives freely, and as he gives: it is without upbraiding. We forgive and cannot forget; but, when God forgives sin, he remembers it no more. Thus God invites sinners to return to him, by possessing them with good thoughts of him, as Jeremiah 31:20.

_ _ 2. If we look down to this earth, we find God's word there powerful and effectual, and answering all its great intentions, Isaiah 55:10, Isaiah 55:11. Observe here, (1.) The efficacy of God's word in the kingdom of nature. He saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth; he appoints when it shall come, to what degree, and how long it shall lie there; he saith so to the small rain and the great rain of his strength, Job 37:6. And according to his order they come down from heaven, and do whatsoever he commands them upon the face of the world, whether it be for correction, or for his land, or for mercy, Isaiah 55:12, Isaiah 55:13. It returns not re infectwithout having accomplished its end, but waters the earth, which he is therefore said to do from his chambers, Psalms 104:13. And the watering of the earth is in order to its fruitfulness. Thus he makes it to bring forth and bud, for the products of the earth depend upon the dews of heaven; and thus it gives not only bread to the eater, present maintenance to the owner and his family, but seed likewise to the sower, that he may have food for another year. The husbandman must be a sower as well as an eater, else he will soon see the end of what he has. (2.) The efficacy of his word in the kingdom of providence and grace, which is as certain as the former: “So shall my word be, as powerful in the mouth of prophets as it is in the hand of providence; it shall not return unto me void, as unable to effect what it was sent for, or meeting with an insuperable opposition; no, it shall accomplish that which I please” (for it is the declaration of his will, according to the counsel of which he works all things) “and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” This assures us, [1.] That the promises of God shall all have their full accomplishment in due time, and not one iota or tittle of them shall fail, 1 Kings 8:56. These promises of mercy and grace shall have as real an effect upon the souls of believers, for their sanctification and comfort, as ever the rain had upon the earth, to make it fruitful. [2.] That according to the different errands on which the word is sent it will have its different effects. If it be not a savour of life unto life, it will be a savour of death unto death; if it do not convince the conscience and soften the heart, it will sear the conscience and harden the heart; if it do not ripen for heaven, it will ripen for hell. See Isaiah 6:9. One way or other, it will take effect. [3.] That Christ's coming into the world, as the dew from heaven (Hosea 14:5), will not be in vain. For, if Israel be not gathered, he will be glorious in the conversion of the Gentiles; to them therefore the tenders of grace must be made when the Jews refuse them, that the wedding may be furnished with guests and the gospel not return void.

_ _ 3. If we take a special view of the church, we shall find what great things God has done, and will do, for it (Isaiah 55:12, Isaiah 55:13): You shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace. This refers, (1.) To the deliverance and return of the Jews out of Babylon. They shall go out of their captivity, and be led forth towards their own land again. God will go before them as surely, though not as sensibly, as before their fathers in the pillar of cloud and fire. They shall go out, not with trembling, but with triumph, not with any regret to part with Babylon, or any fear of being fetched back, but with joy and peace. Their journey home over the mountains shall be pleasant, and they shall have the good-will and good wishes of all the countries they pass through. The hills and their inhabitants shall, as in a transport of joy, break forth into singing; and, if the people should altogether hold their peace, even the trees of the field would attend them with their applauses and acclamations. And, when they come to their own land, it shall be ready to bid them welcome; for, whereas they expected to find it all overgrown with briers and thorns, it shall be set with fir-trees and myrtle-trees: for, though it lay desolate, yet it enjoyed its sabbaths (Leviticus 26:34), which, when they were over, like the land after the sabbatical year, it was the better for. And this shall redound much to the honour of God and be to him for a name. But, (2.) Without doubt it looks further. This shall be for an everlasting sign, that it, [1.] The redemption of the Jews out of Babylon shall be a ratification of those promises that relate to gospel times. The accomplishment of the predictions relating to that great deliverance would be a pledge and earnest of the performance of all the other promises; for thereby it shall appear that he is faithful who has promised. [2.] It shall be a representation of the blessings promised and a type and figure of them. First, Gospel grace will set those at liberty that were in bondage to sin and Satan. They shall go out and be led forth. Christ shall make them free, and then they shall be free indeed. Secondly, It will fill those with joy that were melancholy. Psalms 14:7, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad. The earth and the inferior part of the creation shall share in the joy of this salvation, Psalms 94:11, Psalms 94:12. Thirdly, It will make a great change in men's characters. Those that were as thorns and briers, good for nothing but the fire, nay, hurtful and vexatious, shall become graceful and useful as the fir-tree and the myrtle-tree. Thorns and briers came in with sin and were the fruits of the curse, Genesis 3:18. The raising of pleasant trees in the room of them signifies the removal of the curse of the law and the introduction of gospel blessings. The church's enemies were as thorns and briers; but, instead of them, God will raise up friends to be her protection and ornament. Or it may denote the world's growing better; instead of a generation of thorns and briers, there shall come up a generation of fir-trees and myrtles; the children shall be wiser and better than the parents. And, fourthly, in all this God shall be glorified. It shall be to him for a name, by which he will be made known and praised, and by it the people of God shall be encouraged. It shall be for an everlasting sign of God's favour to them, assuring them that, though it may for a time be clouded, it shall never be cut off. The covenant of grace is an everlasting covenant; for the present blessings of it are signs of everlasting ones.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Isaiah 55:6

Seek — Labour to get the knowledge of God's will, and to obtain his grace and favour. While — In this day of grace, while he offers mercy and reconciliation. Near — Ready and desirous to receive you to mercy.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Isaiah 55:6

Seek ye the LORD while he may be (i) found, call ye upon him while he is near:

(i) When he offers himself by the preaching of his word.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance

Isaiah 45:19 I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain: I the LORD speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.
1 Chronicles 28:9 And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.
2 Chronicles 19:3 Nevertheless there are good things found in thee, in that thou hast taken away the groves out of the land, and hast prepared thine heart to seek God.
Job 8:5 If thou wouldest seek unto God betimes, and make thy supplication to the Almighty;
Psalms 14:2 The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, [and] seek God.
Psalms 27:8 [When thou saidst], Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.
Psalms 32:6 For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.
Psalms 95:7 For he [is] our God; and we [are] the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice,
Jeremiah 29:12-14 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. ... And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.
Amos 5:6 Seek the LORD, and ye shall live; lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and devour [it], and [there be] none to quench [it] in Bethel.
Matthew 5:25 Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.
Matthew 7:7-8 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: ... For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Matthew 25:11-12 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. ... But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
Luke 13:25 When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:
John 7:33-34 Then said Jesus unto them, Yet a little while am I with you, and [then] I go unto him that sent me. ... Ye shall seek me, and shall not find [me]: and where I am, [thither] ye cannot come.
John 8:21 Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come.
John 12:35-36 Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. ... While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.
2 Corinthians 6:1-2 We then, [as] workers together [with him], beseech [you] also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. ... (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now [is] the accepted time; behold, now [is] the day of salvation.)
Hebrews 2:3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard [him];
Hebrews 3:13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

while he is near:

Isaiah 12:6 Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great [is] the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.
Isaiah 46:13 I bring near my righteousness; it shall not be far off, and my salvation shall not tarry: and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory.
Deuteronomy 4:7 For what nation [is there so] great, who [hath] God [so] nigh unto them, as the LORD our God [is] in all [things that] we call upon him [for]?
Psalms 75:1 [[To the chief Musician, Altaschith, A Psalm [or] Song of Asaph.]] Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, [unto thee] do we give thanks: for [that] thy name is near thy wondrous works declare.
Psalms 145:18 The LORD [is] nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.
Psalms 148:14 He also exalteth the horn of his people, the praise of all his saints; [even] of the children of Israel, a people near unto him. Praise ye the LORD.
Ezekiel 8:6 He said furthermore unto me, Son of man, seest thou what they do? [even] the great abominations that the house of Israel committeth here, that I should go far off from my sanctuary? but turn thee yet again, [and] thou shalt see greater abominations.
Ephesians 3:13 Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.
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Dt 4:7. 1Ch 28:9. 2Ch 19:3. Jb 8:5. Ps 14:2; 27:8; 32:6; 75:1; 95:7; 145:18; 148:14. Is 12:6; 45:19; 46:13. Jr 29:12. Ezk 8:6. Am 5:6. Mt 5:25; 7:7; 25:11. Lk 13:25. Jn 7:33; 8:21; 12:35. 2Co 6:1. Ep 3:13. He 2:3; 3:13.

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