GOD’S DINNER TABLE IS SET!
God’s gifts to us are not like a shopping spree where we selfishly indulge our wants (whether they’re good for us or not). True bounty, the bounty God is offering, is more like a family feast where we are included not in a posed photo-op but at the actual table. In Isaiah 55:1–3 we see God’s invitation to bounty, an invitation that is both for today and ultimately for all peoples in the forever-after of the story of God. Now, doesn’t that sound like a dinner bell, a great invitation to a fantastic five-diamond hotel feast?! This is a picture of God’s story. This is a snapshot into God’s heart, a heart that longs to sound the dinner bell and set the table where all are invited.
What this means for you personally is that God has invited you, specifically you, to His dinner table of bounty. God doesn’t just love the world; He loves the specific people of the world. God’s great story, called the kingdom of God, is unfolding throughout the world, but it never unfolds without a specific invitation to each and every one of His precious children. In this invitation, you should read God’s invitation to you, not just to the world around you. For some people, it is easier to think of God’s love for the world or for the people around them than it is to think about God’s love for them personally.
At God’s table a wide variety of good gifts are given freely and in large amounts. Without “recompense” or repayment, God invites “everyone” to come to the table and enjoy these good gifts. And the most valuable gift we enjoy when we come to the table is a relationship with Him—a covenant relationship, where we belong to God and to the people of God! This is the very core, the center of the bounty God is offering.
Bounty is expressed in physical abundance, like a great feast at the table. It’s seen in the connection and intimacy between the people around the table. But the most valuable and indispensable aspect of bounty is the relationship we have with the host of the feast, God Himself. We become a people, a meaningful community, as we find ourselves together involved in a greater story than just the story of the individual. That’s why when we chase after near-bounty it never satisfies us, because even if we can get into that fancy hotel, it is all a cheap imitation of what we’ve been designed for. Even if we found a way to get around problems of exclusion through expense, we still fail to experience true bounty because we forget true bounty is intertwined with a relationship with God. Bounty is bound up with being made right with God, and it requires a relationship with Him. All the active expressions of God, including creation, salvation, and restoration, are gifts of true bounty. The story of everything ultimately leads us to the experience of knowing Him personally, and that requires something beyond justice, something called “righteousness.”