Isaiah 56:1, 6-8
56:1 Thus says the LORD: Maintain justice, and do what is right, for soon my salvation will come, and my deliverance be revealed.
56:6 And the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD, to minister to him, to love the name of the LORD, and to be his servants, all who keep the sabbath, and do not profane it, and hold fast my covenant–
56:7 these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.
56:8 Thus says the Lord GOD, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, I will gather others to them besides those already gathered.
In these few short verses we learn about Israel’s exile, redemption and call to worship. In this narrative we see how Israel is once again being brought back into a relationship with God and are being called to return to worshiping God with their whole hearts and lives. This is a prayer that is yearning for the nation to once again reclaim their place and standing with God.
Exile and redemption is a common theme throughout the history of Israel. This well known and is something that is revisited and talked about time again. Yet there is a purpose for this. God wants to teach us that there is nothing that can ever give us any means of satisfaction and hope outside of a relationship with Him. As Christians we are called to love, worship and honor God with our lives. Anything that attempts to steer us away from that will lead us down a path of sin.
Prayer is what brings the nation of Israel back into communication with God. The repetitive act that always takes place before God rescues His people is the nations cry and prayer to God for deliverance. The same prayer can also be applied to us today. When we are finally able to recognize the error of our ways, our first act should be to prayerfully and humbly come to God with an open heart, ready to confess our sins and accept His Grace.
Just like God reached out and brought the nation of Israel from exile, some of whom were scattered throughout many different places, so too does He reach out to us. Bringing the nation back to Him was always His end goal and He longs to see us constantly pursue an ongoing relationship with Him. Let us make it our daily prayer to ask God to keep us from falling away and to protect us from any outside temptations that will hinder our walk with Him.
He is a God that is always on the move to redeem His people and we are His both now and forever.
If anyone has read the parable of the banquet in Luke 14 and wondered what that was all about, they should look no further than the prophetic word given through Isaiah. God spoke many times that He was going to bring the foreigner and the gentile into His fold. He was going to extend the covenant with the Jews to anyone who would be willing to follow the Lord.
Luke 14:15-24New International Version (NIV)
The Parable of the Great Banquet
15 When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”
16 Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’
18 “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’
19 “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’
20 “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’
21 “The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’
22 “‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’
23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. 24 I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’”
As noted in previous posts, God’s vision was to save everyone, not just the Jewish people. The Jewish people were meant to be the light to all nations. Instead they rejected the invitation to God’s feast and God called the nations without their help.
God’s vision and heart is for all nations. It is our task to spread the gospel to all who will receive it. This was the primary task of God’s children; to bring everyone into the fold of God. It is now our task as Christians.
[Featured image from https://www.tlvbiblesociety.org]