Isaiah 56 gives us a picture of what God desires and the benefits of following Him. It also shows the plight of the ungodly and the consequences of their choices.
Isaiah 56:1-8 starts out with God’s admonistion to do what is right, be just, avoid evil and follow God’s commands. The command example is keeping the Sabbath. God promises rescue for His followers and this is provided through faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
This is what the Lord says: “Be just and fair to all.
Do what is right and good,
for I am coming soon to rescue you
and to display my righteousness among you.
2 Blessed are all those
who are careful to do this.
Blessed are those who honor my Sabbath days of rest
and keep themselves from doing wrong.
God goes on to say that foreigners should not be afraid of exclusion, 3, and if they bind themselves to God in service, worship and love, He will bring them into His house. His house will be a house of prayer for all nations, 6-8.
3 “Don’t let foreigners who commit themselves to the Lord say,
‘The Lord will never let me be part of his people.’
6 “I will also bless the foreigners who commit themselves to the Lord,
who serve him and love his name,
who worship him and do not desecrate the Sabbath day of rest,
and who hold fast to my covenant.
7 I will bring them to my holy mountain of Jerusalem
and will fill them with joy in my house of prayer.
I will accept their burnt offerings and sacrifices,
because my Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations.
8 For the Sovereign Lord,
who brings back the outcasts of Israel, says:
I will bring others, too,
besides my people Israel.”
Even the eunuchs, those who are symbolically cut off from God’s house, need not worry as they wll be given His everlasting name by choosing Him and holding fast to His Word.,4-5.
4 For this is what the Lord says:
I will bless those eunuchs
who keep my Sabbath days holy
and who choose to do what pleases me
and commit their lives to me.
5 I will give them—within the walls of my house—
a memorial and a name
far greater than sons and daughters could give.
For the name I give them is an everlasting one.
It will never disappear!
These ancient words are comforting to us today as no matter what our situation is, God will be there for us. Whether we are in His family already, are outsiders- unbelievers as were the Gentiles, or if we think we are totally isolated from God and His family. God promises to rescues us with benefits! We need to trust in Him, walk in the light of His Word and seek to serve Him. This is God’s remedy for our lostness and is filled with hopefulness and promise.
The remainder of Chapter 56 speaks of the plight of the unrepentant who seek the world and are blinded by its allure. They seemingly love to sleep and dream, lack understanding and seek their own gain. God also warns the one who leads others down that pathway. Beware of ungodly leaders- check their motives and their hearts. Sounds like the world around us today where people live with the illusion that tomorrow will be like today or even better as they party through life on their own. They seek to live life in the moment and don’t consider the eternal consequences.
Isaiah 56:9-12 Come, wild animals of the field!
Come, wild animals of the forest!
Come and devour my people!
10 For the leaders of my people—
the Lord’s watchmen, his shepherds—
are blind and ignorant.
They are like silent watchdogs
that give no warning when danger comes.
They love to lie around, sleeping and dreaming.
11 Like greedy dogs, they are never satisfied.
They are ignorant shepherds,
all following their own path
and intent on personal gain.
12 “Come,” they say, “let’s get some wine and have a party.
Let’s all get drunk.
Then tomorrow we’ll do it again
and have an even bigger party!”
Which sounds better to you? Following and serving God, being cared for by Him now and throughout eternity or going it alone? The choice is yours. Seek Him as the benefits far outway the consequences.