Isaiah 56

Isaiah 56 has the prophet trying to shake the people out of their discouragement.  “Keep justice, and do righteousness, for soon my salvation will come, and my righteousness be revealed. Blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who holds it fast, who keeps the Sabbath, not profaning it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil”.  They have not be living obedient lives and falling short of righteousness.  They don’t see much reason to change, because things are not going well.  So God wants to shake them up and get them focused on what’s to come if they get their lives together.

Today some may have the attitude that giving will begin after the Lord blesses them financially.  That’s not how God works.  We need to start first – obedience comes before blessing – and then God can act.  We give, trusting God and His faithfulness, and God blesses.  Sometimes we feel like outcasts, but God’s promises and truth apply to all.  “Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord say, “The Lord will surely separate me from his people”; and let not the eunuch say, “Behold, I am a dry tree”.  God doesn’t treat us that way.  Our actions and choices can cause us to live like that, but it’s self-imposed, not from God action.  We have to choose to believe and act as part of His family.

God’s plan in inclusive.  “I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off. 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, everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it, and holds fast my covenant—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”.  It isn’t just all inclusive, it is also eternal!

God does expect obedience and for us to walk with Him. “But they are shepherds who have no understanding; they have all turned to their own way, each to his own gain, one and all”.  Unfortunately some are unfaithful and walk in their own selfish ways.  Their focus is on personal gain, not obedience to God.  They think tomorrow will come and be like today, which is not necessarily the case.  They will be unprepared to stand before God at time of judgment because the focus is entirely on self.  That’s not God’s call to obedience.  We have to have our eyes on Him!

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