Verse of the Day Devotion. Isaiah 56:1
“Thus says the LORD, preserve justice, and do righteousness, For My salvation is about to come And My righteousness to be revealed.” – Isaiah 56:1
In Chapters 54 and 55, Isaiah lays out some glorious things to look forward to. In chapter 54, Isaiah speaks of a never-ending covenant of peace with the Lord, and in chapter 55 he speaks of God’s compassion toward His people. In rejoicing in the unconditional acceptance that these chapters convey, many no-doubt probably believed that the grace of God carries no obligation with it. But our focus verse adds an additional item. “Thus says the LORD, Preserve justice, and do righteousness, For My salvation is about to come And My righteousness to be revealed.” Isaiah 56:1. What is being said here is not that we have salvation because of our judgement and righteousness, but that because of the salvation provided for us, and coming soon, obedience to God should be lived out in us. The general idea is, that it was not only appropriate that the prospect of his coming and his near approach should lead them to a holy life, but it was necessary in order that they might escape his indignation.
We then read in the next verse. “How blessed is the man who does this, And the son of man who takes hold of it. Who keeps from profaning the sabbath and keeps his hand from doing any evil.” Isaiah 56:2. The idea is that the one who is righteous, and acts with good judgment exercises a good conscience both towards God and men; he enjoys communion with God in his ways, worship, and ordinances, he attends unto, and has an evidence of his right to eternal happiness. His life is to be dedicated to doing what is right and honorable which is pleasing to God. And this is not to be restricted to the Jews alone, for this message applies to the foreigner and outcasts as well. “Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the LORD say, The LORD will surely separate me from His people. Neither let the eunuch say, “Behold, I am a dry tree. For thus says the LORD, To the eunuchs who keep My sabbaths, And choose what pleases Me, And hold fast My covenant, To them I will give in My house and within My walls a memorial, And a name better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name which will not be cut off.” Isaiah 56:3-5.
Significantly, the message concerns the outcast persons as well; those being foreigners or eunuchs. This alone should give these people a sense of dignity and worth. They are told here not to look down on themselves. Others may look at them this way, but they are not to acquiesce to this, and accept what they are saying. God will not cut them off. He does not see them as worthless or lifeless but as worthy. Lets look back at the previous chapter. “Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.” Isaiah 55:6-7. It does not matter who you are, those who seek God in all sincerity as denoted in turning away from wickedness, will find themselves accepted by Him.
Finally, in the next three verses we read. “Also the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD, To minister to Him, and to love the name of the LORD, To be His servants, everyone who keeps from profaning the sabbath, And holds fast My covenant; Even those I will bring to My holy mountain And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar; For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples. The Lord GOD, who gathers the dispersed of Israel, declares, “Yet others I will gather to them, to those already gathered.” Isaiah 56:6-8. God is not looking at Gentiles any differently than Jews, even to the point that their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be acceptable to Him, if again, they seek the Lord with all their heart.
We should never look at anyone and consider them unworthy of salvation or following God. Many of the Jewish people, especially the leadership, felt themselves as being superior to anyone who were Gentiles or Jews who did not live as they did. As we see here in these verses, God does not see anyone as less than all other and so excluding them from salvation. They may not be as learned in the things of God than others, or they may have personalities that are far different, but no one is to be excluded. We need to keep this in mind. Some people may look down on others, however, we must see all as worthy of God’s grace and proceed as such. God sees us all the same, either sinners saved by grace, or sinners in need of salvation. And we should never see anyone any differently. Either we help disciple them, or we help them become saved and then disciple them. This is our calling from God, and to exclude anyone is not acceptable.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.