Monday, August 14, 2017

Isaiah 56:1-8 A House of Prayer for Outcasts & Foreigners

KEY TEXT: Isaiah 56:6-7 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."

KEY THOT: The Lord's grace is not limited to Israel but is extended to "foreigners" (Gentiles) who would "join themselves to the Lord, to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants" (v.6). No one who seeks God will be rejected, for it is God's will to gather the "outcasts of Israel" and also "yet others" (v.8). A day would be coming when everyone who join themselves to the Lord will be brought to God's holy mountain and made "joyful in my house of prayer" (v.7). Though prophesied about 700 years before Christ, this prophecy was fulfilled when the Gospel was first proclaimed to Cornelius' household (Acts 10) and subsequently to all parts of the Roman Empire--"to the Jews first and also to the Greek" (Romans 1:16).

As Gentile believers, we must always remain humble and grateful that this grace of God which was first given to the Israel (Jews) has now been extended to us who are foreigners, "alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world" (Eph 2:12). And it is now our responsibility to extend this same grace to those who are still foreigners and outcasts, always praying and working for their inclusion into the commonwealth of Israel.

As unworthy recipients of God's grace, we must not fall into the temptation of the Pharisees and scribes who despised "sinners" who were not part of their well-defined and exclusive religious society. For God's grace is always flowing out from the commonwealth of Israel to outcasts and foreigners.

If we want to experience more of this grace in ourselves, we must be its conduits, not its choke-points.

Abba-Father, what a joy and privilege to see more and more "outcasts of Israel" and "foreigners" added into Your house of prayer. May Your people be an inclusive people of prayer and praise unto You. Amen.

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