The Exaltation of God’s Kingdom Isaiah 40-66, cont’d.
Isaiah 49-57 God Saves Those in His Kingdom through His Servant, cont’d.
The Servant’s Salvation, cont’d. Isaiah 54:1-57:21
Isaiah 56:1-8-The offer of salvation is extended to all people, including…
- (:2) those who are discouraged because they have not been living a righteous life and now feel like God would not receive them back
- (:3) those who are not Jews but have married a Jew and feel like they could never be a part of God’s people
- (:4-5) those, such as eunuch’s who have a physical condition that prohibits them from worshipping in the Temple and feel that God has no place for them
- This also prophesies the passing of the dominance of the Levitical order. Clearly, giving eunuchs a place and a name in God's house contradicted the command of Leviticus 21:18-20. But under a coming New Covenant, there is a higher principle at work than the shadows of the Levitical law.
David Guzik :: Study Guide for Isaiah 56,
- (:6-7) those that are the children of a marriage between a Jew and a non-Jew and feel like they could never be accepted into God’s family.
Isaiah 56:9-12-The professional prophets are chastised for not doing their job...they care about nothing but money. These verses are a promise that they will be judged for their misbehavior.
Isaiah 57:1-10-God says that righteous people are dying and no one even notices (:1-2). Instead, the unrighteous mock the righteous (:4). But God says that no one seems to realize that when a righteous person dies…it is really a blessing since he no longer has to put up with the unrighteous (:2). He comforts the righteous by reminding them that they will enter into the peace of Heaven when they die (:2). Then, He rebukes the people of Israel for forsaking Him and following other gods (:3)…and for mocking the righteous (:4). In verse four, it is as if God is asking them, “Who do you think that you are to mock such righteous people? You do it because you are unrighteous and you allow your passions to burn inside of you to worship other gods and follow their detestable practices.” He then gives a detailed description of the practices of these pagan religions (:5-10).
Isaiah 57:11-13-God challenges them to call out to their gods when they are in trouble and see if they can help them. He says that it takes nothing more than a slight wind to knock them down. These are nothing more than false gods. And yet, they worship these gods out of fear (:11).
Isaiah 57:14-21-But is different for those who worship Him. He is sovereign over all things (:14-15). And instead of being a god who breaks people, He is the God Who restores people who are broken (:15). He says that He has punished them for a while…but that will not last much longer (:16-17). God is making a point. When He blessed the people they were obstinate and rebellious. So, one might think that if He punished them they would realize their error, and change. But they didn’t. When He punished the people they still continued to be disobedient (:17). So, God has chosen to bless His people regardless of their obedience, or disobedience (:18-19). His blessing is not based on their behavior, but His choice. However, He knows that some will still reject Him and He decrees that they will never have the peace that He offers (:20-21).
Isaiah 58-66 God Secures Those in His Kingdom
Isaiah 58:1-5-God rebukes the people for just going through the motions in their worship (fasting, and Sabbath activities). He says that they don't mean what they do, or say. They only do these things because they think that somehow they will benefit (:1-2). They ask why it is that they do what they are told to do and fast…and yet, God doesn’t seem to take notice. God says that even though they go through the outward motions of fasting their hearts were intent on something else and they got what they wanted (:3). If you want God to hear your prayers…this is the wrong way to go about it (:4). Their worship of God should have profound affects on their relationships with one another…but it is obvious that all that they do is a mere show because they still overwork their labor (:3) and fight with each other (:4). When we truly worship God it changes us and as a result it changes how we relate to other people. However, in their lives…nothing has changed (:4-5).
Isaiah 58:6-12-The kind of fasting that God is looking for will lead them to…
- (:6) free those who have been put in prison unjustly
- not force those that work for them to work so hard
- don’t keep people under bondage (financial, etc.)
- (:7,10) feed the hungry
- help people who have no where to live
- give clothes to those who have none
- extend a helping hand to your own family
- (:11) help those who are in trouble.
The results of such behavior will be…
- (:8) God’s blessing and protection in your life
- (:9) You will pray and God will answer
- (:10) You will not live in darkness (without understanding, knowledge)
- (:11) God will guide you in such a way that you will have whatever you need
- (:12) You will rebuild cities and homes that had been destroyed.
Isaiah 58:13-14-When we keep the Sabbath it honors God and shows that you truly delight in Him…and in turn, He will bless you.
Prayer: Father, the invitation to come to You is extended to all people. It is based on Your grace…and Your grace, alone. There is nothing that I can do to deserve it and nothing that I can do to not deserve it…because it is not based on me…but on You. Thank You, Lord.