Isaiah 56:1-12 … GOD PROMISES HIS SALVATION EVEN TO FOREIGNERS AND EUNUCHS.
Q.1. What instruction did the Lord give Israel? How far does this promise extend? What hope does He give to the eunuchs and childless people? – (Isa.56:1-5 c.f. Acts 8:27-35) =
Q.2. To whom does God promise His blessing? How did Jesus apply this truth? What is the message to Israel? Did they understand the heart of God for a lost world? – (Isa.56:6-12 c.f. Mk.11:15-18)
Salvation for Foreigners
56 Thus says the Lord:
“Keep justice, and do righteousness,
for soon my salvation will come,
and my righteousness be revealed.
2 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.”
3 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.”
4 For thus says the Lord:
“To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths,
who choose the things that please me
and hold fast my covenant,
5 I will give in my house and within my walls
a monument and a name
better than sons and daughters;
I will give them an everlasting name
that shall not be cut off.
6 “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—
7 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.”
8 The Lord God,
who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares,
“I will gather yet others to him
besides those already gathered.”
Israel’s Irresponsible Leaders
9 All you beasts of the field, come to devour—
all you beasts in the forest.
10 His watchmen are blind;
they are all without knowledge;
they are all silent dogs;
they cannot bark,
dreaming, lying down,
loving to slumber.
11 The dogs have a mighty appetite;
they never have enough.
But they are shepherds who have no understanding;
they have all turned to their own way,
each to his own gain, one and all.
12 “Come,” they say, “let me get wine;
let us fill ourselves with strong drink;
and tomorrow will be like this day,
great beyond measure.”
Q.1. What does the psalmist remember about Israel’s past? How did Israel push back its enemies? Does he believe God can do it again? What does he resolve to do? – (Ps.44:1-8) = The psalmist begins with Israel’s history – O God, we have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us the work that You did in their days, in the days of old (Ps.44:1). This psalm indicates that this is not the present experience of God’s people. He gives recognition to God for this and declares – 2 You with Your own hand drove out the nations … 3 For by their own sword they did not possess the land, and their own arm did not save them, but Your right hand and Your arm and the light of Your presence, for You favoured them (Ps.44:2-3). He is in no doubt that God can do it again, – 4 You are my King, O God … 5 Through You we will push back our adversaries … (Ps.44:4-5). In the light of this – In God we have boasted all day long, And we will give thanks to Your name forever (Ps.44:8), and believes there is nothing wrong with what God has done.
Q.2. What was the psalmist’s lament? Why were Israel’s circumstances hard to bear? What prompted the psalmist to stay true to God? What was his heart’s cry to God? – (Ps.44:9-26) = Yet he must face the reality of the here and now – 9 Yet You have rejected us and brought us to dishonour, and do not go out with our armies. 10 You cause us to turn back from the adversary; And those who hate us have taken spoil for themselves (Ps.44:9-10). What the psalmist hates most is the ridicule to which Israel was exposed (Ps.44:13-16). He reminds the Lord that they have maintained their faithfulness to Him in spite of their circumstances. – 20 If we had forgotten the name of our God or extended our hands to a strange god, 21 Would not God find this out? For He knows the secrets of the heart (Ps.44:20-21). He ruefully complains – for Your sake we are killed all day long; We are considered as sheep to be slaughtered (Ps.44:22). Paul quotes this to contrast the trials of life compared with the overwhelming victory we have through the love of Christ (c.f. Rom.8:36). Out of these depths of despair and feelings of rejection his heart cries out – Rise up, be our help, and redeem us for the sake of Your lovingkindness (Ps.44:26 c.f. Rom.8:31-39).
(Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)
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