Isaiah 56

Isaiah 56

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Salvation for Foreigners

56   Thus says the LORD:
  “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.”
  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.”
  For thus says the LORD:
  “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths,
    who choose the things that please me
    and hold fast my covenant,
  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.
  “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.”
  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

  All you beasts of the field, come to devour—
    all you beasts in the forest.
  His watchmen are blind;
    they are all without knowledge;
  they are all silent dogs;
    they cannot bark,
  dreaming, lying down,
    loving to slumber.
  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.
  “Come,” they say, “let me get wine;
    let us fill ourselves with strong drink;
  and tomorrow will be like this day,
    great beyond measure.”

(ESV)


Isaiah 56 Commentary

by Hank Workman

There are times we are dreamers.  We think of what could be, where we could go, yet for many, their dreams simply stay right there.  They lack follow through.  What also plays into such dreams are many times if we’re honest, they’re self-driven.  The things we want to accomplish are based on our own needs or desires.

Although we may ask God to bless them because they are for our benefit and yes even the glory of our own name, nothing happens.  Or quite honestly worse, we harm others in the process of pursuing what we want.

A God-given dream requires we involve Him in the process.  It also requires we are obedient.  A dream coming to fruition takes place when we choose to lead and move toward that goal as God directs.

God speaks of His salvation being given to the people.  He opens with what he expects we should be doing.  We must be those who maintain justice, do what’s right (there’s the obedience aspect).  He  asks we make it priority to meet with Him and stay clear of evil.  What’s fascinating is as the chapter closes He speaks of those who are not doing such things.  He says His watchmen are blind.  They are people who lay around and dream with no action.  They lack understanding and pursue their own form of thought.

There is great responsibility in our leadership, wherever that may be. As the leaders of Israel had become blind to the many dangers of self-righteousness and lack of vision, so too without our diligence in seeking God personally this can happen to us.  When we are not in tune with the Holy Spirit we can grow apathetic about others needs.  We become so tunnel visioned to our own wants others fall along the wayside.  As one commentary states, “Leadership’s special privileges can cause leaders either to sacrifice for the good of their people or to sacrifice their people for their own greed.”

What are your dreams at the moment?  Are they God-given or self-imposed?  Consider what actions you’ve been taking to reach these. Are they honoring God or afflicting others?  Are they for His glory or for our name?


Isaiah 56 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

Here at the end of the chapter, we read that Israel’s irresponsible leaders are the source of their blindness. Anytime that leadership is failing, the people under that leadership have little chance of success. The “watchmen of Israel” were to stand high at their post and direct the people’s choices, attitudes, and behaviors based on what they saw from God. They failed.

In fact, these verses are a scathing judgment against them. The text actually reads “Israel’s watchmen are blind, all of them.” If blindness is the problem, what is the solution? How can they see, and what is causing their blindness?

Many times in this short passage we read that they know nothing. Because of this, they are lacking true wisdom and discernment. They do not understand the critical nature of their blindness. The watchmen have no sense of urgency. Because they do not see the bigger picture, they sleep. When they should be leading and protecting the people, they are dozing off into a complacent and dangerous slumber. What happens when your watchdog is sleeping and the enemy comes knocking? They become useless for the task.

Are we lovers of sleep? Do we comfortably snooze the day away while other perish in our midst? Physical laziness and spiritual complacency are almost always two sides of the same coin. As a result, if you lack the motivation to physically fill your purpose, how are you able to fulfill your spiritual purpose? I have seen this in my life.

When I  focus on myself and my desire is for physical comfort, I always lose my motivation and determination for spiritual practices. Whether you are a formal ministry leader or not, you are a saint through Jesus Christ. God equips every saint to do ministry through the gifts given by the person of the Holy Spirit. Your spiritual slumber affects people all around you!

Consequently, when you sleep on God, the people close to you will perish. This is a reality in Scripture as it talks all about how the shepherd must defend the flock. Who is your “flock” and where are you becoming drowsy? The good news of the Gospel is the answer to spiritual lethargy. We will find strength, wisdom, and courage in the grace of Jesus Christ so that we can function as His hands and feet today.

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