Saturday, August 10, 2013

Isaiah 56:3-5

"Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the Lord, speak, saying, The Lord hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree.
For thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant;
Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off."
Isaiah 56:3-5

These verses stood out to me today as an example of the all-inclusive mercy of the Lord.  The chapter starts out by talking about keeping judgement, doing justice, keeping the sabbath, and not doing evil, and how blessed we will be if we follow God.  And then to emphasize it, God uses these examples.  People who aren't part of God's chosen people.  Maybe not in the church, not under the definition of chosen people whose ancestors were believers in the past, or for whatever other reason... outsiders.  Sons of the stranger.  But even if we start out far from God, with no cultural or familial knowledge of him, God invites us to become part of his chosen people, and makes the specific point here that no one is excluded.  Anyone can become part of God's covenant.
Similarly, God's next point talks about people who are incapable of having children.  Family is really important to God, and one of the things that he promised Abraham and passed down through that covenant is the promise of posterity.  And here, God makes another specific point about inclusion.  Even if people can't be parents, they aren't excluded from God's blessings.  He promises a place in HIS house, within HIS walls... and a name better than sons and daughters.  I have no idea what that means, but I do know that it isn't being an outsider, or being excluded from anything that God has to offer.
No matter who we are, where we are, what we've done... God offers us peace, solace, acceptance.  He offers a place with Him.  He doesn't exclude anyone.  Anyone who will choose the things that please God, who will avoid evil, who will take hold of his covenant... anyone who is willing to do these things, even if none of us are perfect at it, as long as we are trying... God invites us all in, part of his chosen people.  Part of his family.
God has welcomed us in... let's not exclude ourselves by staying outside.  Today, let's choose those things that please God.  Let's avoid doing evil.  And let's take God at his word, and come unto him.

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