113-156 Isaiah Chapter 56
Rewards for Obedience to God
Isaiah is writing to the people who are discouraged. Those who have been slack in their obedience towards God and have not lived in righteousness. They are downhearted and find no reason to repent. God is calling upon them to keep justice and live in righteousness with anticipation to what God will do. They are as those who promise to tithe when the Lord blesses their finances. The truth is that we tithe in anticipation that the Lord will bless our finances. There is an inherent blessing of obedience and the covenant blessing to the obedient.
The alien should not feel separated from God’s people because they are not and God tells them not to say that. The Eunuchs may have felt like an outcast and denied participation in the Temple rituals. (Leviticus 18:20-21) God did not want them to feel as an outcast because God’s Word is higher than their feelings. Often people feel as they are outcast but they should not embrace such feelings. They should trust God at His Word. If God says you belong, then you belong. To those who feel as an outcast God says walk right, live in obedience, and He will honor and bless them. They will have a place and a name in His house. For many, this isn’t enough. They want the recognition of men. It isn’t enough for them to have a place of honor and name in God’s house. One should be content with a place of honor and a name in the house of God. “An interesting application of this verse is the ‘Yad Vashem’ (A Memorial and a Name), the building in Jerusalem to honor the Jews who died in the Holocaust during World War II but whose names are recorded in perpetuity.” (Wolf)
There are those who feel that they are accepted by God no matter what and others who feel rejected by God no matter what. But here the Lord makes it clear that if a foreigner eunuch seeks the Lord and comes to Him in obedience the Lord will receive it. God not only wanted His house of prayer to be for the Jewish people but also for all the nations. This very thing angered Jesus when He found the outer courts of the Temple filled with the money changers. The outer courts were where the Gentile could come and worship God. For this Jesus drove them out. (Matthew 21:31)
Because of the exile Israel had become self-focused. They believed that God only cared for them and the rest of the nations did not matter. God wanted to expand the vision of Israel beyond their borders so that would know that God loved the perishing world and wanted them to love Him also.
The Lord God gives an invitation to the beast of the fields to come and devour the corpses of the enemies after they had laid in the field. This same picture is drawn for us in the book of Revelation. “Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven, “Come, assemble for the great supper of God.” (Revelation 19:17)
The leaders of the people are blind and God’s judgment is on the way but they do not see it and can’t warn the people. They are the watchmen who do not fulfill their purpose. They are as dumb dogs who are sleeping. These leaders of the Jewish people are in contrast to the leadership of King David. (Isaiah 55:3-5) They are the unfaithful shepherds who only look for their own gain.
Worse than being ignorant and blind they also behave wickedly. While God’s judgment approaches they simply drink and get drunk. Their faith is blind and has replaced a reasoned faith in God.