absaloms-monument

From Isaiah, a prophetic word declaring that, yes, all those excluded from temple worship will be included in the kingdom of God.
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. Eunuchs were usually (not always) castrated male officials in the government of the time. On top of being a “dry tree“, Deuteronomy 23:1 specifically banned them from worship. So the offer from Yahweh here is a huge offer. Everyone wants to be remembered after they die, everyone wants to have some kind of legacy bigger than themselves. We see our presidents and high officials scrambling in their last days of power to secure their legacy. Usually, our memories are kept alive by our offspring, our descendants, but the “dry tree” eunuchs, obviously, could not produce children to be remembered by. Some high ranking eunuchs might earn the right to build their own monument to remember their accomplishments. King David’s son Absalom built his own monument because he had no children. “Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and set up for himself the pillar that is in the King’s Valley, for he said, “I have no son to keep my name in remembrance.” He called the pillar after his own name, and it is called Absalom’s monument to this day.” ‭‭2 Samuel‬ ‭18:18‬ ‭ESV‬‬. But God promises that the Eunuchs who seek Him, choose Him over their own pleasure and self gratification, they will have their own monument, they will be remembered even more so than by sons and daughters. They will be sons of the most high God!! They will be remembered forever, their legacy will never die!! Quite the promise to a group barred even from worship…

sheep_gate
“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.” Grandchildren of foreigners who came to the Lord would be found acceptable to enter the temple – “”You shall not abhor an Edomite, for he is your brother. You shall not abhor an Egyptian, because you were a sojourner in his land. Children born to them in the third generation may enter the assembly of the Lord.” ‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭23:7-8‬ ‭ESV‬‬. Despite all the exclusions written into the law, Israel was still commanded not to hate foreigners, in fact they were all brothers. And the door was left open for their grandchildren to enter worship. But what Isaiah is declaring is that all who come to the Lord will be allowed in. None will be barred. All will be acceptable. Yes – salvation is for everyone!!

jesus-bridge-1
The Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares, “I will gather yet others to him besides those already gathered.” God gathers even the outcasts of Israel…and those besides those already gathered. Even those we don’t think should be gathered. Those we think can’t be gathered. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” Matthew‬ ‭28:19‬ ‭ESV‬‬. Make disciples of all nations…starting with those right around us. It seems to me we are in a mad dash to bring this into fruition, running around to all the nations of the world on an ever changing map, we haven’t even made disciples of those in our own nations. God will gather to Himself those not already gathered. We give up on people far easier than God does. We have lost sheep all around us. Those addicted to drugs, alcohol, gambling, porn. Those who are doing “just fine, thank you very much”. Those who are up with anxiety every night, those hanging on in quiet desperation, not sure they even want to wake up tomorrow. Those who seem to have all they need or want, yet have no hope. There are lost sheep all around, maybe you are one of them. Maybe I am one of them. But we know how Jesus sees every lost sheep, don’t we? “”What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’” Luke‬ ‭15:4-6‬ ‭ESV

shepherd

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“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.””

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭56:3-8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

http://bible.com/59/isa.56.3-8.esv

John Lewis

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