Summary: God saves people so that they might know Him & the only way they can truly know Him is to become like Him. As people chose to live in obedience to God, He empowers them that they might become the servants of God.
ISAIAH 56: 1-8
THE OPPORTUNITY OF GODLY LIVING
Chapters 56-66 are the third section of Isaiah’s book. The section opens with promises of a grand salvation yet to come. God saves people so that they might know Him and the only way they can truly know Him is to become like Him. Those who have received the forgiveness and deliverance of God also receive grace to live as God lives or righteously (Isa. 55). If they do, all stratus of people and all the nations will come to know the Lord.
As people chose to live in obedience to God, He empowers them that they might become the servants of God. The grace of God is free but those who receive it are expected to take hold of it in their lives and live it out. God informs those who chose grace empowered obedience that there will be rewards in their eternal salvation.
I. FUTURE BLESSINGS, 1-2.
II. EQUAL OPPORTUNITY GRACE, 3-5.
III. PROMISES TO THE FAITHFUL, 6-8.
Verse 1 is a command to be righteous. Thus says the Lord, "Preserve justice and do righteousness, for My salvation is about to come and My righteousness to be revealed.
When some hear the words of acceptance that chapter 55 proclaim they could believe that covenant grace carries no obligations. That is not so. People are urged to do what is right (1:17) because God’s salvation will come soon. Again Isaiah links present behavior with future salvation and blessings. Because the Lord will bring salvation to those who believe, they should act justly in the present. Salvation on earth is spiritual deliverance and physical protection, but there remains a future salvation for God’s people also.
In 750 BC God called the people He had delivered to be fair and just and live for the coming kingdom. He calls us to the same hope. John says this hope of living with Jesus causes one to purify himself (1 Jn. 3:3).
We acknowledge receiving the blessings of God by keeping covenant with God. Verse 2 states how that was expressed under the Old Covenant. "How blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who takes hold of it; Who keeps from profaning the Sabbath, and keeps his hand from doing any evil."
"In Isaiah’s day a righteous person (a believer who does what is right, v.1) lived according to God’s Law, an expression of His righteous standards. Keeping the Sabbath was important under the Law (Ex. 20:8-11), for a person by not engaging in agricultural or business pursuits on that day thereby acknowledged that he believed God would take care of him and bless him. Since the Sabbath was a sign of Israel’s covenant with God, keeping the Sabbath signified that a person believed in the covenant and the Lord." [Bible Knowledge Com., 1111] Their belief was also demonstrated by turned from doing . . . evil in their daily activities. People who so honor God in their daily life will be blessed.
For new covenant people who are no longer under the law (Acts 15:20), we acknowledge Sunday, the day Jesus rose from the dead, as a day of worship and rest. We take rest from our labors as a way of acknowledging that it is the Lord who provides for us. It states that the world will go on without me, but I will not go on without the Lord. Untold Future blessings are promised to those who so authentic their faith.
II. EQUAL OPPORTUNITY GRACE, 3-5.
Verse 3 reverses the common thought that foreigners and the impaired had no business in God’s house. Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord say, "The Lord will surely separate me from His people." Nor let the eunuch say, "Behold, I am a dry tree."
Even foreigners (14:1) and eunuchs are not only welcome to join themselves to the Lord, but will participate in the eternal blessings of salvation. This contrasts with the exclusion of eunuchs under the Mosaic Law (Deut. 23:1).
God’s new covenant of grace offers one and all the opportunity for dignity and worth, for life and fruitfulness. Whatever your race, social position, work, or financial situation, God’s blessings are as much for you as for anyone else. No one is excluded from the opportunity to respond to God’s grace.
The Lord explains in verse 4 why those accustomed to thinking themselves outcasts can now hope. For thus says the Lord, "To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths, and choose what pleases Me, and hold fast My covenant,
Keeping the Sabbaths and obeying God’s covenant stipulations ( Isa. 56:6) would demonstrate their loyalty to the Lord (1-2). Holding fast My covenant means keeping the agreement of faith in the promises and obedience to the principles of God.