This is what the LORD says: “Maintain justice and do what is right, for my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed. … And foreigners who bind themselves to the LORD to serve him, to love the name of the LORD, and to worship him, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant—these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” The Sovereign LORD declares—he who gathers the exiles of Israel: “I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered.”
A Very Special People
In the Old Testament, God promised the nation of Israel that a Savior from sin would come from their nation. In order to make sure his promise to them would be kept, God set the nation of Israel apart from all the other nations in the world. He gave Israel a special land. He gave Israel special commands. He gave Israel special promises. He gave Israel prophets and priests and kings. All of it was designed to point Israel to and to prepare Israel for the promised Savior. Israel was, indeed, a very special people!
But what about all the other nations on earth?
The verses of Isaiah chapter 56 before us today give us a very clear answer to that question. The Savior from sin that was coming through Israel, this Savior wasn’t just for Israel, he was for the world. As the LORD beautifully foretold it, “foreigners” would be brought to his “holy mountain” just as the Israelites were, and “all nations” would be welcomed into his “house of prayer” right alongside the Israelites. Why? Because it was always God’s plan to “gather still others to [Israel] besides those already gathered.”
Israel was, indeed, a very special people. But based on these words of the LORD recorded in the book of Isaiah, do you realize who else is?
You are special because the Savior whom God brought into the world through Israel was the Savior that was also meant for you. Through faith in that Savior, you are part of the “still others” whom God had always planned to gather into his family. And that makes you very special too.
God personally blessed you with the greatest blessing imaginable—the blessing of a Savior—and that blessing came to you through the nation of Israel. That thought leads us to an important question: Can you do for another what Israel did for you? In other words, who in your life needs to hear about the Savior whom God also sent for them? After all, there are “still others” who need to hear about him! Perhaps the Lord will use you to bring Christ to them, just as he used Israel to bring Christ to you!
Lord God, your mercy and grace are for everyone. Thank you for keeping your promise of a Savior to Israel, and thank you for keeping that promise to me. Bless and keep me as I now share that Savior with still others. Amen.
Source: WELS Devotions