Wednesday, May 08, 2024

2024.05.08 Hopewell @Home ▫ Isaiah 56:1–8

Read Isaiah 56:1–8

Questions from the Scripture text: Who says this (Isaiah 56:1a)? What two things does He command them to keep (verse 1b)? What two things are about to arrive/appear (verse 1c –d)? Who are blessed (Isaiah 56:2a–b)? In doing what two things with God’s righteousness? What must he especially not do (verse 2c)? And what else (verse 2d)? Whom does Isaiah 56:3a especially address? But what has this son of a foreigner done (verse 3b)? What must he not do (verse 3c)? What, specifically, must he not say (verse 3d)? Who else must not say something (verse 3e)? What, specifically, must he not say (verse 3f)? Who speaks the reason for this (Isaiah 56:4a)? Whom does He address in verse 4b? What do these particular eunuchs keep? Whose Sabbaths? What do the eunuchs choose by keeping the Lord’s Sabbaths (verse 4c)? What do the eunuchs hold fast to by keeping the Lord’s Sabbaths (verse 4d)? Where will God give to them on the Sabbath (Isaiah 56:5a–b)? Whose house? Whose walls? What two things will He give? To what two things will this name place and name be superior (verse 5c)? How long will they have this name? What will not happen to this name? Whose case does v6a address? What have these specific sons of foreigners done (Isaiah 56:6b)? For what have they joined themselves to YHWH (verse 6b–c)? What are those who serve YHWH careful not to defile (verse 6d)? To what do they hold fast (verse 6e)? Where does YHWH bring them (Isaiah 56:7a)? What does He do to them (verse 7b)? In what place? Where will their ascensions (“burnt offerings” NKJ) be accepted (verse 7c–d)? Where will their sacrifices by accepted? In this way, what will the Lord make His house to be called (verse 7e)? For whom will it be a house of prayer? What will the Lord YHWH do (Isaiah 56:8a)? What else does He say that He will do (verse 8b–c)?

What do those looking forward to salvation do? Isaiah 56:1–8 prepares us for the first serial reading in public worship on the Lord’s Day. In these eight verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that those who look forward to salvation do righteousness, especially that of not defiling the Sabbath, but keeping it with God’s people. 

Obedience on the Sabbath, Isaiah 56:1-3. Those who are looking forward to the curse-reversal blessings of the new creation (cf. Isaiah 55:12–13) show their desire, hope, and delight by a forward-looking obedience. They repent (“keep justice and do righteousness,” Isaiah 56:1b) because the kingdom of heaven is at hand (“My salvation is about to come,” verse 1c; “My righteousness is about to be revealed,” verse 1d). So they refuse to do any evil (Isaiah 56:2c), but especially they keep the 4th commandment (verse 2d).

In the Mosaic and Christian administrations of the covenant of grace, the Lord has supercharged the perpetual, moral Sabbath commandment with grace. For, by gathering to Himself a church that draws near corporately by ascending sacrifice (Isaiah 56:7c), the Lord has made this a day that is holy to Him as Redeemer even above how it is holy to Him as Creator. It is a day of inclusive (no separated foreigners, Isaiah 56:3a–d!) and fruitful (no dry-tree eunuchs, verse 3e–f!) blessing among the covenant people, to the glory of the God of the covenant.

How many live in circumstances where they feel like ethnic or demographic outsiders. Not so among those keeping Sabbath with God’s people! How many live in circumstances where they feel barren, without progeny who will bring their fruitfulness into future generations. Not so among those keeping Sabbath with God’s people!

Fruitfulness on the Sabbath, Isaiah 56:4-5. Barrenness is a theme throughout Scripture, as a consequence of the fall. At various times, Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Hannah were barren. And it has been a theme in Isaiah as well (cf. Isaiah 49:20–23; Isaiah 54:1–3). This time, it is the eunuch who gets one day off each weak from being alone. He is no longer to think of himself as a “dry tree” (Isaiah 56:3f). The Mosaic administration was full of special, ceremonial Sabbaths. These, and the weekly Sabbath, were holy convocations (cf. Leviticus 23).

God’s command here is opposite our flesh. Often someone who has lost children or been unable to produce them will feel more desolate among a congregation full of them, rather than less. But this is not right. As the eunuch is keeping Sabbath in Isaiah 56:4, he’s counting what pleases God above what pleases man (verse 4c) and holding fast to God’s covenant (verse 4d). For such a eunuch, the people of God are kin more than any who would have merely come from his flesh. God’s household is his primary household on the Sabbath (Isaiah 56:5a–b). And the name that he has in the house of God is superior to sons and daughters  not only in quality (verse 5c) but in endurance (verse 5d–e). Every Sabbath, spent with the household of God, is a literal taste of heaven. 

How much more this is true of the Lord’s Day! Gone are the “high Sabbaths,” for the Lord’s Day is higher than any of those had been. The weekly Sabbath has come into a golden age of glory in the Christian church. Let those who keep it, “choose what pleases the Lord and hold fast His covenant.” They are gathered in the Only-Begotten Son, as adopted children of the Father, indwelt by the Spirit of adoption. The Lord’s Day is the greatest family day there is in this world!

Inclusiveness on the Sabbath, Isaiah 56:6-8. This was also true for the sons of foreigners who were no longer foreigners. Exodus 12:48 gave the procedure by which they could become as a native of the land. Israel, as a church, were always a covenantal entity. Even when they were tied to one land and twelve tribes, a mixed multitude (cf. Exodus 12:38) of converts from other nations were to be among them. Again, joining oneself to the Lord (Isaiah 56:6b) in this way to become a member of His people meant especially refusing to defile the Sabbath (verse 6d), holding fast to the Lord’s covenant (verse 6e). The Lord Jesus very much looked forward to the gathering in of these nations (Isaiah 56:7e, cf. Matthew 21:13), and His clearing of the temple anticipated these sweet Lord’s Day assemblies in which we ascend to God as His covenant people in the earth. The Sabbath is not a day for your “people” to be your biological or patriotic family. The Sabbath is a day for God’s household and God’s people to be your people. He gathers them all to Himself in Christ (Isaiah 56:8).

How does it appear from your habits that the Lord’s Day is a covenantal day spent with the Lord’s household?

Sample prayer:  Lord, forgive us, for we do not so eagerly anticipate the great arrival of Your salvation in the return of Christ. Forgive us, for among the evils that we have failed to keep our hands from committing, we have defiled the Sabbath. We have sometimes treated it as our own family day, or a day in which we were separated or without family. On Your Sabbaths, we have chosen what pleases us instead of what pleases You. We have not treated it as a covenantal day, and thus we have not held fast to Your covenant. Grant unto us repentance, so that we may be brought to Your holy mountain and made joyful in Your house of prayer, we ask through Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP92 “It’s Good to Thank the Lord” or TPH153 “O Day of Rest and Gladness”

No comments:

Post a Comment