Isaiah 56:1, 6-8 - Thus says the LORD: "Keep justice, and do righteousness, for soon My salvation will come, and My righteousness be revealed. ... 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."
Do you ever feel like an outsider? Like, no matter how hard you try, you can never make the grade—be accepted—join the family? I know I do.
And there are people, both in Old Testament times and now, who try to make God's church this kind of exclusive club. King Herod's remodeling job on the temple included courts for women and Gentiles, though these were not a part of God's building plan in the Bible. In Herod's plan, these people were not supposed to come any closer to the holy areas. Imagine what it would feel like, to watch your more privileged friends and neighbors going past you to worship, while you were left outside!
But God tells us in this passage that with Him there are no outsiders. In the eyes of the world you may be a person of little value. But in God's eyes, you are wanted—you are called—you are welcome. The Holy Spirit is calling you to Him. Jesus Himself has laid down His life to make you God's.
But what about your sins—and not just those, but your flaws, your problems, the things that people reject you for? Will God reject you, too? No. Jesus has died for you and risen from the dead, and He wants you for His own—for always. He has taken away your sins and forgiven and cleansed everything in you that needed that. Jesus values you, and He intends to have you, no matter what others might say to you in His Name.
As God says in our passage for today, "I will gather yet others to Him besides those already gathered." Who is He gathering people to? To His Son Jesus. As God the Father says to Jesus in Isaiah, "It is too light a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make You as a light for the nations, that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth" (Isaiah 49:6).
Jesus is calling you to Himself, and He promises, "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and whoever comes to Me I will never cast out" (John 6:37). That includes you—right here, right now.
WE PRAY: Dear Lord, help me to trust that You really want me—and help me to show that same love to other people. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. When have you felt most welcome and wanted?
2. How could you tell?
3. What has God done to bring you, you specifically, to Himself? Look back over your life and think about it.
To Download Devotion MP3 to your computer, right click here and select "Save Link As" or "Save Target As" or "Download Linked File As"