July 19 - Isaiah 56:6-7; Matthew 21:13

Friday, July 19, 2013

And foreigners who bind themselves to the LORD to minister to him, to love the name of the LORD, and to be his servants, 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.”

Even though the Lord had chosen the people of Israel to be his children and to be part of the covenant, he did not exclude anyone else who chose to be part of His kingdom. I believe that we miss this when we look at the Old Testament. We see that enemies of Israel are decimated, showing the overwhelming power of God and what is available to his people should they invite him to be part of their lives.

But, we don’t see much about the even larger number of peoples who were friends to Israel and believed in their God.  It wasn't only the descendants of the twelve tribes of Jacob.

In the book of Genesis, Abraham encounters a priest of Salem (peace) named Melchizedek and offered him a tenth of his wealth as an offering to God.  This was long before God named the tribe of Levi as his priests.

The temple in Jerusalem, though generally used by Israelites was to be a house of prayer for all nations. Anyone who would come before God and love him and keep his commandments and accept their role under his covenant was welcome.

But, as humanity is wont to do, the Jews became more interested in saving their own heritage than embracing the world and it took Jesus’ death on the cross to rip the temple curtain and allow the entire world to recognize that they had access to the God of creation.

We must remember today that everyone, no matter who they are, has access to the God of creation. It is not our job to decide who that might be, it is our job to show his love. The Israelites were commanded to tell the world about God. They chose to stay safe within their tightly knit community.

We are commanded to tell the world about God.  Go. And tell.  Bring the nations to God’s house of prayer.