Isaiah 56 … Consider Him Who Gathers the Outcasts

The Lord God, who gathers the dispersed of Israel, declares,
“Yet others I will gather to them, to those already gathered,”
(56:8).

The Lord GOD, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares,
“I will gather yet others to him besides those already gathered,”
(56:8 ESV).

They were living as exiles, they had been dispersed and scattered, marked as Outcasts.

dispersed/scattered ones/outcasts: 5080. נָדַח nāḏaḥ: I. A verb meaning to banish, to drive away, to scatter. It is used in various ways to indicate the idea of forcefully removing, impelling, or driving out: of the dispersion, the scattering of Israel into exile (Deut. 30:1, 4; Jer. 40:12; 43:5; 46:28; Mic. 4:6)… Zion herself was considered an outcast, one driven out (Jer. 30:17), Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.

And this was no mere misfortune; it was judgment. God’s people had been sent away, dispersed and scattered as Outcasts by the Lord of Hosts.

“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon,” (Jeremiah 29:4).

And as heartbreaking as their condition was, it was their own fault; they were the very cause of their misery. While it was Holy God Who had driven them out, banished them from the Promised Land and the place of His Presence, sending them into exile, they had in fact brought it all upon themselves as they had provoked the God of heaven to wrath.

But because our fathers had provoked the God of heaven to wrath, He gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this temple and deported the people to Babylon, (Ezra 5:12).

And their rebellion had been constant, in spite of His miraculous deliverance out of the bondage of Egypt.

Remember, do not forget how you provoked the Lord your God to wrath in the wilderness; from the day that you left the land of Egypt until you arrived at this place, you have been rebellious against the Lord, (Deuteronomy 9:7).

And though they had indeed been brought into the Promised Land, they held on to their incessant longing to be like the world.

…“Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations.” But the thing was displeasing in the sight of Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord. The Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them,” (1 Samuel 8:5-7).

And they would persist in their open rebellion, time and time again.

I will abandon the remnant of My inheritance and deliver them into the hand of their enemies, and they will become as plunder and spoil to all their enemies; 15 because they have done evil in My sight, and have been provoking Me to anger since the day their fathers came from Egypt, even to this day.’” (2 Kings 21:14-15).

In tomorrow’s reading, the description of their treacherous rebellion against God is graphically described, likening their defiant disobedience to wanton witchcraft and whoredom.

“But come here, you sons of a sorceress,
Offspring of an adulterer and a prostitute…
“Upon a high and lofty mountain
You have made your bed.
You also went up there to offer sacrifice.
“Behind the door and the doorpost
Indeed, far removed from Me, you have uncovered yourself,
And have gone up and made your bed wide.
And you have made an agreement for yourself with them,
You have loved their bed,
You have looked on their manhood,”
(Isaiah 56:3, 7-8).

But the insubordination that culminated in being cast out of God’s Presence, had really started back in the garden.

indeed, He casts out the man, and causes the cherubim to dwell at the east of the Garden of Eden with the sword of flame whirling around to guard the way of the Tree of Life, (Genesis 3:23-24 LSV).

And when God judged their sin and cast Adam and Eve out of the place of paradise, it was actually for their protection; for He kept them from eating from the Tree of Life that would have relegated them to living as Outcasts for all of eternity.

And I also saw His protection in His sending His people into exile; for in that place they were granted the gracious opportunity to see their sin and the consequences therein, see their need, and hopefully turn to Him in faith, that they might be brought back to Him Who Gathers the Outcasts.

Consider Him Who Gathers the Outcasts

It is significant to note, this was not a promise given for only His chosen nation; this was a promise for anyone who would come to Him in faith. And as if to drive this truth home, the Lord names those who the self-righteous Jews had considered the lowliest of Outcasts, the foreigner and the eunuch, to be included in His Gathering.

The foreigners represented the Outcasts whose birth placed them outside the covenant promises of God; and eunuchs were a picture of those defected and unclean, Outcasts unworthy to come into the Holy Presence of God.

This description applies to all of us. All of us are born outside His covenant promises, defected by sin, unclean and unworthy to come into His Presence.

But oh, yes! Once again we see Jesus; for no one is outside the reach of His salvation, no one is too far gone for Him Who Gathers the Outcasts.

Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God,” (John 3:3).

yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach, (Colossians 1:22)

And when we place our faith in Christ, we are born again into His Covenant promises, and presented without defect before Him Who reconciles and Gathers the Outcasts to Himself.

  • He Gathers the Outcasts, never to be separated from Him again.
    • 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,”
      (56:3).

      • Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?… 37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord, (Romans 8:35, 37-39).
  • He Gathers the Outcasts to give them eternal security.
    • “To them I will give in My house and within My walls a memorial,
      And a name better than that of sons and daughters;
      I will give them an everlasting name which will not be cut off,” 
      (56:5).

      • My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one,” (John 10:28-30).
  • He Gathers the Outcasts to become a community of joy, prayer and worship.
    • “Even those I will bring to My holy mountain
      And make them joyful in My house of prayer.
      Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar;
      For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples,”
      (56:7).

      • Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God, (Colossians 3:15-16).
  • He Gathers the Outcasts, breaking down the walls of separation between people groups.
    • The Lord God, who gathers the dispersed of Israel, declares,
      “Yet others I will gather to them, to those already gathered,”
      (56:8).

      • But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, (Ephesians 2:13-14).

How do we respond to Him Who Gathers the Outcasts?

The Lord tells us exactly what He expects form His Gathered Outcasts; even repeating Himself… and we know what that means!

Thus says the Lord,
“Preserve justice and do righteousness,
For My salvation is about to come
And My righteousness to be revealed.
“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,”
(56:1-2).

For thus says the Lord,
“To the eunuchs who keep My sabbaths,
And choose what pleases Me,
And hold fast My covenant…”
(56:4).

“Also the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord,
To minister to Him, and to love the name of the Lord,
To be His servants, every one who keeps from profaning the sabbath
And holds fast My covenant,”
(56:6).

Oh, let us depend on Him Who Gathers the Outcasts to enable us to respond in faith that we would…

  • …preserve justice
    • Let us preserve His Judgments revealed in His Word.
      • Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you, (2 Timothy 1:13-14).
  • …do righteousness
    • Let us trust His Righteousness that comes only from faith.
      • …that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, (Philippians 3:8-9).
  • …keep from profaning the Sabbath
    • Let us rest from our works as we trust His Work and His Word.
      •  So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. 10 For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. 11 Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart, (Hebrews 4:9-12).
  • …keep our hands from doing any evil
    • Let us submit to Him in humility that we would be kept from evil.
      • Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you, (James 4:7).
  • …choose what pleases Him
    • Let us depend on His Light to guide us in learning how to please Him.
      • for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), 10 trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord, (Ephesians 5:8-10).
  • …hold fast to His Covenant
    • Let us hold fast, to Jesus our High Priest, Who fulfilled every requirement of His Covenant.
      • and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful, (Hebrews 10:21-23).
  • …minister to Him as His servants
    • Let us seek to serve Him in all that we do.
      • Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve, (Colossians 3:23-24).
  • … love His Name
    • Let us love Him with all that we are.
      • “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment, (Matthew 22:36-38).

We must always remember, it is His work. He Gathers the Outcasts to transform us and fit us for His Kingdom that we would preserve justice, do righteousness, keep from profaning the Sabbath, keep our hands from doing any evil, choose what pleases Him, hold fast to His Covenant, minister to Him as His servants, and love His Name with all that we are.

And as we trust Christ for our salvation, we are Gathered to Him with all those who belong to Him through faith, no longer marked as Outcasts, but marked as His very own. Let us daily seek to live in unity with His body, and in dependence on His Holy Spirit, ever looking to Him Who Gathers the Outcasts with assured anticipation of all that He has in store for us.

The Lord GOD, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares,
“I will gather yet others to him besides those already gathered,” (56:8 ESV).

so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another, (Romans 12:5).

It is God himself who makes us, together with you, sure of our life in union with Christ; it is God himself who has set us apart, 22 who has placed his mark of ownership upon us, and who has given us the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the guarantee of all that he has in store for us, (2 Corinthians 1:21-22 GNT).

Let’s Grow Together!

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