Isaiah 56

1 the LORD says, “Maintain justice, and do what is right; for my salvation is near, and my righteousness will soon be revealed. 2 Blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who holds it fast; who keeps the Sabbath without profaning it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil.” 3 Let no foreigner, who has joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, “The LORD will surely separate me from his people.” Do not let the eunuch say, “Behold, I am a dry tree.” 4 For the LORD says, “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and hold fast to my covenant: 5 I will give them in my house and within my walls a memorial and a name better than of sons and of daughters. I will give them an everlasting name, that will not be cut off. 6 Also the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the LORD’s name, to be his servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath from profaning it, and holds fast my covenant; 7 I will bring these 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 will be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” 8 The Lord GOD, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, says, “I will yet gather others to him, besides his own who are gathered.” 9 All you animals of the field, come to devour, all you animals in the forest. 10 His watchmen are blind. They are all without knowledge. They are all mute dogs. They can’t bark; dreaming, lying down, loving to slumber. 11 Yes, the dogs are greedy. They can never have enough. They are shepherds who can’t understand. They have all turned to their own way, each one to his gain, from every quarter. 12 “Come,” say they, “I will get wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and tomorrow will be as today, great beyond measure.”

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1-2

The Lord tells us what are his expectations of duty from us. Be honest and just in all dealings. Also strictly observe the sabbath day. To have the blessing of God upon employments all the week, make conscience of keeping the sabbath holy. Have nothing to do with sin. Blessed is the man that keeps his hand from all things displeasing to God and hurtful to his own soul. Those who, through the Spirit, wait for the hope of righteousness by faith, will be found walking in ways of holy obedience.

Verses 3-8

Unbelief often suggests things to discourage believers, against which God has expressly guarded. Spiritual blessings are unspeakably better than having sons and daughters; for children are a care, and may prove a grief and shame, but the blessings we partake of in God’s house, are comforts which cannot be made bitter. Those who love the Lord truly, will serve him faithfully, and then his commandments are not grievous. Three things are promised. Assistance: I will not only bid them welcome, but incline them to come. Acceptance, and comfort: though they came mourning to the house of prayer, they shall go away rejoicing. They shall find ease by casting their cares and burdens upon God. Many a sorrowful spirit has been made joyful in the house of prayer. The Gentiles shall be one body with the Jews, that, as Christ says, John 10:16, there may be one fold and one Shepherd. Thanks be to God that none are separated from him except by wilful sin and unbelief; and if we come to him, we shall be accepted through the sacrifice of our great High Priest.

Verses 9-12

Desolating judgments are called for; and this severe rebuke of the rulers and teachers of the Jewish church, is applicable to other ages and places. It is bad with a people when their shepherds slumber, and are eager after the world. Let us pray the Great Shepherd to send us pastors after his own heart, who will feed us with knowledge, that we may rejoice in his holy name, and that believers may be daily added to the church.

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