There is no more secure feeling than to be accepted by who you think are the “insiders,” the ones “in the know,” God’s people who are kind and compassionate to you refusing to leave you outside to be slandered and mocked or picked apart by the world. I am attracted to people who seem to know God well, know His character, and try to imitate Him in the way they relate to others. Belonging is a human desire that was placed into our being by God Himself.
I am attracted to the Hope Jesus followers have of better days ahead for all of us. They carry a joy that is unexplainable when hard times come to them. They walk on solid ground and rarely waver from doing what is good, right and pleasing to God. They are not perfect and are the first to admit it. But they do not revel in their imperfections but praise God for His perfect forgiveness for all their sins.
Yes, through all the ages and stages of my life, God sent me mentors who were like Him in many ways. I praise God for the Hope they instilled in me. I was taught to place all my hope on God, not on them. My mentors were men and women who loved God well and treated me as the temporary outsider who wanted inside the love of God. They accepted me, warts and all, so I would know that’s how God accepts me. I was no longer out but in.
These mentors taught me to bring in other outsiders and to the inside so they could see the Way of Truth who is Life. The message? No one is left out. All who believe, repent of their sins, and call on the Name of Jesus are saved for Life. Jesus, our Shepherd protects us from the wolves sent by the Enemy to devour our thinking and being. Jesus, Son of God, saves us from death. Jesus lives in us giving us His power to love like He loves and obey like He did to His Father while on earth. Jesus—He is our Hope!
Isaiah 56, The Message
Messages of Hope for ALL who believe and follow
Salvation Is Just Around the Corner
56 1-3 God’s Message:
“Guard my common good:
Do what’s right and do it in the right way,
For salvation is just around the corner,
my setting-things-right is about to go into action.
How fortunate are you who enter into these things,
you men and women who embrace them,
Who keep Sabbath and don’t defile it,
who watch your step and don’t do anything evil!
Make sure no outsider who now follows God
ever has occasion to say, ‘God put me in second-class.
I don’t really belong.’
And make sure no physically mutilated person
is ever made to think, ‘I’m damaged goods.
I don’t really belong.’”
4-5 For God says:
“To the mutilated who keep my Sabbaths
and choose what delights me
and keep a firm grip on my covenant,
I’ll provide them an honored place
in my family and within my city,
even more honored than that of sons and daughters.
I’ll confer permanent honors on them
that will never be revoked.
6-8 “And as for the outsiders who now follow me,
working for me, loving my name,
and wanting to be my servants—
All who keep Sabbath and don’t defile it,
holding fast to my covenant—
I’ll bring them to my holy mountain
and give them joy in my house of prayer.
They’ll be welcome to worship the same as the ‘insiders,’
to bring burnt offerings and sacrifices to my altar.
Oh yes, my house of worship
will be known as a house of prayer for all people.”
The Decree of the Master, God himself,
who gathers in the exiles of Israel:
“I will gather others also,
gather them in with those already gathered.”
* * *
9-12 A call to the savage beasts: Come on the run.
Come, devour, beast barbarians!
For Israel’s watchmen are blind, the whole lot of them.
They have no idea what’s going on.
They’re dogs without sense enough to bark,
lazy dogs, dreaming in the sun—
But hungry dogs, they do know how to eat,
voracious dogs, with never enough.
And these are Israel’s shepherds!
They know nothing, understand nothing.
They all look after themselves,
grabbing whatever’s not nailed down.
“Come,” they say, “let’s have a party.
Let’s go out and get drunk!”
And tomorrow, more of the same:
“Let’s live it up!”
WHAT DO WE LEARN—HOW DO WE RESPOND?
Look for the wandering outsiders out in the cold and darkness and bring them into the warmth of God’s saving grace through believing Jesus, His Son. Do this by pointing the Way to Truth that leads to Life.
Be the person “in the know” but taking time each day to know God more and more.
Believe and be saved.
Love God with all our hearts, minds, and souls. Love each other the way He loves us.
Thank for your Word that reminds us of our Hope in you. Help us to look for those who are looking in from the outside who need Hope, too, and welcome them in.
In Jesus Name, Amen