Wow I have not been the greatest at writing blogs this summer. Hopefully as college comes upon me I will get more inspirations for various blogs. Anyways I figured I might as well do one before college starts, I need at least one in the month of August in anycase.
At some point last semester I took a look through the Old Testament and the people outside of Israel and their relation with Yahweh. Namely the Foreigner or the stranger in the land. Looking at the Torah there are many passages which allow the Stranger to be part of the land, but in some sense though he maybe part of God he was not the same as an Israelite. Someone who would always be an outsider, him and his family. I mean you can look at Uriah who was a man of God, one of David’s mighty men, but he isn’t Uriah the Israelite, but Uriah the Hittite. Women seem to be different though since Ruth the women from Moab becomes an Israelite and marries Boaz to solidifies this. David is never mention to be a stranger, nor any other in his family.
Anyways… I had long forgotten that silly study of mine until this weekend when I randomly turning pages in my Bible. (Random Bible flipping is always fun by the way, don’t let fools discourage you from it.) In anycase I came upon a passage in Isaiah, chapter 56 to be precise. My ESV Bible with it’s little labels called it Salvation for Foreigners. Here let me quote eight verses of awesomeness for you.
1Thus says the LORD:”Keep justice, and do righteousness, for soon my salvation will come,
and my deliverance be revealed.
2Blessed is the man who does this,
and the son of man who holds it fast,
who keeps the Sabbath, not profaning it,
and keeps his hand from doing any evil.”
3Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the LORD say,
“The LORD will surely separate me from his people”;
and let not the eunuch say,
“Behold, I am a dry tree.”
4For thus says the LORD:”To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths,
who choose the things that please me
and hold fast my covenant,
5 I will give in my house and within my walls
a monument and a name
better than sons and daughters;
I will give them an everlasting name
that shall not be cut off.
6“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—
7 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.”
8The Lord GOD,
who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares,
“I will gather yet others to him
besides those already gathered.”
I dunno I guess I just find these verses great. Especially since this before Christ came and we have “the time of the Gentile.” Here we have people who were never as part of the covenant not quite as cool as an Israelite who are being told that they have better faith. They can be as good as the Remnant of Israel. Everything relies on their faith toward Yahweh, obeying him, keeping the Torah and all that other cool stuff. You know James faith and works together coolness. God takes who ever wants to believe in him and show it to him. More then mere lip service so to speak.
I also loved verse eight’s “outcast of Israel.” This past week of counseling camp one of the counselors had a girl who didn’t think God would love here because she was poor. It’s a little ironic though because so often the poor are just who God wants. They are the ones who are closer to him. It was the poor outcasted of Israelites who got kept, the foreigners, the eunuchs and all that wonderful stuff. Yet I think we still think on some strange level that God wants normal people. Not the Outcast. There are a lot of church’s that want a certain kind of person to attend there.
Its not just legalistic churches who love the clean shaven, clean cut men in nice shirts and women in dresses. But other churches too that while they may not say it, act like it. Again like Jame’s rich man who gets better privilege over the poor man. I think we’re falling into that, we look at faith by a man made standard instead of letting the believer show it. If they look good they must be holier then if they don’t. Yet sadly I know I fall into that myself. What a horrible thing that we do to one another, when we judge what we shouldn’t. When so often God sees more faith in the Outcast then he ever does for the ones who appear in, who appear like they should be a Christian.
I can only hope that as I mature I seek more to let people show me faith then try and perceive by how they look. To see true works of God through them rather then to hallow works, that they do merely to keep an image of going. Remembering that it is sometimes the people who seem to be outside the covenant who are the most faithful ones, the people who though may not look it are the ones who will go to God’s holy mount and those who seem to be in will find themselves headed in the wrong directions. Am I more like a Pharisee or an Outcast? Are you?
– Le Bel Inconnu