Time Is Precious

Isaiah 56:1,6-8

1 This is what the LORD says: “Maintain justice and do what is right, for My salvation is close at hand and My righteousness will soon be revealed. 2 Blessed is the one who does this— the person who holds it fast, who keeps the Sabbath without desecrating it, and keeps their hands from doing any evil.” 3 Let no foreigner who is bound to the LORD say, “The LORD will surely exclude me from His people.” And let no eunuch complain, “I am only a dry tree.” 4 For this is what the LORD says: “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose what pleases Me and hold fast to My covenant— 5 to them I will give within My temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will endure forever. 6 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— 7 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.” 8 The Sovereign LORD declares— He who gathers the exiles of Israel: “I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered.”

St Paul writes to the Galatians (and to us), “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now why do I use this to introduce our text? Well, maybe this will help explain why: In the very last part of the Book of Revelation, Jesus said, “Surely I am coming soon.” And our text starts off with, “My righteousness will soon be revealed.” What we need to understand is that soon to God is not soon to us and what we must have is that gift- namely patience!

In God’s own time table He fulfilled this promise given by Isaiah to His people. In His own time He gave us the Lord Jesus, there in Bethlehem 2000 years ago. What was that time? St Paul said, “But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law that He might redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons”

After the Greeks had already enforced their language over the civilized world, after the Romans took over and establish their roads and laws so that indeed things would be ripe and ready for the apostles to be able to share the Gospel as far as they did.

Looking back it makes perfect sense. But for the Jews in Isaiah’s time it wasn’t so easy a thing to understand what soon was going to be. Nor is it something we can come to grasps with that already Jesus has delayed His coming all this time. But the time will come when we will understand that, for St Paul; says, “Then I shall fully understand even as I have been fully understood.” So- we need patience!

And foreigners who bind themselves to the LORD to minister to Him, to love the Name of the LORD, and to be His servants…” As previously stated a couple of weeks ago, the Jews were not in the habit of going out of their way to make converts, much less conversions of whole nations. So this is a prophecy of the Christian Church. It was the apostles and their followers who went from town to town and nation to nation and shared the Gospel, and in time, 300 years after the Resurrection, Christianity was proclaimed to be the religion of all of Europe and Asia Minor.

The way for Jews to have kept the Sabbath was clearly spelled out for them. All their rules and regulations are a study in and of themselves and I believe different rabbis today do not all agree on what that means for modern day followers of Judaism. However for us it is both simple and complex.

Sabbath means rest. And Jesus says, “Come unto Me and I will give you rest.” That doesn’t happens one day a week for 1-2 hours but to be in Christ is a 24/7 event. Baptized, born again Christians are always in Sabbath. We have ceased for our labors of trying to earn our salvation and are resting on Jesus Blood sacrifice.

While the Jews were required to give burnt offerings we are not for “Jesus did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by His own Blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.”

“My House shall be called a house of prayer.” These words are very familiar to us Christians. Here Jesus quoted Isaiah when He was angry with those who made the temple a house of commerce. He turned their tables over and drove out those selling with a whip.

I suppose this could be and maybe is a problem in some churches but my concern is that churches are houses of prayer, and not a place of entertainment which some of our churches have become- in my estimation. And in a personal sense I believe it sometimes is for us too. That is when people say, “I didn’t get anything out of the…sermon, service- whatever.” The question in worship is not what we got out of it but what we put into it.

Consider what the Bible says, “O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation.

Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto Him with psalms.For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In His Hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is His also. The sea is His, and He made it: and His Hands formed the dry land. O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our Maker. For He is our God; and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His Hand.,

So, you and I, let us approach this House of Prayer with reverence, leaving our cares and worries outside- (as much as we are able to) and approach the throne of God wanting to worship the Lord because of the great Sacrifice already made, namely Our Lord Jesus Christ, who did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by His own Blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.” For you and for me so that not only are we saved without any merit or worthiness of our own but that we can serve Him and worship hymn so that this hymn might be a part of why we come to church: God Himself is present: Let us now adore Him And with awe appear before Him. God is in His temple–All within keep silence, Prostrate lie with deepest reverence. Him alone God we own, Him, our God and Savior; Praise His Name forever. Remember it is also our duty to thank and praise, serve and obey Him. This is most certainly true! Amen!

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