Worship at the Center

God's new people, new city, and new house are for worship.

Promise and Rebuke: Isaiah 56, 57 (1)

Pray Psalm 72.17-19.

His name shall endure forever;
His name shall continue as long as the sun.
And men shall be blessed in Him;
All nations shall call Him blessed.
Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel,
Who only does wondrous things!
And blessed be His glorious name forever!
And let the whole earth be filled with His glory.
Amen and Amen.

Read Isaiah 56.1-8.

Reflect.

1. Who are the people who dwell in the house of the Lord?

2. How important does God consider keeping the Sabbath (the Lord’s Day)? Why?

Meditate.
From the image of a glorious city (chapter 54), God turns now to describe His work of salvation in terms of a glorious temple (cf. vv. 1, 7). The mention of the “holy mountain” recalls the prophecy of Isaiah 2.1-4, and thus brings together that prophecy and the one concerning the new city into this image of the temple. God is using familiar notions, greatly enhanced, to help His people fix in their minds a vision of the great work He is preparing to do for them.

Those who inhabit God’s house are a peculiar people, a people who know the salvation of God and are just, righteous, and holy (vv. 1, 2, 7). They hold fast to His covenant, and especially, to keeping His Sabbaths (vv. 4, 6). Foreigners (non-Jews) may join themselves to the Lord and expect to have a place in His house (vv. 3-6), and this accords with what Isaiah prophesied in 2.1-4. All who choose what pleases God are welcome in His house. They love Him and serve Him gladly (v. 6), and thus know the joy of their salvation in a life of continual prayer (v. 7). The Lord’s house “shall be called a house of prayer for all nations,” a place where people from every land may come to know the Lord, enter His covenant, receive His salvation, and devote themselves to loving and serving Him in justice, righteousness, and love.

Worship is at the center of what it means to be the people of God. His covenant, His house, His Sabbaths, and His salvation make the people who know their God a worshiping people – a people gathered out of the nations of the world to worship God and live before Him in prayer (v. 8).

It’s fair and prudent to ask ourselves whether this describes the people we claim to be.

Prepare.
1. Why is worship central to what it means to be saved?

2. How can we identify people who have “joined themselves to the LORD”?

3. How would you explain to an unbelieving friend what it means to know the salvation of God?

As if you did not know that all human beings come from Adam and that it is written that the nations will believe in Christ, as it is said, “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” … The saints were uncircumcised before they were circumcised, and Abraham before circumcision had faith, since there is one God who justifies a circumcision of faith. And he proclaims that each nation ought to be saved through the faith of Christ, that is, by faith in him. Cassiodorus (485-580 AD), Exposition of Romans 3

Thank You for the gift of salvation, Lord Jesus! Help me to grow into Your salvation today by…

Pray Psalm 72.

We are saved by grace through faith and called to the Kingdom and glory of God (1 Thess. 2.12). As you pray, reflect on how this psalm leads you to think about the impact your life can have on the people you see each day. Seek the Lord for His strength to do so.

Sing to the Lord.
Psalm 72.15-20 (Martyrdom: Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed)
Let Christ be praised and all the gold of Sheba be His right; 
Let blessings to His Name be told, and prayers made both day and night. 

And let the earth abound with grain, let fields His fame proclaim; 
And may our King forever reign and nations bless His great Name. 

Now bless the God of Israel Who wondrous works performs. 
And bless His Name, His glory tell both now and forever more!

T. M. Moore

Where do the prophets fit with the rest of Scripture? How can I be a better student of God’s Word? Our course, Introduction to Biblical Theology, can help you gain a better approach to and understanding of the Scriptures. Watch this brief preview video, then register at The Ailbe Seminary and enroll in this free online course.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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