Welcome

“Don’t let foreigners who commit themselves to the LORD say,
‘The LORD will never let me be part of his people.’
And don’t let the eunuchs say,
‘I’m a dried-up tree with no children and no future.’
For this is what the LORD says:
I will bless those eunuchs
who keep my Sabbath days holy
and who choose to do what pleases me
and commit their lives to me.
I will give them—within the walls of my house—
a memorial and a name
far greater than sons and daughters could give.
For the name I give them is an everlasting one.
It will never disappear!
“I will also bless the foreigners who commit themselves to the LORD,
who serve him and love his name,
who worship him and do not desecrate the Sabbath day of rest,
and who hold fast to my covenant.
I will bring them to my holy mountain of Jerusalem
and will fill them with joy in my house of prayer.
I will accept their burnt offerings and sacrifices,
because my Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations.
For the Sovereign LORD,
who brings back the outcasts of Israel, says:
I will bring others, too,
besides my people Israel.” (Isaiah 56:3-8)

It’s human nature to exclude the outsider. It is also the human fear: those in a new job, a new school, a new place, experience the fear of not belonging.

But God reassured those not originally a part of Israel that his arms were always open wide. God announced that anyone who came to him was welcome and would become as much a member of his people as those who had lived in his land their whole lives.

God reminded the Israelites, as much as he announced to those new immigrants, that they were not allowed to exclude anyone. Despite God’s words to Moses requiring the Israelites to be kind to outsiders, it was a hard lesson for the Jewish people to learn. Their reluctance to bring God’s message of hope to the Gentiles—the outsiders—continued from Jonah’s reluctance to go to Nineveh, to an early church that doubted that Gentiles could ever become followers of Christ.

Likewise, God granted the future to eunuchs, those who had no way of passing their memory beyond the present since they would forever be childless. Their future, God said, was not dependent on the children they couldn’t have, but on their relationship with an eternal God who could never forget them.

God is not exclusive; God is not hard to come to. God welcomes all and we are not allowed to exclude anyone. Everyone is good enough for God.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm a deacon at Quartz Hill Community Church. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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