“My temple will be called a house of prayer for the people of all nations”.
Isa 56:7 GNB
Some residents of Jerusalem claim that their city is the centre of the world. It is perhaps the city to which more people in the world want to visit than any other. It is a holy city to three world faiths – Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
The first temple, built by King Solomon in 950 B.C., was destroyed by the invading Babylonians in 586 B.C. A second, much smaller one, was built after the exiles returned. That was still standing when Jesus “cleansed” the temple during his ministry. At the time that Isaiah uttered this section of his prophecy there was no temple! But he knew that it was so central a part of their worship that God would ensure it got rebuilt.
The promise of God is so strong that it emphasizes that the temple would be central to all the worship of the Israelites. It would also become a place “for all nations”.
“The great reality which governs Isaiah’s thinking is the goal towards which all God’s purposes are moving. Something more is in view than the rebuilding of the Jerusalem temple and the inclusion of formerly excluded people in the worship associated with it. To the degree that these things happened at all in the sixth century B.C. they were only signs of something that was ‘close at hand’ and ‘soon to be revealed’. It was with the coming of Christ that sign finally gave way to substance, and the gathering of the outcasts began in earnest” (B. Webb, The Message of Isaiah, p222).
Make sure that there are no outcasts excluded from your worship.
Lord, help us to worship you with an all-embracing love.