We have heard that the path to God is narrow. In the Old Testament, the path to salvation was restrictive. While God laid out a path through his chosen people, the Jews created artificial restrictions which effectively eliminated many people’s hope. They set up discriminating systems that put God in a box and elevated their own status. In Isaiah 56, God addresses the excluded when he says:

v. 3: Let no foreigner who has bound himself to the Lord say, “The Lord will surely exclude me from his people” And let no eunuch complain, “I am only only a dry tree.”

God’s blessing through Abraham was through offspring which would ultimately lead to salvation through the Messiah. However, the culture of the day was to have slaves castrated so as to make them more loyal. This meant that slaves could not participate in God’s blessing. To which God replies

v. 5: I will give them [eunuchs] within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name that is better than sons and daughters.

For the childless, who were impotent through no choice of their own, these words were given by God to be of great comfort. Great blessing would be theirs.

vv. 6-7: And foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord… 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 alter for my house will be called a house of prayer.

For those who were born as gentiles (even in the Old Testament), the promise of salvation was available. While the Jews imposed temple restrictions based on lineage, God’s desire was for salvation to spread from his chosen people and throughout the nations. This is one reason why Jesus was rightly angry at the money changers in the temple.

As believers we know how Acts outlines salvation spreading beyond Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. As if to emphasis God’s heart for the discriminated, the first recorded gentile conversion to Christianity was the Ethiopian eunuch—both a foreigner and childless.

Today, it is easy to take comfort in our homogeneous communities. But God’s heart is still for all nations. Red and yellow, black, and white we are all precious in his sight. I don’t know if skin colour or our decedents will be recognisable in heaven, but I doubt that will really matter. When we commune face to face with our father, those externals fade away.

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About Jeremy Crooks

Jeremy grew up in Sydney Australia. He has tertiary qualifications in business, training, and Bible. With experience in both church ministry and corporate human resources, Jeremy has a strong interest in how faith is demonstrated in our homes and workplaces. You can contact Jeremy at jeremy@jasonharris.com.au.

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