Isaiah 56:6 “And foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord to serve him, to love the name of the Lord, and to worship him, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant…”

Not all good behavior is the same. Martin Luther once called the good works of unbelievers “the glittering vices of the pagans,” glittering because they did things that looked good and kind, but still vices because there was no true love for God or faith in God behind them.

That’s not the kind of changed life the prophet Isaiah describes here: good behavior without any real love or faith. These people who came from outside the people of God–foreigners, non-Jews–had now bound themselves to the Lord. Isaiah is describing the first response of faith.

One of the first things you do after you realize your own sin and weakness, and trust in God for grace and help, is hold on to the Lord for all you are worth. We stop pretending that we have it all together. We stop depending on our own know-how and hard work to get through life. We embrace God’s forgiveness. We lash ourselves to his love and strength like the little kid who has a choke hold on mom or dad’s leg. You can’t pull him off.

Can there be anything better on earth than to be bound to your Lord and Savior this way? Sometimes we describe marriage as the “marriage bond.” In marriage God binds a husband and wife together in a bond that is meant to last for life. I know that sometimes people aren’t so happy with their marriages. They joke about the “ball and chain.” Some may regret how permanent the arrangement is supposed to be.

But doesn’t just about every romantic ideal still celebrate the idea of being tied to that special someone for life? The God who gathers people to himself by faith doesn’t disappoint. His love is unwavering. His strength is beyond measure. He is completely committed to you, and you will never have a reason to regret binding yourself to the Lord.

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