Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer…
Mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. These words were quoted by the Lord Jesus when he drove out the shopkeepers who defiled the temple (see Matthew 21:13). The prophet declares that the "prayers and praises (those spiritual sacrifices) of devout Gentiles shall be as pleasing to God as those of the pious Jews, and no difference shall be made between them; for, though they are Gentiles by birth, yet through grace they shall be looked upon as the believing seed of faithful Abraham, and the praying seed of wrestling Jacob, for in Christ Jesus there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision." God's house, the old temple, had been thought of as a place of sacrifices. The new temple, and above all the spiritual temple, the Christian temple, must be thought of as a place of prayer. This contrast gives the following topics.
I. THE OLD IDEA OF GOD'S HOUSE WAS A HOUSE OF SACRIFICE. The old worship was one of multiplied and varied rites and ceremonies. It was a round of bodily services; it was honouring God by the devotion to him of the things that men possessed. It had its deeper spiritual meanings, but the prominent things were exact obediences, minute services, gorgeous and impressive spectacles. The "shadow of good things to come."
II. THE NEW IDEA OF GOD'S HOUSE IS A HOUSE OF PRAYER. Prayer comprehensively indicates all forms of spiritual worship, of communion with the Divine Being. Illustrate by the essential differences between the Jewish temple and the Christian Church. Even the Jewish worship, when a synagogue could not be built, was held in a proseuche, or place of prayer. It was the work of the prophets to lift men's minds away from the more formal to the more spiritual associations of God's house. Explain the senses in which prayer may stand for the whole of Christian worship.
III. THE OLD IDEA FITTED GOD'S HOUSE FOR A LIMITED FEW. Just those to whom his particular directions about ritual and sacrifice had been given. If God has to be served by formal acts, they must be such as he requires and has duly explained to us. So God's house was of old exclusively for Jews.
IV. THE NEW IDEA FITS GOD'S HOUSE FOR EVERYBODY. Because prayer is just the great human commonplace. Man has been satirically, yet truthfully, called "a praying animal." Prayer is characteristic of him. He has uplooking eyes and a yearning heart. When men know the unutterable value of prayer, "then shall the nations from the east and from the west build the last great temple of all - the temple of an eternal religion - whose foundations shall be wide as the whole nature of man, and whose dome, reaching up to heaven, shall shelter and overshadow the world." - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.
WEB: even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples."