“Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Isaiah 58:6-7
Israel was steeped in sin. God, through his prophet Isaiah, is calling them out. He surprises them (and us) by his prescription for revival. It isn’t a series of sermons. It isn’t a prayer meeting. It isn’t old fashioned fasting. As a matter of fact in verse 4 of this same chapter they point out their fasting to God, and bemoan the fact that he hasn’t noticed it.
So he prescribes a new fast to them. It’s found in verses 6-10 above. Is not this the fast that I choose…to share your bread with the hungry? Israel complained because God didn’t see their fast. God wanted them to give up food…but for someone else. He instructs them to bring the homeless into their own homes, to cover the naked (with their own clothes)–in other words he says, “don’t hide yourself from your own flesh (other people).”
What is God saying? Give up food…for someone else. Give up a bedroom…for someone else. Give up clothes…for someone else.
And what will happen when they do what God says?
Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’
If you take away the yoke from your midst,
the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
if you pour yourself out for the hungry
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
and your gloom be as the noonday. Isaiah 6:8-10
What is God saying? Worship me, not only with your words, but with your deeds. Worship me, not only with your deeds, but with your heart. Then…(read verses 8-10 again!)
For our First Wednesday fast look for opportunities to feed the hungry, house the homeless and clothe the naked. Tell us about them. Without breaking anyone’s confidence whom you help, share them on this blog. We’ll have a time in the service to share brief stories, to brag on God and the opportunities He has given us.