Yesterday on the Blog we read Isaiah 58.
At the beginning of this chapter, Isaiah reprimands the Israelites for their sin.
The chapter, though, is relevant for us today as well. It is a warning for all those living in hypocrisy.
Fasting was very important to the Israelites. Some boasted of their fasting.
Yet, though Isaiah faithfully corrected the Israelites, he also gave them great hope.
The Israelites fasted but blatantly continued in their sin. They were to humble themselves in genuine sorrow and grief over their sin. They did not.
What about us? Can we be that way too often also?
As we focus on Isaiah 58 verses 6-11, we learn the “fasting” the LORD wants.
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
– to loose the chains of injustice
-to set the oppressed free
-to share your food with the hungry
-to provide the wanderer with shelter
-to clothe the naked
-to not turn away from your own flesh and blood (your family!)
THEN YOUR LIGHT WILL BREAK FORTH LIKE THE DAWN,
AND YOUR HEALING WILL QUICKLY APPEAR
THEN YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS WILL GO BEFORE YOU
AND THE GLORY OF THE LORD WILL BE YOUR REAR GUARD.
THEN YOU WILL CALL, AND THE LORD WILL ANSWER,
YOU WILL CRY FOR HELP, AND HE WILL HE WILL SAY: HERE AM I.
What beautiful promises there.
The Bible teaches us here to look after others.
We are to fight injustices such as abortion, or helping abuse victims, helping those wrongly put in jail.
So many are hungry today for food and for the good news of the gospel. God intends us to help these people, and He clearly taught us this in Isaiah 58:7 and many other Scriptures.
Are we sharing our food with the hungry and helping the homeless find a home?
Do we help clothe those in need?
As we do these things to please our God, He will make us to shine for Him, to bring glory to His name.
He will answer us and help us too.
YET… there is a big yet…
-we are to do away with the yoke of oppression (Christians help others find freedom in the LORD!)
-as Christians, God calls us to put away pointing fingers at others and malicious talk… ouch
Most of us need to put off gossiping about others, and perhaps speaking maliciously about people we don’t like.
That is a big issue for even well meaning Christians, I believe.
We need to treat our families as well as we treat others and even better.
Are we pointing the finger, arguing with each other, bickering, and yelling or screaming?
That is exactly what God wants us to stop doing for Him, who laid His life down for us.
We can only do this through prayer and by asking God to help us overcome that sin.
His power is so amazing and His grace so powerful that He can and will help us as we pray, seek, and cry out for help.
As we help the oppressed, the hungry, the homeless, and so forth, our light will shine in the darkness. (Isaiah 58:10).
The LORD will guide you always. He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land. He will strengthen you. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. You will become a repairer and restorer instead of someone who destroys.
What’s not to like about that picture?
Think of it you and I, a well-watered garden. Not a garden that is brown and dying. A thriving garden!
We will be a spring, a reservoir, to others, not stagnant pool.
And we will help others find restoration in Christ.
Our goal will be to help others repair their lives, find hope in Christ and live in the way where their darkness (and ours) turns to light!
May our light break forth like the dawn as we serve Christ daily, as we seek to align our mission with His mission for our lives.
And most of all, we will shine like a light in this dark world, as our great God would have us shine for HIM.
This is the mandate of true fasting, true Christianity, with no hidden hypocrisy.
Let our life’s goal be to shine for the glory of God and to help others find the light.
And together, let’s shine like stars in the sky as we hold firmly to the word of life.