Friday, April 20, 2012

Isaiah 58: come chew on this with me

In Sunday School this week, we ended by talking about Isaiah 58. Not a passage you can cover in five minutes. So I'm still thinking and meditating on it this week. It's really rich and thought-provoking. Especially when you consider God is directing His words to the Israelites who were trying to serve Him. So come chew with me. What sticks out and impacts you....


Isaiah 58

True Fasting
 1 “Shout it aloud, do not hold back. 
   Raise your voice like a trumpet. 
Declare to my people their rebellion 
   and to the descendants of Jacob their sins. 
2 For day after day they seek me out; 
   they seem eager to know my ways, 
as if they were a nation that does what is right 
   and has not forsaken the commands of its God. 
They ask me for just decisions 
   and seem eager for God to come near them. 
3 ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, 
   ‘and you have not seen it? 
Why have we humbled ourselves, 
   and you have not noticed?’
   “Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
   and exploit all your workers.
4 Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
   and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
   and expect your voice to be heard on high.
5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
   only a day for people to humble themselves?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
   and for lying in sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
   a day acceptable to the LORD?
 6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
   and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
   and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
   and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
   and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
   and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness[a] will go before you,
   and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
   you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
   “If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
   with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
   and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
   and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The LORD will guide you always;
   he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
   and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
   like a spring whose waters never fail.
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
   and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
   Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
 13 “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
   and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
   and the LORD’s holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
   and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
14 then you will find your joy in the LORD,
   and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land
   and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”
            For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

2 comments:

Rachel said...

Cara,
Thank you for sharing. I love the poetry of this chapter. It begins with your motive, then slips into what Fasting truly means and what it SHOULD mean to us. As always, God's promises are our reward. This passage really makes me want to look inside my heart.

Hanna said...

Hello! I absolutely love this blog post and think that Isaiah 58 definitely gives us a lot to chew on. Right away I noticed similarities between your questions/thoughts and what we're doing here at 58: (www.live58.org). Live58 is a ministry dedicated to calling the church to live out the true fast of Isaiah 58 to end extreme poverty by 2035. It seems like the mission of our organization is something that is close to your heart, as you've written about here. I'd love for you to check out this video we call “Not Always” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uZV90fsoCY) to learn more about what we're all about. We'd love to partner with you, as you encourage your audience. I’d be happy to talk to you more if you’re interested in getting involved with Live58. Feel free to email me at HannaB@live58.org if you have any questions.

Thanks so much,
Hanna

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