It is an Injustice
A Fast That Pleases God – Part 2
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 58:1-10
Key Verse: Isaiah 58:6-7
“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 him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Fasting is both an Old and New Testament spiritual practice. Isaiah, God’s prophet and mouthpiece, is not proposing we stop fasting. He is proposing that we make sure our fasting is part of a bigger picture.
In Isaiah 58:7 we are reminded that a fast that pleases God leads us to share food with the hungry, shelter the homeless, and cloth the needy. The fast is part of a journey with God that helps both us and those around us. Our prayers while fasting are to include more than our own needs. James, the brother of Jesus, wrote, “When you ask, you do not receive because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (James 4:3).
In my opinion, the bottom line of Isaiah 58 is that fasting is not an end in itself. Fasting is a means to get us where God wants us to be! It is a tool that God’s people use to hear Him more clearly! We should use our fasting to see future actions and/or good deeds that God has chosen for us to accomplish. With this perspective, our prayers turn outward and focus on those who are oppressed with life in this world: the hungry, the homeless and those in need of clothing.
Father, help me see what you see; feel what you feel; and be your hands and feet in this world. In Jesus’ name, amen.