Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Isaiah 58:4-10

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.

 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, 
       only a day for a man to humble himself? 
       Is it only for bowing one's head like a reed 
       and for lying on sackcloth and ashes? 
       Is that what you call a fast, 
       a day acceptable to the LORD ?

 "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?

 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?

 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 say: Here am I. 
       "If you do away with the yoke of oppression, 
       with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

 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.


Art said...

Every time I read this, it hits me harder. God calls for a selfless life, not just half-hearted pretense.
"A flood of justice, instead of a show."

I...I can't help but feel guilty when I realize I'm not completely spending myself for the hungry or satisfying the needs of the oppressed. But guilt can be inspiring, no?

Hayley said...

And it's a blisteringly clear reminder that mere Christian ritual is not what God is about - He wants us pursue what is good and fight the evil, not just feel badly. (And that strangely it's not about being or doing /enough/ but about just doing it.)