Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Isaiah 58:5-7 -- On Fasting

"Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord?
Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?
Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?"
Isaiah 58:5-7

This is interesting stuff.  God is talking about fasting here, and asks if it is supposed to be a sad thing, where we make it obvious how much we are suffering and show that we are mournful.  He also asks in earlier verses if it is something that we do for ourselves, so that the Lord will listen to us.  And here, he tells us very clearly that it isn't any of those things.

We don't fast to suffer, or to get anything for ourselves.  We fast so that our spirits can better triumph over our bodies, and so that we can focus on spiritual things, like helping the people around us.  We can use that money or food that we would have spent or consumed ourselves and give it to others.  We do it so that we can be better people... happier, not more inclined to suffer. :) 

Today, fasting or not, let's help people; let's not hide from our families, but serve them.  Let's take care of the poor and the hungry.  And this next Sunday, or the next time we fast, let's fast without suffering... let's focus on helping, serving, loving, and doing as God would have us do.  Who knows, we might get so distracted we'll actually enjoy it. :)

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