Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Isaiah 58:6-8 -- On Fasting and Zion

"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?
Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rearward."
Isaiah 58:6-8

This is definitely something that I need to learn.  I don't always catch the vision of fasting.  In reading this today though, it seems so silly to think of fasting as any kind of sacrifice or denial, although I know that is sometimes the way that it *feels.*

I love how God talks about the fast with so much fervor... we all want these things.  We want the bands of wickedness to be loose so we can escape them.  We want to take heavy burdens away from people, and free the oppressed from having to suffer.  We want to stop forced labor, to feed the hungry, to help people in need of food and shelter, and we definitely want to be there when our families are in need.

And God tells us that this vision of his, basically a Zion community, is what the fast is *for.*  ... And if that is true (which, obviously, it is--this is God we are talking about), then shouldn't we be saying "bring it on!" instead of complaining about it or ignoring it entirely?  If we can actually be a part of such a community and such an amazingly great work in helping God to help all of those people, surely our participation is a very small price to pay for something so immense.

Today, let's resolve to do as God asks: to fast, and give a generous fast offering, in order to build up the kingdom of God and accomplish his goals of helping everyone.  Let's read these verses when we need a reminder of the vision, and let's be the Zion people God knows we can be.

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