used with mobile nav - no delete

TRUE FASTING PART 2

March 03, 2016

← return

I will tell you the kind of day I want—a day to set people free. I want a day that you take the burdens off others. I want a day when you set troubled people free and you take the burdens from their shoulders. I want you to share your food with the hungry. I want you to find the poor who don’t have homes and bring them into your own homes. When you see people who have no clothes, give them your clothes! Don’t hide from your relatives when they need help.
— ISAIAH 58:6-7 ERV

In yesterday's post we began Isaiah 58 and ended with Yahweh saying that true fasting is something more than not eating food and expecting God to pay attention. Just like Isaiah 1, Yahweh says if there is injustice, He won't listen, nor will he see our fast and honor it with blessing.

What is the kind of fast Yahweh wants? Did you read the text that opens this post? If not, go back and read it. This answers the question in a simple yet profound way. House the homeless. Clothe those with no money to buy clothes. Don't hide from your relatives when they need help.

And for pity's sake, don't give your relative a "loan"! They won't pay it back, and it's just going to be a bone of contention the rest of your life when they don't! If you are going to help a relative, don't expect the money back. If they give it back, good! But don't hold it over them the rest of their lives if they don't. Forgive them, and move on! 

I've heard of people who actually told the person not to pay money back, then resented them for not paying it back. You told them not to! If you tell them not to, don't expect them to. But there's another option between making money for a relative or friend a loan and telling them not to pay it back. Just don't say anything. If you find compassion in your heart to help someone. Help them, and be quiet. You don't have to put stipulations on the money.

When we give money from The Journey, we pray for the person receiving it, a blessing upon them for getting back on their feet, and then we say nothing. Only if someone says they want to pay it back–and a few do say this–do we say, "We don't expect this back." And we don't expect it back. We want them to pass the blessing to someone else, to pay it forward as the saying goes. 

PRAYER, TRUE FASTING, AND GIVING

Yahweh, King of the Armies of Heaven, help us help ourselves, to confess our sins before you and stop any injustices or malice we show toward our neighbors. Would you lead us to true fasting? You said you would shine on us. We pray these words from Isaiah for ourselves in this age today.

If you do these things, your light will begin to shine like the light of dawn. Then your wounds will heal. Your “Goodness” will walk in front of you, and the Glory of the Lord will come following behind you. Then you will call to the Lord, and he will answer you. You will cry out to him, and he will say, “Here I am.”

Stop causing trouble and putting burdens on people. Stop saying things to hurt people or accusing them of things they didn’t do. Feel sorry for hungry people and give them food. Help those who are troubled and satisfy their needs. Then your light will shine in the darkness. You will be like the bright sunshine at noon.

The Lord will always lead you and satisfy your needs in dry lands. He will give strength to your bones. You will be like a garden that has plenty of water, like a spring that never goes dry.

Your cities have been destroyed for many years, but you will rebuild them and their foundations will last for a long time. You will be called “Fence Fixer” and “Builder of Roads and Houses.”

That will happen when you stop sinning against God’s law about the Sabbath and when you stop doing things to please yourself on that special day. You should call the Sabbath a happy day. You should honor the Lord’s special day by not saying and doing things that you do every other day of the week. Then you could enjoy the Lord. As the Lord himself says, “I could carry you up to the highest mountain and let you enjoy the land that I gave to your father Jacob.”
— Isaiah 58:9-14 ERV