Wednesday, January 13, 2021

God's Chosen Fast, For Such a Time as This


                                                 (Warren Dunes State Park, Michigan)

Some in our church family have chosen to fast and pray, for periods of time, up to and through the Inauguration. That's a good thing, right?

At Redeemer I'll be preaching this coming Sunday on "Fasting and Spiritual Warfare." I'll focus on these verses from Isaiah 58:3-12.

A suggestion: read them with me throughout this week, and up to Inauguration Day.

Be counseled, and guided, and exhorted, and broken, and moved by them.

The context was that the people of Israel had been fasting, but no spiritual transformation (changed lives) was happening. So, God give his "chosen fast."

If you are a Jesus-follower, what do these verses say to you, about you? What counsel, what guidance, what exhortation, does the Spirit give you? How, if at all, are you broken and moved by these words?

'Why have we fasted,' they say, 'and you have not seen it? 

Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?' 

"Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. 

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. 

The LORD will guide you always; 

he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land 

and will strengthen your frame. 

You will be like a well-watered garden, 

like a spring whose waters never fail. 

Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations;

 you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, 

Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.