Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 56-59
Summer vacation ended for us on Monday. Ken is back teaching classes and life is starting to fall into a routine. I managed to keep up with my chronological reading schedule, though I did have to play catch up a few times along the way. Here it is October and I am still in the Old Testament. Look how much of the Bible we would miss if we never venture out of the New Testament.
Our church does a fall focus series, and this week the conversation is about suicide. My thoughts have been running to trying to understand what my role should be. It is closely tied to depression, which I have struggled with in the course of my life. I have friends and family members who have committed suicide and others who have attempted to. Most often we do not see it coming and that is where I find myself coming to the conclusion that I need to respond readily to those nudgings from the Holy Spirit to reach out and be there for others. It is easier to stay in the shelter of our safe place. We are uncomfortable with the uncomfortable; and being the person who is “there” for another can be really uncomfortable at times. Life can get messy and it does not always turn out the way we would like. But again, if we are to be salt and light…
And so this section of Isaiah rather jumped off the page at me today. The nation of Israel was fasting in ways that did not please God. Instead He tells the people about the fast He desires. I don’t know about you, but I would not have even considered this fasting. It is so much easier to just give up food than what God lays out here. But this is what it looks like to be a light to the world.
Isaiah 58:6-11 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
6 “Is this not the fast which I choose,
To loosen the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the bands of the yoke,
And to let the oppressed go free
And break every yoke?
7 “Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry
And bring the homeless poor into the house;
When you see the naked, to cover him;
And not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
8 “Then your light will break out like the dawn,
And your recovery will speedily spring forth;
And your righteousness will go before you;
The glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
9 “Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
You will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’
If you remove the yoke from your midst,
The pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness,
10 And if you give yourself to the hungry
And satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
Then your light will rise in darkness
And your gloom will become like midday.
11 “And the Lord will continually guide you,
And satisfy your desire in scorched places,
And give strength to your bones;
And you will be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.