58:1 Shout out, do not hold back! Lift up your voice like a trumpet! Announce to my people their rebellion, to the house of Jacob their sins.
58:2 Yet day after day they seek me and delight to know my ways, as if they were a nation that practiced righteousness and did not forsake the ordinance of their God; they ask of me righteous judgments, they delight to draw near to God.
58:3 “Why do we fast, but you do not see? Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice?” Look, you serve your own interest on your fast day, and oppress all your workers.
58:4 Look, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to strike with a wicked fist. Such fasting as you do today will not make your voice heard on high.
58:5 Is such the fast that I choose, a day to humble oneself? Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush, and to lie in sackcloth and ashes? Will you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD?
58:6 Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?
58:7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?
58:8 Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
58:9 Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am. If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,
58:10 if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday.
58:11 The LORD will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail.
58:12 Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in.
God spoke through the prophets about a coming judgement. In this section of Isaiah the nation of Israel (technically Judah) has already been exiled. What more judgement could possibly be coming? God was warning them of the final judgement. However, like many other prophecies, God gives them a chance to do what is right and be saved. They are always provided with a way out of their demise. In this particular case God cites a few issues. Mainly, God is concerned with their treatment of the poor, needy, afflicted, and oppressed.
Like all of God’s children, we are always give an opportunity to seek repentance and receive grace rather than punishment. We are given an opportunity to right the wrongs. This grace of God should not be taken lightly. We are expected to turn from our sins and to treat others with the same grace that was allotted to us. In fact, Jesus told a parable of two debtors. One of them had his debt forgiven and refused to forgive the debt that someone else owed to him. Jesus’ reposes to this debtors lack of grace was grave.
“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
We are afforded much grace in this life but do not be fooled into thinking that God does not expect us to accept this grace and turn from our ways and treat others with the same grace. God most assuredly wants for us to operate with the same grace. We will be judged how we treated others.
[Featured image from biblia.com]