My Life Verses: Isaiah 58

Day 31: “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 them,
    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[a] 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.”  (Isaiah 58:6-9)

This was a passage from the Bible that I was trying to find in the middle of my recent mission trip to Costa Rica.  I didn’t find it at that time but I did find Isaiah 61 about “The Year of the Lord’s Favor.” (Also another great passage but just not the one I was thinking about right then).  However, during a trip to my hometown once I got back, I heard my parent’s pastor reference Isaiah 58 in a sermon.  Bingo!  I knew right away that this passage called “The True Fast” was the one I couldn’t find earlier.

While I hadn’t exactly remembered all of what Isaiah 58 talks about, as I read and re-read it I realized that the entire chapter really spoke to me.  And it doesn’t happen all too often that I can relate to the entirety of such a large portion of Scripture.  Read the whole chapter here.

After finding the Isaiah 58 passage, I was then able to use some verses from it in my follow-up letter to supporters of my Costa Rica mission trip: And if you spend yourselves on 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.” (Isaiah 58:10)  I felt that verse embodied much of what I had learned about Roblealto, my church’s global partner in Costa Rica.

More recently, I had the opportunity to really dig into Isaiah 58 during a Silent Retreat led by the women’s director of my church.  During the last section of the retreat we were invited to respond to Jesus asking us, “What do you want Me to do for you?” (Luke 18:35-41).  And my response in my journal was this: “I want you to show me how to have a “True Fast” before you (to do and be all those things from Isaiah 58)!  I then wrote out the following prayer:

“I know this is a tall order, a big request, something seemingly impossible.  But help me to do so – to have a true fast before You in my life!!  How can I live my life in such as way that it happens?  Show me, O Lord.  Jesus, I want You to come into my life and transform it is such a way (Is it too much to ask?  Is it too big, too grand, too sweeping of a request?)  I feel like it is specific in some ways (very specific) but not in other ways.

So open my eyes to how You will and are going to bring this about in my life.  Let me see how You will bring about opportunities and open doors for me such that I can tell You are working in and through me in an Isaiah 58 way (in my “Jerusalem,” in my “Judea and Samaria,” in my “ends of the earth” – Acts 1:8).  I bring this request, this want, this true desire before You.  Transform my life in such as way from the inside out!!”

There is so much more I could say here about the emotions and thoughts and desires that Isaiah 58 stirs up within me right now.  See some from a earlier post here.  But I think that prayer says quite a bit.

Thank you for coming along with me on this 31 day journey through the Life Verses that God has given me so far.  And I do know this – He’s not done with me yet which means there will be even more to come! So stay tuned.  (You just might need to keep coming back).

“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 them,
    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[a] 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.”  (Isaiah 58:6-9)

Love to Hear Your Thoughts!