Isaiah 58:6-14

“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? 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?

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. 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, 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. 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. 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.

If you refrain from trampling the sabbath, from pursuing your own interests on my holy day; if you call the sabbath a delight and the holy day of the Lord honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, serving your own interests, or pursuing your own affairs; then you shall take delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride upon the heights of the earth; I will feed you with the heritage of your ancestor Jacob, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Isaiah 58:6-14

Here is what I don’t like about many modern so-called “study Bibles.” I know that people love them and I know that they sell like hotcakes. But I worry that people put more trust in the notes on the bottom and the stuff on the sidebar that they ignore the plain and obvious words of the Bible itself. So there is that.

And that is also a danger I recognize in writing daily devotions. (Or just about daily devotions given that I didn’t write one on Monday this week) I worry that people skip over the Bible reading to get down to whatever I say. I hope that doesn’t happen. And I certainly hope that it doesn’t happen today.

Isaiah is a major book of the Jewish Bible. It is absolutely foundational in that it reflects the experience of Israel before, during, and after the Babylonian Exile. In that it captures the heart of the faith. It was incredibly important to the life and ministry of Jesus. It is quoted frequently in the New Testament. If it was the Word of God to Jesus then it certainly ought to be the Word of God to us.

Why do I point that out? Because when voices in the Christian church speak up against injustice, point out evils of oppression, argue on behalf of feeding the hungry, care about finding indoor spaces for homeless people to sleep, challenge Christians to begin every week in corporate worship, or questioning those who constantly apologize for the morality of looking out for our own self-interest – the church is not being political, it is being Christian! It is being who we are because of Whose we are.

That is what it means to be a “repairer of the breach, the restorer of the streets to live in.” Israel had just come out of a horrible time in their history and the writer of Isaiah was self-reflective enough to ask “What was our part in what went wrong and how can we order our lives so it doesn’t happen again?” That stance is so much healthier and helpful than playing the blame game or the victim game or the vengeance game. It also works much better as a job description for the church and a prescription for what ails us in our common life in the world.

Let us pray: Dear Lord, we pray for enough. Enough for all. Enough and not too much for anyone. We pray today, in the middle of the week, that we might have the grace to keep the main thing the main thing in our lives. To discern your voice, your still small voice, sounding forth through the din of the world. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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One Response to “Isaiah 58:6-14”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    I appreciate your sharing how observing the Sabbath will help us through the week to see others as our brothers and to care for them. I will share a verse with you and your readers from the New Testament that supports the scripture from Isaiah 58: 6-14.

    “Love should be shown without pretending. Hate evil, and hold on to what is good. Love each other like the members of your family. Be the best at showing honor to each other. Don’t hesitate to be enthusiastic—be on fire in the Spirit as you serve the Lord!”
    Romans 12:9-11

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