Discovering the depth of spiritual disciplines

This blog is inspired by the most recent episode of What’s God Doing!

 

“Why do we fast?” Isaiah 58 asks.

I would like to do something a little different this time: I would like you to read through this passage and really think about what it is saying.

Isaiah 58

“Shout it aloud, do not hold back.
    Raise your voice like a trumpet.
Declare to my people their rebellion
    and to the descendants of Jacob their sins.
For day after day they seek me out;
    they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
    and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions
    and seem eager for God to come near them.
‘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 people to humble themselves?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
    and for lying in 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 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.

“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
    with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 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.
11 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.
12 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.

13 “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
    and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
    and the Lord’s holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
    and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
14 then you will find your joy in the Lord,
    and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land
    and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

I remember the first time I ever fasted. I really wanted to understand what I was supposed to do and I came across this passage. I read it over and over trying to understand; “while fasting, God wants us to be generous?”

Verse 6 says fasting is to loose bonds of wickedness, undo burdens, let the oppressed free, and break every yoke. I had assumed this was for the one fasting, but then verse 7 gives instructions of want to do. If you look at the parallel between the two verses, 7 is a physical way of doing 6 for others.

Then, as you are doing these things for others and shining God’s light into their lives while fasting, God begins to do the same for you.  Kinda neat, right? Now, I can admit I am not the best at this. Being generous is something I have prayed for help with for many years, but I think I am learning what it means little by little.  I really like how this shows what it should look like.

Whether you are fasting or not it is still a good thing to practice. My challenge for you this week is to really pray and ask God how He would like to change your heart about generosity, and what He would like to do through you this week and onward.  Comment below things you learned, and things that stuck out to you in this passage.

Have a blessed spring everyone! Also, thanks for following along with me and for all your encouragement 🙂 This is my last blog for a while. Please pray for me as I go to do a Discipleship Bible School!

 

Watch below for a message from Raju on how prayer is not just something we say to God, but a way to be in relationship with Him!

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