Isaiah 58:6-12

Lent begins today, which for the past few years has been something simple like, “no Dr. Pepper.” It isn’t necessarily easy, but it’s simple. Not only that, if I’m honest with myself, it’s pretty useless, too. Especially juxtaposed with what Isaiah says below.

“This is the kind of fast day I’m after:
to break the chains of injustice,
get rid of exploitation in the workplace,
free the oppressed,
cancel debts.

“What I’m interested in seeing you do is:
sharing your food with the hungry,
inviting the homeless poor into your homes,
putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad,
being available to your own families.
Do this and the lights will turn on,
and your lives will turn around at once.
Your righteousness will pave your way.
The GOD of glory will secure your passage.
Then when you pray, GOD will answer.
You’ll call out for help and I’ll say, “Here I am.’

“If you get rid of unfair practices,
quit blaming victims,
quit gossiping about other people’s sins,
If you are generous with the hungry
and start giving yourselves to the down–and-out,
Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness,
your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight.

“I will always show you where to go.
I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places–
firm muscles, strong bones.

“You’ll be like a well-watered garden,
a gurgling spring that never runs dry.
You’ll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew,
rebuild the foundations from out of your past.
You’ll be known as those who can fix anything,
restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate,
Make the community livable again.”

Isaiah 58:6-12

What if we made a list of those things and tried to do them between now and Easter in Christ’s name? Does that sound too much like “rule-keeping” or is it simply a good goal? What do you think?

3 thoughts on “Isaiah 58:6-12”

  1. What do I think… I think that the world would be a better place to live… even if every person chose just one thing to concentrate on, it would be better. King James Version says: Verse 11: “The Lord will guide you continually, And satisfy your soul in drought…” I know when we continually do our bible study, and let Him guide us, our lives go so much smoother than we when don’t study. Things just go better when He is in control.

  2. I don’t think a list is necessary to do the things Isaiah mentions. I think he simply speaks to our good natured humanness. He speaks to the part of our being that does without thinking or knowing, but just out of love and compassion for others, family and our selves. And it is beautifully put. If only we could all come to realize just how romantic we can be when we cease looking at possessions, power and popularity as the pinnacles of happiness and instead, picture in our minds what it is like to be full of compassion and spirituality and be in reverence of the nature that surrounds and us and fills us. If only we can come to realize that the evil in the world is not about us or around us, but inside of us. Only then can we literally love the evil right from our souls.

    I believe this is what Lent is for, to focus on depreciating the lust in our lives so that we will come to realize we don’t need it, in order to be fulfilled, inspired and in love with that which surrounds us, instead of being in love with ourselves, where evil breeds.

    Good post Brian. I believe even if Lents not a part of your religion, it is still a good thing to practice. I also believe it can be a catalyst for many of life’s lessons if done correctly. I say, ‘why only once a year, why not year round Lent?’ Perhaps it’s because we are just too human?

  3. Well said. I think you’re perspective on this passage is more beneficial than making some list would be.

    At the same time, I would hope that if it we deliberately set out to give food to a hungry person that we wouldn’t “check it off” and say, “Ok, no more of that.” But instead, that it would be a spark that began a fire.

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