‘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 will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Isaiah 58:3-8 NIV
Father it is clear that we, Your children, are not crystal clear as to Your expectations, because we keep slipping up, messing up, side-stepping, and trying to do things our way—-yet claiming that it’s Your way.
There have been more passages in the Bible where You told us that we don’t know what You think, how You think, what You will do, how You will do it, or when Your son Jesus will return to walk the Earth amongst us.
Yet for some reason the vast majority of us think we know. It is clear that ‘what we don’t know what we don’t know’ and this ignorance is harming us. So I ask for forgiveness for my part in this travesty. I ask that You bless us with mercy and grace, and continued patience as we work through this multi-generational ignorance. In Your name I pray. Amen.
I saw this passage and read it a few times before I began to pray. Many people ‘fast’ but are never quite sure why, how, the length of hours or days, or how often they should repeat this fast. I think verses three through eight shut down the majority of our thinking about fasting. It is not just merely withholding food or humbling ourselves for one day. Look closely at what the Word says. We are to be focused, passionate, and active at serving the least of God’s children.
If you call yourself fasting today or any day and you drive past a homeless person and offer them no money, food, drink, or clothing—then you are NOT fasting. If you call yourself fasting yet are not concerned with doing your part to speak on behalf of the under-served and the innocent—then you are NOT fasting.
Fasting is not some half-baked process of ‘suffering’ one or more days to prove you are loyal to God, or because it brings you closer to God by not eating certain foods or drink throughout the day. You end up returning to the same junk the day you are no longer fasting. So what lesson was learned? What was proven? Who benefitted? The answer to those questions are: nothing, nothing, and no one.
Let’s truly study God’s Word and think beyond mere mortals to the spiritual context of His Word, and to those children He has always instructed that we protect, uplift, and empower—-children, elderly, the ‘poor’, and those with limited physical and mental capabilities. If they are not your focus then you aren’t doing your part. Now let’s get to work family!
Copyright 2012. Natasha L. Foreman. Some Rights Reserved. All Prayers and Reflections are Copyright Protected by Natasha L. Foreman. breakingbreadwithnatasha.blogspot.com