“HERE I AM!” GOD
Today’s Reading: Isaiah 57-58
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Key Verses: Isaiah 58:6-7
Is this not the fast that I have chosen:
To loose the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the heavy burdens,
To let the oppressed go free,
And that you break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out;
When you see the naked, that you cover him,
And not hide yourself from your own flesh?
Chapter 57 draws our attention to the depths of moral and spiritual depravity to which we as humans can sink. The most unthinkable evils were confronted by Isaiah. For example, during the latter part of Isaiah’s ministry, under the rule of King Manasseh, the children were offered as a sacrifice in idol worship (read 2 Kings 21:6-9). But in the midst of such horror, God offers to “Revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones” (57:15b).
Chapter 58 contains the word “delight” four times. The first two are in verse two. The people took delight in their religious exercises. This chapter can teach us the difference between outward observance of certain practices such as daily prayers, even fasting, and a true (daily also) experience described in 58:14, “Then you shall DELIGHT yourself IN THE LORD!” This “delight” is not in religiosity but in a personal relationship with God, following repentance (changing our ways). Setting aside a full day for God, “Sabbath,” becomes a “delight” also, because it is not a compulsory religious act, but a day with minimum distractions in which we can have close communion with the Lord. We can, as Isaiah describes his experience with God, “Ride on the high hills of the earth.” How great is that!
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Great and mighty God, I have knelt before You once again. I pray for grace to grow in my delight in You, rather than in outward religious practices only. I desire to have a contrite and humble spirit. I pray for revival in my heart and in Your Church! Amen!!! (Isaiah 57:15)
100 PERSONAL WORDS:
In four more days here on 100words.ca we’ll move into the book of James. James says that “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27). Serving God by serving others rises out of a “Delight in the Lord!” A personal relationship with God cannot help but produce loving acts because “God is love!” I’ve just read 1 John 4:7-21, and I’m convinced more than ever that this is the only way that people will come to know God around the world in much greater numbers. For many years Crossroads Christian Communications Inc. has sought to provide a means whereby the hearts of God’s people here at home can connect with those who are most needy of tender loving care. Click here for some of the ways in which Crossroads has provided an opportunity for many to reach out to others, partnering with followers of Jesus on the ground in various places around the world, who then are able to share the good news of Jesus’ love!
Yours for, as God says in our key verse, “…the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke… to share your bread with the hungry…”,