If you really want results....

I have to say, this is one of the most exciting passages I have ever seen. God answers people who have confronted Him because their prayers and fasts haven't impressed Him, and haven't yielded the kinds of results they have been looking for. He responds by saying that the problem is that they have been fasting according to their criteria, not His. Their idea of serving God kept them in their comfort zone. In contrast, here's what will please Him:

Isaiah 58
v.6 "Is not this the fast that I have chosen? To loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed ones go free, and that you break every yoke?
v.7 Is it not to break your bread to the hungry, and that you should bring home the wandering poor? When will you see the naked and cover him; and you will not hide yourself from your own flesh?"

And check out the results!

v.8 "Then shall your light break out as the dawn, and your health shall spring out quickly; and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of Jehovah shall gather you.
v.9 Then you shall call, and Yahweh shall answer; you shall cry, and He shall say, Here I am. If you take the yoke away from among you, the pointing of the finger, and speaking vanity;
v.10 and if you draw out your soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall your light rise in darkness, and your darkness shall be as the noonday.
v.11 And Yahweh shall always guide you and satisfy your soul in dry places, and make your bones fat; and you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters fail not.
v.12 And those who come of you shall build the old ruins; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; and you shall be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in."

I want to let God do the speaking, so my only comment will be that the above passage doesn't just apply to helping the poor financially, although that certainly is included. It's broader than that. The afflicted and the oppressed mentioned above are people caught up in sin, or some sort of hurts resulting from sin that is present in this world. We are to be ready to bear the burdens of others who are going through something tough, and the list of possibilities is a long one.

Be ready, listen for His voice, in order to be there for someone; to allow God to use you as His relief agent.

2 Corinthians 1:4 "[God is] comforting us in all our trouble, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in every trouble, through the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."

Comments

Ron Hagan said…
James,

This is LIFE! Thank you for taking the saints to Father's heart.

I love that this passage is fulfilled in Jesus Christ: "Matthew 11:28-30 (New King James Version)
28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

See also from The Message (my personal favorite): "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

Bless you!

Ron

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